THE MIDAS TOUCH
Monthly Newsletter of the MIDAS Council of Governments
602 1st Avenue South, Fort Dodge, Iowa 50501
Phone (515) 576-7183 | FAX (515) 576-7184
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2009 IGIC Conference Recap
Every two years the Iowa Geographic Information Council (IGIC) holds a conference to discuss the status of GIS issues in Iowa, around the region and across the nation. This year's conference was held April 20th - April 24th, 2009 in Waterloo at Hawkeye Community College.
This year's theme: "GIS in Iowa: It's a spatial thing!" looked to highlight the role that GIS technology is playing in many different aspects of Iowan's lives. Workshops for varying levels of GIS users bookended the conference with program content sandwiched in between. Breakout sessions focused on such diverse topics as: GIS in Agriculture; Local Government Applications; LiDAR; Volunteered Geographic Information; Transportation, Customizing Maps, Health Applications; Data Collection and the Iowa Geospatial Infrastructure.
A common theme that ran through many of the sessions was the role that GIS played in hazard mitigation, response and recovery. Maps and geographic information played a crucial role in those communities affected by last year's disasters and that usage has highlighted the pivotal role that geographic information can play for communities that will be affected in the future.
Another arena in which IGIC has been heavily involved in developing over the last several years is the concept of the Iowa Geospatial Infrastructure or IGI. The IGI's central focus is on the collection of consistent, common, integrated, standardized local, state, federal and other GIS data layers that are freely available to the public through the Internet. A result of this initiative has been the development of a Business Plan for the development of the IGI within Iowa and efforts to capture the costs and benefits to local governments in participating in an IGI. For details on the IGI effort, please contact Brad Cutler at the MIDAS office.
One final note about the keynote speaker at the 9th Biennial IGIC Conference. This year's keynote presentation was given by Randall Johnson, the MetroGIS Staff Coordinator from the Twin Cities region in Minnesota. Randall comes from a regional perspective and has worked to shepherd geospatial coordination efforts in a seven county region covering 3,000 square miles and 296 local units of government. This highly educational presentation focused on the development of a local spatial data infrastructure and the stakeholder issues that have been overcome (and many that have yet to be completely overcome) in constructing a shared GIS environment that is working towards meeting the needs of the involved parties.
Hazard Mitigation Plan Update
The MIDAS hazard mitigation planner has been kept busy in the month of April. In March, MIDAS learned that a couple of our cities needed their hazard mitigation plans to be finished before their scheduled deadline. Instead of having them completed by late 2009/early 2010, we needed them to be FEMA approved by November 2009, which in turn means that the plans need to be finished and submitted to FEMA by the beginning of July. So those plans, which were already on a fast track, have been kicked into a higher gear.
The quickened pace has caused other plans to be put on pause for a couple of months. Even though they are on pause, they are still on schedule to be completed according to the contracted deadline. Even during this time hastening the completion of plans to be done by the November deadline, more communities have begun their hazard mitigation planning process to ensure that their deadline is met.
MIDAS has currently 11 hazard mitigation plans that are underway, or will be very soon to starting, with more on the horizon.
Low Income Housing Tax Credit – Inspections
The MIDAS office is in full swing with the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Compliance (LIHTC) inspections. With over 230 inspections to conduct before September 1st, the MIDAS Compliance Crew has just brushed the surface of their summer inspections. Last month 52 LIHTC units were inspected, with this coming month to bring 52 more. The inspections consist of a Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS) check of the property, units, and community areas. Also a file review is conducted with the inspections, in order to check tenant income and rent limits.
For more information and qualifications contact Justin Harvey at email@example.com or (515) 576-7183 ext. 215.
Preparedness Can Go a Long Way
As our nation is on the ropes of a pandemic, it brings up many questions of what would happen to our small towns and businesses if the virus really attacks. What happens if over half of your employees were not able to show up to work for two or three weeks? Who would answer phones, sign checks, and make critical decisions? The plague may or may not reach our small part of the world this time around, but eventually a disaster will strike. No one knows what the future holds. All that we can do is Hope for the Best and Prepare for the Worst.
Preparation for a disaster sounds like a daunting task, and a task that is easier swept under the rug. As we witnessed last year with the summer floods and spring tornados, a little preparedness will go a long way. Luckily, MIDAS is here to help with a Disaster Recovery Coordinator on staff. We are equipped to help small businesses throughout the MIDAS region, as well as city and county governments. From assisting in setting up a disaster recovery plan to helping affected businesses find necessary assistance, MIDAS is here for you. For more information and qualifications contact Justin Harvey at firstname.lastname@example.org or (515) 576-7183 ext. 215.
MIDAS Technical Assistance
MIDAS Executive Committee Meeting of April 15th, 2009
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