MINUTES

USDA Service Center

Jefferson City, Missouri

September 27, 2005

Present

Steve Oetting, President

 

Kathryn Braden, Taney County

Donald Jordan, Area I

Tom Lambert, Area II           

Steve Ratcliff, Livingston County

Roger Hansen, NRCS

Henry Heinze, Area III 

Beverly Dometrorch, Area IV

George Engelbach, Area V Elect  

Fred Feldmann, Area VI

Ernie Calvert, Area VII

Brad McCord, MDC

Sarah Fast, DNR Soil & Water Program

Bill Wilson, DNR Program Staff

Harry Robbins, Area VIII                  

 

David Dix, Treasurer

 

Peggy Lemons, Exec. Director

 

                                   

                       

President Steve Oetting welcomed everyone and called the meeting to order at 1:00 p.m. Introductions were made around the table.  Steve Oetting stated that the recent newsletter from the Program Office included pictures of the newly elected Area Directors.

 

The minutes from the May 23, 2004 meeting were approved as mailed.  The motion was made by Tom, seconded by Beverly.  Motion carried.

 

David distributed a treasurer report.  103 districts have paid state dues in full.    There are still 11 districts that have not paid their state dues.  There were also financial reports for the MOCREP funds and the CRP-BOB funds.  David stated that we are running a little ahead of last year’s funding levels.  A motion was made by Donald, seconded by Harry, to approve the Treasurer Report as presented.  Motion carried

 

MDC REPORT:  Brad McCord reported there are public forums being held around the state for open discussion concerning the MDC programs and any other issues or concerns people want to discuss.  He also reported that the criteria for the CRP-BOB program was changed to hopefully help make the program available to more landowners.  MDC and NRCS are working together through MASWCD to develop a program to enhance the WHIP program.  An agreement has been finalized, however, the funding NRCS was expecting for this was not received in their 2005 budget, possibly will be able to do through the 2006 funds.

 

NRCS REPORT:  Roger Hansen reported on the FSA office closures being talked about.  He stated there were 31 in Missouri and the time frame was to have a plan developed by November 15 to send to their headquarters and that maybe offices would start closing in about 9 months, if it happened.  He also stated that it is just FSA, he has had no instructions to close any NRCS offices.  It would have an impact on NRCS and the Districts due to having to redo building leases and reconfigure the office space, and in some cases relocate.  He sated it will be difficult to get final approval for the closings and implement them due to the political nature of FSA.  He stated some of the criteria they are looking at are at least 5 employees in an office, and workload and proximity to other offices.  This is the last week of the fiscal year for USDA.  The National finance Center was located in New Orleans.  An emergency backup office in Philadelphia was activated, with long term plans of relocating to Kansas City.  Due to this and being the end of the fiscal year, some of the projected

reporting, etc., is difficult to obtain.  Missouri achieved 100% of their goals for 2005.  Roger stated the budget is $95 million with $55 million in cost share for federal programs.  He currently has 450 employees.  They are currently replacing 100-110 vehicles due to additional money received through the CSP program.  Missouri was able to get $14 million in CSP funding for 7 watersheds.  Tom Lambert asked Roger Hansen about District technicians being qualified to sign off on practices.  Roger explained this can be done in some cases for certain practices, the DC would be the person to talk to.  Roger stated that there is no budget yet for 2006 fiscal year, they will probably be working on a continuing resolution which means they need to operate on the same funding levels as they had for 2005.  The replacement for the Area Conservationist for Area 2 should be announced in the next couple of weeks and will probably start in 6 weeks.  There is a new vehicle use agreement being sent to the Districts to sign for the use of the NRCS vehicles by District employees.  This is due to some issues brought up by MOPERM and changes in coverage available through individual policies.  The agreement lists examples of what is allowable use and what is not allowable use.  District employees will need to use their personal vehicles for any use that is not allowable for NRCS vehicles, and those districts that have MOPERM coverage, that will be covered by MOPERM.  Those Districts who do not have MOPERM will need to check with the liability insurance company to see if they will be covered.  Individual insurance companies will not cover driving government vehicles under their drive other vehicles or non-owned vehicles coverage.  If a District does not sign the new agreement then the District employees in that District will not be able to drive the NRCS vehicles at all.

 

COMMISSION REPORT:  Sarah Fast stated the next Commission Meeting is scheduled for October 25.  The budget expansion is moving through the process.  DNR has been reorganized, Mike Wells is now Sarah’s new boss, they have moved up and now are out of the Director’s office instead of in a Division.  This should give the program more exposure.  She stated they are looking at possibly changing the dates of the Area Meetings next year due to the potential sales tax vote in August 2006.

 

DISTRICT EMPLOYEE ASSOCIATION REPORT:  Ben Reed was not able to stay for the meeting, however Peggy reported on the new fund raising effort of the Association to raise some funds for 4 District employees in Mississippi who were hit extremely hard by Hurricane Katrina.  They are working on the Trade Show and other Training Conference activities.  Donald asked about the possibility of funding increases for District employees due his county recently loosing an employee who was able to start at another job at a salary of $2 per hour higher than her district salary.  There are some resolutions about this for the Training Conference.  Sarah Fast also stated that the Commission is looking into having a Blue Ribbon Panel to look at District employee salaries.

 

Kathryn Braden and Steve Ratcliff reported on the Urban Committee which met earlier in the day.  They plan to have the Round Table discussions at the Training Conference as they have in the past.  They plan also to have some information to put in the registration bags for the Training Conference.

 

Beverly reported that the Economic Development Committee she is serving on has not been able to meet, is waiting on funding to be able to continue.  They hope to have this resolved soon.

Steve Oetting and Fred Feldmann reported on the North Central Regional Meeting in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and the NACD Board Meeting in Orlando, Florida.  John Redding, treasurer for NACD, attended the Fort Wayne meeting and presented the proposed budget for NACD.  This budget was approved at the Orlando meeting.  Steve briefly reviewed the strategic plan for the North Central Region and also discussed how to create funding so Districts would have funds to pay state and national dues.  The August NACD quota report was reviewed.  This report compared the August 2004 and August 2005 quota received as well as the 2004 and 2005 year to date amounts.  The Power Point presentation that Steve and Fred gave at the Area Meetings is now posted on the MASWCD web page.  The NACD quota amounts were discussed along with the formula of $775 minimum or 1% of a District’s budget.  This seems to be confusing to some Districts.  A motion was made by Donald, seconded by Tom, to set the NACD quota for 2006 at $775 for Missouri Districts and not use the 1% of the budget.  Motion carried.  Steve Oetting also discussed how beneficial associate memberships could be to help Districts.

 

Peggy gave a brief review of the 2005 Canon Envirothon.  She expressed appreciation for all those who helped support this both financially and as volunteers.

 

The Board reviewed the recent Area Meetings.  The total attendance was 382 with 99 Districts represented by either employees or supervisors or both.  113 Supervisors attended the Area Meetings.  There were 2 areas where all Districts were represented, and in Area 3 there was 1 county that had all its supervisors there.

 

Henry Heinze, chair of the Resolutions Committee reviewed the resolutions and by-law amendments for the Annual Meeting.  There were 2 resolutions that had already been addressed and he suggested we ask those Districts if they wish to withdraw their resolutions.  There are 3 resolutions that are similar, so those 3 districts will be contacted if they would agree to combine their resolutions.  After reviewing the proposed by-law amendments and lengthy discussion, a motion was made by Tom, seconded by Fred, to include the by-law amendment that will pattern the officer election process after the process used by NACD.  Henry offered an amendment to the motion to state that the new process would take effect with the Board reorganization in 2006.  This amendment was seconded by Beverly.  Vote on the amendment carried.  Vote on the motion as amended carried.  As soon as a response is received from the districts on combining and withdrawing their resolutions, the slate of resolutions will be sent out to all districts.

 

Preparations for the Training Conference were discussed.  The Chairman Breakfast will be held on Tuesday morning, same as last year.  A letter will be sent to each district with the

invitation for the Chairmen to attend.  The registration fee was discussed.  A motion was made by Harry, seconded by Fred, to increase the registration fee by $5.  Motion carried.

Speakers were discussed.  Bill Wilson reviewed the speakers they had information on. 

  

Plans are for the opening session speaker to also do a workshop.  The speaker or entertainment for the banquet was also discussed.  It was a consensus of the board to look for a comedian with a price range of $3500 or less.  Bill Wilson went over a list of the topics being considered for workshops.  Door prizes will be given again this year.  Each Area Director will bring at least 2 door prizes from their area.  A motion was made by Beverly, seconded by Ernie, to spend up to $300 for larger door prizes to be given from MASWCD.  Motion carried.  Several raffle scenarios were discussed.  A motion was made by Fred, seconded by Harry, to offer a $100 door prize for first time attendee supervisors at the Training Conference.  Motion carried.  Duties will be assigned to the Board for presenting awards and prayers for the meals.  Normally MASWCD sponsors a pizza party for the DNR staff after the Training Conference for all their help in putting on the conference.  A motion was made by Beverly, seconded by Ernie, to approve sponsoring this again.  Motion carried.  An auditing committee will meet on Sunday evening, November 27 at 8 p.m. to go over the books and have a report for the Board meeting on Monday morning at the Conference.  This auditing committee will consist of Harry, Henry, Fred and Steve Oetting. 

 

Correspondence:  A letter was received from the Grassland Committee asking for support of the Grassland Evaluation Contest.  A motion was made by Tom, seconded by Fred, to send $300 to the Grassland Evaluation Contest.  Motion carried.  The board also discussed their support of the Missouri Envirothon.  A motion was made by Henry, seconded by Tom, to send $750 to the Missouri Envirothon.  The vote on this carried with a vote of 8 to 1.  Then Beverly made a motion to increase this by $50 for a total of $800.  This was seconded by George.  Motion carried with a vote of 8 to 1.

 

Peggy reported on an upcoming meeting with EPA to discuss what is available to the districts and what areas of partnering are available through EPA.  She also met with the Fish & Wildlife Foundation to discuss grant opportunities.  Peggy and David will follow up on this.

 

Other Business:  Fred asked about supervisor training put on by the Southwest RC&D.  No one else seemed to know anything about it.  The training is scheduled to be held in Springfield.

 

The next regular meeting will be held on Monday, November 28, 2005 starting with the Joint Commission/MASWCD breakfast at 7:00 a.m., followed by the joint Commission/MASWCD meeting at 8:00 a.m., then individual meetings for the Commission and MASWCD at 10:00 a.m.  These meetings will take place at Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach, MO.  The Joint Breakfast will be in 74/75 and the Joint Meeting will be in the Parasol Room.  There being no further business the meeting was adjourned at 5:25 p.m.  Motion for adjournment made by Tom, seconded by Donald.  Motion carried.

 

Respectfully submitted,                

 

 

Peggy Lemons, Exec. Director

                 

 

 

Steve Oetting, President