Texas Government Insider
Volume 8, Issue 23 - Friday, June 11, 2010
New 'pass through' language to curb potential local entity windfalls
Minute order limits state's reimbursements on overruns, underruns on projects
Road ConstructionOne of the few bright spots in the nation's slumping economy is that construction projects are drawing more competition as more contractors are bidding on projects. The result is that the cost of many of the projects is coming in significantly lower than anticipated.
Across Texas, highway construction projects are a prime example. Bids are coming in anywhere from 10-20 percent lower than originally estimated. For local government entities participating in the Texas Department of Transportation's (TxDOT) "pass through" toll reimbursement program, the result has been a windfall of up to millions of dollars.
Under the "pass through" financing program, the city offers its projected cost for a construction project and negotiates with the Texas Transportation Commission and TxDOT the amount the state will be contracted to reimburse when the project is complete. However, since many of the projects have been completed at a lower cost than the amount the state and local governments agreed to, the state was still obligated to reimburse the original amount. Thus, cities pocketed the difference in what the actual cost was and the larger amount the state was obligated to pay. 
Steve SimmonsIn a special meeting of the Commission this week, commissioners closed that loophole, approving a minute order that allows the TxDOT executive director to add language to future pass through agreements that will limit TxDOT's share of the actual costs incurred for construction of the project. The new language will put a cap on both overruns and underruns of project costs.
At this week's meeting, TxDOT Deputy Executive Director Steve Simmons (pictured), explained that the cost revision recommendation would be on agreements negotiated but not yet executed. He said the new language would limit the pass through toll reimbursement obligation, with the maximum capped at 110 percent of the estimated total reimbursement amount. Underruns, he said, would be reimbursed up to a maximum of 10 percent of the estimated cost of construction. He said the language recommended also would require that any leftover funding from the project that would go to the local entity must be used for highway projects in that entity's jurisdiction.
State sales tax revenue in state increases slightly
Some $437.3 million in allocations to be distributed throughout state today

Sales TaxSales tax revenue for May has increased slightly over last year's figures, according to the State Comptroller's Office, which will today, Friday, distribute $437.3 million in June local sales tax allocations. These funds represent sales that occurred in April. The state collected $1.78 billion in sales tax revenue in May, up 0.1 percent from May 2009. This marks the second consecutive month that revenues have increased, although moderately, after 14 consecutive months of declines.

Among the allocations to be made by the Comptroller are $292.6 million to Texas cities and $26.7 million to Texas counties. City sales tax allocations so far this calendar year are down 4 percent from figures for the same period last year. County figures, however, have increased 1 percent over last year's June figures. However, sales tax allocations for this year are down 7.9 percent compared to 2009. Another $18.6 million will be allocated to 169 special purpose taxing districts and local transit systems will receive $99.2 million.
The Comptroller's July sales tax allocation will be made on Monday, July 12. To view the allocations by city, click here. To view the allocations by county, click here.
Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars
Lizzette ReynoldsLizzette Reynolds, Deputy Commissioner for Statewide Policy and Planning, Texas Education Agency
Career highlights and education: Bachelor of Arts, political science, Southwestern University, Georgetown, TX (1987); legislative director for Senator Teel Bivins, Amarillo (1992-1996); deputy legislative director for Texas Gov. George W. Bush (1996-2000); special assistant, Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs, U.S. Department of Education (2002-2004); Secretary's Regional Representative under Secretary Margaret Spellings, U.S. Department of Education - Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico (2003-2004); Deputy Commissioner for Statewide Policy and Planning, Texas Education Agency.

What I like best about my job is: The ability to influence and develop state education policy that establishes high expectations for all Texas students, regardless of their individual circumstances and holds the agency and its partner districts accountable to their academic success. I also appreciate meeting and working with exemplar classroom teachers, principals, superintendents and Education Service Center personnel who demonstrate a day-to-day commitment towards ensuring the success of the kids around them.

The best advice I've received for my current job is: There is no entitlement to your position. Continue to raise the bar as a manager, as a colleague and as an employee of the State of Texas. Don't ever get complacent because the public education system, your employees and your boss will continue to work towards the success of Texas students with or without you.
Advice you would give a new hire in your office: Keep your head down and do your job. Oh! And watch what you say in email...

If I ever snuck out of work early, I could probably be found: at one of my two favorite yoga studios in Austin -Yoga Yoga for Ashtanga or Yoga Vida for Vinyasa.
People would be surprised to know that: despite having three young children ages 7, 5 and 3, four dogs, one cat, and, oh yeah, a husband, I still make time to work out seven days a week because I need all the help I can get to raise those three kids, get them through college and spoil my grandchildren since I'll probably be 80 before they have them. Oh! and cleaning the house relaxes me...probably because I'm cleaning all the time and I have no choice but to think it relaxes me...

Book, magazine or newspaper article I've read recently that really influenced my thinking: It's easy to stereotype agency staff as bureaucrats who work in agencies because they (pick one): can't get a job in the private sector; want to work eight hour days; or want a job that doesn't require you to be responsive or flexible because "it's the law."  Nothing could be further from the truth. At the Texas Education Agency, we have highly skilled and incredibly intelligent staff that in many cases put in over 60 hours a week plus weekends if that is what they need to do to get the job done. They are also very innovative in the implementation of their programs, particularly if the end result is better performance results for our students. They also manage multiple projects that require extensive critical thinking and decision-making skills and in some cases an intuitive level of political acumen that few people outside government ever develop. That said, it is incredibly challenging to keep our folks from being poached by the private sector and I find it absolutely humbling to work in their midst.
Texas Administrators' Association honors DADS' Gordon Taylor
Gordon TaylorThe Texas State Agency Business Administrators' Association (TSABAA) has named Gordon Taylor (pictured),  chief financial officer for the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) as the 2010 Administrator of the Year. The award recognizes employees who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership and made notable contributions to the state's administrative process.
Taylor's leadership in his executive positions at the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) and at DADS set him apart as a business administrator with over 20 years of state experience.
"Gordon's numerous contributions to the fields of strategic management, business administration, fiscal management and technology innovations as well as his dynamic personality create a positive energetic environment for creativity, learning and growth," said DADS Commissioner Chris Traylor.  
TETF invests $3.25 million in four Houston-based companies 
The Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF) is investing in four Houston-based companies for the commercialization and development of various technologies.
Ensysce Biosciences Inc. will receive $250,000 for the development of its carbon nanotube technology as a delivery agent for cancer therapeutics. Leonardo BioSystems Inc. is set to receive $2.5 million to develop a cancer treatment that targets small-molecule therapeutics. Nano3D Biosciences Inc. will net $250,000 to commercialize its 3-dimensional, in vitro cell culturing and Veros Systems Inc. will receive $250,000 to develop and launch its Smart Electrical Interface technology that monitors industrial machines to identify problems before the machines break down.
Prop 12 funds will help reduce traffic congestion in Texas
Ned HolmesThe Texas Transportation Commission (TTC) has approved $150 million in Proposition 12 proceeds for consultant engineering fees aimed at reducing traffic congestion on Texas corridors. The projects will address the Texas Department of Transportation's (TxDOT) 100 most congested corridor segments. 
The funding will allow for critical engineering work "necessary to commence construction when future funding is available," according to Texas Transportation Commissioner Ned Holmes (pictured).
The projects are aimed at improvements to congested areas of roads in the state's highway system. TxDOT was responsible for preparing a list of potential projects on which the funds would be used.
Voters approved Proposition 12 bonds, which are backed by the state's general revenue rather than fuel taxes, as part of approximately $2 billion in general obligation bonds for highway upgrades last July.
TETF invests $1.9 million in Austin's Savara Inc.
The Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF) is investing $1.9 million in Savara Inc. of Austin for the development of its product to improve lung cancer diagnostics and treatment delivery. The product is a dry powder that can be inhaled to deliver CT contrast agents and cancer therapies into the lungs and lymph nodes, resulting in a more accurate diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer.
The company is partnering with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, The University of Texas College of Pharmacy, Baylor College of Medicine, Scott and White Cancer Research Institute and Texas A&M University for the development of this technology.
Walt Dabney retiring from position as state parks director
Walt DabneyApproaching a dozen years as director of the Texas State Park system, Walt Dabney (pictured) has announced his retirement, effective Aug. 31. Dabney, a veteran of 30 years with the National Park Service, joined Texas Parks and Wildlife in 1999.
As head of the state's park system, Dabney has worked with constituent groups and the Texas Legislature to improve the park system "Thanks to the legislature, we've been able to build a programmatic infrastructure that supports a modern-day park system, providing natural and cultural resource management, comprehensive law enforcement and all those components that lead to a successful park system.," said Dabney.
TPWD Executive Director Carter Smith said Dabney brought "unflagging passion and energy to foster a sense of professionalism and high standards of excellence for Texas State Parks." A nationwide search will be conducted for a replacement for Dabney, who had oversight over 93 state parks and historic sites that comprise more than 600,000 acres and 1,500 employees. 
Hensley joins Texas Animal Health Commission
Dr. Terry Hensley has been named assistant executive director over animal health programs at the Texas Animal Health Commission. After a veterinary career that began in Ketchikan, Arkansas, he moved to Athens, Georgia, in a post-doctoral position with the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia.
Hensley affiliated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture/APHIS/Veterinary Services in Atlanta. He was then assigned to Alabama and later transferred to Roseburg, Oregon, where he has spent the last 16 years. He is a former Designated Brucellosis Epidemiologist, FADD, and served as the USDA/VS liaison with Oregon State University, College of Veterinary Medicine. He holds a bachelor's and master's degree and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree.
Baylor College of Medicine to name new president, CEO
Paul KlotmanThe chairman of medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, Dr. Paul Klotman (pictured), is expected to be  named president and CEO of Baylor College of Medicine, according to the Houston Post. Klotman, a nephrologist and expert on kidney diseases associated with HIV, is expected to start his new job later this summer. However, Baylor officials were mum on the appointment, saying the deal has not been finalized. The board at Baylor apparently has received a recommendation of Klotman as the lone finalist for the post, but will not act on it until its June 21 meeting. His appointment would also have to be approved by the Baylor academic council.
Klotman has been Mount Sinai's chairman of medicine since 2001. He began his career at Duke University Medical Center before becoming an administrator at the National Institutes of Health. He joined Mount Sinai in 1994. If hired, he will replace Dr. William Butler, who ha been serving as interim president since 2008.
Jelain Chubb selected new director of TSLAC division
Jelain ChubbJelain Chubb (pictured) has been named director of the Archives and Information Services Division and Texas state archivist at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC). In her new role, she will be charged with preserving permanent records that document Texas' history as a colony, province, republic and state.
Chubb previously served as Ohio's state archivist for the Ohio Historical Society in Columbus. She has held posts with the Missouri State Archives as an administrative archivist and with Kansas and South Carolina.
Chubb holds a bachelor's degree from the College of Charleston and two master's degrees from the University of South Carolina.  
Four finalists for TAMU-Corpus Christi post to visit campus
Luis CifuentesLisa ColvinFaculty and staff at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi will have the opportunity this week and next to visit with the four finalists for the position of associate vice president for Research and dean of Graduate Studies. The successful candidate will replace Dr. Harvey Knull, who will retire in July.
Among the finalists are Dr. Luis Cifuentes (top left), who currentlyMohammad Alam Joseph Hallserves as executive associate dean and associate dean for Research for the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M University in College Station, where he is also a professor in the Department of Oceanography. Dr. Lisa Ann Cooper Colvin (top right) currently is acting dean of the Graduate School at the University of Louisiana at Monroe and provides administrative oversight and direction for the Graduate School and the Office of Research.
Dr. Mohammad S. Alam (bottom right) is professor and chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of South Alabama. He also is an electrical engineer. Dr. Joseph C. Hall (bottom left) is vice president for Research and Economic Development at Norfolk State University and director of the university's Center for Biotechnology and Biomedical Sciences.
U of H unveils plan for $160M upgrade to sports facilities
The athletic department at the University of Houston got the nod this week to pursue a proposed $120 million new football facility and a $40 million renovation of Hofheinz Pavilion, upgrading both its football and basketball facilities. The football stadium, to be built at the old Robertson Stadium site, will seat 40,000 with expansion capabilities of more than 50,000. The Hofheinz Pavilion would be renovated to add more practice facilities for the men's and women's teams and will have a seating capacity of more than 8,500.
The completion date for the projects is not yet known, since the school will spend the next year raising money to finance construction. However, the projected construction time for the football stadium would be approximately 18 months. The master plan for the facility includes 650 club seats, 200 loge box seats and 22 luxury suites. A new basketball arena would have cost $70 million, but renovations can be completed for $30 million less. The renovations would include two practice courts, office suites for the men's and women's basketball and women's volleyball programs, a sports performance center, sports medicine clinic and team academic and film rooms.
Stephen F. Austin University selects Abbott as dean of education
Judy AbbottOfficials of Stephen F. Austin State University recently selected Dr. Judy A. Abbott (pictured) as dean of the James I. Perkins College of Education. The appointment is pending approval by the board of regents.
Abbott currently serves as assistant dean of the College of Human Resources and Education at West Virginia University. She previously taught at San Antonio ISD, served as an instructor at The University of Texas and as an assistant professor at West Virginia University.  Abbott holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from the University of Oklahoma and a Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin.
CPS Energy's $10M alliance with UTSA arrives with expectations
Stephen HenniganThe CPS Energy board of trustees has approved a 10-year, $50 million alliance with The University of Texas at San Antonio for sustainable energy research - with precise expectations.
The eight to 10 entities that control 90 percent of UTSA's research and development funds "haven't made a dent," according to Stephen Hennigan (pictured), the CPS Energy board's senior member. He said that UTSA's Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute must be precise about what problems it will solve for the utility company.
Future funding from CPS will be contingent on board approval after an initial agreement to funnel $3.5 million into research at UTSA over the next two years.
A&M professor selected dean of U of Cincinnati business school
David Szymanski David Szymanski (pictured), chairman of retailing studies at Texas A&M University, has been named dean of the College of Business at the University of Cincinnati.
Szymanski began his tenure at A&M in 1987. He has served on the board of directors for a major office supply store corporation and recently was as a member of a major jewelry retailer.
Szymanski will play a pivotal role in fundraising initiatives and partnership opportunities in his new role, according to UC officials.
UT-Dallas selects Fitch as dean of students
Gene FitchOfficials of the University of Texas at Dallas recently selected Dr. Gene Fitch, Jr. (pictured) as the new dean of students to replace Donna Rogers, who is retiring.  Fitch currently serves as executive vice president of student affairs and dean of student life for Middle Tennessee State University.
Fitch, who will assume his new duties at UT-Dallas in August, previously served as an administrator at the University of Arkansas. He holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from Arkansas Tech University and an Ed.D. from the University of Arkansas.
Kinney appointed executive director of engineers board
Lance KinneyLicensed professional engineer Lance Kinney (pictured) has been appointed executive director of the Texas Board of Professional Engineers. Kinney has served the board in a number of positions for more than seven years, providing guidance to agency programs and activities, including legislative, rule and policy issues.
Board Chair Dr. G. Kemble Bennett said Kinney's having served as deputy director of the agency "makes him the right person to serve in this important position."
Before joining the Board of Professional Engineers, Kinney worked nearly a dozen years in the semiconductor industry. He holds a bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at Austin, a master's from Texas State University and is currently a doctoral student at The University of Texas. He has lectured as an adjunct professor in the Engineering and Technology Department at Texas State and the Electronics and Advanced Technologies Department at Austin Community College.
ACC District President Stephen Kinslow will step down in 2011
Stephen KinslowStephen B. Kinslow (pictured) has announced plans to step down as president/CEO of the Austin Community College District when his contract ends in June 2011. He will have served six years as president with 34 years of service to ACC to his credit.
Kinslow began his tenure at ACC in 1977 as an assistant dean. He went on to hold numerous leadership roles and twice served as interim president. He was named to the permanent position in 2005. Since then, he has been instrumental in boosting ACC's enrollment numbers by some 10,000 students and expanding the school's general education transfer courses and high-demand workforce/career programs. Before joining ACC, he worked for the Dallas County Community College District.
Kinslow holds a bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at Arlington, a master's degree from Southern Methodist University and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin. 
Celina offers to help fund part of Dallas North Tollway
Jason GrayThe City of Celina has offered to foot 10 percent of construction costs if the North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) decides to build the next Dallas North Tollway there.
Celina City Manager Jason Gray (pictured) said no other city has offered money to help build the main lanes of a toll road before. The city has proposed to send all additional property tax revenue - estimated at $96.7 million - generated by the extension to help with construction costs, according to Gray.
The 11-mile extension north of FM428 is expected to cost up to $900 million, according to the NTTA.
Comal County approves $341,000 to upgrade security
After the defeat of a proposed $36 million bond proposal to build a new downtown justice center, Comal County commissioners recently approved $341,000 to improve security at the county courthouse annex and the commissioner's court building.
The bulk of the funds, $213,000, will be used to hire more security officers and a security corporal, said County Auditor David Renken. The county also plans to spend $58,000 for a new metal detector, $51,000 for security cameras, $7,000 for guns, bullets and Tasers, and $12,000 for uniforms, Renken said. Security efforts will be focused on the annex building where two district courtrooms, and a county court-at-law at located, and the commissioner's court that houses the other county court-at-law while the Comal County Courthouse is undergoing a renovation, Renken said.
The county judge also announced a committee of about 20 persons will be created to study and educate the public on the county's security and infrastructure needs with the possibility of calling another bond election in 2011.
UTMB-Galveston names vice president, chief physician executive
Rex McCallumThe University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has named Dr. Rex M. McCallum (pictured) as vice president and chief physician executive. He replaces Dr. Donald S. Prough, professor and chairman of the department of anesthesiology.
McCallum previously served as vice chairman for faculty affairs in the department of medicine and as associate medical director of the private diagnostic clinic at the Duke University School of Medicine.
McCallum earned his bachelor's degree from Rice University and medical degree at Vanderbilt University. He completed his residency training at Duke University Medical Center.
Bastrop County to issue $10.8 million in bonds for capital projects
Bastrop County commissioners recently agreed to issue $10.8 million in certificates of obligation to pay for a new office building, road and bridge improvements and to upgrade the sheriff's office and jail.
Plans call for the county to spend $4 million for a new office building off Jackson Street to house developmental services and tax assessor offices to relieve overcrowding at the county courthouse complex.  County officials plan to issue more certificates of obligation later to pay for about $30 million in projects included in the approved 2010-15 Capital Improvement Plan.
Three judges' names submitted for open federal bench post
Dori GarzaNanette HasetteNelva RamosThree sitting Texas judges have had their names submitted to the White House by the Texas Democratic congressional delegation to fill an open federal bench post in Corpus Christi. The three include Appellate Justice Dori Contreras Garza (left) and State District Judges Nanette Hasette (center) and Nelva Gonzalez Ramos (right).
Garza currently is based in McAllen and was first elected to the 13th Court of Appeals in 2002 after having served in the private sector as an attorney. Hasette serves as judge of the 28th District Court in Corpus Christi, a position she has held since 1997. Ramos served as a municipal court judge from 1997-1999 and has served in her current position as judge of the 347th District since 2001.
A bipartisan committee will review all of the applicants for the position next week and send their recommendations to the White House, where the president will make the final choice. That person would then face confirmation by the Senate. 
Hays County approves nearly $2 million to expand county building
Hays County commissioners recently approved $1,994,543 for a 13,842-square-foot expansion of a county building on Yarrington Road. The expanded facility will house the recently consolidated Resource Protection, Transportation and Planning (RPTP) department whose staff is currently housed in two separate county buildings. 
County officials also urged the contractor to seek bids from local subcontractors for such services as electrical, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning when bids are sought later this month. The expansion of the RPTP facility should be completed by Dec. 21.
UTMB-Galveston institution awarded $5.8M grant renewal
Elena VolpiThe National Institute on Aging (NIA) has awarded the Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston with a $5.8 million grant renewal.
Dr. Elena Volpi (pictured), director and principal investigator of the Pepper Center, said with the grant the center will "focus on improving full and speedy recovery of older patients who suffer bouts of illness."
The 37 investigators at the Center - one of 12 in the nation - have generated more than 300 scientific papers, attracting more than $20 million in grants, mostly from the National Institutes of Health, according to Volpi. 
UNT names College of Arts and Sciences dean to provost position
Warren BurggrenWarren W. Burggren (pictured), dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Texas for the last 12 years, has been named UNT's provost and vice president for academic affairs.
Before his charge as dean overseeing 17 academic departments and 25 institutes and centers, Burggren served as chair of the Biological Sciences Department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. There he also led Bridges to the Future, a program for UNLV minority students. He has also served as acting chair of the Zoology Department for the University of Massachusetts.
Burggren holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Calgary and a doctoral degree from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England.
Brownsville commissioners approve bonds for city projects
Brownsville city commissioners have approved the proposed issuance of $11.8 million in certificates of obligation to fund projects at the city's sports park, among other initiatives.
The Brownsville Community Improvement Corp. (BCIC) developed the proposal for the Brownsville Sports Park. The proposal includes $916,000 for bleachers, $1,830,000 for buildings, $252,000 for beach sports cove buildings, $1,336,000 for a south parking lot and $2,580,000 for road improvements.
BCIC would reimburse the city for $3,130 million while the Greater Brownsville Incentives Corp. would bear $4,07 million, according to the proposal.
Eastfield College and TAMU-Commerce ink partnership deal
PartnershipEastfield College and Texas A&M University-Commerce have taken their partnership a step further with a new transfer agreement for students. The agreement will allow students to transfer and apply the credits they earn from Eastfield College toward their requirements for a bachelor's degree at TAMU-Commerce.
In the accompanying photo, (from left) Dr. Jean Conway, president of Eastfield College; Dr. Wright Lassiter Jr., chancellor of the Dallas County Community College District; Dr. David Jones, president of Texas A&M University-Commerce; and Dr. Larry Lemanski, provost at Texas A&M University-Commerce ink their partnership for dual admissions.
Jones said the deal marks "a continuation and culmination of a relationship that has been growing, evolving and developing for a long time."
After students complete their recommended course of study at Eastfield and earn their associate's degree, they will be allowed to transfer to TAMU-Commerce. They may also apply for dual admission to both schools by contacting a TAMU-Commerce outreach coordinator and submitting an "ApplyTexas" application while at Eastfield.
CPS Energy not releasing names of finalists for CEO position
Acting General Manager Jelynne LeBlanc-Burley remains on the list of finalists for the CEO/general manager position at CPS Energy, but the company isn't releasing the names of three other contenders. 
Vice Chairman Derrick Howard, who has led the search for a new CEO, and Mayor Julian Castro said keeping the names confidential is vital to the integrity of the search process, adding they did not want to jeopardize the current employment of the three contenders.
A San Antonio newspaper has filed an open-records request to have the names released, citing the public's need to know as more crucial than protecting finalists' privacy.  
UT-Austin names School of Journalism director 
Glenn FrankelPulitzer Prize winner Glenn Frankel (pictured) has been named director of the School of Journalism at The University of Texas at Austin. He will succeed Tracy Dahlby on Aug. 1.
Frankel currently serves as the Lorry I. Lokey Visiting Professor in Journalism in the Department of Communication at Stanford University. Before that charge, he spent 27 years as reporter, editor and foreign correspondent at the Washington Post. He also served as editor of the Washington Post Magazine, which earned Robert F. Kennedy and Sigma Delta Chi prizes during his tenure.
Frankel holds a bachelor's degree from Columbia University and has served as a Professional Journalism Fellow and an Alicia Patterson Fellow at Stanford University.
Conroe to vote on $8.5 million request to pay for new roads
Conroe City Council members recently scheduled a vote on whether to request the Conroe Industrial Development Corporation (CIDC) to contribute $8.5 million to help pay for two new roads on the city's north side. The developer of a mixed-retail project on the north side donated much of the rights-of-way to build the two roads contingent on their construction being completed by September 2011.
Plans call for the city to spend about $3.898 million to build Drennan Road just north of Loop 336 East to run east from the I-45 feeder about one-half mile to connect with Plantation Drive, which will run north to FM 3083, at an estimated cost of $4.475 million.
The CIDC would need to issue bonds that would be repaid using 4B tax funds, said Steve Williams, the city's finance director. The project is eligible for the 4B sales tax funding because the proposed roads will access several large tracts of land where more development is possible, said the city attorney.
Corpus Christi ISD approves fire station, classroom plan
Oscar MartinezTrustees for the Corpus Christi Independent School District recently approved a plan to allow the city to build a new fire station on land owned by the school district in addition to a classroom for students studying to be firefighters. City council members must still approve the agreement before it is finalized.
As proposed, the city will lease for 50 years land owned by the school district near Miller High School to build a fire station to replace an existing fire station on Leopard Street, said Assistant City Manager Oscar Martinez (pictured). The agreement also calls for the city to build a classroom for the Fire Science Academy at the high school. This arrangement will allow students to observe, train and spend time with professional firefighters.
The city expects to begin the design phase of the fire station-classroom project in January 2011 if council members approve the agreement, Martinez said.
Burnet County approves contract for regional water study
Burnet County commissioners have approved a contract with the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) to conduct a regional water study of the Highlands Lake area.
The study will focus on determining the feasibility of developing a regional water system to replace or supplement the many water systems now in service, identifying options for a reliable water supply in relationship to the location and type of intake structure, evaluating the possibility of interconnecting existing water systems to provide more redundancy in case of a failure in one of the systems and identifying options for smaller water systems to connect to a larger water system, county officials said.
The study is being paid for with a $138,000 grant from TWDB and 21 participating entities, including Llano County and cities such as Marble Falls and Burnet that will contribute 50 percent of matching funds to pay for the study.
Brown ClaybarCity of Orange planning to buy hotel site for park area
Orange Mayor Brown Claybar (pictured) said the city is planning to buy the former site of the Jack Tar Hotel downtown. Officials plan to tear down the structure to make way for a park.
Last year plans to build a hotel on the site failed as federal grant money did not come through. Now, Claybar said, "We're going to be able to clear-up a real eyesore."
Hays County approves $225,000 for LBJ museum in San Marcos
Hays County commissioners recently agreed to contribute $225,000 to renovate the second floor of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Museum in downtown San Marcos. Council members in San Marcos previously agreed to provide $89,350 to renovate the first floor on the museum that opened in 2006 in a former movie theater on Guadalupe Street.
Renovations to the first floor of the museum should begin by late summer and must precede work on the second floor, said Pat Murdock, president of the museum. These renovations include a climate-controlled collections storage area and multi-purpose rooms for temporary exhibits, meetings, classrooms, a workroom and a lounge with an installed kitchen area, Murdock said.
The upgrades to the unfinished second floor include adding a reading room and library, a reception area, a venue for temporary exhibits, restrooms and an auditorium with flexible seating. A portion of the county funding also will be used for a new sprinkler system, fire alarms and a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, a new elevator to meet provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, new insulation, an electrical system and a plumbing system. The LBJ Museum of San Marcos also received several grants from foundations and a private company to help pay for upgrades to the museum located on the town square.
Coryell County mulling new jail to relieve overcrowding
Johnny BurksCoryell County commissioners recently heard updates on the possibility of building a new jail facility and the latest efforts to alleviate pressure on the overcrowded jail. The Texas Commission on Jail Standards reported the current jail is 52 beds short of the required space needed until 2027.
To help relieve overcrowding, jail officials began a test on June 1 of a recommendation by commissioners that nonviolent indigent prisoners who cannot afford a bail bond receive a personal recognizance bond, but Sheriff Johnny Burks (pictured) said it was too soon to determine the impact of the new policy. Commissioners also are considering a contract with McLennan County that calls for Coryell County to pay $46 per inmate per day for each inmate sent to McLennan County. This represents a $2 per day increase over the previous contract, he said.
The county judge reported that the city's pre-applications for a federal grant to help pay for a larger jail facility is on its way for state approval. If awarded, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development grant could be used to build a new jail on 33 acres of county-owned land and to add to the current jail facility, Burks said.
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San Jacinto College begins Phase 2 of $250 million in upgrades
Officials of San Jacinto College recently kicked off the second phase of $250 million in campus improvements approved by voters in a 2008 bond election.
Now that work has begun on most of the infrastructure projects in the first phase of the project, college officials are focusing on the second phase of the project, the construction of new buildings and facilities, said Bryan Jones, who oversees facilities and construction for the college.
Work is scheduled to begin soon on a new transportation center, additions to the allied health and science facility at the Central campus, an allied health and science building and a student success center at the North campus and an allied health and science building and student success center at the South campus, Jones said. The third phase of the project includes renovations to the industrial technology buildings, the gymnasium and the library at the Central campus, the gymnasium and library at the North campus and the gymnasium and library at the South campus, he said.
Kerrville OKs Dallas group to develop center finance plan
Mindy WendeleAfter reviewing four proposals, Kerrville City Council members recently authorized city staff to begin 30 days of negotiations with a Dallas-based investment firm to explore methods to fund a downtown convention center.
The proposal must meet all seven items that are considered non-negotiable, said Mindy Wendele (pictured), director of business programs for the city, who spoke for the committee that reviewed the four proposals. The requirements are that the center should be open by October 2012, the city will own the convention center and that the center will be located downtown or in the central business district. The remaining requirements are that the facility must provide at least one room measuring no less than 26,000 square feet, a flagship hotel must be associated with the development, the project should provide opportunities for local contractors and the city will play a limited role in funding for the joint city and private partnership.
The city can expect about $500,000 annually from the 4B sales tax and $150,000 from the Hotel-Motel Occupancy Tax to provide some of the funding for the convention center, Wendele said. City staff members expect to meet with officials of the investment firm and update council members in the next two weeks, said City Manager Todd Parton.
TCU nearing money goal for stadium overhaul 
 Texas Christian University officials say the school is 80 percent complete toward reaching the required $105 million to begin renovating the Amon G. Carter Stadium. Officials expect to have the remaining funds by the end of the month and will then likely unveil plans for the ambitious overhaul of the 80-year-old stadium.
"The reality of college athletics these days is you have to have the best facilities," said TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte. Construction is slated to begin after the completion of the 2010 season and will continue through 2012. When completed, the stadium will feature 25 suites and an increased seating capacity of 50,000 - 55,000.
Heath moves forward with plans for new water tower
John RatcliffeDespite objections about posing a safety hazard near a school, Heath City Council members recently agreed to begin engineering plans for a proposed new water storage tower on city-owned property behind The Fulton School.
Council members had postponed the project for 90 days while school officials unsuccessfully attempted to find an alternate location for the water tower, but Mayor John Ratcliff (pictured) proposed proceeding with the engineering plans, which should take about four or five months to complete.
City officials in Rockwall, which is allowing Heath to store water on a temporary basis to meet the increased demand, are concerned that Heath twice already exceeded its allotted share of water and inquired when the city would have more water storage capability available soon, Ratcliff said. Once engineering plans are complete, construction of he water tower should take about a year to complete, the city engineer said. 
National Association of Social Workers, Texas plans annual conference 
The 2010 National Association of Social Workers, Texas Annual Conference is slated for Oct. 8-10 at the Westin Galleria in Houston. Houston Mayor Annise Parker will be the opening plenary speaker and will address "Inspiring Community Action for a Better Quality of Life." Some of the pre-conference sessions planned, for which continuing education hours can be earned, include topics such as suicide prevention and postvention, overview of psychotropic medication for treating mental illness and teaching the next generation of social workers. inspiring community action for a better quality of life. There will also be numerous break-out sessions during the three days that cover everything from motivational interviewing to challenges facing children with incarcerated parents. The closing plenary session will feature Vicki Hansen, LMSW-AP, ACSW addressing "Advancing the Profession: Inspiring Social Workers. The closing plenary will provide attendees with a "State of the Chapter" to bring you up to date with NASW/Texas challenges and accomplishments. For more information on the conference schedules, click here. For registration information, click here.
NCTCOG to host 44th Annual General Assembly on June 18 
The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) will host its 44th Annual General Assembly luncheon at noon on Friday, June 18, at the Hilton Hotel in Arlington. The event will feature election of officers to the Executive Board and presentation of three major awards. Dr. Charles Sawyer, professor and economist at Texas Christian University, will be keynote speaker and will discuss the economic outlook for N. Central Texas. The event will also feature the 31st Annual Mayors and Council Members Workshop. For more information and to register, click here.
Government Fleet Expo, Conference set June 21-23
The Government Fleet Expo and Conference is scheduled for Monday through Wednesday, June 21-23, at the Austin Convention Center. In addition to networking opportunities, attendees will also hear about practical fleet solutions, how to handle budget and staff cuts and the emerging green technology and fuel efficiency. Among the keynote speakers will be Hillsborough County Fleet Director Sharon Subadan and leadership expert Barry Maher. There will be sessions on best ideas from the 100 best fleets, wireless vehicle management, grants and funding and improving safety. To view the program description, click here. To register, click here.
2010 NTEC MedVentures Conference slated for July 21 
The 2010 NTEC MedVentures Conference, hosted by the North Texas Enterprise Center (NTEC) is slated for July 21 at the Embassy Suites - Frisco Conference Center. The annual event is an early stage investment conference and company showcase that focuses on the medical technology sector. That includes medical instruments and devices, diagnostic equipment, medical therapeutic devices, medical monitoring equipment and other health-related products. The program will include an industry panel discussion, venture capital panel discussion and a showcase of eight emerging medical technology companies. Emerging medtech companies seeking capital will network with investors that focus on their industry sector. MedVentures also provides a "trade show" venue for vendors and service providers. For more information on the conference and registration, click here.
Connect: Business, Career Forum scheduled in Austin
"Connect: Business and Career Forum," a one-day event to cultivate relationships with corporations seeking to increase their diverse supplier spending and to hire new and experienced candidates, will be held Friday, June 18, at the Sheraton Hotel Downtown in Austin. The event, sponsored by the Texas Asian Chamber of Commerce, will be from 12 noon to 6:30 p.m. Parking is free with online registration form. Those attending will participate in 15-minute structured networking sessions that are designed for corporations, small businesses and job seekers. Procurement managers from large companies, state and local agencies will attend. Seats are limited. For more information and to register, click here.
'Cowboy I.T. Up' theme for August TASSCC conference 
"Cowboy I.T. Up" is the theme for the Texas Association of State Systems for Communication and Computing (TASSCC) 2010 Annual Conference, set for Sunday through Wednesday, Aug. 1-4, at the Westin Park Central Hotel in Dallas. The event, open to public sector employees only, will feature keynote addresses, a variety of breakout sessions and a Tuesday awards luncheon. CPE credit is also offered. Early registration ends July 5.  Among the speakers will be research firm owner Gordon Graham, will address preventing mistakes through a risk management-based training program in his "The Five Concurrent Themes for Success" presentation. Addressing how companies can make decisions and execute on corporate strategies will be Jeff Tobaben, managing partner of a consulting firm. He will address "Where Does Employee Engagement Happen," stressing leveraging human capital through applied behavioral economics. Click here for more information, and click here to register.
TxPPA to host Annual Momentum Conference in June
The Texas Public Purchasing Association (TxPPA) is hosting its Annual Momentum Conference at the Isla Grand Beach Resort on South Padre Island on Wednesday through Friday, June 23 -25. The conference lineup includes sessions for first-time buyers and seasoned purchasing professionals. Click here for program information including hotel, group activities and transportation details. 
Last BOP session with TxDOT is announced
The last session of the Texas Department of Transportation's (TxDOT) Business Outreach and Program (BOP) Services Small Business Briefing conferences have been announced for June 15, 2010, in Texarkana. The conference goal is to provide small and minority-owned business communities an opportunity to learn more about contracting opportunities with TxDOT. Information will be available to help them do business with the agency and the State of Texas. The sessions not only allow small businesses to be introduced to TxDOT and other state agencies, but also allows them to learn more about the economic development opportunities in their regions. It also allows the agencies to show the myriad of opportunities available for small and minority businesses in the state. For more information, click here or call 1.866.480.2518, Option 2. To register, click here
CAPCOG to host newly elected city official workshop June 18
The Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG) will host a Newly Elected City Officials Workshop on Friday, June 18, from 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. in the CAPCOG Pecan Room at 6800 Burleson Road, Austin. The workshop is targeted for newly elected mayors and city council members or aldermen. The workshop will give an overview of the structure of city government, council procedures and actions, roles of elected and appointed staff, duties and responsibilities of Boards and Commissions, municipal annexation and boundary changes, open meetings, open records and ethics. Registration begins at 9 a.m.  The workshops have proven to be very valuable to appointed staff and to citizen board, commission, and committee members as well. There will be a $40 fee for the one-day workshop to cover the cost of meals and materials. To register call Linda Crouch at 512/916-6041 or David Partlow, Regional Services Coordinator, at 512/916-6045.
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Note to Media
You don't text?  Well, that may change! 
Mary Scott NabersBy Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
If you don't text...you may soon. Sorry if this is not something you anticipate with joy.
An estimated 4.1 billion text messages are sent each day in America and, contrary to what some believe, texting is not just a teenage trend. Adults in both the public and private sectors have embraced digital communication and in some situations, it is becoming the norm. To the surprise of many, governmental entities and public safety organizations are using text messages more and more. 
A number of law enforcement agencies accept distress calls via text messages. Texts may be used in cases where a victim cannot use a phone - such as in a hostage or kidnapping situation, or when a burglary is in progress. Several law enforcement agencies also accept crime tips sent by text.
When using a phone is impractical, text messages to public safety officials or an emergency responder group are critically important. In some parts of Texas, county residents are being encouraged to store emergency phone numbers in cell phones to ensure that text messages are quick and accurate.
And, as much as text messages may be troubling to some, the use of social networking sites and Twitter may be even more bewildering. Twitter, for example, is about to hire an executive to deal solely with governmental entities. This individual will be tasked with making Twitter better for public policymakers, political organizations, government officials, public safety organizations and school districts.


Temple ISD exploring bond proposal to renovate facilities

Robin BattershellTemple Independent School District officials recently held a public meeting to explore ideas on whether to hold a bond election in November of this year or May 2011 and strategies to hold a successful election.
District officials explored whether community members believe the timing would be better for a bond proposal in November or May and methods to win support for a bond proposal, said Superintendent Robin Battershell (pictured).  A combination of a little revenue growth, modest enrollment growth  and several aging facilities prompted district officials to explore methods to generate more revenue to renovate five campuses that are most in need, Battershell said.
Belton approves $4,200
to improve visitor center
Belton City Council members recently approved $4,300 to pay for a $5,150 architectural design study focusing on remodeling the city's visitor center. The center is operated under a partnership between the city and the Belton Chamber of Commerce. The hotel/motel tax and the chamber will provide the remaining funds needed for the upgrade, said Stephanie O'Banion, president of the chamber of commerce.
Now that city and chamber officials have determined that the visitor's center will remain at its current site in the chamber of commerce building on Interstate 35, the study will provide officials with the estimated cost of remodeling the center to maximize space, O'Banion said. The design study should be presented to council members within 90 days, she said.


Port Arthur ISD selects Porterie as new deputy superintendent
Mark PorterieTrustees for the Port Arthur Independent School District recently selected Dr. Mark Porterie (pictured) as the deputy superintendent for curriculum, instruction, school leadership and operations. In that new position, Porterie will coordinate all instructional programs in the district and provide supervision to the staff, said Superintendent Johnny Brown. 


Bryan wins $75,700 grant
to improve security
Bryan recently won a $75,500 grant to buy video security equipment for the police department. Police officials plan to buy five high-resolution cameras to be installed near Sadie Thomas Park and at Martin Luther King Jr. Street near Texas 6 to improve security in those areas, police officials said.

Strategic Edge

McKinney city manager
Frank Ragan resigns

Frank RaganFrank Ragan (pictured) has stepped down as city manager of McKinney. Ragan was named to the post in March 2008.
Mayor Brian Loughmiller, who said "a new direction is necessary for the city of McKinney" in a statement, has promised a smooth transition to replace Ragan. He said the city council would meet soon to discuss details related to the new search.
Johnson County studies $1M emergency operations center
Johnson County commissioners recently began consideration of a $1 million contract to build an emergency operations center. County officials are negotiating with a Weatherford-based construction company to build the center.
Commissioners also are considering whether to restructure the Information Systems and Services Department and instructed county staff to ask firms interested in operating the county department to submit proposals and information on their qualifications.  Commissioners also interviewed several finalists for director of the Information Systems and Services Department, but said the hiring process most likely will be a lengthy process.

Government Marketplace

Where are they now?
Where do folks go when they leave government? Some go to work in the private sector or for nonprofits. Some transition to executive-level positions in higher education while others may seek elected local government positions. And some just retire and spend a lot of time with their grandkids at the fishin' hole. This column focuses on where former state government officials and private sector employees are now.
Lyda Ann ThomasLyda Ann Thomas (pictured) will forever be known as the mayor of Galveston who steered the city through the aftermath of hurricanes Rita and Ike. She ended her 12-year career on the Galveston City Council this year, serving six of those years as mayor, because of term limits. Last year, she was part of a delegation representing the Center for International Policy in Washington, D.C., and shared hurricane preparedness experiences with leaders of Cuba. This year, she was appointed to serve on a new congressionally mandated federal preparedness task force. Since leaving her public service career in May, Thomas has turned to the private sector, opening her own business as a disaster response consultant.


Paul Quinn College wins $1 million gift to demolish buildings

Paul Quinn College recently received a $1 million gift from Trammel Crowe Jr. to pay for the demolition of 13 abandoned buildings near the college's front entry along Simpson-Stuart Road.
Removing the aging structures that that were once dormitories and an infirmary will provide more green space and athletic fields as well as signal that the college is moving in the right direction, said President Michael Sorrell. Paul Quinn College moved from Waco to the former campus of Bishop College in Dallas in 1990 after Bishop College filed for bankruptcy and lost its accreditation.

HDI Solutions

Meadowlakes picks Thompson
for new city manager position
Meadowlakes City Council members recently selected Johnnie Thompson, a longtime city employee, as the city's first city manager. Voters in May authorized creation of the new city manager position. Thompson formerly served as city administrator.
Pflugerville to proceed with planned library expansion
Brandon WadeAfter considering delaying a planned expansion of the Pflugerville Community Library, Pflugerville City Council members recently declined a proposal to delay financing for the project for another year, City officials now plan to pay for the expansion project using bonds from the 2011 budget, which would permit construction to begin as early as the summer of 2011.
Proceeding with the library expansion in 2011 will require cutting the city budget in other areas, said City Manager Brandon Wade (pictured). The benefit of going forward is the city can take advantage of lower interest rates and construction costs, Wade said.

Save the date

Beeville ISD chooses Thomas as lone finalist for superintendent
Trustees for the Beeville Independent School District recently chose Dr. Linda Sue Thomas as the lone finalist for superintendent. Thomas, who currently serves as superintendent at Aransas Pass ISD, will replace Dr. John Hardwick Jr.
Thomas holds a bachelor's degree and master's degree from Texas A&M-Kingsville and a Ph.D. from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. She has been an educator for 35 years and previously served as a principal for Aransas Pass ISD. 
Collins resigns, Conway interim superintendent of WO-Cove
Taylor CollinsDr. O. Taylor Collins (pictured) recently resigned as superintendent of the West Orange-Cove Consolidated Independent School District to accept employment at a mission and clinic in Kentucky. Collins served as superintendent since January 2005 and previously served as principal and director of Education at the Red Bird Mission in Kentucky. His resignation is effective June 25.
Trustees also appointed Bill Conway as interim superintendent to replace Collins until the board selects a new superintendent. Conway served as the principal of Oates Elementary two years before accepting the position of interim superintendent. He has been an educator, serving as both a teacher and a principal, for 45 years.  
Mabrie Jackson to head
North Texas Commission
Mabrie JacksonFormer Plano City Council member Mabrie Jackson (pictured) has been named president and CEO of the North Texas Commission, effective July 9. Jackson comes to the NTC after serving as interim President and CEO of the Plano Chamber of Commerce.
As president and CEO, Jackson will be charged with finalizing the NTC's strategic planning efforts to be the leading advocate for the North Texas region.
Malakoff ISD to renovate
historic rock school

Trustees for the Malakoff Independent School District recently reversed plans and approved a $3.5 million renovation of an historic rock school as part of $4.9 million in improvements to district facilities. District officials also approved spending $1.8 million to add six new classrooms and a security entrance to Tool Elementary School.
The renovation of Malakoff Elementary includes eight new classrooms, a second computer lab, a second science lab, a new roof, electrical and ventilation system, a wood floor and energy-efficient windows, said Superintendent John Spies. It also includes more parking spaces and a new security entrance.
Robstown ISD names Obregon lone finalist for superintendent 
Robstown Independent School District board members recently selected Alfonso Obregon, who now serves as interim superintendent, as the lone finalist for superintendent.
Obregon previously served as an administrator for Asherton ISD, Progreso ISD and Dilley ISD. He has been interim superintendent since November 2009 when he was appointed to replace Tony Morales in that position.  Morales had replaced Superintendent Roberto Garcia, who resigned in July 2009.

SPI on Twitter

Harlingen to narrow list of applicants for city manager
Gabriel GonzalezAfter extending the deadline and receiving at least 28 applications, Harlingen city officials plan to narrow the list of candidates and select a new city manager by the end of July.
Among the applicants for the city manager position is Gabriel Gonzalez (pictured), who currently serves as interim city manager. Gonzalez was appointed to that position after City Commissioners voted to terminate Craig Lonon as city manager in December 2009.

Bid once. Win many. - The Procurement EDGE

Llano group to seek support
for new multipurpose center
Board members of the Llano Economic Development Corporation (EDC) recently agreed to help raise financial support for a proposed multipurpose event center to be built on SH 71.
A consultant has agreed to use $34,000 remaining in a contract to seek out potential donors who will agree to make a large contribution to the effort, said Sharon Kellin, vice president the development corporation. EDC board members also plan to form a fund-raising team to work with local community groups, businesses and government entities to raise money for the effort, Kellin said.
EDC members expect to present a fundraising plan for the proposed event center at a June 28 meeting of city council, she said.
Recent Reports
Texas Government Insider Archives
Volume 1-8 Archives -1/8/04 - 5/4/10
Jacksonville to apply for $11,487 to improve its police radios
Reece DanielThe Jacksonville City Council plans to apply for an $11,487 federal grant to help pay for upgrades to police radios. The radio upgrades are needed to bring the radios into compliance with a federal law going into effect in 2013, said Police Chief Reece Daniel (pictured). The grant will allow the department to replace equipment more than 10 years old and permit narrow band interoperability as required by federal law in  2013, Daniel said.
SPI seeking additional outside consultants
SPI is seeking additional consultants who have experience in county government in Texas.
Currently, there is a need for procurement consultants who are retired or former county elected officials in the DFW, Houston, San Antonio and El Paso areas.
If you are interested in this opportunity, contact Ashley Nauert at anauert@spartnerships.com
Val Verde County to spend $80,000 for new computers
The Val Verde County Sheriff's Office will use a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to buy an $80,000 new computer system to help streamline day-to-day operations.
The new system includes new laptop computers for the criminal investigations division and new terminals for staff in the building, county officials said.


Governor's appointments
Governor Rick Perry has announced the following appointments:
  • Jason Peeler of Floresville, Evergreen Underground Water Conservation District
  • Jerry Bigham of Canyon, Texas County and District Retirement System Board of Trustees
  • Daniel Haggerty of El Paso, Texas County and District Retirement System Board of Trustees
  • Jan Kennady of New Braunfels, Texas County and District Retirement System Board of Trustees
  • Kathleen Luedtke-Hoffmann of Garland, Board of Physical Therapy Examiners
  • Tomas Ramirez III of Devine, Nueces River Authority Board of Directors
  • Steve Leipsner of Austin, Texas Real Estate Broker Lawyer Committee
  • Eva Horton of San Angelo, Upper Colorado River Authority Board of Directors
  • Peter Flores of Austin, State Employee Charitable Campaign Policy Committee
  • Louri O'Leary of Austin, State Employee Charitable Campaign Policy Committee
  • Jason Kevin Patteson of Austin, State Employee Charitable Campaign Policy Committee
  • Carol Treadway of Austin, State Employee Charitable Campaign Policy Committee
  • Daniel Schaap of Canyon, 47th District Court Judge
  • Jeffrey Tallas of Sugar Land, Brazos River Authority Board of Directors
  • Joseph Croci of Bee Cave, Texas Skills Standards Board
  • Ford Keating of Austin, Texas Skills Standards Board

Job Board

Splendora ISD approves $133,196 for new aquatic science lab
Kevin WeldonTrustees for the Splendora Independent School District recently approved $133,196 to build a new aquatic science and horticulture lab near the career and technology center at the high school. 
The Texas Education Agency provided a $164,000 grant to pay for the new facility that will house a green house, an aquatic science lab and a small classroom, said Kevin Weldon (pictured), assistant superintendent of administrative services. The new facility should be completed by September 1, 2010, in time for about 120 students a day to use the building, Weldon said.
Randall County receives $250,000 to improve county courthouse
The Canyon Economic Development Corporation recently awarded $250,000 to Randall County to improve the grounds around the courthouse, which was built in 1909. The county is spending about $3 million to restore the courthouse, including tearing down the North Annex to make space for another public area, county officials said.
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Cotulla wins $485,000 grant to improve wastewater treatment
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded a $485,000 grant to the Cotulla Wastewater Treatment Plant to pay for a major renovation.
The upgrades include improving the plant's electrical system, replacing valves in the treatment processor and improvements to pretreatment facilities, city officials said.
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or reproduce
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McLennan County eyeing $1.1 million to improve downtown jail
McLennan County commissioners recently began considering whether to spend $1.1 million to renovate a jail in downtown Waco currently operated by a New Jersey-based company. Projects under consideration are $668,473 to replace 129 doors and locks and to install 10 new control panels. The new locks are needed because the old locks are no longer manufactured and no parts are available for repairs, said Deputy Randy Plemons.
Commissioners also are looking at spending $289,436 to replace old elevators, install a new intercom system, upgrade the kitchen ceiling and equipment and replace the fire system. The downtown jail was built in the mid-1970 and is still using much of the originally installed equipment, Plemons said.
Several commissioners questioned whether the contract signed by the company requires the company to pay for those repairs rather than the county paying the entire cost. Commissioners will consider the proposal along with other projects while reviewing capital projects they plan to fund during the 2010-2011 fiscal year. 
The Texas Government Insider is a free weekly e-newsletter detailing important happenings throughout the state and summarizing current political issues relevant to individuals interested in government.
Publisher: Mary Scott Nabers
The Insider is published by Strategic Partnerships, Inc. (SPI), a research and consulting firm. Founded in Texas in 1994 by former government executives and public sector experts, SPI has developed a national reputation as the premier marketing partner dedicated to helping companies secure contracts in the $1.5 trillion state and local government marketplace.
To learn more about SPI services click here or contact our sales department at 512-531-3900.
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