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Roundtable Discussions

Darrell Bolz, Caldwell, reported:

Continued growth continues to be the focus in the Canyon County area. The County Planning and Zoning is holding meetings to consider changes to the comprehensive plan regarding the agricultural areas of the county. The meetings have focused on where growth should occur and what it should look like. They are also looking at the transportation issue as it applies to the movement of agricultural equipment and transportation of agricultural commodities.

The City of Caldwell has an Urban Renewal District that will be expiring soon. They are looking to implement another District that includes land outside of the city. This means that the County must approve the plan. County officials other than the Commissioners have asked the Commissioners to alter the plan by requiring the District to pay a portion of the taxes collected to the county. No decision has been made yet.

There has been discussion on looking at impact fees in Caldwell. They have not evaluated them for a number of year and there is discussion that they need to be looked at and updated. The City of Nampa recently increased their impact fees.

Randy Kemp, Idaho Commission for Libraries, reported:

The Idaho Department of Labor is co-locating some of its workforce consultants in library branches (and many other locations) around the state, with designated office hours once or twice a week.

With the Idaho Commission on the Arts, exploring collaborations around creative placemaking in rural communities. Conversation are and could include IRP, Heritage Trust, Idaho State Historical Society, and the Idaho Humanities Council, among others. Could a co-designed Rural Summit be warranted?

Participated in a day-long Rural Summit on November 7, 2019, hosted by the Burley Public Library. Addressed key themes in rural communities such as Education, Health Care, Diversity, and Agriculture.

Workforce Development Council (WDC). Serving Rural & Remote Communities a priority focus area. I sit on the One-Stop Committee of the WDC. The intention is to implement best practices among partners in the WDC ecosystem. IRP community reviews need to be part of this conversation.

Barbara Petty, University of Idaho – Extension, reported:

University of Idaho Extension is alive and well. During this past year our Extension faculty and staff had 404,793 direct face-to-face interactions with the people of Idaho. We authored or co-authored 147 peer-reviewed publications and professional journal articles and our web sessions totaled 707,267. There were over 70,000 youth participating in 4-H. Needless to say, we have been busy. But what has been the results of all of this activity? I am so glad you asked as we have good news to share.

A team of educators conducted Farm Succession Planning workshops. As a result of these workshops, the program evaluation survey shows 58% of respondents evaluated their estate’s assets; 58% percent of respondents conducted a family meeting; 50% are putting $10,000/year into retirement accounts, while 17% contribute $15,000/year and another 17% contribute $20,000/year. By completing their succession and estate plan, respondents have protected $32 million worth of assets.

In another program “Mystery Box Cook-Off” high school student’s increased confidence in planning and preparing meals at home while increasing their awareness of food insecurity in Idaho. Students were randomly assigned to team to participate in the cook-off. Each team was given a mystery food box to plan, prepare and present a dish consisting of at least three food groups using the food provided. Four judges were invited to evaluate the cook-off based on food groups, food safety, teamwork creativity, flavor and meal presentation. The evaluation results indicated that 81% of high school youth increased food-insecurity awareness; 71% increased understanding healthy food identification; and 58% increased knowledge of cost of meal prep at home vs eating out. Youth reported potential $12/week savings by reducing their soda consumption.

These are just a couple of the many programs we could highlight. UI Extension has faculty in offices in 42 of the 44 counties and at the nine Research and Extension Centers strategically located throughout the state. We consider it an honor and a privilege to serve the people of Idaho.

Andrew Mentzer, West Central Mountains Economic Development Council, reported:

YEAR IN REVIEW: We feel it's important to share with you our regional successes, so we've put together a quick synopsis of where we've been and where we're going. CLICK HERE TO READ A COPY OF OUR YEAR IN REVIEW. As always, we welcome your recommendations as we move ahead with our 2020 strategic plan too!

NEW BOARD LEADERSHIP: I'd also like to take this opportunity to introduce you to our new board leadership. Jill Morris-Chapman is our new board president and Dylan Martin is our new Vice President. Cynda Herrick remains our board secretary and Julie Good remains our board Treasurer. We're very excited to work with this team in 2020, along with our other board members from throughout the region. The full board roster is AVAILABLE HERE.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP TRAINING: If you know of any entrepreneurs or future entrepreneurs who may want to tap into some resources for developing their business, please feel free to share with them THIS LINK about a regional training from our friends at the Small Business Administration in April. This training will include a specific focus on developing a seasonal business.

2020 SUMMIT: Last but not least, I will send out an official save the date early next year for the 2020 economic summit, but please feel free to mark it on your calendars in the meantime: October 5th, 2020 from 9am - 3pm.

Donna Pence, Gooding, reported:

Our local North Canyon Medical Center is one of the 27 independent hospitals located in rural Idaho. We value the hospital and its services and are concerned about the effect of Medicaid expansion on its bottom line and how we as a community can help in keeping it there.

Like to disclose that the Walker Center, our local private drug treatment center has been awarded a health and welfare grant to embark on an opioid treatment pilot project. Something really needed for our citizens and those throughout Idaho. The project is just getting started and I will report how things go. As far as facility’s needs, we, like most cities, have unfortunately missed on the new jail bond election. We also are contemplating running a bond for a new middle school. So work is cut out for us.

Art Beal, Idaho RC&D Association, reported:

The state association has finally got the program monitoring in service for the Natural Resource Conservation Service programs with conservation districts usage. The intent is to support funding requests to US congress tied to specific programs.

The Wood River RC&D has a strong forestry program with Idaho Department of Lands. They work on a cloud seeding program partnered with Idaho Power, cities, counties, conservation districts, water districts and private donors. They continue to work on the Hagerman Bike Walk path of which the first part is in service.

The Wood River RC&D has a strong bio-control program sponsored by cities, counties, and soil conservation districts. They meet once a year with the US Forest Service on beaver control and relocation in Camas County. They also meet with the North Side Transportation Committee monthly to discuss roadway issues.

Southwest Idaho RC&D supports the financing of two US Forest coalitions, the Boise and Payette. Currently the coalitions are applying for “Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project Grant” with the US Forest Service. The grant would provide funding for items not currently budgeted, like recreation improvement, as well as stand improvement where there is no money for in the current budgets. Another forest management issue is the tussock moth infestation and how much of a loss to the stand will occur. The current market will not stand the volume that is potentially available. There isn’t the infrastructure.

Southwest is looking for some monitor funding for a project to monitor the bacteria entering Cascade Lake on the west side that is causing the lake to become toxic. Not only is the lake toxic to swimming but is also toxic for irrigation uses. As a side note the USDA local working group for Cascade named water quality as their first choice for funding targets. Southwest will be featuring the five tribes at the Canyon Crossroads Museum at Celebration Park through June 30, 2020. They continue to improve and use the water trail along the Snake River.

Daryl Moser, USDA - Rural Development, reported:

  • Rural Utility Service (RUS):
  • Distance Learning & Telemedicine Grant

Helps rural communities acquire the technology, equipment & training necessary to virtually connect with educators & medical professionals for remote services.

Eligible Applicants: most State and local governmental entities, federally-recognized tribes, nonprofits, for-profit businesses and consortia of eligible entities.

  • Maximum grant: $500,000
  • 2019: $42,453,095 awarded to 132 projects
  • 2019 Idaho Recipient: St. Luke's McCall, LTD ($153,555)

Assist St. Luke’s to implement a telemedicine project to connect with St. Luke's Health System in Boise.  The project will ensure access to neurology and behavioral health services. In addition, the Rural Development funds will be used to help fund telehealth equipment in 25 emergency department and inpatient rooms. Over 4,800 area residents will benefit.

  • 2020 Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA): expected by 12/31/19
  • Telecommunications Programs: since 2010, Rural Development has invested over $59.6MM (21 projects) into Idaho via RD Telecommunications Programs
  • Idaho Broadband Task Force: Joe Bradley, USDA Telecommunications Program Field Representative, is engaged with the Task Force
  • ReConnect Program
  • Purpose: The ReConnect Program offers federal financing and funding options in the form of loans, grants, and loan/grant combinations to facilitate broadband deployment in areas of rural America that don’t currently have sufficient access to broadband
  • Reconnect 1: Application deadlines (separate deadline for Grant, Grant/Loan Combo, and Loan only): last deadline: June 28, 2019
    • Idaho applications (grant): 3 companies/applications with service area that includes Idaho
    • Status: evaluation, scoring & validation occurring now under all 3 program elements (grant, loan/grant, loan)
  • Reconnect 2: NOSA expected prior to 12/31/19 (update: NOSA published 12/12/19 -- attached)
  • Idaho Broadband Plan: recently approved Plan will help Idaho applications be more competitive
  • Technical Assistance available: Joe Bradley (208-401-8090; joe.bradley@usda.gov); website: https://reconnect.usda.gov/
  • Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS):
  • Rural Energy for America (REAP) Program: Provides support for energy efficiency and renewable energy systems in rural areas.  Eligible applicants include agricultural producers and rural small businesses.  Next application deadline: March 31, 2020.
  • Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) Program.  RBS provides grants to independent producers, agricultural producer groups, farmer or rancher cooperatives, and majority-controlled producer based business ventures for either planning activities or working capital.  Application deadline: March 10, 2020.
  • Intermediary Relending Program (IRP): Provides a loan to private nonprofit organizations to establish or fund a revolving loan fund (RLF) program to provide loans to rural businesses for community development projects, establishment of new businesses or expansion of existing businesses, and saving and/or creation of jobs in rural areas.

Region IV Development Association, Inc.: $1,000,000 IRP loan approved in September of 2019.  RIVDA’s expanded IRP service area includes SW Idaho (i.e., the former Ida-Ore service area).