Welcome to SARPC's digital newsletter. Our goal is to publish a newsletter once a month that provides highlights of projects and activities being undertaken at the agency. If you have any questions or would like to request additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
In This Issue
EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH
            DECEMBER        
                       Dusty Walsh
    Area Agency on Aging
NOTE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Happy New Year!

While everyone here at SARPC was able to take some time off and enjoy the holidays, we still had some pretty impressive things happening.

I'd like to start by congratulating Robbie Young, she has been promoted to Finance Director replacing Bessie Bogan who retired January 1.

SARPC has gone social. We're on Facebook!  Please like our page   https://www.facebook.com/SouthAlabamaRegionalPlanningCommission/. We'll be providing timely updates, reminders, event notifications and general information. Please note that all our posts may not show up in your timeline so please check our page directly for updates as well.

We'd also love to hear your feedback. Tell us if there's something you'd like to see included in this newsletter or if we can post any information on our SARPC Facebook page for you.

Enjoy the festivities of the Mardi Gras season.

Chris.
TRANSPORTATION
 
ADA Transition Plans

The Alabama Transportation Planners Association (ATPA) hosted an ADA Day in Birmingham on October 29th.  The Federal Highway Administration gave a presentation on the Americans with Disabilities Act and Transition Plans, then each urban are in the State gave a brief benchmark report as to where they are in developing the Transition Plans for each local government in an Urban Area, if they did not already have them.  The afternoon was a question/answer period with a panel of ALDOT and FHWA officials.  For a copy of those questions and answers, and the FHWA ADA Presentation, please see HERE.
 
SARPC has contracted with Neel-Schaffer to conduct the municipal ADA Transition Plans for Public Rights of Way, and assist Mobile County in conducting their ADA Transition Plan for Public Rights of Way.  The consultant is well underway in the surveying of the sidewalks and ramps for condition and compliance in terms of the  Americans with Disabilities Act within the MPO Study Area.  ALDOT has provided us with State and US "shielded" routes and cross sections that they have inventoried. 
 
Please keep in mind, that every city and county in the State, should have an ADA Transition Plan for not just public Rights of Way (sidewalks), but all public buildings and open spaces. It is your responsibility to have the ADA Transition Plans in place.
 
In October of 2015, the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) adopted the "Non-Metropolitan Local Officials Cooperative Process. This process includes notification to non-metropolitan local officials of the periodic development of the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) and review and revisions to the Alabama Statewide Transportation Planning Process (ASTPP).  ALDOT will review and consider the comments and suggestions received before the development of the draft STIP and ASTPP and commencing the public involvement process. After adopting the STIP and modified ASTPP, ALDOT will advise non-metropolitan local officials of the comments received and the resultant actions. For any proposed modification not adopted, ALDOT will provide its reasoning. ALDOT is soliciting comments from local government officials on the effectiveness of this process.  The comments may be submitted to Mr. Jim Doolin at  doolinj@dot.state.al.us or Bureau of Transportation Planning and Modal Programs, 1409 Coliseum Boulevard, Montgomery, Alabama 36110.  The comments should be received no later than February 1, 2016.

 
GOVERNMENT PLANNING SERVICES

Planning Commissioners Workshop
February 26, 2016
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

This workshop is hosted by SARPC and will focus on the composition and purpose of the Planning Commission, Comprehensive Plans, Zoning and Subdivision Regulations.  Ms. Katherine Ennis will be the Instructor.  She has previously provided Planning Commissioners Certification Workshops for the University of North Alabama.  She is the current Alabama Chapter President of the American Planning Association.  This workshop will not provide opportunities for Planning Commission Certification. Please RSVP to Diane Burnett at
dburnett@sarpc.org  or 251-706-4621 no later than  February 23, 2016.

2016 ANNUAL BUSINESS EXPO AND JOB FAIR

SARPC's 18th Annual Business Expo/Jobs Fair will be held on Thursday, April 21, 2016, at the Greater Gulf States Fair Grounds (The Grounds) in Mobile, AL. This annual workforce development and community service project affords businesses, organizations and agencies the opportunity to meet, interview and employ over 3,000 job seekers who attend this event. For SPONSORSHIP and VENDOR information please contact our office at 
(251) 652-0585 or visit  www.sarpc.org.
AREA AGENCY ON AGING UPCOMING EVENTS

February 25Next Caregiver College at SARPC at GM&O building. To register contact Della Sanchez, dellasanchez@sarpc.org or 251-706-4650 

Now - April 15 - R SVP program offering Tax Counseling for the Elderly in Escambia County 
MANAGED CARE READINESS PRESENTED AT SARPC'S 2016 ANNUAL MEETING

 Jeff Blancett, Senior Fellow with the Auburn University's Center of Government & Public Affairs (L), chats with Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson after Mr. Blancett's presentation December 11th at SARPC's Annual Meeting.  His topic, Managed Care Readiness, gave an overview of Medicaid Reform in Alabama through the Regional Care Organizations that are scheduled to begin October 2016, and the upcoming Integrated Care Networks that are scheduled to begin October 2018.  The Integrated Care Networks are designed to integrate long term care into Alabama's  Medicaid managed care initiative.  This will include nursing homes and the Medicaid Waiver programs. The Alabama Department of Senior Services and regional Area Agencies on Aging are the largest provider of Medicaid Waiver services in Alabama.  This requires the regional planning commissions and Area Agencies on Aging to begin to  prepare for this new system of care.  To read Dr. Blanchett's presentation, go to www.sarpc.org and select the Area Agency on Aging's webpage.
HOUSE AND SENATE PASS FY2016 FUNDING BILL

The House and Senate  passed a bipartisan, $1.15 trillion spending package on December 18, 2015 funding the federal government through the remainder of FY 2016-marking the end of the current fiscal year's budget process The compromise includes FY 2016 discretionary funding levels for the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (Labor/HHS), which funds the bulk of federal workforce, education, health and social services programs-including the Older Americans Act (OAA) and other aging programs. .Overall the package contains some good news for aging advocates, although it's certainly not all we wanted: most OAA programs included some much-needed funding increases or were level funded at FY15 amounts. We appreciate the modest increases for some OAA and other aging programs, but will now focus on ensuring programs receive additional funding during next year's budget and appropriations process. (Report from the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a)) 

Funding for OAA and Other Key Aging Programs
 
The fact that any OAA increases are in this final bill is in itself a victory because, as n4a reported this summer, both the House and the Senate proposed sweeping cuts to Labor/HHS programs overall and further squeezed funding available for these programs by proposing huge increases for NIH and CDC, including major new investments in Alzheimer's research. While the October budget deal gave appropriators more dollars to work with, the percentage increase for Labor/HHS's piece of the pie was far lower than the overall increase, even with the continued interest of lawmakers in boosting NIH and CDC funding.
 
The largest increase in terms of dollars for OAA programs is the $20 million (3 percent) boost to Title III C nutrition programs, split roughly evenly between the C1 Congregate and C2 Home-Delivered subtitles.
 
Appropriators also included a $5 million (3.4 percent) increase for Title III E Family Caregiver Support, as well as a $1 million (42 percent) increase for the non-OAA Lifespan Respite program, also administered by the Administration for Community Living (ACL).
 
One of n4a's perennial top priorities is to boost funding for the Title VI Native American aging programs, therefore, we are thrilled to report that thanks to the leadership of House Labor/HHS Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK), these much-needed, long-overdue increases were included in the final bill. Specifically, Title VI Part A (nutrition and other aging services) will increase by $5 million (19 percent) and Part C (caregiver supports) will increase $1.5 million (25 percent)!
 
In a big win for the elder justice efforts at ACL, appropriators boosted funding for Adult Protective Services (APS) by $4 million, doubling the current level of federal investment in these vital elder abuse prevention and remediation activities. As you may recall, the Elder Justice Initiative made a repeat appearance in the President's budget this year, proposing federal support of APS to the tune of $25 million. In FY 2015, advocates secured first-time funding from Congress for Elder Justice Act-related activities included under this request, but that appropriation only totaled $4 million. With $8 million in FY 2016, it will be exciting to see the work advance in a larger way than has previously been possible.
 
One surprising victory in the bill is the boosting of the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), which received a $41 million increase for a final funding level of $715 million.
 
Unfortunately, this trend of increases did not carry across all the vital OAA core programs. Title III B Supportive Services and Title VII Ombudsman programs were both level funded, as was the Title V Senior Community Service Employment Program.
 
In the "level funding is a victory" category, n4a is especially pleased that lawmakers rejected the massive Senate-proposed cut to the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), and level funded SHIP activities at $54.1 million. 
 
Also of note in the level-funded category, the evidence-based programs focused on Chronic Disease Self-Management ($8 million) and falls prevention ($5 million) will continue to be funded at last year's level under the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF). The PPHF is an ACA fund which has provided a major new source of mandatory funding for activities devoted to boosting public health and using proven prevention strategies to reduce Americans' rates of illness and disability. What is unique about the PPHF, however, is that while the funding is set statutorily by ACA, the determination on which programs it will be spent on in any given year is up to Congress. So appropriators don't have to "find" the money, but they do get to divvy it up, which is slightly different than regular appropriations. It should be noted, however, that n4a has reported on the proposed elimination of the PPHF via the reconciliation bill moving through Congress-as we expect the President to veto that measure, we believe these PPHF funding levels will proceed as directed this year.
 
Unfortunately, the bill failed to provide additional funding for Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) activities beyond last year's $6.1 million, to fill the $10 million shortfall after mandatory program dollars included in the Affordable Care Act expired in September 2014.
 
Level funding was also included for other HHS programs such as the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) at $1.7 billion, Senior Corps at $202 million and Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) at $3.39 billion.
 
While we are happy to see critical increases included for some of the most important core OAA programs (and no cuts!), we must keep up the drumbeat about the need for funding increases for OAA into 2017. These funding levels still are not adequate to either meet the need or make up for federal and state funding cuts over the last several years, and we will stay heavily focused on that message when the FY 2017 budget process begins in just a few short months.
 
N4A represents the 650 Area Agencies on Aging in the U.S. and issues and services important to older adults.
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South Alabama Regional Planning Commission                     Executive Director | Chris Miller :  cmiller@sarpc.org|