The Commission took the following actions at its Annual Meeting on October 16, 2014:
Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP has completed its annual review of the FY2014 financial statements of the HRPDC. Their Independent Auditors’ Report states that they present fairly, in all material respects, the basic financial statements of the HRPDC. There were no material weaknesses or deficiencies in any of the internal controls or processes of the HRPDC financial activity and all information was free of any material misstatements. Ms. Leslie Roberts, partner, Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP, briefed the Commission on the audit.
Hampton Roads was designated a high risk urban area eligible to receive Urban Area Security Initiative funding in FY 2007. Since that time, funding levels have fluctuated, and at times funding has even been eliminated. These grants have greatly assisted in preparedness efforts in the Hampton Roads region; however the funding is still insufficient to meet regional preparedness needs. In addition to the UASI funds, the Hampton Roads region has benefited from Homeland Security Grants and Sub-Grants, including Regional Catastrophic Planning Grants (RCPG), Port Security Grants and Communications and Interoperability Program Grants. Many of these grants have been reduced, eliminated or will be closed within the next twelve months. They have resulted in the acquisition of millions of dollars of assets that have depreciated service life and need to be maintained and replaced over time.
Consolidating and sustaining these highly effective grant program capabilities and assets will improve efficiencies and produce many tangible benefits for member jurisdictions and the region. Mr. Stephen Best (RCPG Program Manager and Former Chesapeake Fire Chief) briefed the Commission on recommendations to sustain these important programs, which includes consolidation into the Hampton Roads All Hazards Advisory Committee.
Senior Water Resources Planner, Jenny Tribo provided a presentation on how the Chesapeake Bay TMDL has been implemented to date and improvements being made to Chesapeake Bay Models ahead of the 2017 Midpoint Assessment. Updated input data will be added to the model and then the state will determine whether any TMDL revisions are needed.
Ms. Tribo then outlined concerns with the TMDL and WIP which include:
• Inconsistencies between model and local data
• BMP estimates, rather than actual installations, were used in the baseline scenario
• Urban stormwater BMPs are much more expensive to implement than agricultural or point source BMPs
• No credit was given for previous stormwater treatment, nor were loads prioritized
• The state has no clear plan to address non-regulated urban lands outside of the MS4s.
HRPDC staff will convey the presented concerns and solutions at Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay Stakeholder Advisory Group Meeting on Monday October 20, 2014. The Commission agreed to support the Bay TMDL related items in the Legislative Agenda:
• Funding for agricultural commitments;
• Establish a regulatory framework for localities to obtain approval for innovative stormwater treatment practices;
• Legislative directive to evaluate voluntary water quality programs for effectiveness and ensure adequate funding.
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has proposed cutting the
permitted groundwater withdrawals of the largest fourteen users. Eight of the fourteen permits are held by localities in Hampton Roads. Principal Water Resource Engineer, Whitney Katchmark briefed the Commission on the status of groundwater permits in the area.
Commissioners authorized the HRPDC chairman to send a letter to David Paylor, Director of DEQ, asking him to (1) continue to coordinate closely with HRPDC and its member localities, (2) allow the HRPDC and its localities sufficient time to consider the impacts of DEQ’s proposed permit reductions on the regional water supply, and (3) work with the HRPDC and its member localities to gain regional support for a long-term solution.
HRPDC Public Information and Community Affairs Administrator, Ms. Julia Hillegass, provided an overview of the proposed Legislative Agenda. The Commission approved the Legislative Agenda as presented.
Employee Recognition: Mr. Jim Hummer, IT Manager, was recognized for his 15 years of service to the agency.
Public Comments: Mr. Ellis James of Norfolk applauded Surry County for their recent approval of an alternative energy farm. He reminded attendees of the importance of climate change with regard to water resources and reiterated his stance against fracking. Mr. James also expressed his support for the PDC legislative position on limiting balloon releases.
The following items were approved under the Consent Agenda:
• Minutes of September 18, 2014 Executive Committee Meeting
• Treasurer’s Report of August 2014
• FY 2015 Budget Amendments
• FY 2013-2014 Audit
• Legislative Agenda
• Waters of the U.S. Rulemaking
• Emergency Management Sustainability
• Authorizing Resolutions and Certifications for FY 2014 State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP) Funds
Nominating Committee Report: The Commission approved the following slate of officers for the 2014-2015 year, as recommended by the Nominating Committee:
Chairman: Mayor Kenneth Wright, Portsmouth
Vice Chairman: Mayor Clyde Haulman, Williamsburg
Secretary: Randy Keaton, HRPDC Interim Executive Director
Treasurer: James McReynolds, York County
Old/New Business: Ms. Tribo reported that DEQ has indicated that Hampton Roads localities will receive their revised MS4 permits in late November. Staff and committee members continue to work in preparation for negotiations. A full brief on the process will be presented in November.
There being no other business, the meeting was adjourned.