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February 22, 2017 Regional Council Activity Report

Phoenix (February 22, 2017)

Executive Director’s Report

We began our February Regional Council meeting with a look back at MAG’s beginnings. April 12, 2017, will mark 50 years that MAG has been serving the region. One way MAG is marking its Golden Anniversary is with a series of videos summarizing each decade. The first video reminds us of the early leadership of MAG. From the first sounding of the gavel in 1967, MAG has relied on the direction and support of elected officials. Local governments are the unit of government closest to the people, and are best suited for making regional decisions that impact critical areas of our lives. 

The video noted that MAG’s beginnings were different in a number of ways. To ensure local control was maintained, the elected officials asked the League of Arizona Cities and Towns to assign staff to perform MAG functions. This included naming Jack DeBolske as MAG Secretary to head the organization. This low-key approach helped in the acceptance of MAG as the regional planning body. Jack also structured MAG to ensure that city and town managers, who have a deep institutional knowledge of the issues in their communities, had a voice at the table by forming a Management Committee. This structure makes MAG different from other planning organizations in the U.S.

Of particular note in the video was the reminder that many achievements take persistence and leadership. Our freeway system was laid out even before MAG was formed, when Wilbur Smith and Associates, working with 10 local planners and engineers, completed the Major Street and Highway Plan for the Phoenix area in 1960. This plan contained the major elements of the regional freeway system that we drive on today. But as we will hear in our video next month, funding the system created great challenges and required the cooperation of both elected officials and the private sector to move forward.

Taking a look at the past provides insight into the many ways we have evolved and why MAG remains relevant 50 years later. At the meeting, I noted how MAG’s new freight model was nationally acclaimed by the Transportation Research Board as the “Best Data Fusion Application.” This freight model looked at driver behavior in the megaregion to examine freight flows by industry. The model uses traditional and underutilized data sources to fill an important data gap. This is a great example of the quality staff at MAG that has been supported by the Regional Council.

We also heard an update regarding the 9-1-1 system, which was implemented by MAG in 1985 and continues to be overseen by MAG today. The MAG 9-1-1 Study Committee recommended using a consultant to assist in the development and validation of the region’s 9-1-1 plan. We look forward to the consultant’s recommendations. We need to work with the state to get better certainty as to how and where 9-1-1 tax revenues are allocated. The region is significantly invested in 9-1-1 services and it is critical that we continue to provide this essential public safety element while adapting to technology changes. Residents not only rely on 9-1-1, they look to their local governments to ensure the integrity and reliability of the system. 

These issues serve as an example that, whether revisiting the past or looking to the future, the support and leadership of our member agencies help keep us nimble and relevant to the region and its residents.
For more information, please contact Dennis Smith, MAG Executive Director, (602) 254-6300.

Meeting Report for Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Action Items

Revisions to the MAG Regional Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Protocol
Apache Junction Police Chief Thomas Kelly provided an update on the MAG Regional Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Protocol Model, a tool developed to improve the way domestic violence offenders are arrested across the region. The model provides a list of recommended practices to increase offender accountability, while maintaining victim and officer safety and preserving valuable resources. The protocol model was revised through collaborative multidisciplinary community meetings to align with current promising practices. Results of previous implementation surveys show that 100 percent of law enforcement agencies in the region have implemented some or all of the protocols practice into agency policy. The Regional Council voted to approve the revisions.
For more information, please contact Amy Rebenar, MAG Human Services Planner, (602) 254-6300. 

Information Items

Update on the MAG 9-1-1 Study Committee
The Regional Council heard an update on the MAG 9-1-1 Study Committee’s efforts to develop a planning document that will help the region determine technical needs in future years and assist in developing budgets accordingly. The MAG 9-1-1 Study Committee’s report includes an overview of Maricopa Region 9-1-1, the formation of the regional 9-1-1 system, the role of MAG, the current technical and fiscal status of regional 9-1-1, and the future needs and outlook of the regional system. Maricopa County residents pay only 20 cents per phone account for 9-1-1 service, the lowest in the country. 

The MAG 9-1-1 Study Committee, co-chaired by Mesa City Manager Chris Brady and Glendale City Manager Kevin Phelps, recommended using a third party, Federal Engineering/Kimball, to assist in the development and validation of the region’s 9-1-1 plan. This includes fiscal considerations, including how funding is allocated to the MAG region from the Arizona Department of Administration. MAG hopes to work with the state in defining multiyear budgeting to get better certainty as to how and where 9-1-1 excise tax revenues are allocated.
For more information, please contact Nathan Pryor, MAG Government Relations Manager, (602) 254-6300.

Regional Freeway and Highway Program—2016 Rebalancing Update
MAG staff provided committee members an update on the rebalancing of the estimated $908 million in newly available funds in the Regional Freeway and Highway Program. Since the last update provided at the October 2016 meeting, MAG staff has met extensively with member agencies and Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) to strategize cash flow in sequencing and scheduling the funded and rebalancing projects, all of which are in the Regional Transportation Plan.

Projects programmed include the Loop 202/South Mountain Freeway project, which is currently under construction and is the largest construction project in ADOT history. Investment for the South Mountain Freeway is $1.8 billion, while projects yet to be completed total approximately $3.5 billion. Staff has identified the sequencing plan for applying the project surplus and is scheduling more than 25 freeway projects with construction starting in 2018. Planning efforts continue as the program’s cash flow is under study and pre-construction activities are reviewed to identify the appropriate scheduling for the Regional Freeway and Highway Program. The rebalancing effort is expected to be concluded this summer.
For more information, please contact Bob Hazlett, Senior Engineering Project Manager, (602) 254-6300.

Development of the Draft FY 2018 Work Program and Annual Budget 
Each year, staff develops the MAG Unified Planning Work Program and Annual Budget. The Work Program is reviewed annually by federal agencies and approved by the Regional Council in May. In January, MAG presented a review of the proposed new projects and draft dues and assessments for FY 2018. Staff noted that this month evaluation of new and continuing projects is underway.
For more information, please contact Rebecca Kimbrough, MAG Fiscal Services Manager, (602) 254-6300.

Next Meeting

Please note that the next meeting of the MAG Regional Council will be held on Wednesday, March 29, 2017, at 11:30 a.m. at the MAG offices, 302 N. 1st Avenue, Phoenix, second floor, Saguaro Room. Agenda items are expected to include an update on the Central Arizona Conservation Alliance’s Open Spaces Plan; changes to regionally significant transportation projects; update on the Regional Freeway and Highway Program rebalancing effort; development of the draft FY 2018 MAG Unified Planning Work Program and Annual Budget; and a continuation of the celebration of MAG’s 50th anniversary with videos looking back at achievements by decade, this time highlighting the second ten years. Additional agenda items are pending. 
For more information, please contact Dennis Smith, MAG Executive Director, (602) 254-6300.

Feb 22, 2017
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