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Top tags: City Officials' Day at the Capitol 

New Webinar Series on Creative Placemaking

Posted By Justin Ruen, Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is pleased to announce the webinar series: How to Do Creative Placemaking! Offering practical and tactical advice for local leaders, artists, and community development practitioners.

Creative placemaking—the practice of integrating arts, culture, and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities—has become a widespread practice in communities of all shapes and sizes to advance local economic, physical, and/or social outcomes. In 2016, the National Endowment for the Arts and The Kresge Foundation partnered to launch a pilot technical assistance program in collaboration with LISC and PolicyLink which served 16 communities across the country. This pilot program resulted in robust resources to help local practitioners meet the challenges of collaborative, and sustained creative placemaking; informing the topic areas of this webinar series. 

Join us, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Kresge Foundation for this six part webinar series by registering for each event as they become available.  You can register here for the webinars.

Setting the Table: Developing Partnerships & Shared Values

Wednesday, November 14, 2018 | 2:00 PM ET
How do you set common goals and create a shared vision for your project early on with local partners? Webinar attendees will learn how to define relationships, roles and responsibilities when embarking on a creative placemaking project.  Julie Garreau, Executive Director, of Cheyenne River Youth Project and NEA Our Town Recipient will share the process she utilizes in preparation for the Red Can Jam on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in Eagle Butte, South Dakota. 


Digging Deep: Community Engagement Methods & Techniques

Wednesday, December 12 | 2:00 PM ET
What methods and techniques can be utilized to engage multiple and varied community voices? How can project leaders create the conditions necessary to inspire participation and a sense of agency amongst residents and community stakeholders? Webinar participants will learn how to recognize existing assets their community and incorporate community voices into their process as part of an equitable, asset based approach to their creative placemaking projects.

Crafting an Evaluation Plan & Measuring Impact

Wednesday, January 9 | 2:00 PM ET
How does a creative placemaking evaluation plan work and what does it measure? This webinar will explore best practices in creative placemaking evaluation techniques and help participants create or refine their own evaluation strategies for their projects.

Documenting the Process & Communicating Success

Wednesday, February 13 | 2:00 PM ET
Why is project documentation important and what are good ways of talking about and communicating the value of the work? A solid documentation and communication strategy help community members stay up to date on a project, inform potential constituents,and provide a record of the project for the future. This webinar will cover the basics of documenting and communicating the value of a creative placemaking project.

Hiring and Contracting Artists: RPFs, Calls for Entry & Commissions

Wednesday, March 13 | 2:00 PM ET
What are different ways to structure opportunities for artists? How might one structure resources, and what scale of resources are appropriate for a creative placemaking program? Where and how can opportunities be shared in order to connect with the appropriate artist for a project? This webinar will discuss how to structure a call, grant, or commission in a way that will yield the kinds of relationships and projects that will help achieve the goals set for a project.

Formalizing Partnership: Contracts, MOUs & Agreements

Wednesday, April 10 | 2:00 PM ET
What does a contract for a performance or public art installation look like? When and how should a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) be used?  This webinar will offer complementary perspectives on how to structure contracts and MOUs that will set expectations and accountability for all parties involved while also allowing room for creativity and flexibility in the process and end product.

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Grant Funding Available Under the VW Settlement Agreement - January 31, 2019 Deadline

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Check out these two fantastic grant opportunities for Idaho cities!

Vehicle Replacement Program

DEQ is accepting applications for the Volkswagen Settlement Fund Vehicle Replacement Program to replace older, higher emissions diesel vehicles with new, cleaner diesel, electric, or alternative fuel vehicles.

This annual competitive application program will provide reimbursement for a percentage of the cost of eligible vehicle replacements. Eligible applicants include both government and nongovernment fleet owners.

Application Guide


Note: The above links open best in Internet Explorer. For Mozilla Firefox users, you may get a “Please Wait” message and will need to click on the “Open with Different Viewer” prompt on the top right of the screen if the document does not display properly. If this form does not open, download or save to your desktop.

Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Program

The Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) program will provide cost-shared funds with some strategic locations within Idaho for DC fast charger equipment. These locations will create a network of highways in Idaho that offer electric vehicle charging services to the public. Charging sites stationed along the highways and interstates shown in the picture below will be prioritized.


Idaho’s Alternative Fuels Corridor Map - Enlarge Map


Application Process

Interested entities should discuss the feasibility of building an electric charging station on their property with their local electric utility.

  • All potential host site owners will need to submit an application to the Office of Energy and Mineral Resources (OEMR).

Please send application documents to:

Katie Pegan
Idaho Office of Energy and Mineral Resources
P.O. Box 83720
Boise, ID 83720

  • Representatives from OEMR, DEQ, and the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) have formed a committee that will review the applications and contact those chosen for cost-share funding for further instructions.
  • Applications will be accepted and reviewed until all available funds for this program have been utilized, or a site near your location has been selected.
  • Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment Grant Application and Guide
  • Note: The above links open best in Internet Explorer. For Mozilla Firefox users, you may get a “Please Wait” message and will need to click on the “Open with Different Viewer” prompt on the top right of the screen if the document does not display properly. If this form does not open, download or save to your desktop.

    The following charging site attributes will be highly valued:

    • Within 0.5 miles of major highway
    • All directional access
    • 24-hour access
    • Well-lit
    • ADA accessible
    • Cell phone coverage for major carriers
    • Point-of-sale availability at or near the pump
    • Proximity to shopping or dining
    • Potential for future expansion
    • Has worked with utility to determine capacity of existing electrical service

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Register Now for the 2018 AIC Water Academies!

Posted By Justin Ruen, Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Stop pretending your community's water utility issues will solve themselves. Idaho is undergoing some big changes - regulatory shift towards State primacy under the Clean Water Act; record growth in urban and suburban areas; increased frequency of drought, fire and flooding; stressed and at risk drinking water supplies; and more. Regardless of how prepared, or unprepared, your community might be there is always something to be gained from getting together with your fellow municipal leaders to find out what issues are shared, and whether your list of 'best practices' is growing fast enough to keep pace in these changing times.

Register now for the 2018 AIC Water Academies! 

Traveling from a small town? Please contact AIC for additional support and resources.

Time is running out! Register today!

The Water Academies will be held at the following locations.

Monday, October 29, 2018:  Idaho Central Credit Union Headquarters—4400 Central Way, Chubbuck—Registration Deadline October 24

Friday, November 2, 2018:  Boise City Council Chambers - 3rd Floor—150 N. Capitol Blvd., Boise—Registration Deadline October 29

Monday, November 5, 2018:  Canyon Crest Dining & Event Center—330 Canyon Crest Drive, Twin Falls—Registration Deadline October 31

Wednesday, November 7, 2018:  Coeur d'Alene Public Library—702 E. Front Ave., Coeur d'Alene—Registration Deadline November 2

Thursday, November 8, 2018:  Red Lion Hotel - Seaport Ballroom Building—621 21st St., Lewiston—Registration Deadline November 5



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Funding Opportunities from the Corporation for National & Community Service

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, October 19, 2018

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is pleased to announce that several new grant competitions are currently underway for federal FY 2019.


CNCS is the independent federal agency dedicated to improving lives, strengthening communities, and fostering civic participation through service and volunteering. Through AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and other programs, CNCS engages millions of Americans in tackling locally-defined challenges in the focus areas of disaster services, economic opportunity, education, environmental stewardship, healthy futures, and veterans and military families. We provide grants and resources to eligible organizations addressing these issues through the hard work and dedication of AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers.

Funding Opportunities and Other Resources

Check out our newest 
funding opportunities below, and please share with constituents interested in accessing our agency’s resources!


FY 2019 Senior Corps RSVP Competition

Application Deadline: November 7, 2018 at 5:00 pm ET.

Eligible Applicants: Non-profit organizations, Indian tribes, institutions of higher education, states, and local governments.

Description: Senior Corps RSVP grants allow organizations to establish Senior Corps RSVP programs that engage volunteers in service to a specific geographic area (click 
here for the full list of available opportunities). Successful applicants will receive funding to recruit, train, and manage volunteers, placing them at organizations addressing critical community needs. Established in 1971 and now one of the largest senior volunteer programs in the nation, Senior Corps RSVP engages older Americans ages 55 and over in a diverse range of volunteer activities. RSVP volunteers mentor and tutor disadvantaged children and youth, renovate homes, feed the homeless, assist victims of natural disasters, provide free income tax assistance, and much more.


FY 2019 AmeriCorps State and National Grant Competition

Application Deadline:
 January 30, 2019 at 5:00 pm ET.

Eligible Applicants: Non-profit organizations, Indian tribes, institutions of higher education, states, and local governments.

Description: AmeriCorps grants provide financial assistance to programs that recruit, train, and supervise AmeriCorps members that tackle critical community needs in the areas of education, disaster services, health, environmental stewardship, economic opportunity, and veterans and military families. AmeriCorps members help organizations expand services, build capacity, develop partnerships, leverage resources, create sustainable programs, and recruit and manage other volunteers. Each year, AmeriCorps members serve with thousands of nonprofit, faith-based, and community organizations, helping them expand their reach and better meet their mission. Upon successful completion of their service, members earn a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award from the National Service Trust that can be used to pay for higher education expenses or apply to qualified student loans.

In this competition, CNCS seeks to prioritize the investment of national service resources in:

  • Economic Opportunity - Engaging Opportunity Youth in workforce development.
  • Education - Evidence-based interventions in one of three categories: 1) school readiness; 2) K-12 success; and 3) post-secondary support.
  • Healthy Futures - Reducing and/or preventing prescription drug and opioid abuse.
  • Veterans and Military Families - Positively impacting the quality of life of veterans and improving military family strength.
  • Rural Intermediaries - Organizations that demonstrate measurable impact and primarily serve rural communities with limited resources and organizational infrastructure.
  • Safer Communities - Programs that focus on public safety and improving community-police relations.
  • Faith-based Organizations.

AmeriCorps NCCC - Project Application

Application Deadline: Rolling Deadlines

Eligible Applicants: Non-profit organizations, faith-based organizations, Indian tribes, schools, states, and local governments.

Description: AmeriCorps NCCC engages teams of AmeriCorps members in communities across the United States. NCCC service projects, which typically last from six to eight weeks, address critical needs related to natural disasters, infrastructure improvements, environmental stewardship and conservation, energy conservation, and urban and rural development. Teams can also mentor students, construct and rehabilitate low-income housing, respond to natural disasters, clean up streams, help communities develop emergency plans, and more.

How to Apply: Click
here to get started. Sponsoring organizations request the assistance of AmeriCorps NCCC teams by submitting a project application to the regional campus that covers that organization’s state. Campuses provide assistance in completing the application, developing a work plan, and preparing the project sponsor for the arrival of the AmeriCorps NCCC team.

AmeriCorps VISTA - Request for Concept Papers

Application Deadline: Rolling Deadlines

Eligible Applicants: Non-profit organizations, faith-based organizations, Indian tribes, schools, states, and local governments.


Description: AmeriCorps VISTA is a national service program designed to alleviate poverty in America. AmeriCorps VISTA members serve full-time for one year at non-profit organizations, schools, or local government agencies, multiplying their impact and building their capacity to carry out essential projects. By recruiting and managing community volunteers, fundraising, coordinating projects, and more, AmeriCorps VISTA members make anti-poverty organizations stronger.

How to Apply: Click
here to get started. Interested organizations should contact their CNCS State Office covering the area in which the proposed project would be located to discuss application timeline, requirements and procedures. The CNCS State Office will provide technical assistance during the application process.

Please reach out to or call 202-606-6707 if you have any questions or need any assistance from CNCS.

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Treasury Releases Proposed Regulations on Opportunity Zones Designed to Incentivize Investment in American Communities

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, October 19, 2018

The Treasury Department today issued proposed guidance related to the new Opportunity Zone tax incentive.  The tax benefit, created by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, is designed to spur economic development and job creation by encouraging long-term investments in economically distressed communities nationwide.  For more information, please check out the Proposed Implementation Regulations, as well as a List of Qualified Opportunity Zones, and Frequently Asked Questions.


“We want all Americans to experience the dynamic opportunities being generated by President Trump’s economic policies.  We anticipate that $100 billion in private capital will be dedicated towards creating jobs and economic development in Opportunity Zones,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.  “This incentive will foster economic revitalization and promote sustainable economic growth, which was a major goal of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.”


The proposed regulations released today clarify what gains qualify for deferral, which taxpayers and investments are eligible, the parameters for Opportunity Funds, and other guidance. The proposed regulations should provide investors and fund sponsors the information they need to confidently enter into new business arrangements in designated Opportunity Zones.  The Treasury Department plans on issuing additional guidance before the end of the year.


The Opportunity Zone incentive offers capital gains tax relief to investors for new investment in designated areas.  Investment benefits include deferral of tax on prior gains as late as 2026 if the amount of the gain is invested in an Opportunity Fund. The benefits also include tax forgiveness on gains on that investment if the investor holds the investment for at least 10 years.  Opportunity Zones retain their designation for 10 years, but under the proposed regulations, investors can hold onto their investments in Qualified Opportunity Funds through 2047 without losing tax benefits.


Working with our partners in State and local governments, earlier this year, Treasury certified 8,761 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories.  Nearly 35 million Americans live in areas designated as Opportunity Zones.  These communities present both the need for investment and significant investment opportunities.


Based on data from the 2011-2015 American Community Survey, the designated regions had an average poverty rate of over 32 percent, compared with the 17 percent national average.


Additionally, the median family income of the designated tracts were on average 37 percent below the area or state median, and had an unemployment rate of nearly 1.6 times higher than the national average.

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Idaho Department of Environmental Quality Seeks Drinking Water Advisory Committee Representatives: November 15, 2018 Deadline

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Wednesday, October 17, 2018
The Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ’s) drinking water program is seeking members for five positions to be appointed by the Director of DEQ to the Drinking Water Advisory Committee (DWAC). The committee provides advice and guidance to the drinking water program on important policy matters and issues. More information, including the mission statement, can be found on-line HERE or by going to and typing in “drinking water advisory committee” in the search field.

The drinking water program is seeking one community leader, which could be a mayor, commissioner, or city manager and four or five representatives from public water systems such as a responsible charge operator, public works director, superintendent, operations manager. Ideally, the DWAC members will represent publicly and privately owned systems as well as small, medium, and large public water systems throughout the state.

The goal is for the DWAC to meet in-person twice a year and possibly by teleconference if urgent issues warrant a meeting. The in-person meetings are typically a full day starting between 8 and 9 a.m. and ending between 4 and 5 p.m. with lunch provided. For necessary travel to Boise, mileage or airfare and other accommodations would be paid by the program within the state travel and per-diem policies.

If you are interested in being considered for a position on the DWAC or if you have additional questions, please contact Jerri Henry by November 15, 2018 by e-mail at  or by phone at 208-373-0471. DEQ will collect the names of interested parties and make a final determination by December 2018. 

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AIC Legislative Summit on November 30 in Boise

Posted By Justin Ruen, Monday, October 15, 2018

The AIC Legislative Committee will meet Friday, November 30 in Boise at the Boise Center East Building Room 420.  The meeting will last from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and lunch will be on your own.  All city elected officials and staff are encouraged to attend.  We ask those who want to attend to please RSVP on the AIC website.


The meeting will feature updates on a variety of legislative hot topics, including:


·     Possible approaches to local option tax legislation for cities and counties;


·     A report about the deliberations and conclusions of the AIC Revenue Sharing Task Force and possible legislation to change the revenue sharing formula;


·     An update on an Idaho Association of Counties work group considering potential legislation on business personal property tax relief that would protect local government finances;


·     The importance of reauthorizing the surplus eliminator to fund shovel-ready transportation projects;


·     A report on possible legislation to repeal the sales tax on groceries and impacts to revenue sharing;


·     Sustainable funding for Peace Officers Standards & Training (POST);


·     Legislation to provide workers compensation coverage for first responders suffering from job-related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder;


·     Cooperative purchasing amendments to the Local Government Purchasing Law;


·     National Flood Insurance Program and FEMA concerns over repair and maintenance of irrigation facilities;


·     Legislation providing a certification grace period for newly hired building officials and plans examiners;


·     Fireworks wholesaler loophole; and


·     Specialty liquor by the drink licenses for resort communities.


For more information, please contact AIC Policy Analyst Justin Ruen by phone at (208) 344-8594 or email at


We hope you can join us!


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Regional AIC Water Academies Coming Soon—Register Today!

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, October 12, 2018

This fall AIC is hosting five regional Water Academies to provide valuable training on water management and planning best practices, with a focus on regional issues.  Elected officials, city clerks, public works staff, and engineers are encouraged to attend.  You can register now on the AIC website

The Water Academies will bring together AIC, ICRMP, the Idaho Rural Water Association, and USDA Rural Development for a daylong training.  The morning session will cover a regional overview of utility hot topics, as well as management, finance, capital planning, rate setting, and regulatory issues.  The afternoon will cover region specific solutions and preparing for the future, protecting water rights, preparing for drought, protecting public health, and best practices and tools.

At lunch there will be a discussion of legislative hot topics lead by AIC President Elaine Clegg and AIC Executive Director Jess Harrison. 

The Water Academies will be held at the following locations.

Monday, October 29, 2018:  Idaho Central Credit Union Headquarters—4400 Central Way, Chubbuck—Registration Deadline October 24

Friday, November 2, 2018:  Boise City Council Chambers - 3rd Floor—150 N. Capitol Blvd., Boise—Registration Deadline October 29

Monday, November 5, 2018:  Canyon Crest Dining & Event Center—330 Canyon Crest Drive, Twin Falls—Registration Deadline October 31

Wednesday, November 7, 2018:  Coeur d'Alene Public Library—702 E. Front Ave., Coeur d'Alene—Registration Deadline November 2

Thursday, November 8, 2018:  Red Lion Hotel - Seaport Ballroom Building—621 21st St., Lewiston—Registration Deadline November 5



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NLC: Water Resources Bill is a Win for Cities

Posted By Justin Ruen, Thursday, October 11, 2018

This week, Congress sent the President a comprehensive bipartisan water infrastructure bill. America’s Water Infrastructure Act (S. 3021) passed the House by voice vote and passed the Senate by a vote of 99-1. In a tense political climate leading up to the mid-term elections, the strong support for the bill in both chambers shows that infrastructure investments truly are a bipartisan issue. The nation’s cities couldn’t agree more.

America’s Water Infrastructure Act includes both the traditional authorization of flood control, navigation, and ecosystem restoration projects under the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps), known as the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), as well as other water infrastructure and workforce development provisions that cities have advocated for as part of the National League of Cities’ (NLC) Rebuild and Reimagine America’s Infrastructure campaign.

Here are the main takeaways for cities from America’s Water Infrastructure Act.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers two-year project authorization cycle continues.

This is the third water resources bill that Congress has passed since 2014, continuing the traditional two-year authorization cycle for Army Corps projects. The bill authorizes $5.8 billion for 15 Army Corps projects related to navigation, flood control, and ecosystem restoration. Local governments own and manage much of this infrastructure, including ports and harbors, inland waterways, levees, and dams that protect public health and safety and our natural resources. WRDA is critical to helping our communities build, maintain, and improve this critical infrastructure, while growing our national and local economies.

The bill authorizes additional money on modifications to other projects like those targeted at levee and dam safety, and expedites disaster mitigation projects in Puerto Rico, Texas, Florida and other areas impacted by natural disasters in 2017.

The bill also includes provisions to help ensure that dredged material is used or disposed of in an environmentally sound manner. It allows the Army Corps to grant a project a temporary easement for the beneficial reuse of dredged sediment to reduce storm damage to property and it increases the number of pilot projects for the beneficial use of dredged material from 10 to 20.

Finally, the bill provides greater opportunities for non-federal stakeholders, such as local governments, to engage with and provide input to the Army Corps on future and pending projects, annual budgeting and guidance documents. Regarding project financing, the bill creates a pilot program to allow projects that have been authorized but not funded to move forward with non-federal funding for reviews, inspections, certifications, studies, engineering, construction and other activities.

Upgrading our nation’s drinking water and wastewater infrastructure and improving stormwater management is a key priority.

America’s Water Infrastructure Act reauthorizes several existing water infrastructure financing mechanisms and authorizes a number of new grant opportunities for cities. Most notable is the reauthorization of the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF)—for the first time in more than two decades—for three years at increasing funding levels, rising to $1.95 billion in FY2021, nearly double the current annual authorization.

Additionally, the bill reauthorizes the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) through FY21 at $50 million and removes the designation as a “pilot” program. WIFIA provides low-interest loans and loan guarantees for large water and wastewater-related infrastructure projects and activities (projects of at least $20 million or $5 million for communities serving less than 25,000 people). The bill also provides incentives for state financing authorities to leverage State Revolving Loan Fund financing with a WIFIA loan and jumpstarts the Army Corps WIFIA program by allowing EPA to serve as loan administrator, with Army Corps retaining authority over project selection.

Other grant programs authorized in the bill include:

  • Drinking Water System Infrastructure Resilience and Sustainability Program – a grant program for the planning, design, construction, implementation, operation or maintenance of programs or projects to increase resilience to natural hazards (such as projects related to water use efficiency, modification/relocation of drinking water infrastructure, desalination facilities, and source water protection). Authorizes $4 million for each FY19 and FY20.
  • Creates a grant and technical assistance program for Lead Testing in School/Childcare Facilities to assist in identifying the source of lead contamination in drinking water at schools and childcare facilities and to assist with identifying grant opportunities for lead elimination. Authorizes $25 million for each FY19-21.
  • Establishes a grant program for Drinking Water Fountain Replacement in Schools for drinking water fountains manufactured prior to 1988. Authorizes $5 million for each FY19-21.
  • Creates a grant program for accelerating the development and deployment of innovative water technologies that address drinking water supply, quality, treatment, or security challenges of public water systems, areas served by private wells or source waters. Authorizes $10 million for each FY19 and FY20.
  • Sewer Overflow Control Grants to address sewer overflows, sanitary sewer overflows and stormwater, with 20 percent set aside for green infrastructure, and water and energy efficiency projects. Authorizes $225 million for each FY19 and FY20

As Congress looks to complete the FY19 appropriations bills after the mid-term elections and as the Administration develops a budget proposal for FY20, NLC will advocate for funding for these important water infrastructure programs.

The bill includes several other water infrastructure provisions:

  • Codifies the WaterSense program focused on water efficiency, which the President’s FY18 and FY19 budgets proposed to eliminate.
  • Creates a liaison within each EPA regional office for minority, low-income and tribal communities.
  • Creates a Stormwater Infrastructure Funding Task Force to include state and local officials to study and develop recommendations to improve the availability of public and private sources of funding for stormwater infrastructure.

Workforce development and training to support infrastructure investments is needed.

Nationally, one third of water and wastewater utility workers are eligible for retirement in the next five to ten years, far exceeding workforce replacement needs in other sectors. In some cities, such as San Francisco, that figure jumps to 50-60 percent of the workforce. This is of particular concern for mission-critical jobs, such as the skilled trades, because utility operations rely on those qualified staff around the clock. To address this workforce challenge, the America’s Water Infrastructure Act establishes a competitive grant program for workforce training and development within the water sector, authorizing $1 million for each FY19 and FY20. The competitive grant program will help train workers to build and repair water systems throughout the country, while providing pathways to careers with competitive wages and benefits.  NLC strongly advocated for the inclusion of this bipartisan program within the bill to ensure that cities can build and maintain their water workforce, enabling the provision of safe drinking water and wastewater systems, for years to come.

There is still more work to be done.

Two priorities that NLC advocated for are not included in the bill. First, NLC supports provisions that would ensure the full allocation of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) for its intended purpose of harbor maintenance. Taxes levied against importers and domestic shippers using ports and harbors in coastal and Great Lakes areas have created a large surplus in the HMTF, but only a portion is appropriated by Congress every year for operations and maintenance of the nation’s harbors.

Second, NLC continues to urge Congress to codify the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Integrated Planning Framework to allow local governments and water utilities to meet their requirements under the Clean Water Act in an efficient and cost-effective manner through the sequencing and scheduling of projects.

While the passage of America’s Water Infrastructure Act is a milestone that cities celebrate, we look forward to partnering with members of Congress to address these and other water infrastructure priorities.

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Idaho Rural Water Association receives grant for new workforce development & training center

Posted By Justin Ruen, Thursday, October 11, 2018
The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded a $1.4 million grant to the Idaho Rural Water Association (IRWA) to help build a new workforce development and training center to educate current and future professionals responsible for the operation of Idaho’s drinking water and wastewater treatment infrastructure. 

The total cost of this project is estimated to be $1.8 million. The remaining $400,000 will be provided by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-Rural Development’s Community Facilities Loan Program and will be repaid by the IRWA. 

IRWA is scheduled to break ground on the new facility and warehouse in the spring of 2019. It will be a 10,808 sq. ft. building in Ada County on Gowen Road and will house both indoor and outdoor training areas to accommodate classroom-style coursework and hands-on training for practical field experience. 

After many years of hard work and determination by the IRWA staff and Board of Directors, the vision of providing superior training opportunities for professionals in the drinking water and wastewater industry can now become a reality. Former Board Member Roland F. “Butch” Anderson was a driving force behind this project. Shortly after retiring from the Board in 2017, after 13 years of service to the Association, Mr. Anderson tragically passed away. The IRWA staff and Board of Directors are proud to dedicate this project to his memory. 

A 2017 survey conducted by the Association of Idaho Cities (AIC) listed the public works infrastructure as the #1 challenge Idaho cities are facing. It is critical that we have qualified drinking water and wastewater professionals to maintain the infrastructure needed to accommodate the state’s population growth. Since industry licensing requirements include a combination of both education and experience, there is a demand for more educational opportunities that provide an interactive training environment that allows both classroom and hands-on learning. 

AJ Gray, City Of Buhl, Idaho Water Superintendent said, “The IRWA has become the principal training entity for the water and wastewater professionals in Idaho. With the new facility, the opportunities to advance and provide continuous training to Idaho’s water and wastewater technicians will increase ten-fold. The vision of “hands on” training, technical support and regulatory training all under one roof will become a reality. Huge thanks to Shelley Roberts, IRWA CEO, her staff and previous IRWA Board of Directors for pursuing this dream.” 

This grant comes at a time when we are experiencing both national and local work shortages. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that 8.2% of existing drinking water and wastewater professionals will need to be replaced annually between 2016 and 2026. The Idaho Department of Labor is projecting an overall shortage of approximately 50,000 workers in Idaho in the next 10 years. IRWA’s research found that 33% of Idaho’s licensed drinking water and wastewater professionals, those critical for the maintenance of utility infrastructure, are 56 years old or older. The solution to this forthcoming problem, in part, is the development of this state-of-the-art workforce development center. 

“The grant award announcement is welcome news for Idaho’s rural water systems and the communities that rely upon them. By establishing a workforce training center, Idaho’s rural communities will have a dedicated source of trained workers prepared to take on the management and challenges associated with rural water infrastructure,” said Idaho Senator Crapo. “Congratulations to the Idaho Rural Water Association for putting together a highly-merited proposal deemed worthy of investment by the Economic Development Administration.” 

In addition, the training center will also be used to recruit and train members of the Idaho Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (IdWARN) to help drinking water and wastewater facilities prepare for and respond to man-made or natural disasters. Additionally, the center will house specialized equipment that can be used by Idaho communities in the event of a disaster. A portion of the grant originates from the $600 million Congress appropriated for disaster relief and recovery as a result of wildfires, flooding and other disasters that took place during 2017. As a result of heavy snowfall, flooding and wildfires during 2017 in Idaho, the State declared nearly half of its 44 counties and 5 tribes to be under local or state disaster declarations due to weather-related destruction. 

The National Infrastructure Advisory Council’s (NIAC) 2016 report determined water service disruption directly impacts a variety of critical services including health care services, fire suppression, functionality of schools and government headquarters, as well as some manufacturing facilities and other businesses that may be rendered inoperable. The study also suggests the need to invest in water and wastewater infrastructure resiliency as a top national priority. 

“This investment will create jobs and energize rural water in Idaho and the industries it supports,” said Senator Risch. “I look forward to seeing the positive impact it has on our community and business development for years to come.” 

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