The Commission took the following actions at the Quarterly Commission Meeting on January 19, 2012:
Chairman Shepperd opened the meeting by recognizing new Commissioners Delores “Dee Dee” Darden of Isle of Wight County; Ashley Chriscoe, Gloucester County and Mary Jones, James City County.
Executive Director, Dwight Farmer introduced new Emergency Management Administrator, Curtis Brown to the Commission.
• Ms. Christy Everett with the Hampton Roads office of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) commended HRPDC staff on their work in developing the regional Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan Report. She urged area elected officials to take active roles in advocating for these initiatives to enhance water quality and offered CBF’s assistance in reaching those goals. Ms. Everett did suggest that local-specific data would be needed to provide reasonable assurances that goals could be met. Additionally, she urged localities to share this data and progress with residents. CBF also remains open to further investigation on water quality improvements associated with installing oyster reefs and additional SAV beds.
• Mr. Ellis James of Norfolk echoed comments given by Ms. Everett and also encouraged area elected officials to be vigilant in following efforts to end the moratorium on uranium mining in Virginia.
Approval/Modification of the Agenda: The agenda was approved as distributed.
Resolutions of Appreciation: Chairman Shepperd recognized the service of Greg Woodard from Gloucester County with a resolution to be taken back by new representative, Ashley Chriscoe. Mr. Shepperd also presented retiring HRPDC staff member Rob Jacobs with a resolution of appreciation commemorating his 44 years of service to the organization.
The following items were approved by Consent Agenda:
• Minutes of the December 15, 2011 Executive Committee Meeting
• Treasurer’s Report
• Regional Reviews
o PNRS Reviews
o Environment Impact Assessment/Statement Reviews
• Emergency Management—Jail Assessment Contract
• Urban Area Security Initiatives (UASI) Funding
• Litter Control Funding Letter—HR Clean
• Amendment—Legal Consultant—Legislative Representation
Chairman Shepperd commented on the importance of litter control funding for the region and the state and urged Commissioners to oppose elimination of the Litter Control and Recycling Fund Board and to support continued financial support for the Fund.
Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL): Principal Water Resources Engineer, Whitney Katchmark provided an overview of the Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan prepared in conjunction with member localities. Key highlights of the plan include meeting or exceeding nitrogen and sediment reduction goals, as well as the potential to far exceed phosphorus reduction goals if best management practices such as sanitary sewer overflow reductions and street sweeping could be included in the scenario. The inclusion of additional best management practices and recalibrating the model will likely change local targets, therefore it is recommended that the issuance of new stormwater permits be delayed as well to accommodate inclusion of more data and information. Ms. Katchmark’s presentation can be found on the HRPDC website. The Commission approved the plan for distribution.
2012 Economic Forecast: Greg Grootendorst, Chief Economist, provided the annual economic forecast for the region. Of particular note was the fact that regional employment has been declining for the past 4.5 years, with over 43ꯠ jobs lost in six major categories, including: local government, finance and insurance, information, manufacturing, natural resources and construction and retail. Although job gains did not counter job losses, those industries with job growth included: federal, administrative and support, education and health services and transportation and utilities. If the region were able to grow at its highest annual growth rate, recovery could be achieved in approximately two years. At the average regional growth rate, it will take approximately ten years to recover from the effects of the recession. Mr. Grootendorst’s presentation can be found on the agency’s website, www.hrpdcva.gov. The Commission approved the report for distribution.
Other Items: Chairman Shepperd reviewed the tentative topics for future meetings, highlighting that next month will the annual Commission Retreat. Executive Director, Dwight Farmer explained that the HRPDC Retreat would be held on February 16, 2012 with a working lunch format from 11:30 – 1:30. The Chairman also pointed out that the information provided in the Project Status Reports and Correspondence of Interest is very helpful and urged new Commissioners in particular to review these items.