THE MIDAS TOUCH‎ > ‎2009‎ > ‎

MAY

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


Revolving Loan Fund Announcement Expected

MIDAS has applied to the Economic Development Administration for $250,000 recapitalization of the business revolving loan fund (RLF). The 10% local match requirement has been committed by each of the five disaster declared counties in the MIDAS region; Hamilton, Humboldt, Pocahontas, Webster, and Wright. An announcement awarding these funds is expected any day. Businesses in any of the five listed counties that are interested in applying for this low interest loan should prepare and submit an application as soon as possible.

Applications may be obtained by writing to MIDAS, C/O RLF, 602 1stAve S, Fort Dodge, 50501, or by going on-line at www.midascog.net . Calhoun County businesses should also apply as they are eligible for loans of funds remaining in the original business RLF. All MIDAS business RLF loans are for a maximum of 10-15% of the total project.


Stimulus Funding - How can I get it?

Many of MIDAS’ cities and counties submitted a list of infrastructure projects to the Governor’s Office which they would like to receive funding for.  These projects were to be something that could be completed in two years.  Now that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) or stimulus funding has been approved by the Federal government, MIDAS has received calls and e-mails asking how a city/county can go about getting funding for the project they submitted. First it needs to be explained that the request by the Governor for these lists was to help him determine the infrastructure funding needs of cities and counties. This list was NOT an application for funding and had NOTHING to do with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  It is estimated that Iowa will receive $2.1 billion in funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  Most of the funds are being distributed through current federal programs.   It should be noted that funds from ARRA cannot be used for swimming pools, golf courses, aquariums, zoos, casinos, or gambling establishments.   ARRA infrastructure projects must use U.S. produced iron, steel and manufactured goods (there may be some exceptions allowed) and projects must use the Davis Bacon wage rates.  Priority will be given to projects that can be started and completed promptly.   Infrastructure funding is being distributed through many different programs.  A few of the programs are:
  • the State Revolving Loan (SRF) fund managed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR),
  • the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program managed by the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED),
  • the Economic Development Administration (EDA) programs,
  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs, and
  • The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) programs.
These programs are ones that have been in existence for awhile and have the same requirements to them with the addition of the ARRA requirements. As for the I-JOBS program developed by the Governor this is a $750 million dollar plan to create jobs, the Iowa Legislature approved bonding for this program; however rules for the program have not been developed. For more information on stimulus funding contact Shirley Helgevold, MIDAS, and (515) 576-7183 ext. 212.


Rural Transportation Needs Your Voice in Funding Study

The Iowa 2007 General Assembly mandated a Passenger Transportation Funding Study, which is just getting underway in 6 areas of the state of Iowa.  URS, a consulting firm out of Minneapolis, with offices in Urbandale, have been contracted to conduct the study.  The study will identify what the transit needs are in Iowa, what level of funding is necessary to meet those needs and identify possible means to generate that funding. The Study will focus on
  • Quantify Current and Future Needs
  • Quantify Revenues Federal and State, Local, and Health/Human Services-Grant Services
  • Gap Analysis Does/will a revenue cover cost?
  • Identify and Prioritize Strategies based on needs Today and in the Future 
Phase 1 - Will establish need, define range of alternatives, and look at funding sources and levels Phase 2 – look at the alternatives, set performance measures, and check each alternative related to the performance measures and then document Phase 3 – Will reconcile priorities, reconcile alternatives with funding, Reconcile Fundable Alternatives to priorities. Six public meetings related to this effort were held in Ames, Atlantic, Ottuwma, Mason City, Cedar Rapids, and Cherokee.  Since the notice for these meeting was late in being announced, many area officials could not attend the meetings.  To be part of the Passenger Transportation Funding Study you can go on line at www.iRIDE21.com to complete the survey for users, nonusers, providers, and human service organization. Please make your voice hear for rural transportation, the deck is being dealt in favor of the urban areas if we don’t respond.  Be heard, go to----www.iRIDE21.com and complete the survey.


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 jharvey@midascog.net 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 jharvey@midascog.net or (515) 576-7183 ext. 215.


MIDAS Technical Assistance

Calhoun County:
  • County - Attended Supervisors meeting to discuss revolving loan fund.
  • Farnhamville – Provided administration for CDBG Housing Rehab Program.
  • Lake City - Conducted Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) inspections.
  • Lohrville – Provided administration for CDBG Housing Rehab Program.
  • Pomeroy – Provided administration for CDBG Wastewater Program.
  • Rockwell City - Met with City representatives to discuss beautification of the City Square.
Hamilton County:
  • Blairsburg - Talked to the City Council about what a hazard mitigation plan is, and what it means for the City.
  • Kamrar - Continued to work on Hazard Mitigation Plan.
  • Webster City - Assisted in completing Hazard Mitigation Plan application.  Met with Webster City schools to discuss Tornado Safe Room projects.  Discussed Buy-Out Program with City Clerk.
  • Williams - Contacted the city and began discussing when to begin their Hazard Mitigation Plan.-
Humboldt County:
  • County -   Provided assistance on zoning related issues.
  • Humboldt – Reviewed the City's CDBG Housing contract.  Continued to work on Hazard Mitigation Plan.  Worked on the City's Supplemental CDBG Disaster Funding Grant.  Administered CDBG Housing grant.
  • Livermore – Administered CDBG Housing grant.
  • Renwick – Provided administration for CDBG Water Program.
Pocahontas County:
  • County - Informed Pocahontas County emergency officials on services of the MIDAS Disaster Recovery Program.  Had the first Hazard Mitigation meeting and have begun to work on the plan.
  • Fonda - Discussed CDBG grant funding with City Clerk.
  • Havelock - Discussed codification with City Clerk.
  • Laurens - Administered CDBG water grant.
  • Rolfe – Provided administration for CDBG Housing Rehab Program.
Webster County:
  • County – Hosted Governmental Services Sharing and Coordination meeting.
  • Badger - Contacted the City and scheduled their first Hazard Mitigation meeting.
  • Callender - Continued to work on Hazard Mitigation Plan.  Provided some contact information to City Clerk for assistance with reports.
  • Dayton - Administered CDBG Housing and Water grants.
  • Duncombe - Discussed USDA funding for fire truck with Fire Chief.  Discussed code issues with City Clerk.
  • Fort Dodge - Attended Leadership Fort Dodge meeting.  Assisted in completing a Hazard Mitigation Plan application.
  • Gowrie - Participated in a Jumpstart Housing inspection walk-through.  Assisted community in strategic planning efforts.
  • Vincent - Provided contact information for land purchase to City Clerk.
Wright County:
  • County - Discussed RISE application with Economic Development Director.
  • Belmond - Continued to work on Hazard Mitigation Plan.  Administered CDBG Housing grant.  Met with a business to edit Disaster Recovery Plans.
  • Clarion - Conducted Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) inspections.
  • Dows - Attended City Council meeting.
  • Eagle Grove - Conducted Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) inspections.  Continued to work on the Hazard Mitigation Plan. Discussed Neighborhood Restabilization program with City Administrator.
  • Goldfield - Assisted City with employment policies and job descriptions.
Regional Benefit:
  • Attended RLF Training.
  • Attended Moving Iowa Forward Conference.
  • Hosted Rural Enterprise Team Meeting.
  • Attended MIGP meeting.
  • Conducted Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) inspections.
  • Held regional Enhancement and Tails committee meeting.
  • Held regional SAFETEA-Lu Highway subcommittee meeting.
  • Attended Iowa Geographic Information Council (IGIC) Conference.
  • Attended American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Workshop
  • Attended Iowa Municipal Finance Officers conference.
  • Prepared mortgage release for County RLF


MIDAS Executive Committee Meeting of April 15th, 2009

Chairperson Sweedler called the meeting to order at 6:30 P.M.

A quorum consisted of: Sweedler, Sandholm, Treibel, Foster, Triggs, DeWolf, Bowman, Vermeer, Larson, Hansen, and Besch.

Motion by Hansen, second by Bowman to approve the agenda. Ayes, all.

Motion by Sandholm, second by Besch, to approve the March 2009 minutes.

Motion by DeWolf, second by Vermeer to adopt and authorize the Executive Director sign IDOT Authorizing Resolution for state and federal transit funding to Region 5 for FY 10. Ayes, all.

Motion by Harlen, second by Bowman, to recommend the City of Fort Dodge adopt and authorize the Mayor sign IDOT Authorizing Resolution for state and federal transit funding to DART for FY 10. Ayes, all.

Motion by Foster, second by Besch, to approve the Region 5 Passenger Transportation Development Plan. Ayes, all..

Motion by Triggs, second by Hansen, to approve FY10 Region 5 Transportation Planning Work Program. Ayes, all.

Motion by Bowman, second by Vermeer to approve the MIDAS Revolving Loan Fund Plan. Ayes, all.

Motion by Bowman, second by Sandholm, to approve restructuring the Rockwell City Chamber of Commerce Housing RLF loan repayment schedule to $120 per month. Ayes, all.

Motion by Besch, second by Bowman, to adopt the Resolution Amending the MIDAS Articles of Agreement changing from nineteen to eighteen the number of members appointed to the Executive Committee. Ayes, all.

Motion to adjourn by Hansen, second by Larson. Ayes, all.

Respectfully submitted for Secretary Dennis Bowman by staff member Clifford Weldon. 


Cliff's Notes

If the theme for March was “waves”, the theme for April should be “cooperation”. It seems that the cooperative efforts that have always existed to one degree or another in our region are getting a lot of well-deserved positive publicity lately. Examples include the Governor’s award to the Webster County and City of Fort Dodge law enforcement departments for their work with the State Police; the work between the City of Humboldt and Dakota City to share equipment purchases, construction projects, and work together on Hazard Mitigation Plan committees; the City of Fort Dodge’s willingness to work with the Humboldt River Group to discuss river development projects; the joint visit to Washington by the Fort Dodge Chamber of Commerce, the City of Humboldt, and MIGP (OK, so this example is a month old); the work by the Pocahontas Economic Development Commission with a large number of cities in Pocahontas County to address housing issues; and this list is far from exhaustive. Cooperation among different governments, at whatever level, is great news. The benefits include reduced costs to the taxpayers, increased efficiency, increased leverage when seeking assistance, and an enhanced sense of the region. Cooperation is essential if we are to we continue to compete effectively in a global economy. MIDAS is willing to assist in cooperative elements, and currently does so through participation in the Mid Iowa Growth Partnership and the Rural Enterprise Teams on a Regional basis, and with the Webster County-City of Fort Dodge Governmental Services Sharing and Coordination meetings on a local basis. If your community would like to consider a cooperative effort but could benefit from the involvement of MIDAS, please let me know.


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