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Matt Chase appointed Executive Director of NACo

Posted Date: 
July 16, 2012

Pittsburgh, Pa. – The National Association of Counties (NACo), the national association representing county government, today announced that Matthew D. Chase has been named the association’s Executive Director.  The announcement came as thousands of the country’s local government leaders gathered in Pittsburgh for NACo’s 77th Annual Conference and Exposition.

More Clarity Could Help Ensure County Expenditures Are Consistent with Key Parts of the Secure Rural Schools Act

Posted Date: 
July 16, 2012

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released the following reports, testimony, and correspondence:

Payment to Counties: More Clarity Could Help Ensure County Expenditures Are Consistent with Key Parts of the Secure Rural Schools Act, GAO-12-775, July 16
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-775

USDA Announces Streamlined Disaster Designation Process with Lower Emergency Loan Rates and Greater CRP Flexibility in Disaster Areas

Posted Date: 
July 11, 2012
Contact: 
USDA Office of Communications

WASHINGTON—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a package of program improvements that will deliver faster and more flexible assistance to farmers and ranchers devastated by natural disasters. Vilsack announced three significant improvements to decades-old USDA programs and processes related to Secretarial disaster designations: a final rule that simplifies the process for Secretarial disaster designations and will result in a 40 percent reduction in processing time for most counties affected by disasters; a reduced interest rate for emergency loans that effectively lowers the current rate from 3.75 percent to 2.25 percent; and a payment reduction on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands qualified for emergency haying and grazing in 2012, from 25 to 10 percent.

Transportation Bill Set for Signature

Posted Date: 
July 2, 2012
Contact: 
Robert Fogel, Senior Legislative Director, NACo

Congress passed a 27-month surface transportation bill June 29 that will fund the federal highway program at nearly $39.7 billion for FY13 and $40.26 billion for FY14.  The measure would expire Sept. 30, 2014 and is expected to be signed into law by President Obama.

Farm Bill Passes Senate

Posted Date: 
July 2, 2012
Contact: 
Erik Johnston, Associate Legislative Director, NACo

The Senate passed the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012, S. 3240, by a vote of 64–35 after voting on 73 amendments June 21.

Public Land Renewable Energy Act Introduced

Posted Date: 
July 2, 2012
Contact: 
Ryan Yates, Associate Legislative Director, NACo

Reps. Joe Heck (R-Nev.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) have introduced legislation that would extend royalties and lease income to states and counties from solar and wind projects developed on federal lands. The Public Land Renewable Energy Act, H.R. 5991, would also continue the 25 percent county revenue-sharing agreement for geothermal development on federal lands, provided by the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Counties Under More Scrutiny Seek Guidance on Ethics Policies

Posted Date: 
July 2, 2012
Contact: 
Jacqueline Byers, Director, Research & Outreach, NACo

In recent months, the NACo Research Division has received numerous requests for information on model county ethics codes.

FHFA Proposes Rule for PACE Programs

Posted Date: 
July 2, 2012
Contact: 
Julie Ufner, Associate Legislative Director, NACo

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) June 15 released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) concerning Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs. Written comments are due by July 30.

EPA Releases Stormwater, Wastewater Framework

Posted Date: 
July 2, 2012
Contact: 
Julie Ufner, Associate Legislative Director, NACo

In June, the Environmental Protection Agency released its Integrated Stormwater and Wastewater Planning Approach Framework Plan to help local governments meet water quality goals. Although the plan will not preempt current requirements under existing regulatory or permitting standards, it will allow local governments to prioritize and merge competing requirements for stormwater and wastewater projects. This includes capital investments maintenance and operation requirements.

National Forest Counties & Schools Coalition News Bulletin

Posted Date: 
July 2, 2012
Contact: 
Bob Douglas, Executive Director, National Forest Counties & Schools Coalition

June 29th, a one year extension of the Secure Rural Schools and Communities Act was included in the Transportation Bill passed by both branches of Congress.  Press releases and comments from both the House and the Senate indicated that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner were personally involved in the final stages of negotiating an agreement among conferees.  The bill now moves to the President for signature hopefully next week.  The bill includes $346 Million for a one year extension of SRSCA Titles I,II, and III.  This is 95% of the 2011 funding level.