Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for the ‘Grants & Funding’ Category

Terrorism Preparedness Grant For Snohomish County

by Matt Rosenberg December 13th, 2010

SUMMARY: The Snohomish County Council is in the process of approving the county’s receipt of a $1.895 million federal grant to enhance preparedness for possible terrorist attacks in Snohomish County involving chemical, biological, nuclear or explosive devices. The money would be used for improvements to the county sheriff’s helicopter, the county’s back-up emergency operations center, for a Heavy Rescue Apparatus vehicle, SWAT counter-terrorism training of sheriff’s officers, and medical, logistics and cross-jurisdictional terrorism response planning.

A Heavy Rescue Apparatus vehicle

BACKGROUND: On 12/27/10, according to the meeting agenda, the Snohomish County Council ’s Law and Justice/Human Services committee will consider a recommendation from County Executive Aaron Reardon the the county council receipt for use in calendar year 2011 of a $1,895,010 Urban Area Security Initiative terrorism preparedness grant to Snohomish County from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, delivered through the Washington State Military Department.

These DHS grants are provided nationally for key urban areas considered to be higher-priority terrorism targets and to strengthen response capabilities to attacks involving chemical, biological, nuclear or explosive devices. Recipients in Washington state are the cities of Seattle and Bellevue and the counties of Snohomish, King and Pierce.

KEY LINK: Proposed Motion 10-587 agenda packet for Snohomish County Council Law and Justice/Human Services Committee meeting, regarding Urban Area Security Initiative grant.

KEY PROVISIONS:

  • If the committee and then the county council approve the grant, the funds will be used for several purposes.
  • Purchase, install and test airframe engine equipment to improve the performance of the Snohomish County Sheriff’s helicopter.
  • Purchase and test a Heavy Rescue Apparatus for the Snohomish County Technical Rescue Force for use in the event of an attack involving chemical, biological, nuclear or explosive devices or weapons of mass destruction.
  • Purchase, install and test new generator wiring and an extended regional fiber optic network – both for Snohomish County’s back-up Emergency Operations Center.
  • Conduct medical operations and logistics planning in order to be fully prepared to manage resources, and patient movements, identify facilities and prioritize equipment to be used, in the event of a terrorist attack.
  • Do Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) counter-terrorist training and exercises for county sheriff’s personnel.
  • Coordinate with other urban areas and state to meet needs of vulnerable groups and heighten awareness of community response priorities in the event of a terrorist attack.

Audit: Low Accountability For Offender Reentry Programs

by Matt Rosenberg December 4th, 2010

SUMMARY: U.S. Department of Justice “offender reentry” grant programs meant to help released prisoners reintegrate with society and avoid future criminal convictions were not properly designed and implemented because they don’t include any substantive measures to evaluate whether or not they are actually achieving their goals. Clear standards should be promoted for defining avoidance of repeat offenses (such as a three-year gap between prisoner release and any new convictions) and they should be used to compile data leading to regular evaluations of the programs’ performance. Sixty-two percent of the 760 enrolled participants in DOJ’s Washington State offender reentry program had been re-convicted on felony or misdemeanor charges within 18 months of release from prison. Problems have persisted since 2000 across the Department of Justice in monitoring grantee performance. Office of Justice Programs grantees misspend “significant amounts” of funds on “unallowable and unsupported costs.” The U.S. government spent $173.9 million on offender reentry program from fiscal year 2002 through 2009.

BACKGROUND: More than 650,000 convicts are released from state and federal jails annually and a higher number from local jails. But federal data indicate more than half will be in “some form of legal trouble within three years.” The U.S. Department of Justice administers three grant programs which aim to help offenders when the re-enter society and reduce recidivism, or subsequent criminal offenses by released prisoners. The three programs are: the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI); the Prisoner Reentry Initiative (PRI); and the Second Chance Act Prisoner Reentry Initiative (SCA). The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) gave 154 grants worth $173.9 million for offender rentry programs from fiscal years 2002 through 2009. The audit of the three programs by the justice department’s Office of the Inspector General was conducted to evaluate how well each one was designed and managed. One main emphasis was on whether the programs had built-in performance standards and data collection, so their success could be measured.

KEY LINK: Audit Report 10-34, U.S. Department Of Justice’s Office Of The Inspector General, “Office of Justice Programs’ Management Of Its Offender Reentry Initiatives,” 7/10.

KEY FINDINGS:

Lakewood, Wash. Lodging Tax Expenditures, 2011

by Matt Rosenberg November 24th, 2010

SUMMARY: City staff is recommending Lakewood dispense $394,330 in hotel lodging tax grants to 13 recipients. The largest would be the annual $101,850 grant (to be given for 20 years) for construction of the Sharon McGavick Student/Conference Center at Clover Park Technical College, in Lakewood. The next largest grants recommended are for $65,000 to the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce, $48,000 to Lakewold Gardens, and $35,000 to the Tacoma Regional Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

BACKGROUND: Lakewood is a city of approximately 60,000 residents in Pierce County, Wash. The city deposits into a special Hotel Tax Fund its share of sales tax revenues collected on overnight stays at commercial establishments in the city.

Lakewold Gardens is slated for a $48,000 2011 lodging tax grant from the city

These “lodging tax” revenues and can be used only for promotion of tourism, cultural activities, and for tourism facilities within Lakewood. The city’s Lodging Tax Advisory committee- composed of representatives from hotels and motels,and cultural and business organizations, reviewed 13 proposals submitted by potential grant recipients and issued the following funding recommendations. The next step will be for the city manager to request authorization from the city council to execute contracts with the recipients so that the grants can be made.

KEY LINK: City of Lakewood staff memo, 2011 Lodging Tax Grant Recommendations, memo to City Council from Economic Development Manager Ellie Chambers-Grady, 11/22/10

KEY FINDINGS: City of Lakewood staff recommendations for hotel lodging tax grants for 2011 are in the following table from the memo.

City Of Redmond: 2011 State Legislative Agenda

by Matt Rosenberg November 16th, 2010

SUMMARY: The Redmond, Wash. City Council on Nov. 16, 2010 was scheduled to vote on adoption of its 2011 state legislative agenda. The agenda emphasizes funding for transportation and other infrastructure projects, and continued efforts to manage regional growth. The city’s state agenda also voices support for electronic (time-variable) tolling of the I-90 bridge across Lake Washington, as well as for the replacement bridge across the lake on State Route 520, in order to minimize traffic diversions and improve regional traffic demand management.

WSDOT: Southeast King County Commuter Rail Study

by Matt Rosenberg October 19th, 2010

SUMMARY: A proposed east-west spur commuter rail line in Southeast King County – connecting with the main north-south commuter rail line operated by Sound Transit, and with Amtrak Cascades service – would run every 33 minutes, and carry 1,140 daily passengers by 2030. It would cost $169 million to $190 million to build, and $4 million to $4.7 million to operate and maintain annually. Passenger fares would cover 16 percent of annual operating and maintenance costs, or as much as 30 percent if cost-sharing occured with Sound Transit. Due to relatively low ridership and high per-mile costs, the project would compete poorly for federal grants. No existing transit or rail agency would likely sponsor the project but a transportation benefit district could, particularly if state law were amended to clarify its role as a transit operator. A public vote would be required to grant taxing authority to such a body.

Public Data Ferret On KOMO 1000: U.S. Senate Testimony On Fraud At For-Profit Colleges

by Matt Rosenberg August 12th, 2010

A federal investigative report on fraud at for-profit colleges plus related U.S. Senate testimony from an industry insider and a financial expert were at the center of my regular weekly segment today on the work of our Public Data Ferret project, at KOMO-AM 1000 News Radio in Seattle. Here’s the original Ferret write-up, as well as the audio of the segment. The transcript follows.

Brian Calvert: “1.8 million students headed back to a non-traditional classroom this fall. Matt Rosenberg of communityforums.org on the line with us, and Matt, we’re referring in this instance to for-profit colleges. What are some of the names that would be familiar if we’re talking about non-profit institutions?”

Matt Rosenberg: “Well, University of Phoenix, Art Institute Of Seattle, Everest University, Argosy University, Kaplan University, to name a few.”

Nancy Barrick: “Alright. These are for-profit colleges. You looked into a report where several of these schools have been investigated. What are they looking at?”

Matt Rosenberg: “Senate testimony last week has shined a glaring spotlight on ethically and financially troubling practices by the big national corporations and other stake-holders that run these for-profit colleges. There was an investigation by the Government Accountability Office plus reports to the Senate from an industry insider – a recruiter who worked in the boiler room – and a financial expert. And what they told the Senate is disturbing. The picture is this: high pressure sales tactics, price gouging, rocketing default rates on the federal loans to students at these for-profit colleges, plus deceptive marketing. Prices are lowballed, accreditation is fudged, and the credits often don’t transfer to other schools or aren’t accepted by employers. So, the emerging picture is that the issues are systemic, not isolated.”