Outreach Team, Customer and Data Services (CDS), Announces Preliminary Flood Hazard Data
We are pleased to announce the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) new Preliminary Flood Hazard Data (preliminary data) search tool! Nation-wide preliminary data are now available to the public in a centralized and easily accessible location, along with FEMA's other flood mapping products and tools.
Data will begin to phase into the new preliminary data search tool in May 2013. You may access this tool directly, through the Preliminary Flood Hazard Data FEMA webpage, or through FEMA's Map Service Center (MSC) Product Catalog. Preliminary data available through this search tool include new or revised preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), Flood Insurance Study (FIS) reports, and FIRM Databases.
The new preliminary data search tool provides:
For more information about preliminary data, visit the Preliminary Flood Hazard Data webpage or contact the FMIX at 1-877-FEMA MAP (336-2627).
- Centralized access and simple navigation to nation-wide preliminary flood hazard data
- Quick and easy search functions
- Ability to search for data by state and county
- FEMA Mapping Information eXchange (FMIX) customer service support
- Accessibility of both preliminary and effective data from the MSC
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Kansas Surveyors Offer Boy Scouts Surveying Merit Badge Workshop
As reported in the attached article from Section Lines (the newsletter of the Kansas Society of Land Surveyors), a group of KSLS South Central Chapter members recently participated in the 2013 Quivira Council BSA of Kansas Expedition Encampment.
BCFC Requests Examples of UBIT and Unfair University Competition with the Private Sector
The Business Coalition for Fair Competition (BCFC) requests examples of your clients, members, or organization's experience(s) from unfair university competition with the private sector, including small business.
Yesterday, the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee held a hearing on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Colleges and Universities Compliance Project which covered the unrelated business income tax (UBIT) for which tax-exempt entities, such as most colleges and universities, are required to pay on any activities and revenue unrelated to their tax-exempt status. For the college and university community, these activities typically can be classified as any activity revenue outside of their direct roles in research and education. Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany (R-LA) listed examples such as gyms, golf courses, facility rentals, etc. The April 25, 2013 IRS Report and according to this news article, "found increases to unrelated business taxable income for 90 percent of the colleges and universities examined, totaling about $90 million. There were over 180 changes to the amounts of unrelated business taxable income reported by colleges and universities on Form 990-T; and disallowance of more than $170 million in losses and net operating losses that could amount to more than $60 million in assessed taxes."
For more information and other examples on UBIT, please review the February 14 BCFC Testimony before the Full House Committee on Ways and Means.
To help Chairman Boustany and the House Committee on Ways and Means explore this issue in more detail as well as to help enact a legislative or regulatory solution to this ongoing problem, please submit your examples to John "JB" Byrd, BCFC Government Affairs Manager.
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2012 Idaho Trigstar winner Cooper Blas receives Navy ROTC with Marine Corps option Scholarship to Purdue University in the amount of $180,000.
Thanks to Idaho Society of Professional Land Surveyors NSPS Governor Dave Short.
NSPS Radio Hour on May 20 to Feature Gary Kent
Most NSPS Radio Hour listeners know the name Gary Kent. Gary has long served as the "resident" expert for NSPS on issues related to the ALTA/ACSM Land Title Survey Requirements. He is also a well-known speaker throughout the country on a number of business and survey-related topics.
Join Gary and host Curt Sumner for a discussion about a variety of current topics related to surveying practice. Topics will include Express Map, HUD requirements as related to ALTA/ACSM surveys, engineering surveys in state laws, copyright of the surveyor's work, a recent ruling by the Department of Labor regarding the Davis-Bacon Act, and tips for surveyors in the ACSM/Victor O. Schinnerer publication The Surveyor's Contracts and Risk Management Manual.
During the show, listen for the "key question" and be the first to email the correct answer to firstname.lastname@example.org and win a $50 gift certificate from our sponsor, Parker Davis Quik Stakes. No purchase is required to receive the gift certificate. Winners limited to once every three months.
The "key question" for the May 20 show will be, "Which actor do many people say you resemble?"
Water/Wastewater bill introduced in Congress
Rep. Tim Bishop, D-N.Y., and 27 bipartisan cosponsors introduced H.R. 1877, the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2013. The bill amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to authorize appropriations for State water pollution control revolving funds. It renews the Federal government's commitment to addressing the Nation's substantial needs for wastewater infrastructure by investing $13.8 billion in the State Revolving Funds over the next five years.
According to Rep. Bishop, "The bill establishes two complementary new initiatives for the long-term, sustainable financing of wastewater infrastructure. The first is a direct loan and loan guarantee program and the second, a Clean Water Infrastructure Trust Fund. These proposals, when implemented in concert, would leverage billions of additional dollars to meet local wastewater infrastructure needs, create jobs, and protect our public health and environmental quality."
Included in the bill is a provision that requires local governments expending Federal funds for water/wastewater projects must use the "Brooks Act" qualifications based selection (QBS) process for "program management, construction management, feasibility studies, preliminary
engineering, design, engineering, surveying, mapping or architectural related services." That provisions has long been supported by the Council on Federal Procurement of Architectural & Engineering Services (COFPAES), of which NSPS is a member.
Did you know that you can set a straight course to your future using the CST Program?
Labor Department Expands Davis-Bacon coverage on surveying contracts
The Obama Administration's Department of Labor reversed 50 years of precedent, first established by John F. Kennedy, and ruled recently that members of survey crews are now subject to the construction prevailing wage law, known as the Davis-Bacon Act, NSPS has learned.
The ruling was issued at the request of the Operating Engineers Union. The Labor Department did no public notice, no request for public comment, and made no effort to engage the surveying profession or employer groups in any dialogue.
Then-Secretary of Labor Arthur Goldberg, in the Kennedy Administration, first ruled in 1962 that surveying crews were exempt from the controversial prevailing wage law, except to the extent survey crews are "clearing brush and sharpening stakes." This position has been reaffirmed by Labor Departments and Secretaries over the past 50 years.
The Obama Administration's new interpretation is an expansion of the law and a new regulatory reach that harms private firms, particularly small business, and will unnecessarily cost the taxpayers money.
The new ruling expands the Labor Department mandated "prevailing rate" of wages on Federally-funded contracts for construction to surveying technicians engaged in "laying off distances and angles to locate construction lines and other layout measurements. This includes the setting of stakes, the determination of grades and levels and other work which is performed as an aid to the crafts which are engaged in the actual physical construction of projects" and classifies such workers as "laborers or mechanics."
NSPS government affairs consultants, John M. Palatiello & Associates, Inc., is developing a response for the society, including an appeal of the Labor Department ruling and mobilizing members of Congress to oppose the new policy.
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.
Surveyor Identifies Millions for Ex-MLB Player
Former pitcher Matt White bought 45 acres in his home state of Massachusetts from an aunt for $50,000. When the land proved to be too hard to build on, a surveyor told White that he had approximately 24 million tons of mica schist rock on the property. After learning this stone was worth about $100 per ton, an MLB.com reporter did the math: Matt White's new nickname became "The Billionaire."
The Lighter Side of Surveying
Throughout time, surveyors have accumulated volumes of humorous stories from their experiences. We thought we would try to share some of those stories with our readers, and ask readers to send their own stories.
This first edition of the feature is from our good friend Bill Glassey in the State of Washington. Enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The SaGES (Surveying and Geomatics Educators Society) colloquium is held biennially to bring together surveying and geomatic educators to meet in a friendly, relaxed environment. It is a place to discuss issues to facilitate learning and to develop a support network among fellow educators.
24th Biennial SaGES Colloquium & FIG Regional Conference
Hosted by the Partnership Degree Program in Surveying and Mapping at Tyler Junior College and the University of Texas at Tyler, June 17-20
Maryland Society of Surveyors
Pennsylvania Society of Land Surveyors
New York State Association of Professional Land Surveyors
Lyme Disease Awareness Month: Tips to Protect Yourself & Employees from Ticks
Insect Shield via the American Surveyor
May is Lyme Disease Awareness month and a good time to re-visit methods of protection to keep yourself and outdoor employees protected from ticks in the coming summer months. There are 40,000 cases of lyme disease documented in the U.S. alone every year, and health experts are predicting 2013 to be another bad year. In fact, researchers have already discovered another disease caused by the same tick that spreads Lyme disease — the deer tick.