Municipal Planning Grants–Apps Due 9/30/09

Funding is available through the Municipal Planning Grants (MPG) for September 2009. The total funding for MPGs was reduced from $800,000 available in previous years to $408,700 for fiscal year 2010 (September 2009).

Key Dates are:

Applications due: September 30, 2009
RPC Confirmation of Municipal Planning Process: September 30, 2009
Award Decision: November, 2009
Project Completion Date: May 9, 2011
Online Application Training Dates: September 1, 3-5 pm and
September 19, 12-2 pm

Please note that all outreach about the MPGs will be by email and all applications must be submitted on-line.

Municipal Planning Grant Program Details
Municipalities may apply for up to $15,000 for single applications or up to $25,000 for multi-town (consortia) applications. No local match is required at this time, but only one application per municipality may be submitted. Municipal Planning grant applications will only be accepted online and are due on September 30, 2009.

Access to the online application will be available in August, but you are encouraged to start planning your projects now and begin the application process by taking the following steps:

1. Review the Program Description to determine the eligibility of your town and project. Pay special attention to the competitive criteria and statewide priorities in determining if you have a project that is a good candidate for funding through this program.

2. Meet with your local planning commission, selectboard and other entities to discuss and agree on a project. Municipal organizations other than the planning commission (e.g. conservation commission) may apply, but must have approval from both the planning commission and selectboard.

3. Review the sample application and develop a work plan and budget for your project with input from your regional planning commission (RPC) and/or a private consultant.

4. Write any “essay” responses to the application questions in a word processing document that can later be pasted into the online application.

5. If you or your town has not yet used the online grants management system, review the Roles and determine who will fill those roles from your municipality.

6. Create a new user account on the system following the instructions provided on Grants Management Log-in page.

7. New Municipal/Authorizing Official(s) will need to create a new user account on that site and obtain the necessary validation by calling 802-828-5249 during business hours.

8. If you need coaching, sign up for one of the optional online application trainings.

Anyone who has created a user account in the online grants management system (this year or last), will receive email notification when the online application is ready for use, sometime in August.

If you have questions or need assistance, please contact the MPG program administrator, Wendy Tudor at 802-828-5249 (direct line), 800-622-4553 (toll free) or email wendy.tudor@state.vt.us, or CVRPC at cvrpc@cvregion.com or 802/229-0389.

DFIRM’s, FEMA, NFIP, Getting Closer!

Now that I’ve used all the acronyms, we’ll get to the heart of the matter. The Washington County DFIRMS are considered to be final unless there is some really glaring line error and even then it would take hiring an engineer to get the line changed on the DFIRM. So, for all intents and purposes, the DFIRM’s are final. We have the opportunity on Monday, July 27 to see the unveiling of the Washington County DFIRM’s, talk with FEMA and State Floodplain folks about the NFIP program, bylaws, requirements and timeline for updating local flood hazard bylaws. These two meetings will take place in Waterbury, at the State complex, in the Skylight conference room at 2 to 4 p.m. AND at 7 to 9 p.m. All local officials involved in flood plain bylaw development, enforcement, etc are strongly encouraged to attend this July 27 meeting. It is very important because in order for a municipality to remain in the NFIP program and thereby, property owners to get a reduced rate on flood insurance, the community’s flood hazard bylaws must meet new NFIP standards. The State wants to receive all Washington County flood plain bylaws for their review by March 2010. That’s not a lot of time and is why we URGE you to attend the July 27 meeting and find out everything you need to know so you can begin or complete your work on your flood plain bylaws. The earlier your bylaws are submitted for State review, the quicker the process will go forward.

There will be follow up meetings on September 16, 2 to 4 p.m. AND 7 to 9 p.m., at CVRPC’s office in Montpelier, to assist with questions, issues and problems related to getting flood plain bylaws reviewed and approved. Municipalities that have already updated their flood plain bylaws, but have not had them reviewed and approved by the State should get them submitted quickly so they can be reviewed and if corrections are needed, they can be corrected and adopted. This workshop will be a good time to get last minute questions answered. Even though you may attend the July 27 DFIRM map meeting, we encourage you to also plan to attend the September 16 workshop, too. CVRPC staff is here to assist and are awaiting your calls and emails. Reach out and ask away! cvrpc@cvregion.com or call 802/229-0389. We’ re here for you!

2010 Census Dates

Following are some key dates relating to the 2010 Census:

April to June 2009–Census employees go door to door to update address lists;
Fall 2009 — Recruitment begins for local census jobs for 2010 Census operations;
February to March 2010– Census questionnaires are mailed or delivered to households;
April 2010– Residents fill out and return Census questionnaires;
April to July 2010– Census takers visit households that did not return a questionnaire by mail;
December 2010 — By law, the Census Bureau delivers population counts to the President for apportionment;
March 2011 — By law, the Census Bureau completes delivery of redistricting data to states.

Encourage all to participate in the 2010 Census; every person counted affects the amount of Federal services and dollars received by towns and Vermont! Thanks.

Disaster Response & Recovery for Road Crews

Vermont Local Roads is hosting “Disaster Response & Recovery for Road Crews” workshops at various locations through out the State. The workshops are intended to familiarize road crews with likely issues on planning for and responding to road damage from natural disasters so that you can avoid common paperwork mistakes, understand the federal disaster response process in advance, get reimbursed the proper amount, and repair/replace damaged roads in the best fashion. The following day-long workshops are coming up:

  • Tuesday, June 16, Lyndon, VT
  • Wednesday, June 17, South Burlington

For additional information visit: www.vermontlocalroads.org or call 802-654-2652.

Pre-Disaster Mitigation Competitive (PDM-C) and Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA)

FEMA’s Pre-Disaster Mitigation Competitive (PDM-C) and Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) grant programs for FY 2010 will provide funds to states, territories, Federal and State-recognized Native American (Indian) tribes, communities, colleges and universities for pre-disaster mitigation planning and the implementation of cost-effective mitigation projects prior to a disaster event. The purpose of these grant programs is to reduce the overall risk to people, homes and other structures while reducing reliance on funding from future disaster declarations. PDM-C is a nationally competitive grant program, while FMA projects are selected at the FEMA Region 1 level.

Funds: Approximately $100 million will be available nationwide for project grants, technical assistance, and program support for PDM as part of the FY 2010 Unified Hazard Mitigation Assistance program. Each state is allocated $500,000 as a set-aside, provided the submitted applications meet all FEMA eligibility requirements and are selected by the state and FEMA National Review panels. Availability of PDM funds and funding amounts are dependent upon Congressional appropriation and reauthorization. States are not limited to the set-aside amount ($500,000) and may potentially receive additional funds depending upon the quality of the applications. For FMA, Vermont is allocated $100,000, although additional funds may be made available from other state’s unused allocations. PDM grants are to be awarded by FEMA on a nationally competitive basis.

Eligible Activities: Mitigation planning: $800,000 cap on Federal share for new plans, not to exceed a 3 year performance period; up to $400,000 Federal share available for plan updates
Mitigation projects: $3 million cap on Federal share, not to exceed 3 years performance period
Information dissemination activities: not to exceed 10%; activities must pertain directly to a planning or project application
Sub-applicant management costs: not to exceed 5% of total project costs
Cost-share ratio: 75% Federal share, with a 25% local match requirement. Small and impoverished communities may be eligible for up to a 90% Federal cost share amount in the PDM grant program only.

Sub-applicant Eligibility: State-level agencies, Federal and state recognized Native American tribal governments, local governments, public colleges and universities are eligible to apply to for assistance. Private non-profit organizations and private colleges and universities are not eligible. However, a relevant state agency or local government may apply to Vermont Emergency Management for assistance on their behalf.

NFIP Participation: All Applicants must be participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) if they have been identified as having a Special Flood Hazard Area (i.e. a Flood Hazard Boundary Map or Flood Insurance Rate Map has been issued). In addition, the Applicant/Sub-applicant must not be on probation, suspended or withdrawn from the NFIP. However, applicants that are not mapped under the NFIP are eligible.

Mitigation Plan Requirement: Applicants must have a FEMA-approved local mitigation plan by the application deadline in order to receive project grants. However, PDM planning grants will continue to be available to Applicants that do not have a FEMA-approved mitigation plan to enable them to meet the planning requirements.

Letters of Intent: Vermont Emergency Management (VEM) requests that those towns/agencies intending to submit a PDM or FMA application should first submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) to the State Hazard Mitigation Officer no later than Monday, August 3, 2009. For a sample LOI, please see the VEM website at: www.dps.state.vt.us/vem or the attachment to this announcement.

Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA): This is a very important part of the application process. Applicants needing assistance in completing their BCA may contact the local Regional Planning Commission. Some benefit-cost assistance may also be provided by Vermont Emergency Management. BCA workshops may also be provided in the fall of 2009.

E-Grants: PDM-C and FMA applications must be submitted electronically through FEMA’s E-Grants portal at https://portal.fema.gov. Only those applications submitted through E-Grants will be accepted. Those indicating an interest in applying will be issued a valid user name and password by Vermont Emergency Management. Previously issued user names and passwords for E-Grants may be used. Applicants must provide an original and two copies of any paper supporting documentation that cannot be electronically attached to an E-Grants application (e.g. engineering drawings, maps, photos, etc).
Mitigation Grant guidance may be downloaded from FEMA’s website at: www.fema.gov/government/grant/hma/index.shtm

Deadline for Applications: Completed applications must be submitted electronically to Vermont Emergency Management through FEMA’s E-Grants portal no later than close of business on Monday, November 16, 2009. Applications submitted past the deadline will not be accepted.
Other Grant Programs: If you are unsuccessful in receiving a PDM-C or FMA grant, your application may be considered under a different FEMA grant program, e.g. the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). Please contact VEM for additional details on these grant programs.

All submitted grant applications are subject to prior review and selection by the State Hazard Mitigation Project Selection committee.

If you have any questions concerning eligibility requirements for FEMA grant programs or if you need further assistance, contact please feel free to contact Ray Doherty at Vermont Emergency Management.

Contact: Ray Doherty, State Hazard Mitigation Officer
Vermont Emergency Management
103 South Main Street
Waterbury, VT 05671
Tel (802) 241-5258
Fax (802) 241-5556
E-mail: rdoherty@dps.state.vt.us

Density and Design for Small Communities

SAVE THE DATE for the Vermont Planners Association Fall Conference!

This year it will be held on October 16, 2009 at the ALL SOULS INTERFAITH GATHERING CENTER right on the shore of Lake Champlain in Shelburne, VT.

The focus will be on Density and Design for Small Communities with speakers and panelists to be announced.

A reception will be held immediately following, right around the corner at the Shelburne Vineyard, hosted by owners Ken and Gail Albert.

DFIRM update June 2009

Late-breaking news! The Washington County DFIRM maps should become effective in September 2010. HOWEVER, it is Vermont’s Flood Plain Management-River Management Program’s goal for all towns to have adopted flood hazard area regulations (FHAR) by the end of MARCH 2010 thereby preventing a “flood” of regs for approval by FEMA in September. The FHAR’s will need to be reviewed by Vermont’s Flood Plain Management staff before submitting them to FEMA. As a result, the State needs some lead time, too. Regarding the DFIRM’s and getting the process on its way, the final community coordination meeting is tentatively scheduled for Monday, July 27. Further details are forthcoming, but it is anticipated that the meeting will be held in Waterbury at the Skylight conference room at the State Complex from 2 to 4 p.m. and a second meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. Please call CVRPC at 229-0389 for further details, come back to our blog before July 27 and read our lastest update, or call Ned Swanberg, VT’s Flood Plain Management staff, at 802/241-4596 or ned.swanberg@state.vt.us. CVRPC will post more as soon as we know more “firm” information!

Fire Station Grants

Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released grant guidance for assistance for firefighting station construction. The purpose of this FY 09 ARRA money is to improve firefighter safety and response capability/capacity based on need through the construction, renovation, or modification of fire stations. Non-Federal fire departments and state and local governments that fund/operate fire departments are eligible for station construction grants (SCG). Awards are limited per project to $5 million. No allocations are made within the total appropriation for new construction versus renovation; each will compete on the same funding priorities and rating criteria. Applications will be reviewed in late August or early September. It is expected that 60 to 80 projects will be funded with $210 million available nationwide. Application and guidance kits are available at http://www.fema.gov/grants and www.grants.gov. For additional information, contact Chris Rizzuto at 202/786-9450, Andrew White at 202/786-9452, or Mike Cappannari at 202/447-5457.