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The Insider Newsletter for June 2014
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Secretary Jewell Announces 2014 PILT Payments

-From Tom Wolfe, NACo Associate Legislative Director for Public Lands


The following letter was distributed on Tuesday, June 17th, to NACo WIR Board Members and Public Lands Steering Committee Members:
 
I would like to pass along this breaking news (available here) from the Department of the Interior regarding the issuance of 2014 PILT payments. A state-by-state breakdown of payments is attached.
 
I encourage you to take advantage of this event to thank your senators and representatives for the funding and to call on them to keep talking about PILT and the urgent need to take action in order to extend full funding. To that end, feel free to use the attached draft letter. If you need help finding the email address for the appropriate staff member in their offices, please don’t hesitate to contact me or Jacqueline Alamia at jalamia@naco.  Remember, unless Congress takes action PILT will not be fully funded in 2015!

Please contact me if I can provide you any additional information. Also, Cynthia Moses-Nedd, BLM liaison to NACo, is always available to you, but particularly now should you have technical questions about your PILT payment. She can be reached at: cnedd@blm.gov or (202) 912-7446.
 
Tom Wolfe
Associate Legislative Director for Public Lands
National Association of Counties
25 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.,  Suite 500
Washington, DC 20001
Ph: (202) 942-4207
E-mail: twolfe@naco.org

State Projects Budget Challenges

Governor Inslee’s budget director, David Schumacher, presented a grim state budget outlook to the Legislative Steering Committee on June 12th.  While the state projects an additional $2.4 billion in revenue during the 2015-2017 biennium, this will be outstripped by the cost of projected additional spending needs, even before the state meet’s the Supreme Court’s mandate to increase funding for basic education. 

The cost of current programs is expected to increase by an additional $1.7 billion during this period, while pension costs and debt service costs will likely add an additional $539 million in “mandatory” costs.  Governor Inslee will likely propose cost of living increases for teachers, and higher education and state employees. 

Mr. Schumacher emphasized that this budget shortfall is as large as the state saw at the beginning of the current biennium, and the techniques used by the Legislature in 2013 (such as using the fund balance from the Public Works Assistance Account) to balance the current budget, were one-time fixes.  The Governor will likely be asking state agencies for significant budget reduction ideas upon which to base the budget proposal he must submit to the Legislature in December.  It remains to be seen whether the Governor will be proposing revenue ideas that would avert such cuts.  Regardless, it is becoming clear that the 2015 Legislative Session will be the scene for another major budget battle. 

United States Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell
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Upcoming Events

NACo Annual Conference
Fri, July 11 – Tue, July 15
New Orleans, LA
Conference Information
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Tue, July 15– Fri, July 18
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WCIF - 2014 Health Care Reform Seminar
Wed, July 23, 9am – 2pm
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Meeting Information
WCRP Annual Meeting
Thurs, July 24 - Fri, July 25
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WCRP Website

In This Month's Edition

In Memoriam

Former Grays Harbor County Commissioner and past WSAC President  Mike Murphy passed away on June 12th of an apparent heart attack. For the past 18 years Mike has served as Local Government Liaison for the Washington State Auditor’s Office.  

His family will be hosting an Irish wake on Sunday, July 13, from 4:00 to 7:00pm at Indian Summer Country Club. All friends and associates are invited to attend, offer condolences, and swap stories about the life of a man we knew as a respected colleague and beloved friend.

Mike is survived by his wife, Cheryl Duryea, their family and a huge “other family” – those in local and state government Mike has worked with and served for nearly 50 years.

Mike, born in Elma, Washington, 
was a dedicated public servant and an avid outdoorsman and sportsman. His public service and activities over the past forty years have included:
  • Grays Harbor County Commissioner
  • Chairman of the State Liquor Control Board
  • Candidate for Commissioner of Public Lands
  • Key role in the local and national campaigns of a number of Washington political figures, including Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson, Booth Gardner and Don Bonker
  • Past president of the Washington State Association of Counties
  • Helped found what would become Venture Bank

As Local Government Liaison for the Washington State Auditor’s office Mike assisted hundreds of county officials over the past two decades over the past unmatched credibility with hundreds of local governments whose leaders were familiar with him personally or through his excellent reputation as someone who intimately understood the challenges of their jobs.

Above all, Mike was a great individual and human being. He will be dearly missed.

NACo Unveils New Information Hub on "Waters of the U.S."


The National Association of Counties (NACo) launched a new webpage designed to serve as a one-stop resource for counties on the recently proposed federal definition of "Waters of the U.S." released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) on April 21.

County leaders are encouraged to utilize this resource, which provides the following:

  • Comprehensive analysis on how the proposed rule would impact counties, including a policy brief and chart comparing existing regulation and the proposed rule
  • Draft comments that your county can use as a guide when submitting comments to the agencies on "Waters of the U.S." The current deadline for submitting comments is July 21
  •  Sample letter to EPA and Corps requesting a 90-day extension of comment period
  •  Sample county resolutions on "Waters of the U.S."
  •  Guide for writing and submitting Op-Eds on "Waters of the U.S." to local media outlets
  •  Examples of social media posts on "Waters of the U.S."
  • Links to the many other resources, including the proposed rule and the agencies' economic cost benefit analysis of the proposed rule

The proposed rule would amend the current definition of "Waters of the U.S." in the Clean Water Act (CWA), which has been in place for over 25 years, and would expand the range of waters (and their conveyances) that fall under federal regulation. If adopted, counties would be significantly affected because they are often responsible for public safety water systems that would fall under the extended jurisdiction. The proposal would eliminate the distinction between bodies of water – like rivers and lakes – and roadside ditches and drains. Costs and permitting times for projects related to many types of waters not currently under federal jurisdiction would also increase.
 
If you have any questions or comments, please contact NACo Associate Legislative Director Julie Ufner at jufner@naco.org or (202) 942.4269.

Behavioral Health Task Force Hears About Chemical Dependency, Regional Service Areas

 
The Adult Behavioral Health Systems Task Force held their second meeting on June 13th, 2014 with the objective of educating Task Force Members about how the Chemical Dependency (CD) Treatment System works in Washington State. The CD focused agenda was crafted in response to several complaints from stakeholders who noted that the first Task Force Meeting was too centrally focused on the Mental Health System and only represented a State Agency perspective. As a result, the June 13th agenda was narrowly focused on the CD System and co-occurring disorder treatments. Additionally, the Washington State Association of Counties (WSAC)  gave an update on our progress towards formulating  recommendations on Regional Service Areas where both Mental Health and Chemical Dependency services will  be provided.

 
Legislative Staff gave an overview of the types of CD services that are purchased in Washington State,  how these services are purchased and how people access services in our communities. Staff members did an excellent job highlighting some of the major issues within the CD system, specifically the insufficient Medicaid reimbursement rate and the lack of Medicaid matching dollars for treatment provided in facilities with more than 16 beds. These concerns, among several others, were echoed by two panels of providers who later presented on some of the challenges with integrating the CD and Mental Health Systems.
 
With many proposed Regional Service Areas planning on becoming Behavioral Health Organizations, issues with Medicaid rates and 16 bed facility maximums are just a few of the issues WSAC identified in our presentation to the Task Force. Knowing that reimbursement rates can't be actuarially set until these regions are decided, the WSAC is working hard to meet the Legislative deadline of August 1st. The Legislative Steering Committee met on June 12th to recommend that the WSAC request the outstanding data and information still needed from the State. They also recommended that the requests from Counties intending to stay in their current region move forward as final recommendations. Grays Harbor RSN and Chelan-Douglas RSN will continue discussions about merging with other existing Regions and will keep the Legislative Steering Committee apprised of developments. WSAC will give a follow-up report on our Regional Service Area recommendations at the next Task Force Meeting on July 18, 2014.

SAVE THE DATES: June and July Coastal Caucus Meetings

  • Thursday, June 26th from 1:30-3:30pm at the WA Counties building.  The agenda will include a briefing from The Nature Conservancy on two upcoming initiatives for water infrastructure funding and coastal restoration as well as a staff briefing on Puget Sound Partnership activities and other items.
  • Wednesday, July 23rd from 10:00-11:00am.  Webinar on resources available to encourage soft shoreline armoring techniques along shorelines.    

To receive complete agendas, contact Brynn Brady.

Request for Grant Proposals: Landowner Incentives to Reduce Puget Sound Shoreline Armoring

This grant opportunity will provide funding and tools to local governments and others to start or enhance a program to provide incentives to residential marine shoreline property owners to forgo or remove armoring. Successful applicants will use information and resources from the Social Marketing Strategy to Reduce Puget Sound Shoreline Armoring project to identify the types of incentives that will work given their unique communities and goals for shoreline restoration and protection.

A total of about $1.5 million is available for projects and individual grants will be awarded up to $375,000, depending on the scope of the proposal.  Proposals are due on Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 12:00pm.  For more information, visit the WDFW website.

WSALPHO Summer Meetings Recap

WSALPHO Members and Presenters from across the state gathered for a two day event to review and discuss various public health topics. Snohomish Health District Dr. Gary Goldbaum and Pete Mayer (photo) provided a debrief and report on Public Health Response to Oso Landslide Disaster to include an informative video of the aftermath and the presentation on Childhood Adversity: A Public Health Call to Action” given by Whatcom County Health Department Dr. Astrid Newell and Kitsap Public Health District Administrators Scott Daniels gave WSALPHO Members a chance to ask questions pertaining to toxic stress and provide constructive feedback to increase awareness.  Many Thanks to all who attended the WSALPHO Summer Meetings June 10-11, 2014 at Hotel Murano in Tacoma

Public Comment Opportunity on PSP Leadership Council Resolution 2014-02 - Funding Alignment with Salmon Recovery


The Puget Sound Partnership’s Leadership Council is soliciting comments on a resolution proposed by the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission supporting the use of minimum riparian buffers for voluntary incentive funding programs.  The Council requested that more comments be solicited before they make a final decision on the resolution at the July meeting.

The resolution recommends the alignment of voluntary incentive programs with the NMFS interim riparian management recommendations.  The resolution now contemplates flexibility for alternative approaches to funding being permitted as long as they have a sound scientific basis, achieve water quality standards, support salmon and shellfish recovery and have the support of the tribes in the affected watershed.  The current resolution also encourages increasing the amount and availability of incentives for private landowners to install riparian buffers that meet ecosystem objectives. To view the entire text of the resolution, please contact Brynn Brady.

The Puget Sound Partnership will accept written comments by letter or email received by June 24, 2014.  Letters may be emailed to Dominique Hampton or mailed to Puget Sound Partnership, 326 East D Street, Tacoma, WA 98421.

100 Years of Extension–Great, What Is “Extension” and what do they offer?

Washington State University (WSU) is one of two designated land-grant universities in Washington (the other is Northwest Indian College in Bellingham). The land-grant system was established by Congress in the 1800s to provide better higher education opportunities for working classes. Building on this mission of providing greater public accessibility to university resources, the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 established the nationwide Cooperative Extension Service as part of the land-grant system.

WSU Extension is a three-way partnership between the USDA, Washington State University, and local county governments. WSU Extension has offices in every county in Washington. Each local office offers a different mix of local programs that may include agriculture, gardening, community and economic development, health and wellness, youth and families, and natural resource stewardship. Familiar extension programs are 4-H and Master Gardeners; in addition counties may offer Master Recycler Composter, Livestock Advisor, Beach Watcher, Food Safety staff and forestry programs offered by WSU Extension around the state.
 
For additional information about WSU Extension resources in your county, please contact your local county Extension office. To locate your local WSU County Extension office, go to this website.

The Office of Financial Management Opens Comment Period for SB 5173

 
Substitute Senate Bill 5173 grants two unpaid holidays per calendar year to all employees for a reason of faith or conscience or an organized activity conducted under the auspices of a religious denomination, church or religious organization. The employer must allow the employee to take the unpaid holidays on the dates selected by the employee unless the employee’s absence would impose an undue hardship on the employer or the employee’s position is necessary to maintain public safety.

The bill further requires the Office of Financial Management (OFM) to establish in rule the definition of “undue hardship.” The bill’s effective date was June 12, 2014.  As communicated in a previous message sent out on June 3, 2014, OFM adopted on an emergency basis a definition of “undue hardship”.  The CR101 (Preproposal Statement of Inquiry) was filed with the emergency rules as reference only.   These emergency rules are attached.
 
OFM is now pursuing permanent rule-making.  Using the adopted emergency rules as a starting point, please provide your comments, suggestions or concerns by COB July 8, 2014 to Kristie Wilson. OFM will use this feedback in crafting the draft permanent rule.  You will have another opportunity to comment, either in person or in writing, on the draft permanent rule that will ultimately be published.
 
For additional information, visit the OFM/State HR rule-making website. Information specific to these emergency rules and related permanent rule-making is available under Rules Under Development.

WCRP County Connection for May/June


The Washington Counties Risk Pool has released their monthly newsletter. To view, click here.
Below is one of their featured articles reguarding the Open Government Trainnings Act:

ESB 5964 - Effective July 1st
July 1st is going to be here before you know it. Other than being three days away from fireworks, hotdogs and homemade ice cream, what is the significance of July 1st? This legislative season the Legislature enacted and the Governor signed ESB 5964, Open Government Trainings Act (Laws of 2014, ch. 66). This law will become effective July 1st and concerns training public officials and employees regarding public records, records management, and open public meetings requirements. The law mandates that within 90 days, every member of the governing body, whether newly elected or already serving, within a public agency must complete the training requirements. The training time is anticipated to be minimal and is being offered on-line at no cost. This act is expected to reduce liability.

Municipal Research and Services Center, MRSC, has developed a webpage providing everything you need to know about the act. The Attorney General’s Office has developed a fact sheet that is especially helpful with a comprehensive list of training resources. Click on the following link for the MRSC website.
 

Comment Summaries Now Available on State Solid and Hazardous Waste Plan Update


From September 2013 through January 2014, the Washington State Department  of Ecology met with stakeholders, and had an online survey, to get input on what people wanted in the state solid and hazardous waste plan update. Summaries of those comments are now available: Department staff is now using this input as we draft plan update content, and anticipate a first draft will be available for stakeholder review and comment in summer 2014. Notification will be sent at the time of its release.

To stay informed on the state plan update, join the listserv or visit the department's website.

For more information, please contact Janine Bogar, Waste 2 Resources Program (solid waste), at (360) 407-6654, or Chris Chapman, Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction Program, at (360) 407-7160.
Washington State Dept of Ecology

 

U.S. Communities Co-op: RFP for Education


NACo is a founder and exclusive sponsor of the U.S. Communities™ Government Purchasing Alliance. U.S. Communities is the leading national government purchasing cooperative that reduces the cost of goods and services by aggregating the purchasing power of public agencies nationwide. U.S. Communities provides participants with access to a broad line of competitively solicited contracts with national suppliers that have committed to providing their lowest overall public agency pricing.

This month, NACo would like to highlight the following RFP for Education, Classroom, Miscellaneous Support Furniture and Related Products and Services issued by San Diego Unified School District, CA on behalf of U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance and other government agencies. Visit the U.S. Communities website for more solicitations.

NACo's US Communities co-op purchasing program offers world-class procurement resources for local and state governments offering:
  • No User Fees – no costs or fees to participate.
  • Best Overall Supplier Government Pricing – by combining the potential cooperative purchasing power of more than 90,000 public agencies, you are able to access the best overall supplier government pricing.
  • Quality Brands – thousands of the best brands in a wide variety of categories, services and solutions.
  • Integrity and Experience – unlike other government cooperative purchasing organizations, U.S. Communities national government purchasing cooperative is founded by 5 national sponsors and over 70 state, city and regional organizations.
  • Oversight by Public Purchasing Professionals – our third party audits on contracts ensure that program pricing commitments are met, with benchmark analyses against other suppliers and retailers to guarantee participants the best overall value.
All contracts have been competitively solicited, evaluated and awarded by an impartial lead public agency in accordance with their public purchasing rules and regulations. Applying these competitive principles satisfies the competitive bid requirements of most state and local government agencies.
 
Copyright © 2014 Washington State Association of Counties, All rights reserved.


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