Updates and outcomes from MARC’s October Board meetings

The Kansas City skyline is seen across a body of water.

Thank you to everyone who joined the MARC Board of Directors and Budget and Personnel Committee meetings on Oct. 26. We’re sharing selected highlights from the meetings for your awareness and use in regional conversations.

The MARC Board heard a variety of updates, including reports on:

  • COVID-19 impacts: Cases are trending down, but hospitals remain stressed due to staffing shortages. The COVID-19 Regional Response and Recovery Fund distributed $23 million to businesses and individuals through community-based organizations for vaccinations, testing and support services such as utility, rent and food assistance. More than 5,000 adult K-N95 masks, provided through the region’s emergency management supply, were recently distributed to school districts in the region.
  • Inadequate child care resources: Primarily due to a lack of labor, many child care centers have closed rooms or closed their doors, and the demand for child care far exceeds the supply. MARC is working to bring together stakeholders in business and in local and state governments to identify solutions that will keep program doors open. Like transportation, employment and housing, adequate and quality child care is critical to keeping the regional economy strong.
  • Supporting older adults: PACE KC is a new model for aging health care services that’s coming to Jackson County through Swope Health and the State of Missouri. The initiative assesses needs of older adults and provides a variety of services, such as nutrition and transportation, which allows individuals to stay in their own homes and community.
  • Reducing waste: The MARC Solid Waste Management District received approval to renew its annual agreement with MARC. Upcoming work will include developing markets for recyclables and compost, passing through more than $700,000 in grants for local waste reduction and recycling efforts, plus an expanded focus on reducing food waste. Nearly 40% of food that’s grown or imported into the United States is never eaten, generating greenhouse gases in landfills and wasting resources.
  • Strengthening housing: MARC is working with partners on a regional housing partnership that will expand and sustain access to quality, affordable housing. MARC staff announced a new $150,000 grant from the Health Forward Foundation to support this work.
  • Regional transportation: The 2022-26 Transportation Improvement Program includes $2.3 billion in expenditures for 461 projects with 39 agencies in the region.

The MARC Budget and Personnel Committee considers all matters dealing with budget, personnel and bylaw amendments. At its meeting on Oct. 26, the committee:

  • MARC financials: Heard a report on MARC’s third-quarter financial highlights. MARC has received 100% of local dues for 2021. The committee approved local dues for 2022, which are informed by new census numbers, to continue supporting MARC’s work across the region.
  • Emergency services: Voted to approve a grant application to the Kansas Highway Patrol in the amount of $437,011 and to the Missouri Office of Homeland Security in the amount of $604,064 to support critical training/exercises and essential equipment for specialty teams such as hazmat, tactical and technical rescue.
  • Aerial imagery: Approved an agreement with Surdex to provide a comprehensive flyover of the region that will produce aerial imagery to inform community decision-making.
  • Workforce support: Approved applications for grants that will support the preparation of proposals on behalf of the region for American Rescue Plan funds, which focus on strengthening the workforce, especially in health care, information technology, advanced manufacturing and logistics. 

More detail about these projects can be found in the Board meeting packets.