A monthly update regarding the important work of RCRC's affiliated entities, providing innovative services for the benefit of rural communities.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced the awarding of $2.7 million in American Rescue Plan grant funding through the Economic Adjustment Assistance program for the development of broadband strategic plans in 27 rural California counties. Golden State Finance Authority (GSFA) will serve as the grant administrator for these planning funds, which will assist rural counties in establishing foundational readiness for broadband infrastructure deployment within their communities.
The $2.7 million in funding recently awarded to GSFA on behalf of rural California counties is specifically provided through EDA’s Economic Adjustment Assistance grant program. With this funding, GSFA will assist 27 of its member counties in establishing countywide broadband strategic plans. These plans will increase the ability of those rural counties to invite and direct broadband investment into their communities in a strategic manner that ultimately delivers broadband for all residents and businesses. It will also open the door for counties to take advantage of other upcoming federal and state funding opportunities that often require broadband strategic plans to be in place.
By establishing broadband foundational readiness for these counties, the grant will also allow for the advancement of work under GSFA’s affiliate Golden State Connect Authority (GSCA) to expand broadband access for rural California. GSCA is a joint powers authority comprised of 39 rural California counties designed for the purpose of increasing access to reliable, affordable high-speed internet for the residents and businesses of those counties. Pending the establishment of the organization in December 2021, GSCA’s affiliate entity GSFA submitted the EDA grant application. See full press release here.
For more on the story, see the CapRadio article here, in which RCRC President and CEO Patrick Blacklock is quoted, discussing the $2.7 million grant award.
On August 18, the South Salinas Valley Broadband Authority approved a memorandum of understanding with Golden State Connect Authority (GSCA) to facilitate installation of reliable, affordable high-speed internet infrastructure in the Salinas Valley in Monterey County. This is one of several initial project locations that GSCA is exploring across its 39 rural member counties for the deployment of an open-access, municipal broadband fiber network.
The South Salinas Valley Broadband Authority, was formed through the signing of a Joint Powers Agreement among the cities of King, Greenfield, Soledad, and Gonzalez and the County of Monterey in May 2022. GSCA will work alongside the Authority to design, fund and develop an open-access, municipal broadband model that will bring affordable, high-speed internet to the Salinas Valley.
The Salinas Valley was identified as an initial proposed project location, along with other potential sites, through a detailed process evaluating several factors, including the level of service need, estimated costs, and opportunities for partnership with local government and other agencies. GSCA’s intent is to begin with a select number of initial locations and then expand to additional project areas within rural California. At this time, GSCA has established MOUs with Alpine County and with the South Salinas Valley Broadband Authority. Details on additional locations will be released following completion of site analysis and the establishment of local agreements. See full press release for additional details here and visit GSCA’s website for additional information at www.goldenstateconnect.org.
On Thursday, members of the Little Hoover Commission invited RCRC/ESJPA and Madera County to testify in a panel on the challenges facing rural communities in implementing California’s organics recycling regulations. Of particular interest to the Commission were the unique barriers to carrying out the provisions of CalRecycle’s regulations adopted pursuant to Senate Bill 1383 (Lara, 2016), which mandate organics recycling for all residential and commercial solid waste to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants.
ESJPA Deputy Executive Director Staci Heaton testified on behalf of the 26 ESJPA member counties, explaining some of the unique difficulties rural jurisdictions have experienced with finding sufficient infrastructure to process organic materials, procuring recycled organic content and, most importantly, implementing the program in an ever-changing regulatory landscape. Jared Carter, Madera County Deputy Public Works Director, also joined the hearing to discuss the county’s very specific issues with requiring mandatory curbside collection in a county where many residents find it more feasible to haul their own solid waste.
Commission members were sympathetic to the rural concerns raised by the panel, suggesting that rural jurisdictions should be given more leeway given the small amount of waste generated compared to the rest of the state. The Commission is currently in the process of holding a series of hearings to inform a report to the Administration and California State Legislature on the implementation of organic waste recycling programs. The next hearing is scheduled for September 8, 2022 and is tentatively set to feature testimony from CalRecycle and other state agency representatives.
For more information on the Little Hoover Commission study on organic waste recycling, visit their website.
Golden State Finance Authority Announces Open Registration for CAL-ALHFA Single-Family Symposium and Conference
Registration for the California Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies (CAL-ALHFA)’s annual Single-Family Symposium and Conference is now open. Golden State Finance Authority (GSFA), as a local housing finance entity, serves on the board of CAL-ALHFA and coordinates the topics and speakers for the October 24th Single-Family Symposium. The event brings together affordable housing advocates, non-profits, developers, lenders, service providers, agency officials and staff and other business leaders to share and discuss innovative approaches to affordable housing, community and economic development.
DAY 1 – Oct 24 – “ Single-Family Symposium” this year will feature:
- Case Studies and presentations by Local Agencies and Service Providers, creating new homeownership opportunities in CA.
- Discussions of how changing practices in Single-Family lending and underwriting are increasing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
DAY 2 – Oct 25 – “CAL-ALHFA Conference” will include:
- Summary and analysis of major events of the year in Sacramento.
- Presentations by senior staff from all major housing agencies.
- Discussion of future legislative actions by Principal Consultants of the Senate and Assembly Housing Committees.
- Housing Policy Advocates Round Table discussion.
Ready to Get More Involved?
CAL-ALHFA provides legislative advocacy, educational conferences and workshops, and professional networking opportunities for local housing finance agencies and their colleagues. Sponsorship can provide you a seat at the table as well as growth and exposure for your agency or company.
CAL-ALHFA was established in 1989 to represent local housing professionals and agencies in the California State legislature and State housing programs. CAL-ALHFA also works on housing issues at the federal level. CAL-ALHFA is a non-profit organization with a broad-based membership including public and private agencies which develop, finance, and administer programs to create affordable housing in California.