General Assembly: Keynote will Focus on
Member caucus sessions at the TMACOG General Assembly are a valuable time to meet with peers and create firmer partnerships as we face a new federal government and all the uncertainties it presents.
To make our caucus time effective and efficient, please let TMACOG know what you think are the most important issues you face. Economic development opportunities? Maintaining infrastructure? Crime? As we plan for a new year of effective action at the General Assembly, please contact Jennifer Allen
(419.241.9155 ext. 107).
|2017 General Assembly
Monday, January 30
8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Holiday Inn French Quarter
See the complete agenda and register online here. Please register by January 20. The General Assembly begins with caucus sessions at 8:30 a.m. and the election of members of the Board of Trustees. The business meeting will follow. This is the annual TMACOG business meeting and includes the election of officers and a vote to change the bylaws. The luncheon follows with a keynote speaker from U.S. Customs and Border Protection based in Sandusky.
This year, newly elected officials are invited to attend a “pre-game” breakfast at 7:30 a.m. in J. Patricks’s Restaurant before the rest of the program begins. This is an opportunity for people new to elected responsibilities to meet with TMACOG President Tim W. Brown and other senior staff and learn about the services and resources available to them as TMACOG members.
The 2017 keynote speaker is Matthew J. Grupe. He is the Patrol Agent in Charge at Sandusky Bay Station, U.S. Customs & Border Protection. He will answer some questions for the audience: How does the U.S. Border Patrol operate in the Lake Erie region? How do local elected officials, law enforcement, business owners, and citizens help in addressing networked threats to our region and nation?
Contact Jennifer Allen with any questions: 419.241.9155 ext. 107.
Persons requesting special accommodations due to limited English proficiency, disabilities of language, mobility, or other handicap are invited to contact TMACOG Accessibility Coordinator Jennifer Allen (419.241.9155, ext. 107).
Thank you to Poggemeyer Design Group, Inc.for hosting the breakfast for newly elected officials.
TMACOG Annual Report
An interactive annual report for fiscal year 2016 has been posted on tmacog.org here. This flipbook outlines major accomplishments for the fiscal year July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016.
During the year, TMACOG staff and partners completed major policy documents, published essential reports on road safety and intelligent transportation system architecture, and finalized the structure of the new Water Quality department. There was a significant change in leadership as Tony Reams retired after 15 years as president. The Board of Trustees selected Tim W. Brown to be his replacement. Brown resigned his office as Ohio State Representative of the 3rd District in Wood County and took over at TMACOG in July.
“As I’m starting my new role at TMACOG, I’ve naturally been thinking about how things change. In one way TMACOG is an agency that holds a steady course. I’m only the sixth permanent president in 49 years. But as I review what was accomplished by TMACOG last year, one major theme hits me – we are always looking forward and embracing change.”
Tim W. Brown
Update on a Year in Road Construction
We can measure progress in regional road construction by the reduced number of barrels, but a look at the dollars is also educational. In January of 2016, there was about $900 million in active construction underway in northwest Ohio. Nearly 12 months later, there is about $331 million still active. We can see that about $570 million dollars’ worth of construction was completed this year.
Changes to Regional Railroad Traffic
The Adrian & Blissfield Rail Road Company (ADBF) has made a proposal to the Federal Railroad Administration to build an extension to their rail line from Riga Junction in Lenawee County to Ottawa Lake in Monroe County. The eight miles of new track would create a direct connection to Norfolk Southern’s main east-west line which extends into Ohio, dramatically lowering shipping costs and transport time. The ADBF transports about 6,000 car loads annually, mostly farming chemicals. ADBF already owns the property right-of-way; they are seeking funding one time to build the tracks.
Re-routing on the new line would increase rail traffic on the Ohio side of the border. Train volume between Adrian, Michigan and the Airline Junction yard in Toledo would increase by one northbound and one southbound per day, possibly increasing to two each way. Currently, that section of the NS line carries only one to three trains a week with the highest traffic during harvest time. The increase in traffic from ADBF trains could cause delays at at-grade crossings in Toledo and Sylvania: Monroe St., Sylvania Ave., and Holland-Sylvania Rd.; and areas around the University of Toledo main campus including Bancroft St., Dorr St., and Hill Ave. ADBF would schedule the new traffic to avoid busy traffic times. They have been in discussion with the affected municipalities.
ADBF has stated that they are willing to work with bicycle advocates on possible rail-with-trail pathways along the new Michigan section.
Ohio Bicyclists Protected by New 3-foot Rule
Ohio Governor John Kasich has signed HB 154 into law, establishing safe passing distance for cars passing bicyclists. The old law mentioned only “safe” passing distance. The new law, which goes into effect March 19, 2017, defines that distance as a yardstick: three feet. Twenty-six other states have already adopted the standard. An agreed-upon passing margin will improve safety for cyclists, and it’s an enforceable statute. The bill was passed by the House last May and by the Senate on December 12, 2016.
Unblock Those Storm Drains
Due to this fall’s late leaf drop, many cities and villages still have leaves piled up in the streets even as winter snows arrive. Leaves left in curbed streets can block storm drains, leading to flooded roads and sometimes flooded basements. Leaves that clog the drains can also decompose there, releasing phosphorus into our waterways and contributing to harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie.
TMACOG stormwater planners advise preventive action. Find the storm sewer nearest you. Clear the leaves away from it and create a path for stormwater to get to it. Planners suggest leaving 18” between the curb and the leaves and snow. Or shovel the leaves out of the street and move them to your flower beds or compost pile.
Welcome Kris Barnswell, Water Quality Planner
After TMACOG reorganized the Water Quality department and created several new committees, work began to add staff. After a long search TMACOG is pleased to welcome Kris Barnswell who started December 1. Barnswell sees his new position as bringing together all his education and research experience and starting a new career where he hopes to help solve regional problems related to water quality.
Kris Barnswell was born and raised in Toledo and graduated from Whitmer High School. He now lives with his family in the City of Waterville. His PhD dissertation at the University of Toledo evaluated the beneficial re-use of dredged materials from the Maumee River as a final cover for landfills and selected native plants to minimize water infiltration. As a post-doc and research assistant professor, he worked with Dr. Daryl Dwyer of the University of Toledo on the model wetland and sedimentation pond at Wolf Creek near Maumee Bay State Park.
Barnswell’s first major project at TMACOG is to build upon work already begun to identify failing septic systems in a 19-county region, create a nutrient inventory based on that data, and to create a model defining the phosphorus load to Lake Erie that is coming from those sources. He will also be learning more about “all the pipes,” he said: the sewers, water supply, water distribution and other aspects of water infrastructure. This knowledge is important as he starts work on the Areawide Water Quality Management Plan (the 208 Plan), which is the major work of the Wastewater Committee. He will also be the staff liaison for the Watersheds and Water Supply committees.
Kristopher Barnswell, PhD
Water Quality Planner
TMACOG Planner Certified
Rebekka Apardian, a TMACOG Transportation Planner since 2015, has earned certification from the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). This designation is an accomplishment that requires significant investment of time and study. Apardian qualified by virtue of a graduate degree, two years of professional experience, satisfactory completion of essays and application materials, and finally, a comprehensive examination. People with AICP certification are committed to ongoing professional training every year. Certification is endorsement of Apardian’s essential skills that serve TMACOG members.
“We’re pleased for Bekka,” said David Gedeon, TMACOG vice president of Transportation. “And we’re very proud to demonstrate high levels of professionalism in our staff.”
Rebekka Apardian AICP,
TMACOG Transportation Planner.
Thank you for your membership
Thank you to Northwood Local Schools. The district was the first TMACOG member to renew for 2017. We appreciate the schools’ support for and participation in TMACOG. Northwood is in the middle of a construction project to build a new school which should be complete in the fall of 2017. Watch the construction progress and learn more about the school district at their website.
Schools are governmental members of TMACOG. About a dozen school districts, colleges, and universities are members and caucus together at the annual General Assembly.
Directory of Public Officials
The TMACOG staff has begun to update contact information and meeting times for every County, City, Village, and Township in a six-county area, as well as County information in an additional nine counties in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. Every jurisdiction will be asked to confirm their information to ensure that the published directory is as complete and accurate as possible. Thank you for you cooperation in this undertaking. The annual Directory of Elected Officials is consistently cited as a popular benefit of membership in TMACOG.
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