ECIA Connecting People
East Central Intergovernmental Association
A message from
Executive Director Kelley Deutmeyer
As I reflect back on the last fiscal year, it is clear our accomplishments are the results of hard work and great collaboration with partners and member governments. The most important thing we forget as we get caught up in bottom lines and budgets, is that our daily work has a direct impact on our most valuable asset: the citizens that live and work in the region. During this past fiscal year, we have worked to advance our mission to make Eastern Iowa a better place to live and work through empowering our communities and working to provide a better quality of life for their citizens. This year’s annual report focuses on stories from around our region illustrating how our work touches the lives of people who reside in the communities we serve. This years’ projects included: an eight-county freight study which includes the creation of a commodity flow database and prioritization of future improvements; working closely with Jackson County Economic Alliance staff on raising funds to implement the Keep Iowa Beautiful Hometown Pride Program in FY18; working with Clinton County on securing funding to implement their Keep Iowa Beautiful Hometown Pride program; working with communities to assess brownfields sites through our regional Brownfields grant program; our Housing Trust Fund was awarded $281,187 in funding for housing improvements in the region; 12 new loans were funded through ECIA Business Growth, Inc. totaling more than $3,442,900; and we worked closely with the University of Iowa Sustainable Communities program on ten community related projects in the region. The RTA provided transportation to over 1,300 people, connecting them to life’s destinations; the Community Development department conducted 1,262 inspections ensuring homes and commercial buildings are safe and ready for occupancy; and the employment and training staff worked with 6,300 clients in their quest to upgrade their skills to find new employment. 1
ECIAâ€™s funding sources are depicted below, with the largest funding source being the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Through the Eastern Iowa Regional Housing Authority, over $6,220,043 a year in rental assistance is provided in their seven-county region helping more than 1,400 households. ECIA has seen an increase in our special contracts and service billings with special projects such as the eightcounty freight study; grant writing and fundraising services for municipalities and non-profits; and working with the City of Dubuque on the HUD Resiliency program. As an organization, we are always evolving and searching for that next opportunity for our member governments and their citizens. We will continue to adapt and change to our communitiesâ€™ needs. I always enjoy hearing from our member governments, so please do not hesitate to contact me with your questions or ideas! Thank you for your continued support of ECIA!
FY 17 Funding Sources US Department of Commerce 1.2% State Funds 0.5% Service Fees & Assessments 7.3%
US Department of Agriculture Long Term Borrowing 0.6% 0.8% Corporation for National and Membership Community Fees Service 1.4% 0.1% Private Grants 0.3% Environmental Protection Agency 0.8%
Agency Service Billings 30.3%
US Department of Transportation 5.5%
US Department of Housing & Urban Development 45.6% US Department of Labor 5.5%
Connecting People to
a Safe Residence
Approximately 39 years ago, ECIA identified a need in the region – to provide low and moderate-income families and elderly, access to safe, clean, and affordable housing. Working through the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the US Department of Agriculture, and Iowa Finance Authority, staff are able to annually help over 1,500 families to meet a basic human need through the following resources: Eastern Iowa Regional Housing Authority, Eastern Iowa Regional Housing Corporation, and the EIRHC Housing Trust Fund. Along with housing assistance, tenants are able to work toward finding employment, obtaining a GED, enrolling in college, increasing self-esteem, analyzing and organizing finances, rebuilding credit, developing a resume, and connecting with social service agencies through the Family Self-Sufficiency program. The following story comes from an individual who successfully completed the program in FY 17: “The Family Self-Sufficiency/Housing Program has helped me a great deal over the past seven years. I lived in this unit while getting my LPN from NICC and continued to live here after I acquired my first nursing job. Attending and graduating with my nursing degree is the most difficult but most rewarding goal I have achieved. This program played a major role in my success. My daughter has been able to attend the local catholic school and be a part of community events. We have loved living here and made long lasting memories. My future plans are to continue to live in the Holy Cross area and to purchase my first home within the next two years.” ~ FSS Participant. “I am so passionate about this part of my job because I get to work closely with FSS participants through assessing and identifying their goals and then get to witness their successes as they meet those goals. It is a constant reminder of why this program is important and how it can positively impact lives,” said the ECIA staff person who worked closely with the above participant. Everyone has a fundamental human right to have a place to call “home”, and ECIA has been a steadfast resource in connecting all who need it to housing. 3
Connecting People to
Essential Utility Services
Over the years, ECIA community development staff have provided assistance to communities for services they do not have the capacity to do such as grant writing and administration, preparation of city codes, ordinances and resolutions, planning projects, housing rehabilitation, building inspections, and other city services. While ECIA has assisted many of our cities with accessing funding for water and sewer utilities, the smaller cities and unincorporated communities were struggling to access funding. As a result, ECIA created and staffs the Eastern Iowa Regional Utility Services System (EIRUSS) to address the need for systems that would provide a quality water source or proper disposal and treatment of wastewater. EIRUSS currently owns and operates two water systems and three wastewater systems and has five additional projects in various stages of development. ECIA staff also work closely with other cities in the region to secure USDA Rural Development grants and loans and Community Development Block grants to construct new water and wastewater systems. For example, during FY 17, ECIA assisted the city of Spragueville with the administration of their CDBG grant for their wastewater treatment facility. The total project cost was $291,873 and the grant was for $81,000. “When it became clear that our community needed to address our wastewater treatment facility, I didn’t know where to begin. Naturally, one of my first calls was to ECIA, as they have many years of experience with these types of projects. After talking with staff, they reassured me they would handle all the administrative tasks for the grant program so I would not be overwhelmed,” said Betty Portz, Spragueville City Clerk. ECIA community development staff also conduct building inspections for the cities of Asbury and Peosta and completed the first year of rental property inspections in the city of Maquoketa. Another major activity in fiscal year 2017 was assisting the City of Dubuque with the administration of its $31.5 million HUD Resiliency Grant for the rehabilitation of housing and storm sewer improvements in the Bee Branch Watershed.
Connecting People to
Timber Lanes was established in 1990, in Maquoketa, Iowa. The other bowling alley in town closed, so Louie Clasen saw an opportunity to better his family’s life and to better the community. Louie bought farmland east of town and started construction in April, and by the first bowling season in August, 1990 Timber Lanes was open for business. Throughout the years, Timber Lanes has adapted to the changing times. New synthetic lanes were added and parts on the back machines were updated. Softball and sand volleyball courts were built in the back for the slower summer months. After 27 years, it was time for Timber Lanes to once again grow. The Timber Center was completed and opened in August of 2017. The Timber Center is a large banquet hall that can host events of 300-500 people for weddings, anniversaries, benefits, business meetings/conventions, and so much more. This is the perfect complement to the recreational complex. E.C.I.A. Business Growth, Inc. assisted the Clasens with obtaining an SBA 504 loan to provide the financing for the addition of the new banquet hall. The $ 1,050,000 project included the building addition, fixtures, furniture, and refinancing the existing debt on the property. E.C.I.A. Business Growth, Inc. provided a loan of $367,500 for 35% of the project costs. Maquoketa State Bank provided $525,000.00 of first mortgage financing for 50% of project costs. The business provided a 15% down payment. “This project fills a need of having more event space in Maquoketa and the surrounding area to have wedding receptions, anniversary parties, and other events, while helping a family-owned business expand. It grows the local economy and also enhances the quality of life,” commented ECIA Economic Development staff. From inception in 1983 through June 30, 2017, the Board of Directors has approved 338 loans. This includes 183 SBA 503/504 loans totaling $79,514,200 and 154 RLF loans totaling $22,846,358 for a grand total of $102,360,558. With 4,036 jobs created and 1,251 retained, these loan projects have also produced a significant amount of new property tax revenue for our local governments and school districts. 7
The Clasens, in their new Timber Center banquet hall.
Connecting People to
ECIA’s Employment and Training Department in partnership with Northeast Iowa Community College and Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission administered the Department of Labor Youth Career Connect Grant during FY17 to develop new and expand existing concurrent enrollments to regional high schools, in high demand H-1B industries. The education and experiential learning components of the grant enable youth participants to graduate high school and enter the workforce with industry credentials or begin their college education with credits already completed. Statistics on the career pathways for the 1,124 students enrolled are as follows: Advanced Manufacturing = 95; Business & Finance = 113; Health = 498; Information Technology = 14; Science/Technology/Engineering/ Math = 139; Other/Undecided = 265. ECIA’s Employment and Training Department also assists low-income adults, dislocated workers, and disadvantaged youth in providing job search assistance, connecting to training opportunities, and securing employment. This regional collaboration served 6,300 job seeking customers in FY17 under Title I and Title III of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The following is one of the many IowaWORKS Region 1 success stories in 2017: Tonya Millard was recognized as a 2017 Iowa Job Honor Award recipient, an initiative that recognizes Iowans who have overcome employment barriers. Millard was rejected after many face-to-face interviews for reasons that were never made clear. “There was an elephant in the room,” said Millard, “and that elephant was my age.” ECIA Employment and Training staff, encouraged her to tackle the issue of age head-on. “When she embraced it and called it out, that was key,” says ECIA Staff. Millard’s next interview was for Executive Director of Social Services at the Dubuque YMCA/YWCA. She was quickly hired. Her duties include managing a victim services shelter for women. “If businesses want the hard worker, the dedicated worker,” says Millard, “they need to open their eyes to the experienced worker.”
Tonya Millard, accepting her 2017 Iowa Job Honor Award.
Connecting People to ‘
The Region 8 Regional Transit Authority (RTA) was formed in 1978 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization for the purpose of connecting the elderly, disabled, youth and low income citizens in Delaware, Dubuque and Jackson counties to critical services like healthcare, counseling, nutrition, childcare, education, employment, and social venues. The RTA provides accessible, safe, convenient, and efficient transportation for all citizens in the cities, communities and rural areas of the RTA region to enhance their quality of life. The RTA received a Federal Rides to Wellness Grant in FY 17. The RTA was the only grant recipient in the State of Iowa to receive a Rides to Wellness grant. Between this grant and many community partners, the RTA has expanded their services to address the challenges for transportation relating to healthcare and wellness, in Delaware County. “My family is busy working, and my social service worker said they (the RTA) will pick you up at the farm. I said OK, I’ll do that! They’ve been great to me!” proclaimed Vernon Becker. The RTA has provided over 145,000 rides in the past year, covering just shy of 420,000 miles in Delaware, Dubuque, and Jackson Counties. The RTA provides services to over 25 communities in these three counties. Riders can access services for medical appointments, work, school, shopping, social activities and so much more. “The RTA is essential to provide these services in our community, especially to the people who do not have family around or other arrangements for transportation,” added an ARC staff person. “If we didn’t have public transportation, we wouldn’t be able to get places, especially things like doctors’ appointments,” concluded an ARC consumer.
Vernon Becker, ready to ride with the RTA.
Connecting People to
The ECIA Transportation Department works with communities to provide safe and efficient transportation in the ECIA area. ECIA staff coordinate transportation projects with cities and counties through two regional committees: the Dubuque Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (DMATS) serves communities in the metropolitan area surrounding the City of Dubuque, and Regional Planning Affiliation 8 (RPA 8) serves the communities in Clinton, Delaware, Dubuque, and Jackson Counties. Through DMATS and RPA 8, ECIA staff prepare plans and identify transportation improvements for the development of the transportation system in both urban and rural areas. In rural communities, ECIA transportation staff have been working to help cities with populations under 5,000 complete needed transportation projects. In FY 2017, ECIA transportation planning staff helped facilitate the Dubuque County Board of Supervisors’ Rural County Transportation Program (RCTP). The RCTP helps small cites implement non-federal aid transportation projects. The Dubuque County Board of Supervisors approved $75,000 in local funds to distribute to small cities through a competitive application process. The maximum annual award amount provided by the RCTP to a city was $25,000. All municipal governmental agencies established through State of Iowa statutes in Dubuque County were eligible to apply to the RCTP. The City of Cascade’s 1st Avenue School Crossing Safety Project was a successful RCTP application. The City of Cascade will place two sets of flashing beacons at crossings near Cascade Elementary School and Aquin Elementary School. The RCTP fully funded the City’s request of $7,316. The total project cost was $14,632. “The grant application was easy to understand and the requirements were reasonable for a local grant program,” explained Deanna McCusker, Cascade City Administrator. “ECIA staff was great to work with when I had questions and I think it’s wonderful that there is a grant program for the smaller cities to apply for and not compete with bigger cities that would have more resources,” added McCusker. Transportation staff are currently working to expand the program to Clinton, Delaware, and Jackson Counties. 13
Two of the many students who will benefit from the flashing beacons at school crossings at Aquin, as well as Cascade Elementary.
Connecting People to
In FY 17 the East Central Development Corporation, ECIA’s 501c3 entity, began administering the Continuum of Care (CoC) and Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP) for the City of Dubuque. The CoC promotes community-wide commitment to end homelessness while the SNAP program provides permanent supportive housing to reduce the number of persons/households experiencing homelessness. The focus is on safe and affordable housing first and then provides supports to maintain housing followed by increased opportunities for better health, integration into the community, access to benefits and services, and economic stability. During the 2017 January State Point-In-Time count, staff found six individuals sleeping outside. One of these people had been outside for almost a year and was aware of shelter services, but chose to stay outside for mental health reasons. Staff established a trusting relationship with this person and soon was enrolled in the SNAP program which led to permanent supportive housing. Working closely with staff this person has reconnected with an income source and has been able to reestablish family relationships. Mental Illness is a constant struggle that can create many barriers in an individual’s life. In this case, it led to homelessness and a loss of a support system. The SNAP program is there to support these individuals so they are able to maintain permanent housing and connect to supportive services. ECIA also continues its partnership with the University of Iowa’s Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC), and managing the East Central Brownfields Coalition. Through the IISC partnership, nine projects have been completed. One of those projects was the brownfields inventory and prioritization project in FY 17. Second year students working toward a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Iowa created an Excel-based program to help inventory and prioritize brownfields sites in communities applying to the East Central Brownfields Coalition. The inventory tool is so useful that ECIA staff is modifying it for downtown revitalization inventorying that has been identified as need by several of our communities.
University of Iowa Urban and Regional Planning graduate students tour abandoned and underutilized sites in the ECIA region.
Connecting People to
Quality of Life
In 2013, ECIA launched its Fundraising Consulting services in response to a need for affordable fundraising, grant writing, and strategic planning assistance. Many small non-profit organizations cannot afford private fundraising consultants who charge a higher, base monthly fee. The Miracle League of Dubuque is a small nonprofit organization with a vision to build a Miracle League baseball field and all-inclusive playground for Dubuque area people with special needs. The group contracted with ECIA in FY 17 for fundraising and grant writing assistance to bring this asset to area families, like the Seays. “As a parent, all you want to do is to make wonderful memories with your children. However, when you have a disabled child, sometimes that can be challenging. Our younger son is in a wheelchair and finding locations where we can participate in typical childhood activities is difficult. What’s even more complicated is finding a play area for both our children. From the moment we learned that people were working to bring The Miracle League to Dubuque, we became excited.” ~ Steve and Brandie Seay. The total project cost is $3.5 million, and last fiscal year ECIA staff interviewed 35-40 community leaders for their input during a feasibility study and determined that the campaign goal was viable. In FY 17, nearly $850,000 was committed for this community project. ECIA staff also facilitated the following in FY 17: an outside needs assessment and strategic plan for the Clinton County Library Association; focus groups and community engagement sessions for the Dubuque YM/YWCA as they enter a capital campaign to fund a new facility; grant writing training for the City of Clinton and for the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque; and a Strategic Plan for the Clinton Fire Department.
The Steve and Brandie Seay family.
Connecting People to
Prosperity Eastern Iowa (PEI) is a four-county economic development partnership of Delaware, Dubuque, Jackson, and Jones Counties and the city of DeWitt and Clinton, working in cooperation to promote the region and expand economic segments, to retain and create jobs. ECIA staff has managed this initiative since its inception in 2005. A big focus that remains for the PEI group is workforce recruitment and retention. Workshops and trainings have been held over the last two years with economic development and business officials in regard to workplace culture, multi-generation workforce, retaining and attracting older workers, and succession planning. Through the Home-Based Iowa initiative and in partnership with the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the PEI group is focusing on workforce recruitment efforts of military personnel to the region through attending career events, specifically ones at military bases. Also in FY 17, because economic development and community development go hand-in-hand, ECIA staff concluded its third year of administering the USDA-funded ECIA Government Training Institute (GTI). The GTI focused on increasing the capacity of low-income communities in the ECIA region to implement projects in the areas of housing, community facilities, and community and economic development, through group training and one-on-one technical assistance. Staff facilitated 20 group trainings with nearly 200 people attending where they learned about: grant writing, fundraising, economic development 101, downtown revitalization, capital improvement planning, pocket neighborhood development, and much more! The GTI was a very popular program, and many of our members benefited, like Anita Dalton, Finance Director from the City of Clinton. “ECIA staff came directly to us and taught a two-hour grant writing/learning session - tailored to our specific needs. We don’t have the budget for a grant writer and so each department head is responsible for that endeavor. Other than local foundations, we didn’t really know how to reach out for other grant opportunities. ECIA staff was very thorough! We appreciated the time and attention devoted to our specific needs.” 19
Where Money? is the
■ ECIA Fund Alert (free)
■ ECIA Community Funding Guide (free) ■ Iowagrants.gov (free) ■ Grants.gov (free) ■ Foundation Directory Online (not free) ■ Efficient Gov (not free) ■ Google and Newspapers ■ Guidestar.org
City of Clinton Grant Writing Training.
Connecting People to
Many times, we administer municipal projects or ECIA gets grant funding for a project that would ultimately benefit our communities, and we assemble staff with different areas of expertise who work together to implement the projects. The Smarter Travel Study was one of those projects and FY 17 was the final year of this three-year study, which gathered staff from Transportation and Planning, Economic Development, and Administration. This study involved recruiting area volunteers to download a cell phone app in an effort to gather important travel data within the city of Dubuque. Over 900 volunteers participated and over 500 completed all the Study requirements over the course of the three-year study. Smarter Travel data helped with the next phase of the project; STREETS, which focuses on congestion. ECIA transportation staff are currently working with the City of Dubuque, the Iowa DOT, and the Federal Highway Administration on the initial stages of the STREETS project. The Smart Traffic Routing with Efficient and Effective Traffic Signals (STREETS) project will develop a smart, next-generation, traffic management and control system. Currently, drivers may not be aware of alternate routes that could reduce their travel time. The STREETS system will automatically monitor traffic. If the system detects congestion it will reroute traffic on to less congested routes by adjusting traffic signal timing and by providing route information to drivers using digital message signs and mobile apps. Another project involving department crossover in FY 17 was the Bi-State Economic Development Freight Study in partnership with Blackhawk Hills Council of Governments and the Iowa and Illinois Departments of Transportation. ECIA staff continued to be the lead partner on this study which includes eight total counties in Iowa and Illinois: Dubuque, Delaware, Jackson and Clinton Counties in Iowa; and Carroll, Jo Daviess, Stephenson and Whiteside Counties in Illinois. A comprehensive report will be the result of the study and will include (but not be limited to) the following: current and future freight bottlenecks and safety hot spots; costs/benefits of proposed solutions; prioritization of long, medium, and short-term improvements; and an inventory of regional freight facilities and characteristics. 21
View of bluff along Mississippi River in Dubuque, Iowa.
ECIA Executive Committee Beth Bonz, ECIA Chair, City Manager, City of Asbury Jack Willey, ECIA Vice Chair, Supervisor, Jackson County Board of Supervisors Roy Buol, Mayor, City of Dubuque Milt Kramer, Mayor, City of Manchester Bill Rediger, EIRHA Chair, Commissioner, EIRHA/EIRHC Ray Stephan, Council Member, City of Peosta Donald Thiltgen, Mayor, City of DeWitt Jim Vermazen, RWIB Member, Vermazen Tax Service Brian Wagner, City Manager, City of Tipton
East Central Intergovernmental Association 7600 Commerce Park - Dubuque, IA - 52002 - www.ecia.org