Thanks to everyone who joined the MARC Board of Directors and Budget and Personnel Committee meetings on Feb. 22. 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:
- Eviction prevention initiative: Exacerbated by the pandemic, the region has seen a dramatic increase in the share of renter households at risk of eviction. Jim MacDonald, chief impact officer for the United Way of Greater Kansas City, reported on the impact of a significant regional collaborative initiative that has been highly effective in addressing and preventing housing evictions. A network of 35 social service agencies is providing pre-eviction rent and utility assistance and has, so far, preserved housing for 20,000 households. The work is an exemplary model of the impact that can be made through organized, collaborative efforts across the region.
- 2020 census: MARC Chief Economist Frank Lenk shared insights into the 2020 census data and its implications for planning. Unlike previous census data, the 2020 census showed significant population growth in older portions of the region, a dramatic change from historical patterns. This occurred due to a variety of factors, including a multi-family boom, investment in streetcar, changing demands by both older and younger residents, increases in diversity, and intentional planning work to support a vibrant, connected and green region.
- Bi-State Sustainable Reinvestment Corridor: Board members heard a report about the corridor, which would link 24 miles between three cities in two states along State Avenue, Independence Avenue and Truman Road. The plan will serve as a magnet for attracting federal/state funds to be pursued through multiple grant applications. Many grants will benefit areas of the cities and the region well beyond the corridor. The corridor plan was recently announced at a media event held at Kansas City University.
- Transportation projects: The Board authorized the call for projects and federal transportation funding allocations, with anticipated totals for 2025-26 programming being $33,200,000 in Kansas and $57,400,000 in Missouri. In anticipation of a call for projects, MARC staff has been working with the programming committees and other interested parties to review and update project evaluation criteria and processes. Visit the Connected KC 2050 website for more information or email Ron Achelpohl, director of transportation and environment for MARC.
- Climate Summit: Board members heard an update on the 2022 Climate Summit, to be held April 9 at Johnson County Community College. The event is hosted by Climate Action KC and will build upon the first summit in September 2019, which was attended by over 750 participants. Learn more at the Climate Action Plan website.
- MARC 50th anniversary: This year is MARC’s 50th anniversary, which will be celebrated year-round through various activities, including stories that focus on the region’s progress and the 2022 Regional Assembly on June 10. Board members were encouraged to submit nominations for the 2022 Regional Leadership Awards by visiting the MARC awards webpage. The nomination period closes March 4.
The MARC Budget and Personnel Committee considers all matters dealing with budget, personnel and bylaw amendments. At its meeting on Feb. 22, the committee heard reports on:
- Public safety: The committee strengthened the region’s 911 system by approving an agreement to replace 911 workstations for 13 jurisdictions through a purchase directly from the manufacturer, resulting in lower costs. The total amount approved for replacement was $504,653.
- COVID-19 response: To support the continued regional response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the committee authorized applications for $290,000 in grants to the Bloch Charitable Foundation and the Health Forward Foundation. If received, these grants would support MARC staff and contractor assistance and grant preparation services.
- Older adults: The committee authorized a $159,630 contract with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to provide comprehensive social services, such as transportation, nutrition and rent assistance, to Adult Protective Services clients in collaboration with members of the Missouri Association of Agencies on Aging. These services are provided to protect vulnerable older adults and disabled individuals from abuse, neglect, financial exploitation and bullying.
- Ozone season: The 2022 ozone season begins March 1 and MARC Air Quality staff updated the committee on this year’s public outreach campaign plan, which aims to educate the public about actions they can take to protect their health and reduce emissions. The committee approved the $285,000 media campaign advertising budget, 20% of which is designated to reach minority populations.
- Roadway maintenance: The committee approved an agreement with the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission to accept up to $8,393,333 in federal coronavirus relief funds for a roadway preventive maintenance program in MARC counties in Missouri.