Sparks City Council Meeting 12/12/2011 2:00:00 PM

    Monday, December 12, 2011 2:00 PM
    745 4th Street, Sparks, NV 89431

General Business: 6.3

Title: Discussion and possible approval of the City's 2012 Federal Platform
Petitioner/Presenter: Shaun Carey, City Manager/Adam Mayberry, Community Relations Manager
Recommendation: That the City Council approve the City's 2012 Federal Platform
Financial Impact: $0
Business Impact (Per NRS 237):
A Business Impact Statement is not required because this is not a rule.
Agenda Item Brief: This item addresses the City's proposed 2012 federal platform, and highlights key planks for Sparks' congressional delegation to support. The current legislative rules in the United States Congress prevent the past practice of "earmarking." An earmark is a congressional provision that generally directs approved funds to be spent on specific projects.

Background: The City's Government Affairs staff creates an annual list of Federal appropriation requests for the Council's endorsement prior to formally presenting these items to Nevada's federal delegation. In years past, the Federal platform has accompanied the state legislative platform. This year, the federal platform is a separate document. The state legislative platform will be presented in 2012. Given today’s political backdrop, the federal and state government platforms represent two separate dichotomies. This year's list is a bit unconventional because it does not necessarily consist of dollar requests. The current legislative rules in the United States Congress prevent the past practice of "earmarking." An earmark is a congressional provision that generally directs approved funds to be spent on specific projects.

Analysis: Debt Ceiling Debate The elimination of earmarks was bolstered by the debt ceiling debate that occurred this summer. The issue became the central battleground for conflict between the Republicans, who took control of the House in the 2010 elections, and President Obama and the Democrats, who still control the Senate. In May, the Treasury Department indicated that the nation's debt limit of $14.3 trillion had been reached, but said it could keep the government functioning normally until August 2. On July 31, President Obama and Congressional leaders of both parties announced an agreement that would raise the debt ceiling by up to $2.4 trillion in two stages, enough to keep borrowing into 2013. The pact called for at least $2.4 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years, with $900 billion in across-the-board cuts to be enacted immediately. A bipartisan Congressional commission, known as the Super-Committee, was tasked with coming up with the second round of deficit reductions. To exert pressure, a "trigger'' was adopted that meant a failure by Congress to enact those cuts would lead to across-the-board cuts in military spending, education, transportation and Medicare payments to health care providers. Large segments of both parties were unhappy with the plan. Democrats opposed it because it cut spending deeply without raising revenues, while many House Republicans were against any increase in the debt limit. Many economists complained that cutting spending in a time of economic weakness would slow down any recovery. Nevertheless, the House approved the agreement on August 1, by a 269 to 161 vote that was stronger than expected. The Senate passed the measure the following day. The agreement means there will not be another fight over the debt limit until 2013. The Super-Committee failed to come to an agreement on their self-imposed November deadline for Federal deficit reductions. Pending further action by the Congress, $1.2 trillion dollars could come across-the-board. Sparks’ Federal Platform While there does not appear to be an opportunity for earmarks in the foreseeable future, there are numerous opportunities for the City to participate in the federal grant process, as well as the federal regulatory process. The Sparks Federal Platform is intended to broadly emphasize the current and long-term needs of the City in key areas that are likely attainable at the federal level. The platform has been developed to keep our delegation mindful of Sparks and our current and long-term needs during this time in the Nation's Capitol. Specifically, the platform is broken into four key planks: Public Safety, Community Assets, Sustainable Energy, and Transportation. Public Safety addresses the opportunity for the federal delegation to be mindful of the need for more police officers and firefighters through the COPS and SAFER grants respectively. The large number of foreclosed homes in Sparks, while creating a multitude of challenges for the City, has also created a public safety risk. The City supports federal legislation that will force the banking industry to play a more transparent role in disclosing ownership of homes in the City, and act more quickly to maintain their foreclosed properties. Community Assets focuses on the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and recounts the positive impact these funds have had on the City and the region. The City strongly supports the continuation of the CDBG program and opposes future reductions. The City of Sparks has had success with sustainable energy projects and encourages federal lawmakers to support funding of renewable energy programs such as the photovoltaic programs in Sparks that have been paid either with federal stimulus dollars or NVEnergy rebates. The City benefits through lower electricity costs, savings that can be put toward priority functions. Finally, transportation is an ongoing concern. These projects are not only expensive, but require long-term planning. Benefits are reaped through construction jobs, decreased pollution, and a greater quality of life that is passed on to residents and businesses.


Recommended Motion: I move to approve the City's proposed 2012 Federal platform

Attached Files:
     2012 Federal platform.pdf
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