On May 12, Delegate Keith Hodges convened an informal meeting pursuant to HB 2055 (Hodges), which passed the 2017 General Assembly. HB 2055 creates the Rural Coastal Virginia Community Enhancement Authority. The provisions of the bill do not actually take effect until July 1. The actual Commission members have not yet been appointed.
A very important part of the meeting was a presentation by Lewis Lawrence, Director of the Middle Peninsula Planning District, on unique ways localities in that region of the state can make progress in economic development by utilizing such natural resources in that area as wetlands and capturing an abundance of rainwater falling on impervious surfaces, all of which can be transformed into sellable credits.
Another important item on the meeting’s agenda was a joint status report provided by U.S. Senator Tim Kaine and U.S. Representative Rob Wittman about issues being considered in Congress that are of interest to the middle peninsula and northern neck regions. Chief among these issues was the restoration in the FY 2017 budget of $73 million for the Chesapeake Bay Program.
They also spoke about the anticipation in Congress of President Trump’s proposed program to improve the country’s infrastructure. When discussing the federal budget for FY 2018 they also touched upon the Community Development Block Grant program, and FEMA flood mitigation program and the long-term status of the Chesapeake Bay Program. Both Senator Kaine and Representative Wittman stated how important it will be for localities to monitor the debate in Congress over the budget for FY 2018.
VACo Contact: Larry Land, CAE