MAP President's Letter, Winter 2023
After a nice holiday break, the MAP 2023 fiscal year is off and running. While our LPC is well under way with the First Regular Session of the 131st Maine Legislature, the MAP Board has begun to dive into this year’s business.
After the MAP Annual Business Meeting on November 18th, 2022, we said thank you to our Board members stepping down, Jane Lafleur, Stacie Beyer, and Christine Grimando. A big thank you to Jane for years of service as MAP’s Treasurer (and congratulations on her retirement)! She has generously agreed to assist as we transition to a new Board Treasurer.
Our new Board members joined us to start things off in January – Stacy Benjamin (Maine Land Use Planning Commission), Calistra Martinez (The Musson Group), and Yvette Meunier (Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments). Yes, there are still openings on the board, 4 of them! We try to post information about monthly board zoom meetings, as they are always open to members anytime, but sometimes the info gets lost in the shuffle… But any member who is interested in joining us for a MAP Board meeting should email me and I’ll be happy to share meeting dates and links.
Approved 2023 MAP Board Slate and Budget
In addition to approving new Board members at the Annual Meeting last November, the membership approved our 2023 Budget. Of note, this year’s budget carried over the unspent funds from 2022 to hire our part-time LPC Administrator (staffing and supporting the MAP LPC’s work during the legislative session), and a temporary hold on revenues related to NNECAPA’s budget and reserves (now interrelated with MAP’s). We are carrying a slight deficit on the budget for 2023, but have healthy reserves, and it’s a conservative budget that I believe underestimates our ability to manage expenses and have reasonable revenues.
Thank you to those who participated in the January Membership Meeting LPC Policy Discussion! It looks like there will be plenty to follow again this session. The MAP LPC continues to stay involved not only with new and ongoing housing policy activity, but also with the work that Build Maine and Growsmart Maine have done to convene smart growth/planning partners and propose updates to both the Growth Management Law and Subdivision Law, along with other proposals.
Be on the look out for the new MAP LPC newsletter (first one went out last month)! Now that the LPC has staff support, they’re working to produce a newsletter to update members on legislative activity. We hope members will find this helpful, to follow MAP’s policy efforts and participate as much as you can to support planning policy in Maine. MAP members interested in joining the LPC should contact Eli Rubin, co-chair.
The MAP Board hopes to be able to hold a long-overdue spring day-long conference in May, like we used to back before COVID. Watch for information (and a save-the-date) coming soon – the planning has just begun! Don’t forget, it will also be time for spring MAP awards, so we’ll be asking for nominations soon as well.
Also watch for conferences put on by several of Maine’s Regional Planning Agencies, which are a tremendous resource for Maine planners! Information on those events generally gets circulated on the MAP listserv, and sometimes posted on the website.
Last year’s NNECAPA Conference at Sunday River in Maine was a tremendous success! Presentations and handouts from some of those sessions are up on the website's conference page. Thanks again to all who attended, it’s been great to see this conference grow in terms of size and participation from all three states. Hopefully you’ve been seeing emails about this year’s NNECAPA conference, in particular the call for sessions is out, and we’d love to see sessions and speakers from all three states again. The conference will be November 6th-8th, in New Castle, NH (just outside of Portsmouth).
MAP continues to work with NNECAPA to improve our approach to soliciting sponsors for both Maine and Northern New England events. Sponsors are essential to making our conferences possible – and even NNECAPA sponsors benefit MAP! But with multiple sponsorship opportunities in a given year, there can be many “asks” to potential sponsors, coming from two organizations. Right now, we expect three primary sponsorship opportunities:
- NNECAPA Conference (New Castle, NH)
- MAP spring conference (TBD) – sponsorship directly through MAP
- NNECAPA Sustaining Sponsor (a one-year general sponsorship of NNECAPA and the Sections)
Watch the website for more information on each of these or contact Nancy Kilbride, NNECAPA administrator (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you need more information.
A few items on MAP communications:
- Listservs: We have two listservs currently, one for MAP and one for NNECAPA. Different kinds of notices and communications come through the listervs versus member emails, as the listervs are generally for peer/planning queries, job postings, and notices to the broader planning community, whereas member emails may be more for business/notices for MAP and NNECAPA members. Although there is sometimes overlap, as of now both listservs are recommended, as several NNECAPA notices only go through that listerv in order to reach all NNECAPA, ME, NH and VT members, and the MAP listserv targets information specific to Maine and MAP. We occasionally have people that have difficulty signing up or want to change their sign up, so for assistance please contact me or our Communications Chair, Lynne Seeley, for the MAP listserv, or the NNECAPA Public Information Officer, Jeff Levine, for the NNECAPA listserv.
- Google for Nonprofits: The NNECAPA Executive Committee was successful last year in getting NNECAPA and all three states into a new Google for Nonprofits platform. This took a while to get instated, and will take us a little while to transition – it will offer MAP a better file saving/sharing system (no more Dropbox, Box, or personal Google Drive files), and Board members have the option to use MAP email addresses. We’ll be working to update contact info on the MAP website as needed over the next several months.
- Are You New to MAP, Maine? We’re still working on how to be better about reaching out to new MAP members (NNECAPA members) and ensure everyone is “plugged in” to our communications and offer assistance as a resource. There are still some challenges to the APA system in terms of what information on membership we get, and when, but we hope to improve this area of communication. Members new and old, let us know if you have ideas or information that would be helpful to this effort!
- General communications: Please feel free to reach out with any questions, ideas, or suggestions. My new email is: email@example.com
Amanda is a planning consultant and current President of the Maine Association of Planners.