$800,000 In State Grants Available For Planning Projects

first_img$800,000 In State Grants Available For Planning ProjectsMunicipal Grants Program Now Administered Entirely OnlineMONTPELIER, Vt. – The state is making more than $800,000 in grants available to communities across the state for municipal planning and other special projects.Officials at the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) announced the Municipal Planning Grants of up to $15,000, which can be used for a variety of planning projects.”These grants help Vermont’s cities and towns craft plans that promote economic and housing development in our downtowns and village centers, while protecting Vermont’s working landscape from sprawl,” said Kevin Dorn, Secretary of Commerce and Community Development, whose agency includes DHCA.Through a competitive process, towns can be awarded grants for such traditional planning activities as updating town plans, maps and zoning bylaws.As part of Governor Jim Douglas’ E-State Initiative, these grants will now be applied for, approved, and administered completely on-line.”This is an excellent example of how we can use technology to be more efficient in state government,” Douglas said. “By eliminating the paper involved in applying for and administering grants, we make the process faster, less costly, and less time-consuming.”The Municipal and Regional Planning Fund was first established in 1988 and funds technical assistance for town planning, zoning bylaws, implementation of town plans, encouragement of citizen participation and education, and innovative demonstration planning projects.Municipalities may apply for any amount up to $15,000 or $25,000 for multi-town “consortia” projects. Funds for the municipal planning grants are allocated by the Vermont Legislature from revenue generated by the property transfer tax.With no local matching funds required, this is one of the few state grant programs accessible to even the smallest of Vermont municipalities. Communities have 18 months to complete their planning projects.The application deadline for this program is October 31, 2008. The Municipal Planning Grant site went live on September 2nd, and can be accessed at: www.dhca.state.vt.us/Planning/MPG.htm(link is external)last_img read more

France confirms first case of ruinous tomato virus

first_imgTomato plants in France’s far-west Finistere region have been contaminated with a destructive virus that can lead to whole crops being wasted, the agriculture ministry said on Monday.A farm had been isolated and greenhouses full of tomatoes would be destroyed, as there is no known treatment, it said.The tomato brown rugose fruit virus, known as ToBRFV, leads to rough discoloured patches on the fruit that render it unsellable — and officials warned earlier that its spread would have “major economic consequences” for farmers. The virus, which is not harmful to humans, was first reported in 2014 at greenhouses in Israel before it spread to Europe and America.”We have received the results from the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety of the samples from the Finistere and… they have been contaminated by the virus,” the ministry said.  Growers in Spain and Italy — the EU’s biggest tomato producers — have been affected, as have some in the US and Mexico, and Britain announced its first cases last July.Germany managed to eradicate an outbreak in several greenhouses by ripping out the plants and destroying them, and then treating the soil with disinfectants.France promised in early February to carry out hundreds of checks on plants and seeds, on top of regular inspections.Topics :last_img read more