eNews July 9, 2021Friday, July 09, 2021 - 04:33pm
In this issue:
- DBHDS announces closure of five state mental hospitals
- Marcus Alert state plan posted
- VRS reaches historic performance levels
- VML events next week: Mayors Institute and Newly Elected Officials Conference
- Help us get the word out about the best things in Virginia
- VML 2021 Annual Conference happening October 3-5
- Save the date: VDEM 2021 Hurricane Season Briefing for localities happening July 19
- Virginia Housing funding opportunities
- Nominations being accepted for the 2021 Small Town America Civic Volunteer Award
- All localities encouraged to participate in Virginia BearWise cost-share program survey for community projects
Health & Human Services
DBHDS announces closure of five state mental hospitals
Earlier today (July 9) the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) announced that the following state mental hospitals would be temporarily closed:
- Catawba Hospital
- Central State Hospital
- Eastern State Hospital
- Piedmont Geriatric Hospital
- Western State Hospital
Click here to view/download the full communication from Commissioner Alison Land.
Local officials and staff should ensure that their local law enforcement is aware of these closures.
VML Contact: Michelle Gowdy, email@example.com
Marcus Alert state plan posted
The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) has posted the much anticipated state plan for implementing the Marcus Alert legislation on its Marcus Alert webpage here >.
Five localities/regions were chosen earlier this year to be in the first cohort implementing the legislation, which calls for mobile crisis and community teams to respond to E-911 calls for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. Localities will implement the program in stages, with every community eventually being covered by this program.
VML Contact: Janet Areson, firstname.lastname@example.org
VRS reaches historic performance levels
The Virginia Retirement System (VRS) announced an $18 billion increase in the value of its overall trust fund at Tuesday’s meeting of the Joint Legislative and Audit Review Commission (JLARC), bringing the total value of the fund to $100 billion. The news came during a broader oversight report on the agency, which is responsible for administering retirement and benefit programs for more than 772,000 current and former government employees and teachers.
The current growth analysis for the first ten months of Fiscal Year 2021 represents a more than 22 percent increase in value from one year ago and suggests that the Board of Trustees will be able to maintain relatively stable contribution rates in its plans for the upcoming biennium. Pension contribution rates will be set in October for most employees, while the Board will set rates for local governments and other participating agencies in November.
Final data on the overall return on investment for FY21 will be available in the coming months but should maintain the positive trajectory. The state is continuing to pay down an estimated $20.8 billion in unfunded liabilities stemming from the Great Recession.
The full report and presentation are available on the JLARC website.
VML Contact: Jessica Ackerman, email@example.com
Virginia Redistricting Commission moving forward amid vacancy announcement
Marvin Gilliam, a Republican representative on the 16-member Virginia Redistricting Commission and resident of the City of Bristol, resigned from his position at the end of Tuesday’s meeting in Richmond. Mr. Gilliam was one of eight citizen appointees and was the Commission’s only representative from southwest Virginia. He was also one of 15 nominees put forward by Senate Minority Leader Tommy Norment; his replacement will be identified from among Senator Norment’s remaining submissions.
While the Commission continues to wait for final census data, which the U.S. Census Bureau plans to release by September 30, they are accepting public input on the upcoming redistricting process and will begin hosting public hearings this month. The first in-person meeting will be held in Hampton on July 20 at 2:00 p.m. (location still pending), but others will be held across the state. Additionally, the Commission will host region-based virtual hearings, the first of which is scheduled to serve the West Central Region on July 15 at 2:00 p.m.
Links and details for all meetings will be posted both on the Virginia Redistricting Commission website and by the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall.
VML Contact: Jessica Ackerman, firstname.lastname@example.org
VML events next week: Mayors Institute and Newly Elected Officials Conference
It’s not too late to register!
VML is pleased to present two in-person events at the Omni Hotel in downtown Charlottesville next week.
Mayors Institute: July 15-16 (registration closes July 12)
The first day will feature FOIA/COIA training and will conclude with an evening reception and dinner. Day 2 will include additional training and the presentation of certificates.
This will be the only Mayors Institute event of 2021. Registration for VML’s Mayors Institute closes at the end of the day Monday, July 12.
More information including pricing, a link to register, and hotel room reservations is available on VML’s website here >.
Newly Elected Officials Conference: July 15
VML’s Newly Elected Officials Conference provides a valuable opportunity for both new and seasoned public officials to learn from speakers with extensive experience working with local government officials.
The FOIA/COIA training required of elected officials will be provided in the afternoon.
More information including pricing, a link to register and hotel room reservations is available on VML’s website here >.
Mayors Institute – Jessica Ackerman, email@example.com
Newly Elected Officials Conference – Mitchell Smiley, firstname.lastname@example.org
Help us get the word out about the best things in Virginia
VML invites everyone who has favorite homegrown things – from restaurants to coffee shops, from newspapers to radio stations, from dance groups to bands (and more!) – to tell us all about them for our 2021 “Virginia You Love” contest. Just take a few minutes to submit your nominations here >.
Those who do the best job explaining why their favorite things are special to them will be rewarded by seeing it featured in the next issue of our magazine.
Please share this opportunity with friends and family. We want to hear all about the best things from all over Virginia!
Deadline to submit nominations is Thursday, July 15.
For more details, visit VML’s website here.
VML Contact: Rob Bullington, email@example.com
VML 2021 Annual Conference happening October 3-5
Attendee registration now open; Sponsor/Exhibitor opportunities to be announced next week
The Virginia Municipal League is pleased to announce a welcome return to an in-person Annual Conference this fall with a three-day event at the beautiful Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg featuring the Towns of Loudoun County.
Attendee registration is now open!
- Dates:October 3-5
- Cost:$400 for attendee / $250 for guest/spouse
- Details and Registration: Available here >
After two years apart, the 2021 Annual Conference promises to be an exceptional occasion for Virginia’s local government leaders to share lessons learned from the recent past and explore the unprecedented opportunities of the present, so that together we can create the best possible future for all of Virginia’s localities.
VML Contact: Sandra Harrington, firstname.lastname@example.org
Polco offering free ARPA community engagement webinar July 15
On July 15, VML partner organization Polco and local government keynote speakers will share citizen engagement strategies that have worked well, best practices, and resources to transform local economies with ARPA funds.
From the press release: “American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds are here to aid local governments in kick-starting local economies. And even better, ARPA presents a historic opportunity for cities, towns, and counties to make a lasting economic impact – one that every leader wants to get right. Engaging the community makes the ARPA budgeting and decision-making process far more effective and successful for economic recovery and beyond.”
- Title: How Community Feedback Drives Economic Success with ARPA Funds
- Date: 7/15/2021
- Time: 3:00 PM ET
- Cost: Free
- Duration: 60 minutes
- Registration: Free registration available here >.
Polco Contact: Matt Fulton, email@example.com
Opportunities for Localities
Save the date: VDEM 2021 Hurricane Season Briefing for localities happening July 19
The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) invites interested local government officials and staff to attend a virtual 2021 Hurricane Season Briefing on Monday, July 19th at 11:00 AM. This will be an opportunity to hear from several key speakers on updates related to hurricane readiness, response, and recovery.
VDEM anticipate the presentations will last approximately 45 minutes with a 15 minute Q&A session at the end.
How to attend
VML will receive the Webex login information via email next week. If you are interested in attending, please send an email indicating interest to Rob Bullington, firstname.lastname@example.org with “VDEM Briefing” in the subject line and credentials will be sent as soon as they are available.
VML Contact: Rob Bullington, email@example.com
Virginia Housing funding opportunities
The following funding opportunities are now available from Virginia Housing. Use the links to each grant to learn more.
REACH Virginia funding opportunities
Virginia Housing reinvests a portion of its net revenues into Virginia’s communities through REACH Virginia (Resources Enabling Affordable Community Housing in Virginia). This is a multifaceted resource that Virginia Housing uses to support vital housing initiatives through our Homeownership, Rental and Community Outreach programs.
- Capacity Building Grant Tier 1 (July 2021)
- Capacity Building Grant Tier 2 (July 2021)
- Capacity Building Grant Tier 3 – Program Enhancement & Evaluation (November 2021)
- Community Impact Grant – Stabilization and Deconstruction (July 2021)
- Community Impact Grant – Market Analysis (July 2021)
- Continuum of Care Capacity Building Grant Tier 1 (July 2021)
- Housing Counseling and Education Grant Credit Focus Area (July 2021)
- Housing Counseling and Education Grant Rental Education Focus Area (July 2021)
Other funding opportunities
Since 1993, Virginia Housing has hosted the Don Ritenour Charity Golf Classic in order to bring awareness to and raise funds for organizations working to end homelessness in Virginia. Funds from the Don Ritenour Charity Golf Classic make the following grants available.
Homeless Assistance Grant (November 2021)
The intent of the Virginia Housing Homeless Assistance Grant is to fund organizations that primarily serve families and individuals experiencing homelessness, individuals fleeing domestic violence as described in the HEARTH Act, and provide emergency shelter and/or permanent supporting housing services. Grant funds should be used to supplement an organization’s program, not be the sole source of funding.
Habitat Build Grant (November 2021)
The Virginia Housing Habitat Build Grant is used to assist one Habitat for Humanity affiliate in the construction, rehabilitation, and/or preservation of a single-family home designated to assist a partner family in the improvement of their shelter conditions. Grant funds should be used to supplement an organization’s program, not be the sole source of funding.
Virginia Housing Contact: Grant Programs Officer Donna M. Stallings, Donna.Stallings@VirginiaHousing.com
Nominations being accepted for the 2021 Small Town America Civic Volunteer Award
Program recognizes nation’s top small town “heroes” for extraordinary service
The Small Town America Civic Volunteer Award (STACVA) recognizes extraordinary contributions by public service and public safety volunteers in small towns and counties with populations of 25,000 or less.
Beginning July 15, local government representatives may nominate citizens or citizen organizations for the “Small Town America Civic Volunteer Award” using an online application that can be found on the program’s website here >.
Nominators are asked to describe their candidate’s compelling story of local volunteerism and its positive impact on their community. Applications are due no later than October 15. Winners will be announced at a ceremony to be held in November.
View/download the flyer here >.
In addition to recognizing these hometown heroes, STACVA is designed to spotlight the growing decline in the availability of citizens to fill critical local government roles, such as county boards and city councils, volunteer firefighters, EMTs, and the many advisory committees that support other key local government functions.
The Barton Russell Group has again been retained to administer and judge the 2021 program.
Contact: Bart Russell, firstname.lastname@example.org
All localities encouraged to participate in Virginia BearWise cost-share program survey for community projects
Whether or not your community has received funding from the Virginia BearWise Cost-share program, your perspective on this program and human-bear interactions can help improve DWR’s assistance to Virginia’s localities.
Clemson University and the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) invite local government elected officials and staff to take a quick survey regarding the Virginia BearWise Cost-share Program.
Please take the survey here >.
The American black bear population has made a remarkable recovery across the Commonwealth of Virginia. Bears presently occur in 92 of Virginia’s 95 counties. This can pose challenges for the public in learning to coexist with their new neighbors. Local governments can help residents reduce or mitigate human-bear interactions in many ways. Did you know for instance, that each year, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) allocates funding to assist towns, cities, and counties of the Commonwealth with projects to reduce human-black bear conflicts? Proposed projects aim to secure or remove food sources, such as garbage, with equipment maintained in working order by the applicant for a specified time. This non-grant funding is made available as a cost-share; all applicants are required to contribute financially, in-kind, or in combination, for a 30 percent match of the project cost.
VML Contact: Mitchell Smiley, email@example.com