Texas Government Insider
Volume 10, Issue 3 - Friday, Jan. 20, 2012

Dallas mayor touts successes of public-private partnerships


Tells Conference of Mayors that P3s can be key to economic, business development 

Mike RawlingsThe City of Dallas could well be the "poster city" for successful public-private partnerships in this country. Or at least that's the impression mayors from across the country may have gotten during this week's annual winter meeting in Washington, D.C., of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings (left) and Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas President Laurie Bouillion Larrea (right) addressed the issue of business development in one of the various panel discussions on Tuesday. In their presentation, they noted that many of their successes relating to business development and economic development are directly related to public-private partnerships (P3s).


Laurie Bouillion LarreaThe two note that the Dallas-Forth Worth region ranks third in the United States with 127 new or expanded corporate facilities in 2010. Larrea said looking out windows in high-rises downtown and seeing cranes that are constructing or expanding buildings is a good indicator of the continued growth of the city. In Dallas alone, the city gained employment for more than 11,000 people from November 2010 to November 2011 and helped 3,400 workers recover from unemployment - all while absorbing a growth of nearly 8,000 new residents.


Rawlings, a first-term mayor who entered the public sector after three decades as a successful business executive and the former CEO of three different companies, was a supporter of P3s even before he was elected. At a candidate forum last April when he was running for mayor, Rawlings was asked about the viability of public-private partnerships in government. He responded that in today's economy, "Not only is it realistic...it's gotta' happen."


Not much has changed over the last nine months since he said at that forum, "We're not going to be able to make changes in public entities fast enough. We don't have enough money to make the significant changes we're dealing with."




DIR's Robinson announces organizational structure changes

Ed SwedbergThe organizational structure for the re-procurement of data center contracts by the Texas Department of Information Services (DIR) has been announced by DIR Executive Director Karen Robinson. Ed Swedburg (pictured), formerly Data Center Services (DCS) Deputy Executive Director, has been moved to DCS Communication Director, where he will be responsible for executive communications to ensure "complete and timely information" regarding DCS, said Robinson. Swedburg will work closely with the leadership of vested agencies and IT experts regarding the impact any service changes might have.


Robinson also noted that Dan Contreras, director of ICT Cooperative Contracts, and Lara Coffer, director of Data Center Services, along with their teams, will now report to Chief Operations Officer Carl Marsh, with all technical operations of the agency reporting through that office. Mary Cheryl Dorwart will remain as Director of Enterprise Contracts and work with senior management of the agency. Robinson said these changes are aimed at consolidating functions, streamlining the agency and ensuring that operations continue to be enhanced and improved.


Changes in the Chief Administrative Office (CAO) also were announced. Lon Berquist of the communications technology services division, has been named technology policy administrator and Bernadette Davis, HUB (historically underutilized business) coordinator, will also join the CAO so that her HUB outreach also is a part of the new initiative for the CAO to meet with customers throughout the state.


Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars


Louis CarrLouis Carr, Chief Information Officer, Texas Department of Transportation


Career highlights and education: Carr has worked in the Information Technology field for about 25 years. Currently, he is the Chief Information Officer and oversees the State of Texas' Department of Transportation (TxDOT) technology and information systems (IS) development. The CIO at TxDOT is responsible for the planning and development of all IS solutions. From 2007 to 2011, Carr served as CIO for the City of Arlington, where he directed the IT department. He oversaw core technology functions. During his tenure, Carr led Arlington's IT department to a more prominent role in budgeting and planning for future technology needs. He established a new IT governance structure and a project management office, directed the IT executive steering committee and participated in numerous CIO panels in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Before joining the City of Arlington, Carr worked for the City of Las Vegas for 17 years, with his final role there as Deputy Director of Information Technologies. Carr earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, with a minor in computer science, from Stanford University in 1987. He earned his master's degree in business administration with a focus on information technology management from Western Governors University in 2009. In 2011, Carr was selected for the Eleventh Annual 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology.
What I like best about my job is: The work I do has a positive impact on many people's lives. The systems the IT staff support help manage people, process and money that deliver roads, bridges and other transportation services to millions of Texans across the state. It's great to be part of an organization that has such a direct impact on so many people's lives.

The best advice I've received for my current job is: Stay focused on that which matters most - people. Make sure the technology we employ adds value to their lives, not makes it more complex and detracts from their lives.
Advice you would give a new hire in your office: Take adequate time to learn about some of the complexities of TxDOT. It is a huge agency with lots of moving parts. Ask lots of questions; most people love to talk about their jobs and their pain points.

If I ever snuck out of work early, I could probably be found: at home snuggling with my wife (we're newlyweds)!

People would be surprised to know that I: listen to a wide variety of music, including hip-hop, country, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s pop, classical jazz, contemporary jazz and classical music. My iPod has over 1,200 songs and a couple dozen playlists.

One thing I wish more people knew about TxDOT: I wish more people knew how dedicated TxDOT staff is and have been over the years to delivering roads and bridges and supporting all forms of transportation. There are over 85,000 miles of roadway we directly or indirectly maintain. It takes a lot of dedication to be out in 100-degree-plus temperatures in the summer and freezing temperatures during the winter to keep the roads safe for the driving public.


Malinak promoted to captain in Texas Rangers

Frank MalinakTexas Department of Public Safety (DPS) officials recently announced the promotion of Texas Ranger Frank Malinak (pictured) to captain, effective on Feb. 1.


Malinak served as a Ranger in the area around Bryan from 1995 until 2009 and moved to Waco after being promoted to lieutenant.


In his new post as a captain, Malinak will transfer to Austin to assume more administrative duties and participate in fewer field investigations, DPS officials said. 


Nearly $8.7 billion in transmission projects planned in next five years

State electricity officials recently announced nearly $8.7 billion in transmission improvement projects in the next five years.


Officials with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages the flow of electric power to 23 million Texas customers, said the upgrades would add about 7,000 circuit miles of line and 17,000 megavolt amperes to the grid.


Last year, transmission providers made more than $870 million in transmission improvements.


San Antonio's Novak appointed to Texas Facilities Commission

Mike NovakMichael "Mike" Novak (pictured) of San Antonio was recently appointed to the Texas Facilities Commission by Gov. Rick Perry. The Commission is responsible for acquiring goods, services and facilities for the State of Texas.


Novak is president and chief executive officer of the Novak Group. He also serves as a tri-chairman of the San Antonio Office of Military Affairs Base Realignment and Closure Implementation Board and as chairman of Morningside Ministries. Novak also is a former Bexar County commissioner, a board member at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and a past president of the Texas and San Antonio chapters of the Associated General Contractors. He has a bachelor's degree from St. Mary's University.


Results-oriented Procurements

Houston mayor selects new IT director, new fleet director

Charles ThompsonKenneth HoglundHouston Mayor Annise Parker recently selected Charles Thompson (left) as the new director of information technology and Kenneth Hoglund (right) as the new director of fleet management. Council members must vote to confirm the nomination of both directors before the appointments are final.


Thompson previously was chief information officer for the city of Phoenix, Orange County and District of Columbia Public Schools. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Maryland.


Hoglund previously was the director of fleet management for Cintas Corporation in Ohio and held other management positions with UPS, DHS, FedEx and the Boeing Company. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Washington and is expected in May to receive a master's degree from Golden Gate University.


JPS Health Network approves $95K raise for chief executive officer

Robert EarlyThe board of managers of the JPS Health Network in Fort Worth recently approved a salary increase of $95,000 to Robert Early (pictured), the chief executive officer.


The raise increases the annual salary of Early to $620,000 per year. Board members also extended his contract through September 2013.


Early became interim CEO of the hospital district in May 2008 and took the permanent post in February 2009.


Texas Tech exploring addition of new video screen to stadium

Texas Tech officials recently began discussion on requesting bids to add a new video board and ribbon boards to Jones AT&T Stadium. A new stadium sound system also is possible and the new video screen will require the production control room to be upgraded to high definition, said Kirby Hocutt, athletic director.


A large, high-definition video board is one of the few missing elements at the stadium, Hocutt said. Current plans are to add a video board measuring about 75 feet long and 40 feet tall on the north end of the stadium and ribbon boards on both the north and south ends. Another ribbon board may be placed facing the west-side stadium building, he said. While the goal is to have the new video board installed before the 2012 season, the athletic director acknowledged the tight schedule is a challenge, but pledged the video board would be installed in time for the 2013 season.


Crowell, Walsh elected to lead ERCOT board of directors

Craven CrowellJudy WalshCraven Crowell (left) was recently elected chair of the Board of Directors of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, with Judy Walsh (right) chosen as vice chair. Crowell, who served for eight years as chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), replaces Laura Doll, who resigned to pursue a career opportunity in California. Walsh will take over the position previously occupied by Michehl Gent, who remains as a board member.


Crowell brings 25 years of federal government service to his new post, and after having retired from the TVA in 2001. He also has been an energy and water resources consultant. He has served as chairman of the Texas Reliability Entity, Austin; chairman of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Palo Alto, CA; and as a member of the board and executive committee of the Nuclear Energy Institute, Washington, DC. Crowell received his bachelor's degree from Lipscomb University.


Walsh is a former commissioner for the Public Utility Commission, having served in that post from 1995 to 2001. She worked most recently as a senior vice president of government affairs and regulatory policy for a major telecommunications company. She served as chair of the audit and finance committee at Midwest ISO from 2005 to 2010 and at Western Electricity Coordinating Council from 2007 to 2010. Walsh holds a bachelor's degree from Rice University and a master's from The University of Texas at San Antonio.


UT Southwestern tags Warner as new chief executive officer

John WarnerThe board of the UT Southwestern Medical Center recently selected Dr. John Warner (pictured) as the new chief executive officer for UT Southwestern Hospitals, effective Feb. 1.


A cardiologist, Warner previously was vice president for hospital planning who helped in planning for a new 480-bed hospital expected to open in 2013. He also served as the medical director for a clinical center for heart, lung and vascular diseases.


Warner has a master's degree in business administration from the University of Tennessee and a medical degree from Vanderbilt University. He completed his residency training at UT Southwestern and joined the faculty in 2003.


P3 Opportunities

Kilgore College-TAMU-Texarkana enter reciprocal agreement

Bill HoldaC.B. RathburnKilgore College and Texas A&M University-Texarkana have entered into a Reciprocal Articulation Agreement that will offer students at KC and A&M-Texarkana access to more enhanced educational opportunities. The agreement was signed during a signing ceremony by Kilgore College President Dr. Bill Holda (left) and A&M-Texarkana President Dr. C.B. Rathburn III (right). The goal of the agreement is to transition qualified students from one institution to the other to promote the completion of the Associates Degree at KC. The agreement also addresses promoting continuous advancement in learning, advisement for KC students seeking a degree from A&M-Texarkana and to encourage exchange of information regarding outcomes of the program.


"The articulation with A&M-Texarkana will provide our students with additional options as they try to seamlessly further their educational objectives," said Holda. Rathburn said he is hopeful the agreement will "open an affordable new pathway for KC students to complete their bachelors and advanced degrees in an exciting new campus environment."


San Antonio unveils plans for convention center expansion

A San Antonio city official recently unveiled plans for a proposed expansion of the Convention Center that would add 100,000 square feet of new space, provide a new entrance to the facility and keep the city competitive in the convention market. Council members authorized city officials to proceed with the convention center project. They could begin seeking proposals for consultants to study financing of the project within weeks, said Michael Sawaya of the Convention, Sports and Entertainment Facilities Department.


The proposal calls for adding two new exhibit halls, a multi-purpose hall and a banquet area to the east side of the convention center while demolishing ballrooms on the western side of the facility to increase space to revitalize HemisFair Park, Sawaya said. The expanded convention center would provide 528,000 square feet of exhibit space, 25 percent more than is now available, he added.


The major goal of the expansion and renovation is to increase the flexibility of the facility to better meet the needs of convention attendees, he said. No estimate on the cost of the proposed convention center project is available yet, Sawaya said.


Foundation plans restoration training center in Galveston

Foundation PlansThe Gulf of Mexico Foundation recently received a $1.16 million federal grant, which will help finance the new $7 million headquarters and training center (pictured) in Galveston.


The Habitat Restoration Technology Training Center will provide in-person and online programs on how to restore wetlands and other habitat.


The foundation plans to build the center on 1.82 acres of commercial property and use an adjacent 15 acres of wetland for training, education and as a community resource.


Search committee named for Angelo State University provost post

An Angelo State University search committee at has been tasked with finding a new provost and vice president for academic affairs by May.


The 15-member committee includes four faculty members, four representatives from each vice president's division, as well as individuals from the athletic department, staff senate, student government, the San Angelo community and the Texas Tech University System board and chancellor's office.


The committee, which will develop a job description for the position, will have a list of 10 top candidates for staff to interview and vet in April. An offer will be extended to one finalist by the end of May.


UT-Brownsville buys 20-acre land tract to expand campus

Juliet GarciaUniversity of Texas at Brownsville officials recently purchased a 20-acre tract of land near U.S. Expressway 77/83 and East Avenue to expand the campus.


The land is located next to 80 acres of land the university purchased last year for a soccer field, said President Juliet V. Garcia (pictured). The most recent acquisition is part of a new mission statement approved following the division of UT-Brownsville with Texas Southmost College. The new mission statement has resulted in expansion of residence halls and investing $30 million on science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, Garcia said.


UNT, city negotiating over plan to build hotel, conference center

A Missouri company recently expressed interest - again - in developing a 250-room, full-service hotel and 120,000-square-foot conference center on the University of North Texas campus.


UNT and Denton city officials are now in talks about negotiating a contract with the Missouri company, which wants to build either a Hilton Embassy Suites or a Marriott within walking distance from Apogee Stadium and the UNT Coliseum.


No agreements have been signed and negotiations could take several months.


TSU vice president for finance, administration plans retirement

Jerry GrahamVeteran Tarleton State University leader Jerry Graham (pictured), vice president for finance and administration, recently announced plans to retire May 31.


During his 42 years at TSU, Graham has served as assistant business manager, business manager, director of business operations, vice president for business affairs and now vice president for finance and administration.

"I am appreciative of the students who have entered Tarleton, who have met their goals of obtaining a quality, affordable education from Tarleton, and most, like me, have a great appreciation for and respect of Tarleton," Graham said in an e-mail announcing his retirement.



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DOT awards grant funds to five Texas universities

Ray LaHood, secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), recently announced that five Texas universities are recipients of some of the $77 million in grants for transportation research and education directed to 22 transportation centers throughout the country. The Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) of DOT administers the program that selected 10 University Transportation Centers (UTCs), two Transit-Focused UTCs and 10 Regional UTCs. The 22 UTCs selected all created consortiums involving a total of 121 different universities throughout the United States.


In Region 6 comprised of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana and Arkansas, Texas A&M University in College Station won the grant and will work on transportation research and education projects with consortium members at Texas Southern University in Houston, The University of Texas at Austin, Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and the University of New Orleans. The University of Texas at El Paso and Texas Southern University were part of the Tier I UTCs that received grant funding for transportation research and education projects.


Each of the UTCs selected will receive a $3.5 million grant that must be matched by non-federal sources, DOT officials said. The UTCs will work with consortium partners as well as state, local and regional transportation agencies to develop solutions to transportation concerns, including shared rail corridors, bridge inspection methods, reduction of highway fatalities and injuries and to advance technology to assist transportation.


Royal Furgeson named founding dean of new Texas law school

Royal FurgesonU.S. District Judge Royal Furgeson (pictured) has been named the founding dean of a new Texas law school, the University of North Texas Dallas College of Law, which is expected to open in 2014 in downtown Dallas.


Furgeson, who will step into his new role in 15 months, has served as a federal judge for 17 years. He was appointed in the mid 1990s by President Bill Clinton and has served in El Paso, Midland-Odessa, San Antonio and Dallas.


Furgeson hold a bachelor's degree from Texas Tech University and a law degree from The University of Texas at Austin.


Canadian River Water Authority studies new pipeline

Leaders of the Canadian River Municipal Water Authority, which served 11 cities in the Texas Panhandle and South Plains, are looking into adding a pipeline that could cost as much as $257 million.


The area's existing pipeline can move about 65,000 acre-feet of water per year. General Manager Kent Satterwhite hopes to increase that number to 126,000 acre-feet. An acre-foot is 325,851 gallons.


Authority staff and city leaders would like to finish the line by 2020. Some cities, such as Amarillo and Lubbock, have access to temporary cushions until the pipeline is complete.


Texas Supreme Court clears path for ACC Hays Co. construction

Richard RhodesThe Texas Supreme Court recently declined to hear a Hays County resident's challenge to an annexation election that paved the way for a new Austin Community College campus.


The move means ACC officials can issue bonds to pay construction costs, finalize a construction timeline and set a groundbreaking date for the new campus.


"This is the news we've been waiting to hear," said ACC president Richard Rhodes, (pictured). "We will move forward with construction as quickly as possible."


El Paso installing $1.08 million solar power system at service center

El Paso city officials plan to use a $900,000 grant to install a $1.08 million, 167.6-kilowatt solar power system at the city's service center as part of an effort to increase energy and operational efficiency in the city.


Council members last year approved a total of $3.6 million in energy-efficient upgrades planned for 44 city buildings and $7.8 million for energy-efficient streetlights as part of the energy-saving initiative.


The new solar photovoltaic power system, expected to be the largest in the city, should save the city nearly 270,000 kilowatt hours each year, or about $25,000 annually, and reduce electricity consumption at the service center by 35 percent once the solar panels are operable, said Marty Howell, sustainability manager for the city. Installation of the panels is scheduled to begin in March. The city also expects to receive an $87,500 rebate from a solar rebate program available at El Paso Electric Co. to help pay for the solar panel system, Howell said.


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Houston inspector general resigns after 14 months

Robert DoguimHouston Inspector General Robert Doguim (pictured) recently announced that he will resign, effective on Feb. 3.


Doguim, who served in the position 14 months, said he believes the Office of the Inspector General should be a stand-alone city department instead of assigned under the Legal Department.


Doguim, who is leaving, in part, on principle, believes the OIG should have subpoena power and the ability to conduct criminal investigations independently. Currently, if OIG investigators find evidence of criminal activity, they must refer the violations to law enforcement agencies.


Gilmer to seek grant to build water treatment plant at Lake Gilmer

Gilmer City Council recently approved a request by the city manager to seek a grant from Farmers Home Administration (FmHA) to build a water treatment plant at Lake Gilmer.


City officials returned a previous grant from FmHA to build a water treatment plant after the city experienced budget problems, which have now improved, City Manager Jeff Ellington said.


The new treatment plant is needed to ensure a sufficient water supply for citizens in the future, Ellington said. The city currently uses water from six deep wells, but had to impose strict water use restrictions this past year as Texas experienced a severe drought. There is concern that the ground water supply is insufficient to keep up with demand, he said. He also warned that construction most likely will not occur for several years as the city pursues grant funding, secures permits and finalizes design plans and construction of the water plant. If FmHA does not approve the grant, city officials also are looking at the possibility of issuing bonds to pay for the new water treatment plant, he said.


SAISD halts plans for pro soccer at Alamo Stadium

Ed GarzaThe San Antonio school board recently halted plans to bring professional soccer to Alamo Stadium after some taxpayers expressed anger at the idea.


Spurs Sports & Entertainment, the parent company of the San Antonio Spurs basketball team, had wanted to use the stadium, which will receive a $35 million upgrade as part of a bond package.


"I believe the focus and the attention by the potential use of the stadium by (Spurs Sports & Entertainment) needs to be taken off the table," said school board president Ed Garza (pictured).


Hidalgo County eyeing new $55 million courthouse

Members of the Hidalgo County Courthouse Master Plan Committee recently backed a proposal to build a single new, high-rise courthouse at an estimated cost of $55 million in Edinburg. The approval followed a presentation by architects of a plan calling for a new 289,000-square-foot, eight-story courthouse in a parking lot across the street from the current courthouse.


While responding to a committee member who suggested other cities in the county may want to submit a bid to serve as the site for the proposed, new courthouse, County Judge Ramon Garcia said the courthouse would remain in Edinburg. Garcia noted the county already has invested $30 million in buildings and properties surrounding the current courthouse and that Edinburg city officials have offered funding and other resources to keep the county courthouse in their city. Another member of the planning committee, however, noted that the possibility exists that another city may submit a bid to serve as a site for the new courthouse. But, he added, the other cities most likely do not have the resources available to make the investment needed for the courthouse project.


The architects also told committee members that addressing current problems at the courthouse would cost about $8 million, while renovating the county courthouse would cost $7 million. County officials plan to hold a series of public meetings to gather input from county residents about the proposed courthouse project before proceeding with the project.


Corpus Christi eyeing projects for $14 million in leftover bond funds

After several bond projects came in costing less than estimated, Corpus Christi city officials recently began eyeing additional capital projects that could use the $14 million that may be left. The funds are leftovers from bond funds approved in 2008 to pay for neighborhood improvements. City officials are expected to determine by the end of this year the exact amount of bond funds that remain. They will then decide on which capital improvement projects fit within the legal scope of the bond issue.


A preliminary list of projects city staff compiled to consider funding from the remaining bonds includes $9 million to expand Yorktown Blvd., an additional $4.5 million for a bridge project on Park Road 22 approved in a 2004 bond proposal and $1.4 million to realign the intersection at Rodd Field Road and Yorktown Blvd. City officials have spent $1.1 million of the $1.4 million in bond funds approved in 2004 for engineering and design of the bridge. The bridge is necessary for a proposed water resort project on Padre Island.


City staff said that of the 26 street projects included in the 2008 bond package, six street projects remain to be placed for bid. The city has spent about $100 million of the 2008 bond package on street improvements.


El Paso voters may vote on bond issue up to $500 million

Joyce WilsonEl Paso city officials plan to partner with private sector businesses to help finance quality-of-life projects that could come to fruition if voters pass a $300 million to $500 million bond proposal in November.


"I see 2012 as the year to renew collaboration with the private sector and other governments," said City Manager Joyce Wilson (pictured). "It's pretty exciting."


An advisory board recently formed to examine revitalization and development projects that could include a civic center, baseball stadium and multi-purpose arena for sporting events.


Willow Creek approves $125,000 to replace bridge

Rather than wait for the state to repair or replace a bridge in Willow Park, City Council members recently approved $125,000 to replace the Ranch House Road Bridge that was closed because of safety concerns in mid-December.


Council members considered spending $50,000 to $60,000 to repair the failing, 90-foot bridge and then wait about three years for a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to replace the bridge or for the city to spend $125,000 to hire a contractor to replace the bridge on one of the city's main thoroughfares, the mayor said.


While TxDOT officials estimated the cost to replace the bridge would be $2 million with the city required to contribute about 10 percent, or $200,000, of the cost, the mayor said the state estimate is too high. A local contractor often can replace the bridge more economically than TxDOT because of higher standards required by the state than for municipalities or counties, a TxDOT spokesman said. Council members instructed the engineering firm to hire a contractor to replace the bridge rather than seeking bids for the project. The bridge project is considered a public safety emergency, which does not require bids, the city attorney said. The new bridge, which will meet standards for bridges built by municipalities and counties, should be open by the end of February.


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Corpus Christi ISD to build new $3.5 million high school

Trustees for the Corpus Christi Independent School District are expected to begin construction in late spring on a new $3.5 million career and technical high school on Morgan Avenue. The new school is located on the site of the Adult Learning Center that was demolished last year.


District officials are using some of the nearly $21 million in savings remaining from a 2008 bond program to pay for the new career and technology school expected to open in fall 2013. The new high school will permit students to earn technical certificates and associate degrees in programs such as aeronautics, health and science. District officials are awaiting final approval of district fees by officials of Del Mar College to begin construction on the new facility, Superintendent Scott Elliff said.


Hondo adopts long-range plan for regional airport

James DannerThe Hondo City Council recently adopted a long-range development plan for the South Texas Regional Airport, a former military airstrip.


The plan, which could take 30 years to complete, calls for tax incentives for new investment as well as new roads, rail spurs and other infrastructure.


The city plans to sell land in the 3,000-acre site, including about 1,600 acres that are available for industrial development, said mayor Jim Danner (pictured).


Chattanooga Public Library hires new director from Dallas

Corinne Hill, interim director of the Dallas Public Library, recently accepted a job as director of the Chattanooga Public Library in Tennessee. She expects to start in the next six weeks.


Hill has been offered the job as Dallas' permanent director, but turned it down for the Chattanooga position.


TCEQ offering $4.5M in grants to build natural gas fueling stations

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) officials recently began offering $4.5 million in grants to businesses, individuals and governments to build natural gas fueling stations along highways connecting Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Fort Worth.


The proposed fueling stations must be available to the public and be located no more than three miles from highways, TCEQ officials said. The goal of the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan is to help develop a network of natural gas vehicle stations as a foundation for a self-sustaining market for such vehicles in this state. Preference will be given to stations that provide both liquefied natural gas and compressed natural gas at a single location and for stations located within one mile of the highway. TCEQ officials are holding a workshop on Feb. 9 to review grant requirements and application procedures for all parties interested in submitting an application. The grant applications are due by April 16.


Oak Point hires project manager to oversee city hall construction

Jim WohletzAfter receiving higher than expected bids of $600,000 to $750,000 to build a new city hall, Oak Point City Council members recently hired a construction manager to oversee the city hall project. A construction contract could be awarded at the February council meeting Mayor Jim Wohletz (pictured) said.


City officials said city employees must be moved from the cramped portable building placed in the parking lot of the former city hall in July 2009. The old city hall was demolished in 2010 because of mold damage and poor drainage, Wohletz said.


Under the construction manager-at-risk plan, city officials pay a fee to help identify issues that affect both cost and quality of the building and result in lower costs for the project, the mayor said. The construction manager will then submit a guaranteed maximum price proposal that includes construction fees, and a contingency fund that is returned if unspent when the project is completed, Wohletz said. 


Port of Corpus Christi drops Ingleside deal for non-payment

Port of Corpus Christi leaders recently pulled out of a deal to redevelop the former Naval Station Ingleside after a Houston-based firm never made a $19 million down payment.


The port will keep the company's initial $1 million nonrefundable payment and will try to find another buyer.


In November, port officials OK'd selling 187 acres to the Houston firm, which planned to develop the property into an offshore drilling service facility. Firm officials, who missed two payment deadlines, blame the delays on international banks. 


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Woodward named Sam Houston Memorial Museum director

Mac WoodwardHuntsville Mayor Walter "Mac" Woodward (pictured) was recently named director of the Sam Houston Memorial Museum, effective Jan. 1. He succeeds Patrick Nolan, who retired from the position.


Woodward previously served as the museum's curator of collections and, before that, as a historical interpreter. He has also worked with the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, Houston Museum of Natural Science and the Institute of Texan Cultures.


Woodward earned a bachelor's degree from Sam Houston State University and a master's degree from the University of Houston.


Jones County ponders purchase of $7.8 million county jail

Jones County commissioners are expected to vote on a proposal to buy an existing 96-bed jail facility outside of Anson at a cost of $7.8 million at a meeting on Jan. 23. Commissioners also must install kitchen equipment, computers and other technology such as a phone system before the facility can operate as a county jail.


Voters in May 2005 approved $6.9 million in bonds to build a new jail. Commissioners, however, ran into obstacles while seeking financing and never built the new jail. In 2008, county officials awarded a contract by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) to build a $35 million, 1,112-bed detention center owned by private investors. That center was completed in May 2010, but never opened because TDCJ officials canceled the contract. Their explanation was that an insufficient number of inmates were in custody to fill the facility. The center has remained vacant and unused since completion.


Current plans are to move inmates from the county's 31-bed facility into the former detention center in early April. Commissioners plan to use revenue generated by leasing beds at the new jail to pay the additional $1 million needed to supplement the $6.9 million in bonds approved in 2005.


Liberty looking at $1.8M for three more capital improvement projects

Carl PickettLiberty City Council members are considering a series of workshops to discuss the possibility of issuing approximately $1.8 million in certificates of obligation to pay for three or more new capital improvement projects. Mayor Carl Pickett (pictured) said council members also are expected to consider other suggestions for additional capital projects at the workshops.


Council members are now proposing to spend $1.5 million to replace the police headquarters destroyed by Hurricane Ike in 2008, $300,000 to replace the air conditioning and heating system at the Geraldine D. Humphreys Cultural Center and $50,000 to replace an awning to protect public works vehicles and equipment. The mayor said he supports spending $300,000 to replace a bell tower south of the cultural center also destroyed in the hurricane.


Institutes on Evidence-Based Quality Improvement set in July

The 2012 Summer Institutes on Evidence-Based Quality Improvement will be held July 17-21 at the Grand Hyatt Riverwalk Hotel in San Antonio. The event is being offered by The Academic Center for Evidence-Based Practice (ACE), Improvement Science Research Network (ISRN) and The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio. Pre-Conferences are planned for July 18 and the Call for Abstracts is currently open, with a submission deadline of March 12. For more information, click here or contact Kandice Hall at HallKM@uthscsa.edu.


Huntsville to host 16th Annual HUB/Vendor show

The 16th Annual HUB/Vendor show in Huntsville is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 27, at the Veterans Complex - Walker County Storm Shelter at 455 State Highway 75 North in Huntsville. Sponsored by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Sam Houston State University's Small Business Development Center, the City of Huntsville and Walker County, this year's event seeks to expand the vendor base of the sponsoring entities and increase HUB (Historically Underutilized Businesses) participation in the government contracting arena. Purchasers and end-users from the sponsoring entities will be attending, as well as representatives of invited state agencies. Registration and setup will begin at 7:30 a.m. on the day of the event. Vendor training sessions will follow from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. To register, contact Lani Maness at 936-437-7061.


DIR to host 12th Annual Information Security Forum

The 12th Annual Information Security Forum, hosted for government personnel only by the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR), is slated for Tuesday, May 15. The free, one-day event is co-sponsored by the Texas Association of State Systems for Computing and Communications (TASSCC). Conference focus this year is "Security Program Maturity," with possible topics to include security assessment process, threat landscape/risks, legal and privacy landscape, why it's important to improve security program maturity, implementing enterprise solutions and governance. Interested vendors are invited to exhibit and/or provide speakers. Sessions should be purely educational and not promote products or services. The event is targeted to Information Resource Managers and other IT and security decision-makers. For more information, contact Joy Hall Bryant at joy.bryant@dir.texas.gov or Sue Atkinson at sue.atkinson@dir.texas.gov or click here.


E-Learning Symposium 2012 planned for June 13 in Austin

Professionals who manage and design E-Learning programs in health care, government, higher education, energy and corporate settings will not want to miss this year's E-Learning Symposium 2012 Austin. The symposium is an interactive conference designed to help professionals and key decision-makers learn how to execute E-Learning programs within their organizations. The event is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 13, at the Omni Southpark Hotel, 4410 Governors Row in Austin. The event features leading industry experts who share their knowledge on of-the-moment topics, processes and technology within E-Learning. For more information, click here


TxDOT sets Small Business Briefing series in Austin, Houston

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will conduct its Small Business Briefing Series in Austin and Houston. The briefings are designed to provide small businesses with information regarding how to do business with TxDOT and other major state agencies such as the Department of Information Resources, Health and Human Services, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and others. The Small Business Briefing will provide information on how these agencies procure services and purchase products. General industry sessions will include an overview of TxDOT construction projects, professional services (engineering), consulting contracts and state contracting for information technology products and services. Those attending will also have an opportunity to bid on On-the-Spot contracts under $25,000. To participate in the On-the-Spot contracting, participants must register online at http://tti.tamu.edu/conferences/sbb12/. The Austin briefing will be held Wednesday, Jan. 25, at the Norris Conference Center http://www.norriscenters.com - 2525 West Anderson Lane, and the Houston briefing will be Thursday, March 1, at the OMNI Houston Hotel Westside- 13210 Katy Freeway. For exhibitor and individual registration, click here. For more information, contact Alta Alexander at 512- 486-5524. 


Leadership Fusion Summit planned for Feb. 15 in Houston

In its fourth year, Leadership Fusion 2012-Lead Empower Transform builds on a strong tradition of presenting some of the nation's foremost leaders and change makers in business and education. The event will be held on Feb. 15, 2012, at the Region 4 Education Service Center, 7145 W. Tidwell Road in Houston. This year's lineup includes visionary leaders who are recognized for shaping and altering their respective industries and professions and achieving success through turbulent times. Featured speakers include Howard Putnam - Former CEO of Southwest Airlines and author of The Winds of Turbulence: A CEO's Reflections on Surviving and Thriving on the Cutting Edge of Corporate Crisis; Desi Williamson - CPAE Speaker's Hall of Fame Inductee (joining such notable figures as General Colin Powell and Zig Ziglar), motivational coach for the Minnesota Vikings and author of Where There's a Will, There's a Way; and Jennifer James, Ph.D. - world renowned cultural anthropologist, educator and the author of Thinking in the Future Tense: Leadership Skills for a New Age. Click here to learn more or e-mail leadership@esc4.net .


P3 workshop planned in Austin, Texas, on Jan. 25

Recent revisions in Texas law provide for additional opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) at all levels of government. The new law addresses a wide range of project types that include public buildings, water and wastewater systems, transportation and energy projects. The National Council for Public-Private Partnerships will host a workshop in Austin, Texas, on Jan. 25, 2012 on "PPPs and Texas SB 1048: New Tools for Meeting Facilities and Infrastructure Needs. Among the topics are fundamentals of PPPs, an outline of the statute, first steps in the process, examples of how they have worked and financing tools. The workshop will be at the Hilton Austin, 500 E. Fourth Street, 78701. Sponsorships are available. More information on the workshop will be announced at a later date. To view the agenda and to register, click here.


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QR code squares showing
up in government circles


Mary Scott NabersBy Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc.


They are not pretty or even interesting looking, but they are showing up everywhere. They are called QR codes - the latest technological wonders making their way into use by government.


 Q R CodeThese two-dimensional, black and white barcode squares have been used by businesses for some time to help link tech-savvy customers to Web sites, products, service promotions, contests and messages. But only recently have they been showing up in the government arena.


The "QR" stands for "quick response" - meaning the codes can be read quickly by a smart phone. Information is encoded in them and a cell phone with a QR code-reading application can read the code.


While information in a standard barcode is limited, the QR code can store much more data and present it digitally on a phone. The technology is being used by government subdivisions throughout the nation. In one Kansas county, QR codes are being used in parks to provide information and maps. The city of New York plans to install QR codes on building permits, allowing users to access information related to construction sites in the city. In a pilot program in Maryland, a parking garage has meters with QR codes that are unique to each parking space, allowing motorists to be sure they are paying for the correct space.





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Uvalde agrees to issue $2.5M

in debt to renovate civic center

Uvalde City Council members recently agreed to publish a notice of intent to issue as much as $2.5 million in certificates of obligation to pay for a $3.8 million renovation project at the civic center. Council is expected to vote on an ordinance to issue one or more certificates of obligation not to exceed $2.5 million at a meeting on Feb. 28 to help pay for the civic center renovations.


Grandview ISD taps Perrin

as new superintendent

Joe PerrinGrandview Independent School District trustees recently selected Joe Perrin (pictured) as the new superintendent.


Perrin, currently the director of human resources and a former high school principal at the school district, will assume his new duties in about a month, said Dana Marable, interim superintendent. Perrin replaces former Superintendent Keith Scharnhorst, who resigned in August.



Coppell to study operating combined dispatch center

The Coppell City Council recently authorized a $43,697 study of the pros and cons of joining with Carrollton, Farmers Branch and Addison to operate a combined dispatch center. City officials will participate in the agreement to combine dispatch centers only if the new center increases the level of service provided to residents of Coppell, a spokesman for the city said.


Cleveland council getting closer to hiring new city manager

Jill KirkonisThe Cleveland City Council will interview three candidates for the city manager position on Jan. 21.


City leaders may select a finalist that day, said mayor Jill Kirkonis (pictured).


The position has been empty since October 2010, when City Council voted to fire Philip Cook before the end of his contract - a decision that cost the city $45,000. Consequentially, voters recalled and removed three city council members from office.


Pine Tree ISD cuts assistant superintendent, transfers O'Rear

Officials of Pinetree Independent School District recently eliminated the position of assistant superintendent of human resources and transferred K'Dawn O'Rear, who held that post, to serve as a leadership coach and assistant principal at Pine Tree Elementary School.


Most of the duties performed by O'Rear while an assistant superintendent will be transferred to Assistant Superintendent James Skeeler, who oversees student services and Assistant Superintendent Nate Carman, who oversees curriculum and instruction, Superintendent T.J. Farler said. O'Rear will mentor some of the principals in the district as part of her new duties, he said.


The reorganization is needed as the school district expects to face more budget cuts in the second year of the biennium, Farler said. The superintendent also said district officials may consider hiring a director this summer to assist with some of the duties performed by the former assistant superintendent for human resources.


HDI Solutions

El Paso sets more public meetings on May bond election

El Paso city officials recently scheduled a series of public meetings throughout the city to allow residents to express their views on a proposed quality-of-life bond election council members are considering scheduling in May.


Council members will decide how much the bond proposal will ask voters to approve once more information is available about projects voters want included in the bond proposal, City Manager Joyce Wilson (pictured) said. The goal is to develop a 10-year investment plan that will feature significant capital projects to create a better environment in the downtown area and throughout the community, said the city manager.


Cooper tapped as a finalist for superintendent post in Louisiana

Kelt CooperSuperintendent Kelt Cooper (pictured) of the San Felipe Del Rio Consolidated Independent School District recently was named as one of six finalists to replace John Dilworth as superintendent of East Baton Rouge Parish Schools in Louisiana.


The five remaining finalists are Herman Brister, chief academic officer at the East Baton Rouge Parish School System; Tisha Edwards, chief of staff at Baltimore City Public Schools in Maryland; Samuel King, superintendent of Rockdale County Public Schools in Georgia; Eliot Smalley, deputy of strategy and communications for Charleston County School District in South Carolina; and Maria Pitre-Martin, director of K-12 Curriculum and Instruction, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction in Raleigh, North Carolina.


Board members are finalizing plans to interview the six finalists for superintendent, district officials said.


LeFleur Transportation

Lubbock to seek design firm

for new city fire station

Lubbock city officials recently agreed to seek proposals from engineering and architectural firms to design a new fire station located on 98th Street.


The new station No. 19, which is being paid for with bonds approved in 2009, will serve the area south of 98th Street to the city limits south of 130th Street, city records indicate.


Fort Worth ISD selects Dansby  sole finalist for superintendent

Walter DansbyFort Worth Independent School District board members recently selected Interim Superintendent Walter Dansby (pictured) as the lone finalist for superintendent. Dansby will replace Melody Johnson, who resigned in June, if trustees vote for final approval of the contract after the required 21-day waiting period.


Dansby began his career at the district in 1974 as a teacher and coach and later served as a high school principal and area director of instruction before being named as a deputy superintendent in 2001. He holds a bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at Arlington and a master's degree from Tarleton State University.


Lufkin chooses Atwood

as new city secretary

Lufkin City Manager Paul Parker recently tapped Kara Atwood, an executive administrative assistant in the city manager's office, as the new city secretary.


Atwood previously managed the city's fair housing and equal opportunity efforts, scheduling, meetings and correspondence and had acted as city secretary in the absence of former City Secretary Renee Thompson. Atwood, who has worked for the city since 1977, previously worked in the inspections services department, the mayor's office and the city secretary's office.


Gray County approves design

for new $600,000 airport terminal

Gray County commissioners recently approved the design for a proposed $600,000 terminal building at the Perry Lefors Airport in Pampa. Plans call for the new terminal to include a conference room, a larger area to plan flights and a private lounge, county officials said.


The Aviation Facilities Grant Program of the Texas Department of Transportation awarded a $300,000 grant for the terminal project. The Pampa Economic Development Corporation also provided $300,000 and the county will pay any remaining costs of the project, county officials said.


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Beeville City Council appoints Bernardo new city secretary

Beeville city leaders recently named Imelda "Mel" Bernardo of Corpus Christi city secretary. She replaces Tomas P. Saenz, who retired after serving the city for 42 years.


Saenz will continue to serve as the city's director of police civil service for the next six months. The position, which require about 20 hours work a month, will be filled with a full-time city employee by June.


Burleson selects five

finalists for new city manager

Burleson City Council members recently selected five candidates for city manager as finalists for the post. The new city manager will replace Curtis Hawk, who is retiring in March after serving as city manager since 2006.


The five finalists are:

  • Dale Cheatham, a town manager in Brownsburg, Indiana and former city manager for The Colony in Texas;
  • James Earp, an assistant city manager in Kyle;
  • Charles Ewings, an assistant city manager in Longview;
  • John Godwin, a town manager in Fairview; and
  • Elizabeth Grindstaff, an assistant city manager in San Angelo.

Council members plan to interview the five finalists this week and bring back the top candidates for additional interviews in February, the mayor said.


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Rockport Community Center decision put on temporary hold

The Rockport City Council recently tabled discussion about construction of a $3.2 million community center.


City leaders estimate the center could cost $330,000 a year to operate. Total costs could add two cents to the Rockport tax rate, officials have said.


San Angelo city manager among finalists for spot in Colorado

Harold DominguezCity officials in Longmont, Colorado, recently selected Harold Dominguez (pictured), the city manager in San Angelo, as one of six finalists for city manager.


Dominguez, who recently interviewed in Longmont, previously served as an assistant city manager in Lubbock and became city manager in San Angelo after serving as an assistant city manager and interim city manager. Dominguez said he was contacted about applying for the post and had not been looking for a new position. Longmont city officials are expected to announce their selection for city manager soon.


Copperas Cove approves$1.3M 

for roof, equipment repairs

Copperas Cove City Council members recently agreed to borrow $1.3 million to pay for roof repairs to city hall, the fire station and library, new smart boards, tables and chairs for city hall, a tractor and a dump truck.


Council members also allotted funding to help pay for a bypass project at US190 and to purchase land to provide access to a water tank planned in the future, said the budget director for the city.


Recent Reports

Assets from drug arrest go

to Texas law enforcement

Texas law enforcement agencies that helped arrest the former leader of the Mexican Gulf cartel, Osiel Cardenas-Guillen, have started to receive the nearly $30 million in seized cash drug money.


Twelve South Texas agencies, including the Brownsville Police Department and Hidalgo County Sheriff's Department, will split nearly $30 million between them. Cardenas-Guillen was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2010. He pleaded guilty to five counts, which included drug charges.


House Speaker appointments

House Speaker Joe Straus has made the following appointments:

  • Michael Blue of Austin, Emerging Technology Advisory Committee;
  • William A. "Billy" Freed of San Antonio, Texas Emerging Technology Advisory Committee
Texas Government Insider Archives
Volume 1-10 Archives - 11/7/03 - 1/13/12

North Texas residents asked for input on transportation funding

North Texas officials recently held a public meeting where they outlined proposed changes to transportation projects funded by Proposition 12, legislation that authorized the Texas Department of Transportation to issue $3 billion for projects around the state.


Local officials agreed on how to spend North Texas' portion of the money in September. However, changes were made to that list to strategically fund and speed up projects. The public has until Feb. 8 to comment on the changes.


Amelie Ramirez elected to TAMEST board of directors

Amelie RamirezAmelie Ramirez (pictured) of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio was recently elected to the 2012 board of directors for The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas (TAMEST), a group created to recognize the state's top achievers in medicine, engineering and science.


At the Health Science Center, Ramirez currently serves as director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research and as associate director of health disparities at the Cancer Therapy & Research Center. Much of Ramirez's research work focuses on reducing cancer in the Latino population.


Governor's appointments
Governor Rick Perry has announced the following appointments:
  • Reginald Baptiste of Austin, Texas Physician Assistant Board;
  • James Endicott Jr. of Harker Heights, Texas Physician Assistant Board;
  • David A. Smith of Brownwood, Nursing Facility Administrators Advisory Committee;
  • Linda Strong of Corpus Christi. Nursing Facility Administrators Advisory Committee;
  • Susan Farris of Springtown, Nursing Facility Administrators Advisory Committee;
  • Gerry Evenwel of Mount Pleasant, Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation Board of Directors;
  • Roger Cortez of Cedar Park, Rehabilitation Council of Texas;
  • Elizabeth Gentry of Schertz, Rehabilitation Council of Texas;
  • Brent Pitt of Austin, Rehabilitation Council of Texas.

Bottoms begins duties as new deputy city manager in Baytown

Ron BottomsRon Bottoms (pictured) recently assumed his new post as deputy city manager in Baytown. Bottoms replaced Bob Leiper, who was named as city manager after former City Manager Garry Brumback left that post.


Bottoms previously served as city manager in La Porte, Dumas and Freeport, as a program manager in San Antonio and as public works director in Brenham.


Dallas picks King as new director of convention, event services

Dallas city officials recently selected Ron King as the new director of convention and event services. During the last five years, King was director of event services for San Diego and previously was general manager for the Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the general manager of the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, which included managing the facility during the 2002 Winter Olympics.


Aransas Pass selects Hill

as new civic center manager

Aransas Pass City Council members recently appointed Morgan Hill as the new manager of the civic center. Hill previously was deputy manager of the facility. Hill, who replaces Annette Schonhoeft, will report directly to City Manager Reggie Winters in his new post.


Bobby Ott resigns as deputy superintendent at Killeen ISD

Deputy Superintendent Bobby Ott recently resigned from the post he has held since 2009. His resignation is effective when his contract expires in June, district officials said.


New Braunfels ISD may trade

in paper textbooks for iPads

Randy MoczygembaSuperintendent Randy Moczygemba (pictured) of the New Braunfels Independent School District recently proposed spending $320,000 to purchase iPads for all ninth grade students to replace paper textbooks now used in class.


The pilot program will examine the possibility of replacing paper textbooks used in high school with a district-owned iPad that would be assigned to students to use during class and at home, Moczygemba said. Electronic textbooks can cost as much as $20 less than their paper counterparts, he said.


Under his proposal, parents will be responsible for any damage to the electronic textbooks and will be offered insurance if desired, the superintendent said. Funding for the proposed pilot program already is available in funding allotted for upgrading technology, said Moczygemba, who will formally present the proposal to trustees on Feb. 20.


Keller approves $5.6 million in debt to upgrade sewer service

Keller City Council members recently agreed to sell $5.8 million in certificates of obligation provided by the Texas Water Development Board to pay for upgrading sewer service in northern areas of the city.


The low-interest loan from the state agency is expected to save the city approximately $930,000 during the 20-year life of the debt, city officials said. The city plans to use the loan to pay for improvements to the sanitary sewer along Katy Road and branch collectors in the area annexed in the 1980s. The debt will be repaid using revenue from water and sewer fees, city officials said.


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Royse City ISD extends deadline for superintendent applicants

Royse City Independent School District trustees recently agreed to extend the deadline for submitting applications for superintendent from Feb. 3 to Feb. 10. The new superintendent will replace Superintendent Randy Hancock, who is retiring on June 30.


District officials received 17 applications for the post in early January and expect more candidates to apply before the deadline for application ends, Hancock said. The timeline adopted by board members calls for interviews to occur between February 20 and February 24, with follow-up interviews scheduled for Feb. 27 through March 2. Trustees expect to name a lone finalist on March 4 and take a final vote on March 27, he said.


Abilene approves measure to allow wind turbines within city

Abilene City Council members recently approved a change in the land development code to allow residents living within the city limits to install wind turbines. The newly approved code allows residents of certain zones to install wind turbines if they have sufficient land at the site. The code also sets limit on the color of the wind turbine, how tall it can be and what material is used for the tower.


Arlington Municipal Airport manager Porter retires

Bob PorterArlington Municipal Airport Manager Bob Porter (pictured) has announced he will retire, effective Jan. 27.


During his 23 years in the position, Porter oversaw a total rehabilitation of the runway, two runway extensions and the construction of an air traffic control tower and new terminal. The changes helped transform the small general aviation airport into one of the best municipal airports in the county.


Dallas may seek new partner

for proposed horse park

Members of a Dallas City Council committee recently supported a plan that calls for city officials to look for a new partner for developing a proposed horse park along the Trinity River in the southern area of the city. City officials approved an agreement with a nonprofit organization in 2006 that agreed to raise $15 million to match funding for the park to be provided by the city. City officials, however, rescinded the agreement when the nonprofit group raised only $1 million of the amount pledged.


A new plan developed by city staff calls for seeking another organization or company with experience and knowledge of operating a horse park to partner with the city to develop one. It would provide riding lessons, trail rides and host equestrian events such as polo or rodeos at the park. The park would be located at the west end of Elam Road near I-45 and Loop 12 Great Trinity Forest Blvd. The proposed park also would include stables, arenas and trails for horseback riding along the river. Council members have not yet scheduled a vote on the proposal to seek a new partner to develop the horse park, which supporters say will attract many visitors to the area.


Keller spends $280,000 for land for animal shelter, jail expansion

Keller City Council members recently approved paying $280,000 to buy a one-acre tract of land next to the police department to expand the jail and animal shelter at the facility located on Rufe Snow Dr. City officials are using revenue from crime prevention sales tax funds to pay for the land purchase, the mayor said.


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.
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