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Focus Archive - April 2009

Please note that Focus section links were valid at the time of their original posting. However, since Web sites and addresses change frequently, we cannot guarantee that all links will remain operative.

Study Shows Effectivenes of Strategies Adopted by US Cities During the 1918-1919 Influenza Pandemic (April 30)
A recent study found a strong association between early, sustained, and layered application of nonpharmaceutical interventions by US Cities and mitigating the consequences of the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic in the United States. More from the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Wireless at Work (April 30)
The latest technology moves public services from the office to the field. More from American City & County.

Grounded (April 30)
Times are tough at small airports. More from Governing.

Agencies Collaborating: Affair of the Year (April 30)
Radical change is brewing in how Washington impacts growth and development of America’s communities. More from Citiwire.

Residential Mover Rate in U.S. is Lowest Since 1948 (April 30)
The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that the national mover rate declined from 13.2 percent in 2007 to 11.9 percent in 2008 — the lowest rate since the bureau began tracking these data in 1948. More from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Why Conservatives Should Care About Transit (April 30)
Public transit and walkable neighborhoods are necessary for the creation of a country where families and communities can flourish. More from Public Discourse.

New Century Infrastructure: Where’s the Plan??? (April 30)
The United States desperately requires a forward-looking plan for 21st century infrastructure that can support and sustain renewed economic growth and accommodate 100 million more Americans over the next 40 years. More from Citiwire.

Port Privatization Trend Growing (April 30)
More ports looking to public-private partnerships to fund improvements and expansion. More from the Reason Foundation.

Public Records Disclosure Requests By Inmates (April 30)
If an inmate is using the public records act disclosure process to harass or annoy public agencies or public employees, there is a new law that provides a process to obtain a court order enjoining (prohibiting) such conduct. This new legislation will have limited application, but could be very helpful to those agencies that are impacted. See SSB 5130, Laws of 2009, Chapter 10.

ATTACKing Auto Theft in Washington State: The Redmond Initiative (April 30)
Redmond's Auto Theft Tactical Analysis Center for King County (ATTACK) program has demonstrated its effectiveness in combating auto theft in a large geographic area that spans multiple law enforcement jurisdictions. More from The Police Chief.

Infrastructure Madness (April 30)
Don't believe everything you read about the failing bridges and antiquated waterworks. More from Slate.

Celebrating 75 Years of Research and Services! (April 23)
MRSC proudly continues the program begun as the Bureau of Governmental Research and Services in 1934 at the University of Washington. In honor of our organization’s 75th anniversary, we hope that you will enjoy a multimedia slideshow containing highlights of our history. Also see “Twenty-Five Years of Governmental Research and Service” prepared in honor of the Bureau’s 25th anniversary in 1959.

Reminder - Identity Theft Red Flag Rules (April 22)
The Federal Trade Commission will begin enforcement of the 'red flags' rule requiring creditors and financial institutions to have identity theft prevention programs on May 1, 2009. For more information, see MRSC's "Identity Theft Red Flags Rules" Web Page.

Performance Measures for Snow and Ice Control Operations (April 22)
A new report from the Transportation Research Board, Performance Measures for Snow and Ice Control Operations, explores methods and measures for assessing agency and contractor performance in snow and ice control operations.

Are Cities to Blame for Climate Change? (April 22)
The authors of a study published in Environment and Urbanization take on the role of detective trying to find who is releasing the emissions creating climate change. Their hope is to clear cities as the prime suspect. More from Sightline Daily.

GASB Issues New Accounting, Financial Reporting Standards (April 22)
The Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) has issued new standards of accounting and financial reporting that will affect all counties and are intended to improve the clarity and consistency of the fund balance information provided to financial report users. More from NACo's County News.

Uneven Stimulus (April 22)
The feds are dumping piles of stimulus dollars on all 50 states, but when you look behind the 11-digit numbers, some interesting disparities emerge. More from Governing.

Improving Quality of Life with Workforce Housing (April 22)
In areas with high housing costs, a workforce housing program can provide individuals with the opportunity to own or rent a home at affordable prices in the communities where they work. More from Breakthroughs.

Digging for Dollars (April 22)
When it comes to stimulus money for new projects, fortune favors the prepared city. More from Governing.

Track Service Requests with MRSC's Citizen Help Desk (April 22)
MRSC has developed a citizen help desk that allows your city or county to log, assign and track service requests from citizens and businesses that arrive via telephone, email, online form or in person. MRSC hosts and updates the system for a low-cost annual fee based on population served. Larger agencies can receive the programming code to host on your own server for an initial setup fee. To learn more about the system, sign up for a brief introductory online demonstration or contact us at mrsc@mrsc.org.

Running Business Like a Government (April 22)
There's a lot that government does right. The private sector ought to take a few notes. More from Governing.

The Pain of Cutting Payroll (April 22)
Whacked by budget deficits and with no end to sluggish economies in sight, states, cities and counties have been forced to make the hardest cuts of all — workforce reductions. More from Governing.

MRSC Blog: Selected Local Government Press Releases (April 22)
We have launched our blog containing selected local government press releases to keep you informed on new Washington local government programs and initiatives. Each entry is assigned a category (finance, planning, etc.) and a tag (wetlands, urban forestry, etc.) so you can sort them by topic. If you have not already done so, please add blog@mrsc.org to your agency's press release distribution list.

Records Management Seminar (April 16)
Washington State Archives is pleased to announce the opening of the registration for the Records Management Seminar “Be Budget Wise – Using Records Management to Save $$” to be held on May 7 from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Digital Archives - EWU Campus in Cheney, Washington (register now).

Small Public Works Roster Limits Raised (April 15)
Governor Gregoire has signed HB 1196 (Chapter 74, 2009 Laws), raising the maximum dollar amount allowed for use of a small works roster process (RCW 39.04.155) from $200,000 to $300,000, effective July 26th, 2009. In addition the dollar amount requiring notification of all contractors on the roster (see RCW 39.04.155 (2c)) has also been changed - from between $100,000 and $200,000 to between $150,000 and $300,000.

Public/Private Partnerships in Transportation (April 15)
Public/private partnerships in transportation, long prevalent in other parts of the world, are becoming increasingly popular in U.S. states and cities searching for infrastructure funding alternatives. More from Urban Land.

Citizen Police Academies: A Model for Smaller Agencies (April 15)
Citizen police academies (CPAs) have become one of the most beneficial programs developed under the community-based policing philosophy. More from The Police Chief.

Federal Grants for Pipeline Safety Planning (April 15)
The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, has announced the availability of $1 million in technical assistance to grants in the form of engineering or other scientific analysis of pipeline safety issues and to help promote public participation in official proceedings. The closing date for applications is May 28, 2009.

Smart City - Elsewhere U.S.A. (April 15)
Technology has given birth to a new place, according to Dalton Conley, author of the new book, Elsewhere USA. In it he describes the way the American social landscape has changed from the 1950's ideal of a split between work and home, to a constantly connected 24-hour economy. More from Smart City.

The Greening of Mercer Island (April 15)
Mercer Island is taking big steps to become a more sustainable place. City Communications Coordinator, Joy Johnston, tells ICMA TV more about Mercer Island and what the city is doing to focus on environmental improvements.

Report on Airport Land-Use Zoning Restrictions (April 15)
A new report from the Transportation Research Board, Responsibility for Implementation and Enforcement of Airport Land-Use Zoning Restrictions, explores federal, state, and local laws and regulations pertaining to aviation land use and zoning.

Sometimes Weird Works (April 15)
Imagine public executives hiring deviants, rewarding failures, or injecting their agencies with truth serum. More from Bob Behn's Public Management Report.

Brookings Report Assesses Impacts of Stimulus Spending (April 15)
A new Brookings report, Metro Potential in ARRA: An Early Assessment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, provides an initial overview of the intent, approach, and content of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) from the point of view of metropolitan America.

Cities Taking Measures to Stimulate their Local Economies (April 15)
Building on national economic recovery efforts, local governments across the nation are strategically assessing the needs of their communities and employing creative solutions to stimulate business growth and development. More from Nation's Cities Weekly.

Housing Migrates Back to Cities (April 15)
An EPA study finds exurbs are losing market share while downtown corridors are making a comeback. More from Builder.

MacArthur Foundation Pumps $32 Million Into Affordable Housing (April 08)
The MacArthur Foundation recently announced it is injecting $32 million into the preservation and creation of affordable housing in the U.S. The organization is giving $9.5 million worth of grants, plus an additional $23 million in low-interest loans, to programs in 12 different states. More from Architectural Record.

Talk to Me (April 08)
What is the point of upgrading communication technology if public officials cannot settle who is in charge and what procedures to follow? More from American City & County.

Unplugged (April 08)
As local governments continue to assess how technology might improve the efficiency and productivity of departments and processes, they will invariably cross paths with wireless technology. More from American City & County.

Fund Balance: New and Improved (April 08)
Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement No.54, issued in February 2009, will not affect the calculation of fund balance, but will fundamentally alter the various components used to report it. More from Government Finance Review.

Making Everybody a Crimefighter (April 08)
When crime blights a community, the police are just part of the solution. The key to turning things around is to engage the community itself. More from Governing.

O Citizen, Where Art Thou? (April 08)
Getting public input into the budget-writing process sounds easier than it is. More from Governing.

Managing Your Budget: Making Tough Decisions in Tough Times (April 08)
For managers, the challenge is to estimate accurately the relationship between two independent resource streams—revenues and expenditures—for their local governments. More from Public Management.

Smart City - Century of the City (April 08)
A century ago, only one in 10 people lived in an urban environment. 100 years later, a majority of us call a city home. Darren Walker offers a fascinating global perspective on the Century of the City, the title of the new book on Smart City.

Web Sightings - American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (April 08)
This month we’ve selected key Web sites addressing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) passed by the Congress in February 2009 and signed by President Obama. The funds from the ARRA are primarily distributed through state agencies that have established programs for disbursing federal funds. In Washington, the AWC Web site and the state’s Economic Recovery site are excellent starting points for information.

Federal Information on Economic Recovery Resources

Washington State Economic Recovery Resources

General Information on Economic Recovery Programs

Selected Economic Recovery Information from Washington Jurisdictions

Report on Outcome-Oriented Performance Measurement (April 08)
A new report from the IBM Center for the Business of Government, Moving Toward Outcome-Oriented Performance Measurement Systems, provides examples of outcome-oriented performance measurement systems across the country and offers recommendations on how to develop useful measurement systems that other communities can act upon.

Need more information?

Feel free to Ask MRSC. Washington cities, counties, and our contract partners can call or email MRSC for more information and advice - free of charge.