The Commission held its Annual Retreat on February 16, 2012. The following summarizes the discussion:
· Mr. Ellis W. James of Norfolk urged Commissioners to follow the position of the Virginia Black Caucus on various issues where funding and citizen rights appear to be in jeopardy.
Approval/Modification of Agenda: Chairman Shepperd proposed swapping the order of agenda items 15 and 16. The agenda was approved with these modifications.
Board Discussion---HRPDC Administration
Chairman Shepperd opened the retreat discussions by encouraging Commissioner engagement to enhance the value of this and future meetings. He briefly reviewed the newly revised Commissioner Handbook and the resources contained in it. Executive Director, Dwight Farmer offered to provide individual briefings and orientations to Commissioners to accommodate their schedules as needed. Mr. Farmer also reviewed the duties and responsibilities of Planning District Commissions as outlined in the State Code of Virginia. He stressed the Chairman’s desire to bring the most important topics to the board for discussion, deliberation and decision-making.
Electronic Agendas: Data was provided regarding the cost savings associated with converting to electronic agenda packages. Chairman Shepperd stressed that this would be voluntary and those that prefer hard copies of the packet can still continue to receive them. It was decided that those who wished to receive hard copies should notify the PDC and electronic notification would begin with the March meeting materials.
Agenda Notes/Meeting Structure: Mr. Farmer reviewed the utility of the agenda packet, in particular the agenda note format, in assisting Commissioners in preparing for meetings. He and the Chairman encouraged members to provide feedback regarding any changes they would like to see.
Staff Compensation: Chairman Shepperd and Mr. Farmer led a discussion about placeholder for a 2% merit-based salary adjustment for staff in FY13. The Personnel and Budget Committee will meet to consider a recommendation for Commission action.
Operating Budget—FY13: Ms. Nancy Collins, CFO, provided a brief presentation on the anticipated operating budget for fiscal year 2013. Of note, is the HRPDC overhead rate which is <22%, well below half of typical government and university overhead rates. The budget as presented accommodates a 2% merit increase, while also providing a reduction in local contributions. Additional discussion centered on local compensation challenges and approaches to consider.
Regional Economic Analyses: Chairman Shepperd reviewed the methodology associated with the typical regional economic benchmark study and broached the subject of developing local-specific economic benchmarks and indicators that might be helpful at the local level. HRPDC Chief Economist, Greg Grootendorst reviewed the various information and formats utilized for regional economic data and analysis. Mr. Farmer reiterated that staff will make concerted efforts to pull out information in a disaggregated format for use by localities. Mr. Grootendorst also provided additional information regarding the impact of defense expenditures in Hampton Roads.
Retreat Presentations---HRPDC: Consultant of First Resort:
Water Resource Studies: Principal Water Resources Engineer, Whitney Katchmark presented an overview of ongoing HRPDC work in Chesapeake Bay TMDLs. Ms. Katchmark also provided insight into an EPA initiative in Integrated Water Resources Planning which hopes to develop better processes to help localities to evaluate and prioritize water quality projects. Groundwater mitigation and analysis efforts were also highlighted. Further Commission discussion on water resources issues centered on the next steps in the Watershed Implementation Plan process and concerns about a potential lift of the moratorium on uranium mining. The Commission has supported maintaining the moratorium, but Commissioners felt it might be time to take a stronger position on this issue. It was suggested that they convene local legislative liaisons to discuss what could be done and report back at a future meeting.
Emergency Management Sustainment: Curtis Brown, Emergency Management Administrator reviewed the capabilities brought to the region by the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) grant funds and the risk of losing those funds in the future. Key concerns now focus on how best to sustain the region’s increased capacity to prevent, protect, respond and recover from acts of terrorism, as well as natural disasters. The UASI process is the only vehicle in the region which brings together fire, emergency management and law enforcement to collaborate on cross-jurisdictional responses. Commissioners reaffirmed the need to maintain collaborative efforts.
Hampton Roads Strategic Plan: Chairman Shepperd proposed coordination of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC), Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance (HRFFA) and Hampton Roads Partnership(HRP) to work more closely to develop a regional strategic plan. Deputy Executive Director, John Carlock provided a presentation on potential approaches. Discussion followed regarding the importance of such an approach to remain regionally competitive and that the Commission is the logical body to coordinate such an effort. It was also suggested that Commission meetings be restructured to allow more time for deliberation of critical strategic issues in the region.
Due to time constraints, the following items will be discussed during the March HRPDC Executive Committee meeting:
Environmental Education Program