Doing More with Less

Scott Mueller, Director of Community Resources and Chief Rural Affairs Officer

In these challenging times, communities at the local level have to do more with less.  Largely due to the federal funding crunch, communities across the northeast are struggling to maintain their current way of life.  With federal funding cuts occurring and more potentially on the way, more pressure is being put on state programs, which in turn push the responsibilities down to the county, town, and village levels.  In addition, job loss and housing foreclosure are on the rise, leaving residents in small rural communities strapped to pay bills and provide the necessary revenues to support their water and wastewater systems.

A current trend amongst localities is to search out ways to bolster their local economies, provide steady jobs, and sustain their quality of life.  Many are finding that there is a direct link between economic development and infrastructure.  Most businesses require potable water and wastewater disposal facilities in order to operate.  Larger employers often require much more, including transportation links, 3 phase power, and telecommunications trunks.  With less funding available at all levels, establishing or maintaining these facilities is becoming even more challenging.

RCAP Solutions’ Technical Assistance Program and its experienced TA providers know this current economic trend all too well.  Almost all of the 120+ communities we work with are experiencing financially difficult times.  As we ramp up our 2013 program year, we are pleased to be able to provide services again in our core areas, even though we have also experienced the impact of funding reduction and as communities move to become more self reliant and sustainable and less reliant on the state and federal government.

Many of our base level services are free to the community, depending on the level of eligibility.  However, we will still offer services to those seeking assistance under our Direct Contracting program, which can often blend grant-based services for a nominal fee.

This year, in conjunction with USDA Rural Development, the US Health and Human Services, and the US Environmental Protection Agency, we will be focused on assisting communities through these difficult times with on-site technical assistance and training in a number of areas.  These include project and asset management, funding acquisition, and education and training programs geared towards giving communities the tools they need to get through these fiscally challenging times.

While things are tight on the funding front, there are many opportunities that communities may take advantage of that can help them to operate their systems and maintain water quality – all while doing more with less.

To find out more about these services please contact Scott Mueller, Director of Community Resources and Chief Rural Affairs Officer at (315) 482-2756