Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission discusses police academy, Ike CDBG update

Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission discusses police academy, Ike CDBG update

In a meeting Wednesday, May 10, the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission (SETRPC) met to discuss a potential grant for the Lamar Institute of Technology (LIT) Regional Police Academy and an update on Ike Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Housing Program, among other agenda items covered at the meeting.

Homeland Security and Emergency Management Planning Division (HSEMPD) Director Sue Landry requested approval for a resolution authorizing SETRPC to apply for a $250,000 Regional Police Academy grant through the Criminal Justice Division (CJD) for the LIT Regional Police Academy to provide basic cadet, intermediate and advanced law enforcement training to local jurisdictions in the area for a two-year period.

In another item, Landry requested a resolution approving additional planning grant funds to SETRPC contingent upon the recommendation of the Emergency Management Planning Advisory Committee (EMPAC). HSEMPD wishes to request an additional $27,727.24 from the State Homeland Security Grant Program 2013 with approval from EMPAC, who will meet May 23, for regional planning purposes. According to the information provided by Landry, the agenda item was somewhat unusual because the EMPAC recommendation generally comes prior to the request for approval from SETRPC, but due to deadlines for submitting grants and the timing of the meeting, Landry asserted approval was required immediately.

Landry also requested approval of Criminal Justice Advisory Committee Alternates from SETRPC. The commission approved the three requests from Landry.

Disaster Recovery Division (DRD) Director Shanna Burke addressed the committee to submit her division’s reports. Burke said SETRPC and the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) completed the scoring for the 2013-2014 CDBG Fund applications, not regarding disaster-related funds. Burke said the amount of funding to be awarded to Southeast Texas for 2013 and 2014 is unknown at this time, so although the scores are out it is unclear how much each city will receive from the grant.

Burke also presented SETRPC with an update regarding the Ike CDBG Housing Program from Ike 2.2 funds. Regarding the Single Family Housing Program, Burke said her division continues to work with area applicants in identified target areas on eligibility related issues. In addition, Burke said DRD is also working with the Texas General Land Office (GLO) to create policy allowing them to serve applicants in all areas of the three-county region represented by SETRPC and not just those identified as primary target areas. She explained that once the policy is in place, priority would still be given to applicants that are considered very low-income, elderly and/or disabled.

Regarding the Single Rental Family Program, Burke said 197 properties in the region have applied for assistance. SETRPC is currently reviewing those.

Bob Dickinson, Director of the Transportation and Environmental Resources Division, said he is currently seeking opinions on two public transportation surveys that are part of the Regional Public Transportation Coordination Work Plan. One study seeks opinions regarding the necessity of an express bus service between selected locations in Southeast Texas, such as institutes for higher learning and major employers. The second survey concerns a public education campaign aimed at increasing awareness of public transportation services available in Southeast Texas. Survey answers are anonymous and confidential. Both surveys are available at www.setrpc.org/ter.

Committee members said they want to remind the public about the household hazardous waste and scrap tire collection on May 18 at the Silsbee High School Parking lot from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m.

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