Updates and outcomes from MARC’s January Board meetings

The Scout statue looks over Kansas City.

It was great to see everyone who joined the MARC Board of Directors and Budget and Personnel Committee meetings on Jan. 25. 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:

  • 2022 Board officers: MARC Board officers are elected annually, although officers typically serve for two terms, occasionally longer. A nominating committee (Miami County Chairman Rob Roberts, Overland Park Mayor Curt Skoog, and Raymore Mayor Kris Turnbow) recommended re-electing the 2021 officers to serve again in 2022. The Board approved this recommendation. Thank you to the officers for their service to the Board and the region:
    • Chair: Harold Johnson Jr., Commissioner, Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas
    • First Vice Chair: Carson Ross, Mayor, City of Blue Springs, Missouri
    • Second Vice Chair: Janeé Hanzlick, Commissioner, Johnson County, Kansas
    • Treasurer: Eileen Weir, Mayor, City of Independence, Missouri
    • Secretary: Beto Lopez, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Lee’s Summit, Missouri
  • COVID-19 regional response: The number of new cases and hospitalizations in the region continues to be very high. MARC is working with partners to distribute what remains of the regional KN95 mask supply to support the workforce and identify access to child-sized masks. Staff are also working through public-private relationships to identify additional testing resources.
  • Federal policy agenda: Board members adopted the region’s federal policy agenda, which incorporated input heard from Board members at the December meeting. The federal policy agenda reflects issues of importance to the Kansas City region, including recovery from the pandemic, early education, affordable housing and workforce development.
  • Good Jobs Challenge Grant: MARC is working with nonprofits, business-led organizations and education representatives to apply for up to $20 million from the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Good Jobs Challenge Grant Program. This grant would build a stronger and more inclusive regional workforce by offering residents support services, such as language services and child care, and training opportunities. Grant awards are expected to be announced in late summer.
  • MARC Climate and Environment Council – Board members advanced regional efforts to act on climate by approving the creation of a new MARC Climate and Environment Council. The council is a key element of the Kansas City Regional Climate Action Plan and will guide the plan’s implementation. Those interested in learning more can email Tom Jacobs, MARC environmental programs director, at tjacobs@marc.org.
  • Communities for All Ages recognition – Board members celebrated three area cities recognized for making their communities more welcoming for all age groups through the Communities for All Ages program. Merriam, Kansas, earned Bronze-Level status; Grain Valley, Missouri, was awarded Silver-Level recognition; and Excelsior Springs, Missouri, achieved Gold-Level recognition. Read more about the cities’ achievements.
  • Universal design video – A new video is available to promote the MARC “Remodeling for Accessible Homes” guidebook and highlight the many benefits of designing/remodeling homes for people of all ages and abilities. The video can be viewed on MARC’s YouTube channel.
  • Transportation projects – Board members heard about an estimated $93.5 million in funding opportunities for regional transportation projects in 2022. Staff reported on changes to the traditional transportation programs MARC manages due to the bipartisan infrastructure law. MARC staff plan to conduct four calls for projects for six funding programs in 2022.
  • 2022 Regional Leadership Award nominations – Nominations will open Feb. 1 for the 2022 Regional Leadership Awards. Information and a nomination form will be posted to MARC’s website.

The MARC Budget and Personnel Committee considers all matters dealing with budget, personnel and bylaw amendments. At its meeting on Jan. 25, the committee heard reports on:

  • 2021 financial audit – MARC’s 2021 financial audit is underway and will conclude in May. MARC has engaged RubinBrown to audit financial statements and ensure compliance with federal and other grant requirements.
  • 911 cyber security monitoring – Committee members voted to protect the region’s 911 system through an ongoing contract with SecuLore Solutions, which monitors the 911 network and provides analysis, weekly reports and alerts. The amount of $125,500 was also approved by the Public Safety Communications Board.
  • Supporting older adults – A grant of $78,560 from the Roger A. and Corinne R. Durkee Fund will support regional programs and services that enable older adults to lead vibrant, healthy and independent lives. Committee members approved the funds, which will support the Communities for All Ages Recognition Program, age-friendly advocacy and programming, communications and a home repair and modification program.
  • Expanding Double Up Food Bucks – The committee voted to expand access to fresh fruits and vegetables to five new grocery stores in the Kansas City region and throughout Kansas, in addition to increasing incentives and expanding the program to additional farmers markets, for a total of $355,380. Committee members also approved $2,736,797 from the Double Up Food Bucks federal grant to expand the program for six participating grocers and add three new grocers located in Missouri.
  • Traffic signal support – To ensure the ongoing effectiveness of the Operation Green Light traffic signal coordination and operations program, the committee approved the recommendation of the OGL Steering Committee for a contract extension of $150,000 with Olsson, Inc. for an additional year of traffic signal timing and engineering support services.