Jan. 31, 2007
For immediate release
For more information, contact: Bonnie J. Prigge, (573) 265-2993
MRPC ADOPTS FEDERAL PRIORITIES
Hears updates from Congressional liaisons; amends budget
ST. JAMES - Meramec Regional Planning Commission, during its regular board
meeting Jan. 11, approved its 2007 federal priorities, which supportimprovements
to Highways 50 and 63, recommend increased funding for public infrastructure
needs, support affordable health care for all and encourage a manageable
immigration policy and the development of alternative fuels.
Each year, MRPC asks its board and associate members to identify the
most pressing federal issues effecting local communities. Those issues are
summarized, and the board and associate members then prioritize them. The
full board then recommends the top priorities for inclusion in its annual “Federal
Priorities in the Meramec Region” report, which is hand-delivered to
Richard Cavender, MRPC’s executive director, along with Chairman
Bob Reed of Washington County, and board member Marcus Maggard of Salem
will travel to Washington, DC, in March to deliver the reports.
Also in attendance at the meeting were the Congressional staff members
for Sens. Kit Bond and Claire McCaskill and Reps. Jo Ann Emerson and Ike
Skeleton. Derek Coats of Sen. Bond’s office briefed the board on committee appointments
and said that the senator was working on the Economic Development Administration
to appointment a replacement for Paul Hildebrandt, Missouri’s EDA field
representative who passed away in November. Hildebrandt worked closely with
regional planning commissions and local governments to develop job creation
projects. Cindy Hall of Sen. McCaskill’s office, who had been on the
job only a few days, introduced herself to the board and welcomed their ideas.
Ann Kutscher of Rep. Skeleton’s office explained that Skeleton would
continue to work on behalf of Fort Leonard Wood and expected to deal with
water issues on the Missouri
River this session. “Your needs are the Congressman’s needs,” Kutscher
Darren Lingle, representing Rep. Emerson, congratulated MRPC for
receiving its EDA planning grant. He said the congresswoman would be working
on small business relief and was interested in cellulose ethanol. He told
board members that the “No Child Left Behind” legislation was
up for reauthorization as was the 2007 Farm Bill. He said that the Farm Bill
will likely be extended for two years by continuing resolution. In response
to a question, Lingle said Rep. Emerson was optimistic about the United State
Geological Survey remaining in Rolla and she is in weekly contact with the
In other business, the MRPC: Amended its budget to reflect mid-year changes.
Revenues are expected to increase $80,875 to $1,568,041 while expenses should
increase $72,735 to $1,518,348. At the conclusion of its fiscal year, MRPC
expects to post a revenue over expenses of $49,693.
- Heard a report on grants in process and funded. Staff is currently
working on four Safer Routes to School grants for Hermann,
Waynesville, Crocker and Sullivan.
- Heard a report on business loan activity from Tom Klebba, at-large
commissioner for banking. Staff are preparing to close
four loans through MRPC’s new Intermediary Relending Program.
- Heard a report from T.R. Dudley, mayor of Potosi and liaison
to the board for Workforce Development. The local workforce development
board has created an innovations committee to expand
broadband options in the region.
Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford,
Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and
their respective cities. A professional staff of 24, directed by the 52-member
MRPC board, offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation
and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental
planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member
communities. More information is available online at: www.meramecregion.org.
The group will meet again Feb. 8 at the MRPC office, 4 Industrial Drive, St.
James, MO. Meetings are open to the public.