Texas Government Insider
Volume 10, Issue 45 - Friday, Nov. 16, 2012

Health exchange decision deadline changed again Thursday


States now will have until Dec. 14 to decide; Perry says Texas not setting up its own


Today was to have been the deadline for states to decide if they will set up health insurance exchanges as part of the Obama administration's health reform law. However, the Obama administration, in response to a request in a letter from the Republican Governors Association (RGA), has once again extended the deadline. Now, according to the White House, that deadline will be Dec. 14.


The decision in Texas was made last June - and apparently hasn't changed. The exchanges, which will offer more affordable health insurance plans for both individuals and small businesses as prescribed under the Affordable Care Act, are supposed to open for enrollment on Oct. 1, 2013. More than 20 million people are expected to use them.


Just days after President Barack Obama's re-election, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) notified states that they would have more time to file their health insurance exchange plans. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius originally set new deadlines for applications, saying states planning for a state-run exchange must send a letter of intent by today, Friday. Late Thursday that deadline was changed to Dec. 14.


Regardless of when the deadline is, don't expect anyone from Gov. Rick Perry's office to be rushing to the post office or clicking the "send" button on a computer at 11:59 p.m. on that date to beat a midnight deadline.


Perry sent a letter to Sebelius last July saying Texas would not create a state exchange. In the letter, the governor said that neither the proposed exchanges nor proposed Medicaid expansion "would result in better patient protection or in more affordable care."


Sebelius got another letter from Perry yesterday before the second deadline extension, when the Texas governor told the HHS Secretary that the state of Texas would not participate. In his letter, Perry wrote that such an exchange would present "an unknown cost to Texas taxpayers." He called the exchanges "a federally mandated exchange with rules dictated by Washington" and said it would not be "fiscally responsible to put hard-working Texans on the financial hook for an unknown amount of money to operate a system under rules that have not even been written."




New DFPS commissioner:


John Specia, champion of children, family issues, named to fill position

John Specia, Jr.Judge John J. Specia, Jr. (pictured), a champion of children and a veteran of policy issues involving children and families, has been named the next commissioner of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). Specia, senior district judge and founding member and jurist in residence for the Supreme Court Children's Commission was described as a "problem solver" by new Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek, M.D.


Specia's experience includes having established the Bexar County Children's Court with specialized services for children and the Family Drug Treatment Court. He was vice chair of the Supreme Court's Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families and chair of the Supreme Court Task Force on Foster Care. He was one of the state's earliest child welfare attorneys, serving as a regional attorney for the then-Texas Department of Human Services.


The longtime jurist served as judge of the 225th District Court in Bexar County for nearly 20 years, retiring in 2006. He currently serves as senior district judge subject to assignment. Before being appointed to the district court, he was master for the 289th Family and Juvenile District Court in Bexar County. Specia holds an undergraduate degree from The University of Texas at Austin and his law degree from St. Mary's School of Law. He will take over as commissioner on Dec. 1.


Saying DFPS' mission is to protect the unprotected, Specia said as commissioner, his job will be "to make sure our employees have the skills and tools they need to fulfill that mission."


Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars


Jesus ChavezDr. Jesús H. Chávez, superintendent, Round Rock Independent School District 


Career highlights and education:  Dr. Jesús H. Chávez has 33 years experience in education, beginning as a third grade teacher in Brownsville ISD and working as an assistant principal, central office administrator and superintendent. He served as superintendent of the Harlingen Consolidated ISD and Corpus Christi ISD before moving to Round Rock ISD in 2006. Chavez received a bachelor's degree in elementary education from The University of Texas at Austin, his Masters of Education from Pan American University at Brownsville and received his doctorate along with his superintendent's certificate from UT Austin in Special Education Administration in 1989.
What I like best about my job is:  Running a school district is a collaborative process. I enjoy working with people towards making important decisions that positively impact students and the community.

The best advice I've received for my current job is: Always do what's best for the children. If you keep the kids as your primary focus, you arrive at good decisions. 
Advice you would give a new hire in your office: 

Buckle in. The work we do is fast, it's hectic, but it's extremely rewarding.

If I ever snuck out of work early, I could probably be found:  At home with my wife, Martha, or spending time with both of my kids. They're 27- and 18-years-old now, so they're not little ones anymore, but that's still where I like to spend my extra time.
People would be surprised to know that I:  actually enjoy shopping. Any kind really - going through the aisles at the grocery store or window shopping at the outlets here.

One thing I wish more people knew about Round Rock ISD: I would hope they know that we have great people and that the students in our district do extremely well. What I think people should realize is that part of the way we achieve that is by having multiple grant programs throughout our district, so each student can find their niche while they are here and their own path to success.


Ursula Parks named director of Legislative Budget Board

Ursula ParksUrsula Parks (pictured), a veteran of 20 years with the Legislative Budget Board (LBB), was unanimously approved Thursday as the director of the LBB. Parks had been serving as acting director since March, following the April retirement of former director John O'Brien. Previous to her role as acting director, Parks was deputy director of the agency.


Parks began her career with the LBB in 1994 as a financial analyst, serving in that role until 2001, when she became an LBB team manager. She was responsible for the team of technical and analytical staff that developed budget and policy recommendations for the agency's education team. Parks became assistant director in 2007.


She holds a bachelor's degree from American University.


TWU Chancellor, President Ann Stuart announces retirement

Dr. Ann StuartTexas Woman's University (TWU) Chancellor and President Dr. Ann Stuart (pictured) announced today, Friday, that she will retire. However, she will continue to lead the university until a successor is named. Stuart has served as chancellor and president of the university since 1999.


Since Stuart joined TWU, the university's enrollment has grown by 85 percent, with an all-time record of more than 15,100 students in fall 2012. The university has produced more than 20,000 graduates during her tenure. She has overseen the implementation of advanced technology and teaching tools and steered the university to national recognition from U.S. News and World Report and other national publications for the university's quality, value and diversity.


Before coming to TWU, Stuart served as the president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institutešs Graduate School in Connecticut, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Alma College in Michigan, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania and in several capacities at the University of Evansville in Indiana.


City of Irving wins Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award

Beth Van DuyneThe City of Irving this week was named one of four American organizations to be honored as winners of the 2012 Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award, the nation's highest Presidential honor for performance excellence through innovation, improvement and visionary leadership. Irving becomes the largest city in the country ever to receive the award and is just the second city to earn the award during the program's 25-year history.


Calling Irving a "dynamic city," Mayor Beth Van Duyne said she is proud of the city because it "values the feedback of its residents, businesses and employees, and uses this feedback to enhance the quality of life for our entire community." City Manager Tommy Gonzalez said the award "is validation of the strategic operations plan we have implemented."


Irving was one of 39 applicants for the award, including five in the nonprofit category in which municipalities are grouped. All of the applicants were evaluated by an independent board of examiners in seven areas defined by the Baldridge Criteria for Performance Excellence: leadership; strategic planning; customer focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; workforce focus; operations focus; and results. All of the candidates were reviewed on-site by a team of examiners. The city of Irving was one of only four that won awards. The awards will be presented at a ceremony in April 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland.



TDA's Rick Rhodes honored with regional service award
Regional Service Award
Rick Rhodes accepts his award from last year's winner Nicki Harle.

Texas Department of Agriculture's Rick Rhodes, administrator of the

agency's Office of Rural Affairs, was recently awarded the Regional Service Award during the 46th Annual Meeting of the West Central Texas Council of Governments.


The award was presented by last year's award recipient Texas Midwest Community Network Executive Director Nicki Harle.


A former four-term mayor of Sweetwater from 1985 to 1993, Rhodes was one of the founders of the regional organization Texas Midwest Community Network in 1994.  He began his statewide service in the Governor's Office for Economic Development and served on the governor's job creation team.


He also is the former owner of a successful small business and was involved in banking and mortgage lending before moving to Texas Department of Agriculture to head the rural development division.


Rhodes earned a bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at Austin.


Annie's List - Grossman Solutions


TxDOT to use natural gas-powered vehicles to save fuel, money

Bill MeadowsIn an effort to save money and prevent pollution, Texas Department of Transportation officials recently kicked off a new program to test how vehicles fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG) perform in daily operations.


Natural gas is abundant in Texas, costs about 40 percent less to refuel than vehicles using gasoline, emits 90 percent fewer pollutants and offers lower maintenance costs, said Commissioner Bill Meadows (pictured). As part of the pilot program, the agency plans to buy four trucks fueled by natural gas and test those vehicles in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex area because of the availability of alternative fuel options.


The test will determine whether the CNG vehicles meet the needs of agency staff and operations, Meadows said. TxDOT officials then plan to evaluate the CNG program and decide whether to purchase additional vehicles powered by natural gas.


Texas Parks & Wildlife approves $8.8M to acquire natural area

Texas Parks and Wildlife Commissioners recently agreed to spend $8.8 million to acquire 461 acres in the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone to add to the Government Canyon State Natural Area northwest of San Antonio. The land to be purchased abutts the 8,623-acre natural area that is a habitat for the golden-cheeked warbler.


San Antonio City Council must approve $7 million in bonds from the Edwards Aquifer Protection Program to fund the majority of the purchase of the land that previously was part of the MaBe Canyon ranch. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department is providing $150,000 in federal land conservation funding to acquire the former ranch land for the natural area.


Office of Court Administration announces new eFiling system

MedicineA new eFiling system has been installed by the Office of Court Administration (OCA) that officials say will allow for a more robust, less expensive and convenient form of filing legal documents. "Our goal in this process was to find a technology solution that would meet the needs of judges, clerks, court staff, attorneys and litigants in a secure, reliable, easy-to-use and cost-effective manner," said Wallace B. Jefferson, Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court. The Chief Justice said the technology chosen will reduce the cost of eFiling and eService by up to 48 percent.


The new official eFiling service for Texas will allow attorneys and litigants to initiate new cases and file subsequent pleadings and documents to a court through a Web portal. Upon acceptance by the court, the documents can be automatically transmitted to the court's case management system. Electronic service to other parties is offered at no additional charge. Officials say the new system is likely to allow for the conducting of most of the business in the Texas courts in a paperless environment.


Court officials say that judges, court clerks and staff will see their workloads streamlined, while attorneys and litigants will benefit from the system's lower fees and increased functionality. David Slayton, administrative director of OCA said the new system is expected to "allow the courts, clerks, attorneys and litigants to reduce the costs associated with handling and transmitting paper documents" and provide "potential savings to taxpayers" through lower storage costs and other processing costs. Those courts will be transitioned from the existing platform over the next 15 months.


Collaboration Nation

DIR's Robinson named award winner at InnoTech conference

Karen RobinsonKaren Robinson (pictured), executive director of the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) and the state's Chief Information Officer, was recently named Public Sector IT Executive of the Year by the Austin chapter of the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) and SIM Austin.


Robinson was honored at the Nov. 8 InnoTech Austin conference.


In her role as executive director of DIR, Robinson oversees IT for more than 4,400 publicly funded state organizations.  She manages the agency that operates the state's communications-technology services, cooperative contracts, IT security, data center services, and the state's Web site, www.Texas.gov.


Center for Public Construction addresses public projects

With a goal of restoring taxpayer confidence in city and public projects, the new Center for Public Construction (CPC) is designed to provide training programs for administrators of schools and other public construction projects. The new organization, founded by professional engineer Casey Sledge, was officially launched this week at the Texas Municipal League's annual conference in Fort Worth.


The CPC will offer training programs with a curriculum aimed at teaching elected officials, city, county and hospital district executives, utility managers, school board members and school superintendents. The program will provide a focus on the practical application of best practices in all areas of a public construction project, from the concept of the project through operations and management. Providers and other stakeholders will also be encouraged to participate. The organization seeks to eliminate gaps among cities, counties and schools as well as among cities, taxpayers and end users.


An advisory board includes Taylor City Manager Jim Dunaway, Jonah Special Utility District General Manager Bill Brown, school superintendents and private sector executives and providers. CPS is a membership organization and will take its training program to different cities or directly to organizations. The organization offers training that provides CEU credits and a Public Construction Administrator program that can lead to certification.


Davidson resigns as vice president of Hardin-Simmons University

Shane DavidsonShane Davidson (pictured) recently resigned as vice president for enrollment and marketing at Hardin-Simmons University, effective at the end of this year.


Davidson, who was with HSU for 15 years, resigned to accept a post as vice president of enrollment services at the University of Evansville in Indiana.


 Davidson previously was a financial aid director at Wayland Baptist University in Plainview and joined HSU in 1997 as an associate vice president. He has a degree from Howard Payne University.


UT System's Woodley will head University of Louisiana System

Sandra WoodleySandra K. Woodley (pictured), vice chancellor for strategic initiatives at The University of Texas System, will leave that post Jan. 1, 2013, to take over as president of the University of Louisiana System. She will be replacing Randy Moffett, who retired in September.


The UL System includes Southeastern Louisiana University, UL-Lafayette, UL-Monroe, the University of New Orleans, McNeese State, Nicholls State, Louisiana Tech, Grambling State and Northwestern State. Before she signed on with the UT System, Woodley was Strategic Planner and Chief Financial Officer for the Arizona Board of Regents that governs three public research universities.


She also previously served as Vice President of Finance, Planning and Performance at the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education and was associate executive director for the Alabama Commission on Higher Education in the Alabama Legislative Fiscal Office. She also is a former coordinator of the Economic Forecasting Group of Auburn University's Center for Government and Public Affairs. She holds bachelors and master's degrees from Auburn University and her doctorate from Nova Southeastern University in Florida.


Nov. 2012 Tx Bond Elections - Results Package

Shine announces he is stepping down next year from UT post

Kenneth ShineAfter spending the last nine years as executive vice chancellor for health affairs with The University of Texas System, Dr. Kenneth Shine (pictured), has announced his retirement. Shine, who has oversight of the half dozen UT System health institutions, has been with the System since 2003. A cardiologist and physiologist, Shine was president of the Institute of Medicine for 10 years before taking on his executive vice chancellor role.


Shine has played an important role in the System's plans to establish new medical schools in South Texas and Austin. He plans to teach and care for patients at the Austin facility.


Shine earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School. He trained at Harvard's teaching hospital, Massachusetts General, where he became a chief resident in medicine. He later joined the faculty of the University of California at Los Angeles and became dean of the school of medicine. He was named president of the Institute of Medicine, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that helps influence national health care policy.


McKinney moves forward on $35M hotel, conference center

McKinney city officials recently signed a public-private partnership agreement with The Beck Group and Champ Hospitality to build a $35 million to $39 million hotel and conference center on a 90-acre, city-owned tract of land. The project, located at the northeast corner of US75 and the Sam Rayburn Tollway, stalled in 2008 after a dispute with a previous developer.


Construction on the new full-service hotel is scheduled to begin in early 2013. The new hotel will feature 186 rooms and the conference center will offer 20,000 square feet of full-service event space. The goal is to develop the property into business, retail, educational and hospitality property, the mayor said. Plans call for leaving 65 acres of the 90-acre property open for later development.


Under the agreement, the private companies will own the hotel while the McKinney Community Development Corporation will retain ownership of the land and the event center. City officials estimate the public incentive to the project will range from $18 million to $20.25 million.


Khator honored as International Business Executive of Year

Renu KhatorRenu Khator (pictured), president of the University of Houston, has been named International Business Executive of the Year by the Greater Houston Partnership and Kiwanis Club of Houston. For a quarter of a century, the award has gone to a business person who worked to make the city a center of international business.


However, Khator was praised for her global leadership. "Leaders like her continue to make Houston a thriving center of international business through workforce development, cutting-edge research, important industry partnerships and a commitment to the overall success of this city," said Bob Harvey, president and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership. He pointed out that UH students hail from more than 150 countries around the world and the university contributes more than $3 billion to the Houston economy each year.


Research Analysts - Contracts

Tech HSC picks Schneider to head Biomedical Sciences School

Brandt SchneiderBrandt L. Schneider, Ph.D. (pictured), has been selected as dean of the Graduate

School of Biomedical Sciences of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC).He replaces Douglas M. Stoco, Ph.D., in the school that offers masters and doctoral degrees in nine areas of study.


Schneider joined TTUHSC School of Medicine Department of Cell Biology and Biochemistry in 1999. He earned a bachelor's degree in microbiology from the University of Washington in 1986 and a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from the University of Arizona in 1993.  He completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York.


Port of Corpus Christi sells former naval station for $82.1 million

Port of Corpus Christi commissioners recently approved selling the former Naval Station Ingleside for $82.1 million to Occidental Petroleum Corp. Port Commissioners now hope the 800-acre property can be redeveloped and replace some of the 2,000 jobs that disappeared when the naval station closed down.


Port officials also are working on an agreement with Occidental officials on the company's $7 million bid for a 100-acre campus on the base. If that agreement is signed, Occidental Petroleum Corp. will own 915 acres along the shore of Corpus Christi Bay in San Patricio County.


Occidental officials, who estimate spending a total of about $1 billion on the development, plan to develop in phases. The first phase most likely will bring liquefied petroleum gas from the Eagle Ford Shale drilling region northwest of the area and load the gas on barges. Company officials also estimated the project will support 200 direct and indirect jobs and are considering building a liquefied natural gas facility as well as storing crude oil, condensate or other refined products at the site of the former naval station.


DISD Superintendent announces Caballero as chief of staff

Leonardo CaballeroLeonardo Caballero (pictured), who has been serving as special assistant to Lamar University President James Simmons for the last two years, is giving up that post to become chief of staff to Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Mike Miles. As chief of staff, Caballero will work closely with Miles to accomplish the district's goals and will work closely with DISD Cabinet members and will spearhead action plans related to the nearly three-dozen major system areas that Miles has identified as areas that need improvement.


While at Lamar, Caballero was in charge of local government and community relations, development of the commercial real estate property surrounding the university, the launch of the school's football program after a long absence and restructuring the Facilities and Operations department. A Navy veteran, Caballero has a wide variety of experience in public service. Prior to his engagement with Lamar, he was City Projects Manager for current Beaumont City Manager Kyle Hayes.


Contracting Opportunities

Nederland approves plans for new public safety complex

Chris DuqueThe Nederland City Council recently approved design plans for a new public safety complex with an emergency operations center at a cost of about $2.9 million.


City officials plan to use a $2.1 million Port Security Grant to pay for renovating and expanding the fire station, establishing an emergency operations center and paying for some equipment, said City Manager Chris Duque (pictured).


The city will be required to provide a 25 percent match for the grant for the new public safety complex, Duque said.


Hays County considering privatizing jail medical services

Hays County will solicit proposals from private sector vendors to provide medical care for its jail inmates. Commissioners approved the solicitation at a meeting this week. The contractor would be responsible for administering numerous medical treatments and routine care. It would also provide health screenings for new inmates and for managing prescriptions and other medications and referral of inmates to medical facilities.


With a jail facility that has more than 360 beds and houses an average of 300-320 inmates, the jail's medical expenses have dropped in recent years and officials are looking to see if a private firm can fill the jail's medical needs cheaper than the county. Proposals are due Dec. 14 and a decision on whether to accept a proposal is likely in January 2013. If that schedule is observed, the winning bidder would begin operations in February.


Sherman of Collin College named 2012 Texas Professor of Year

Collin College
Collin College Professors of the Year (from left) Jennifer O'Loughlin Brooks, 2006; Dr. Greg Sherman, 2012; Dr. Rosemary Karr, 2007; Brad Baker, 2000; and Dr. Tracey McKenzie, 2009. 

The selection of Sherman is historic because he is the fifth professor of the year selected from Collin College, a record which surpasses the state record held previously by Rice University and Texas Christian University, with four faculty awards each, said Cary A. Israel, president of Collin College District. Other professors selected for professor of the year awards are Dr. Jennifer O'Loughlin Brooks, the Texas Professor of the Year in 2006 while Dr. Tracey McKenzie in 2009, Dr. Rosemary Karr in 2007 and Brad Baker in 2000 won the honor of U.S. Professor of the Year.


Sherman has a bachelor's degree and master's degree from Stephen F. Austin State University and a Ph.D. from Texas Christian University.


Dr. Greg Sherman, a physics professor at Collin College, recently won the title of the 2012 Texas Professor of the Year. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support selected Sherman for the award that recognizes excellent in undergraduate teaching and mentoring.


Alvarado ISD group seek May bond proposal for $36.5M school

Members of the Bond Planning Committee recently urged trustees for Alvarado Independent School District to ask voters to approve bonds in May 2013 to pay for a new $36.5 million junior high school.


The 15-member committee conducted a survey of residents, which indicated that a bond issue that is explained well could pass with 62 percent of voter support, said Jennifer Bumgardner, a committee member.


Committee members urged the district to demolish the existing school, but retain the existing gymnasium to build a facility to accommodate 750 students that would feature a secured entrance, science labs and computer classrooms for each grade level. Plans also call for a new library, band hall, choir hall, art lab with a theater classroom, a computer research lab and combination cafeteria and auditorium with a stage.


SPI Training Services

Judson ISD consider 2013 bond proposal to add schools

Willis MackeyOfficial at the Judson ISD in San Antonio are considering a pared-down school bond issue that could possibly go before voters next May. Originally looking to build four new schools - one high school and three elementaries - the district now is considering building just two schools.


They know that by selling bonds up to $80 million, taxpayers in the district will not face a tax increase.


Superintendent Willis Mackey (pictured) said he favors building a 1,600-student high school with commons areas such as a library and cafeteria. He said such a facility would cost between $53 million and $63 million. He also favors an elementary school designed after one that opened last year at a cost of $16.9 million.


City of Alamo to issue $7.3M in bonds for variety of projects

The city of Alamo will issue $7.3 million in bonds in December that will be used for street projects, solar lighting, police vehicles and expansions of the fire station and library. The bonds are expected to be sold Dec. 20, with construction and building expansions starting in January and road projects scheduled for later in the year.


Spending plans include: $481,000 for vehicles and equipment, including a dump truck, street sweeper, water tank truck, backhoe and police cars; $1.8 million to expand Tower Road; $1 million to reconstruct sections of Cesar Chavez Road; $75,000 to rebuild Ridge Road; $1 million to add play areas, bathrooms and other improvements to area parks and to add solar-powered lighting to add to the 23 lights existing along Duranta Avenue; $1.5 million to retrofit the city sewer plant for better quality of its effluent waste; $637,000 to add space to the local library; $133,000 for an additional engine garage for the fire department.


The city also plans a 1,300-square-foot addition to the city hall, to be built with city funds if approved next month by the commission.



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Sunset recommends governor appoint Houston Port officials

The Sunset Advisory Commission this week voted to recommend that the appointment process for Port of Houston Authority commissioners should be changed. The six commissioners currently are appointed by Harris County, the city of Houston, the city of Pasadena or the Harris County Mayors and Councils Association. The chair is appointed jointly by the city of Houston and Harris County.


What was proposed is that the governor make five appointments from a list provided by the Houston-Galveston Area Council. The list would include candidates who live in the 13-county service region and two from outside the region. All would be subject to Senate confirmation.


The Sunset Commission has recommended a set of reforms aimed at modernizing the agency. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett was quick to respond, decrying the action as proposing taking away local control of the port.


Taylor rejects increase in funding for $3.67M recreation center

Jim DunawayTaylor City Council members recently voted against a suggestion by the city manager to allot about $400,000 more to pay for a proposed recreation center with a swimming pool that came in over the city's $3.67 million budget in bids submitted in October.


City Manager Jim Dunaway (pictured) noted the city already has spent $300,000 to pay for engineering and architectural fees for the recreation center that features a swimming pool. He also noted he had eliminated some features to reduce the funding gap to about $364,000.


Voters twice rejected bond proposals to pay for the recreation center and city officials had planned on paying for the project using funding remaining from utility projects that came in under budget. Council members opposing the additional funding said residents supported having a gymnasium at the recreation center rather than a swimming pool.


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El Paso eyeing public-private partnership for new water park

John CookEl Paso city officials recently began talks with a private developer to explore forming a public-private partnership to build a new water park on the current site of Cohen Stadium, the home of a minor league baseball team in northeast El Paso.


Mayor John Cook (pictured) said the private company is a national company with water parks throughout Texas. City officials are sending a team to visit other water parks in the state to learn more how other cities formed partnerships with the company to build and operate their parks. City officials also have discussed with officials of El Paso Community College the possibility of transforming the city-owned stadium currently leased by the Tigua Tribe into an amateur baseball complex for school and college baseball teams. The Tiguas currently owe the city for utility costs at Cohen Stadium and are seeking a transition regarding the stadium lease. The tribe recognizes that it will be very difficult to compete with the Diablos, the new Triple A baseball team expected to relocate to El Paso from Tucson, Arizona, Cook said.


Killeen planning to seek state grant for hike, bike trail

The transportation department of Killeen recently urged city officials to seek a state grant to help build a 1.35-mile hike and bike trail in western Killeen. The new trail will become a part of a planned 9.2-mile trail system connecting downtown Killeen to the campus of Texas A&M University-Central Texas.


City officials are planning on a trail system that encourages non-vehicular travel that will safely circle the city so residents can walk or bike around the city using trails that will eventually link city parks, enhance sidewalks or by taking a short ride on HOP, the regional bus service offered by Hill Country Transit.

Sproull to be vice chair of International Eco Devo Council

Bill SproullWilliam C. (Bill) Sproull, president of the Richardson Economic Development Partnership, recently won election as the vice chairman for the board of directors of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). Sproull plans to retire as board secretry and treasurer of the IEDC to begin his one-year term as vice chairman in January 2013.


Sproull also is the president and chief executive office of the Richardson Chamber of Commerce and of the Metroplex Technology Business Council and previously worked for the Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce, the McKinney Economic Development Corporation and the economic development corporation in Kansas City, Missouri. He has a bachelor's degree from Baylor University.


Did you miss Government Contracting Pipeline?

Abilene group approves $423,000 to design hangar upgrades

Board members of the Development Corporation of Abilene (DCOA) recently agreed to pay $423,000 for design plans to expand three hangars at the Abilene Regional Airport.


DCOA officials estimate the final cost to increase the size of the three hangars to accommodate larger jets would be about $4.14 million. The project is needed as some expect American Eagle and Eagle Aviation now affiliated with American Airlines to operate as an independent entity and pursue maintenance contracts with other regional airlines, the chief executive officer of DCOA said. Some larger planes used by regional airlines do not fit into the hangars built in June 1994.


Sabine ISD to form group to study bond proposal in 2013

Stacey BryceSabine Independent School District board members recently agreed to form a bond steering committee to lead efforts to win passage of a bond proposal in 2013 to pay for a new elementary school.


Board members hope to name school board members, business persons, teachers, parents and retirees to the steering committee to prepare for a bond election as early as May of next year, said Superintendent Stacey Bryce (pictured). A new elementary school is needed to correct current structural problems and to offer more high technology options for students, Bryce said.


Leadership Fusion Summit to address educational trends

Join educational leaders from across Texas for Leadership Fusion 2013 - Learning in the 21st Century, Leading in Tomorrow's World. Each year, Leadership Fusion focuses on topics that are relevant to current educational trends. This year, the summit explores how emerging technology is motivating and engaging students, how brain-based research can impact higher learning and how the universal principles of exemplary school leadership can accelerate student success. Participants will gain best practices and innovative strategies to help them excel as educational leaders. Featured speakers include: Eric Jensen, a leading authority on the science and applications of brain research in education; Alan November, international leader in educational technology; and Lonnie Moore, leadership development expert and author of The High-Trust Classroom. Visit www.leadershipfusion.net to learn more or e-mail solutions@esc4.net.


National Education Partnerships Conference planned Dec. 9-11

The Texas Association of Partners in Education (TAPE) and the National Association for School and Community Engagement (NASCE) will host the National Education Partnerships Conference Dec. 9-11. Held at the Marriott Riverwalk in San Antonio, the conference is designed for anyone involved in partnerships for student success, including school partnership coordinators, business partnership professionals, community involvement specialists, parental involvement specialists, principals, education foundation staff, parents and school volunteers. Sponsors anticipate up to 200 attendees from across the United States. Workshops will provide partnership coordinators in schools, businesses and agencies with helpful tools and best practices for effective partnerships that align resources for student success in school, career and college. Registration is as low as $239/person and special conference hotel rates are available through Nov. 19. More information on the conference, including a draft agenda, session and keynote speaker descriptions and links for registration and hotel reservations, is available on the conference Web site: http://www.partnershipsconference.org/. Questions? Contact Jennifer Peters at jpeters@tape.org.

TSABAA Mid-Winter conference to be held in December

The 33rd Texas State Agency Business Administrators' Association (TSABAA) Mid-Winter conference is on tap for Dec. 6 and 7 at the YO Ranch Hotel and Conference Center in Kerrville. Following a welcome reception on Wednesday, Dec. 5, the conference program will begin on Thursday, Dec. 6, and will conclude before noon on Friday, Dec. 7. An agenda is posted on the TSABAA Web site. Some of the topics include: The Business Side of People Management, Funds Consolidation Bill, Maximizing Productivity on a "Stone Soup" Budget, ERS Update, A Word from the Wise - A Panel Discussion on Dealing with Challenges in Your Office and the always popular Political Panel.


TxDOT to host 2013 Small Business Briefings across Texas

The Texas Department of Transportation's (TxDOT) Office of Civil Rights-Supportive Services Section will conduct briefing conferences around the state for small, minority- and women-owned businesses providing contract opportunities and information on how to do business with TxDOT and the state. Corpus Christi is the location of the first of four briefings events being offered in fiscal year 2013. The day-long briefings include general industry sessions and specific information on how to do business in the construction, goods and services, information technology and professional engineering service industries. Breakout sessions will cover small and minority-owned business certifications, resources for business development, marketing for state contracts and information on TxDOT toll projects. Each briefing also includes a contracting opportunity fair, industry sessions and a multitude of networking opportunities. Please join us! The Corpus Christi event will be Thursday, Nov. 15, at the Holiday Inn Hotel-Emerald Beach, 1102 S. Shoreline Drive, 78401. Other briefings include Wednesday, March 20, in Arlington; Tuesday, April 23, 2013, in Lubbock and Tuesday, June 11, 2013, in Odessa. To register, click here. For more information call 1-866-480-2518, Option 1. For questions regarding the Office of Civil Rights-DBE/HUB/SBE and Supportive Services programs, click here or call 512-486-5510.


P3C, public-private partnership conference, set in Dallas

P3C, the Public-Private Partnership Conference, is scheduled for Feb. 21 and 22, 2013, at the Sheraton Downtown Dallas Hotel in Dallas, Texas. The event brings together real estate community development professionals and municipal leaders to highlight the latest development trends and opportunities involving public-private partnerships across the United States. The conference is a high-profile setting for municipalities to announce, unveil and discuss upcoming development projects. More than 30 cities and public agencies from across the country will take the stage next year at P3C to showcase their capital projects to a nationwide audience of developers, builders, architects and investors. P3C attendees participate in multiple networking elements within the conference, which provides presenters broad industry exposure to their projects. The agenda is designed to touch upon the most relevant and pressing issues vital to today's successful public-private partnership ventures. The event will bring together more than 65 thought-provoking and engaging speakers to exchange valuable insights with the country's leading development organizations. For more information and to register, visit www.P3C2013.com.


TASSCC announces Dec. 11 as date for State of State Conference

The Texas Association of State Systems for Computing and Communication (TASSCC) State of the State Conference is a one-day event set for Dec. 11 that brings together technology directors from Texas state agencies and institutions of higher education to discuss the strategic direction of technology in Texas. At the conference, members will examine the role of IT in state government and higher education, explore future trends and hear in-depth discussions on topics currently impacting public sector IT. Among the speakers will be Texas Tribune Editor in Chief and CEO Evan Smith and Executive Editor Ross Ramsey, who will discuss the state of the state. Richard Froeschle of the Texas Workforce Commission will address the changing face of the Texas labor market and Doug Robinson, executive director of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) is also a guest speaker. Sponsorships are available. To register, click here.


Media Notice

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Bond elections provide economic stimulus throughout Texas


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


Last week, voters in Texas approved $5.45 billion in spending through local bond elections. Officials spent weeks, months and in some cases years educating voters about the need for passage of the referendums. Obviously, the work resulted in success.


Projects approved range from new construction and renovation of public school facilities to city and county transportation projects. Soon, requests for proposals (RFPs) will be issued and contractors will begin "turning the dirt" on projects valued at millions of dollars. There is pent-up demand and there won't be much wasted time.


Just one week after a successful $163 million bond issue for the Midland school district in West Texas, school trustees voted on the two methods of project delivery they will use. Nearly $45 million of the bond total is for new elementary schools. Another $33.4 million is allocated for expansions to specialized campuses. Improvements, expansions and deferred maintenance projects at more than a dozen campuses, along with technology infrastructure and hardware systems on numerous campuses, will be allotted $72.6 million.


The largest bond issue in the state was passed by the Houston ISD. At $1.89 billion, it is also the largest bond issue in the school's history. The bond package includes repairs or replacements at 40 schools throughout the district. HISD this week announced its plans to involve more minority- and women-owned businesses in procurement, construction and professional services related to the bond projects. In fact, the school district says it hopes to use 20 percent minority- and women-owned businesses for goods and non-professional services of more than $10,000, 20 percent for construction of more than $25,000 and 25 percent for professional services of more than $25,000.


HISD officials said they will seek bids soon from firms interested in the architectural design and engineering work on the first batch of projects that are currently being developed. HISD expects contracting opportunities to be available over the next six to eight years.


Other Texas projects approved in the bond elections include libraries, museums, public safety upgrades, quality-of-life projects such as community activity centers and parks and recreation projects. Announcements related to solicitations from other governmental entities in the state are expected soon.


Strategic Partnerships, Inc. has compiled a bond package that is available for sale. It includes a comprehensive list of all bond issues that passed and includes a rundown of what projects are part of each bond package along with the dollar amount for each. Equally important, our research outlines approximately 60 more government entities that are discussing bond election possibilities for as early as 2013.



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UT System approves $102.4

million administrative building

A more than $100 million new administrative building was approved for The University of Texas System that will consolidate its five-facility complex currently housed in downtown Austin. The $102.4 million project will be a 16-story building and a parking garage for more than 650 vehicles to be built on the site of the existing System buildings on Seventh Street. Plans are for the 285,000-square-foot building to house System offices, meeting space and a dining area. Some 60,000 square feet is expected to be available for lease or further expansion.


UT System officials say consolidating its numerous facilities downtown should result in a $2 million to $5 million savings every year. Maintenance costs for the existing facilities, if they are not replaced, would be between $4 million and $8 million per year. When the new facility is finished, System offices at Ashbel Smith Hall, O. Henry Hall and Claudia Taylor Johnson Hall will be vacated and the facilities leased.


Austin ISD superintendent urges $850M bond election in 2013

Meria CarstarphenSuperintendent Meria Carstarphen (pictured) recently urged trustees for the Austin Independent School District to consider scheduling a bond election as early as May 2013 to ask voters to approve as much as $850 million to upgrade and expand district facilities. The district last held a proposal four years ago and citizen's bond advisory committee members are expected to report findings of the results of a facilities needs study on Jan. 14, 2013.


Upgrading district facilities will cost about $350 million while building new schools and expanding existing campuses will cost about $500 million, Carstarphen said.


Texas Government Insider

will not publish next week

Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, the Texas Government Insider will not publish next Friday, Nov. 23. We will resume our regular Friday publication dates on Friday, Nov. 30.


The offices of Strategic Partnerships, Inc. will be closed Thursday and Friday, Nov. 22 and 23, in observance of Thanksgiving and will reopen at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 26.


Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!


Straus appoints House interim

committee to study sequestration

Anticipating the effects on Texas of the federal sequestration process, House Speaker Joe Straus this week appointed an Interim Committee on Texas Response to Federal Sequestration. The role of the committee will be to make recommendations on how the state can prepare for possible tax increases and funding cuts at the federal level.


The Committee will study how the sequestration process will affect the defense industry in Texas, the state budget, public and higher education and the tax burden on Texas families and businesses. The Committee will also develop specific legislative proposals.

Rep. Linda Harper-Brown of Irving will chair the committee, with Rep. Mike Villarreal of San Antonio as vice chair. Other members of the committee include Reps. Cindy Burkett, Brandon Creighton, Dawnna Dukes, Craig Eiland, Dan Flynn, Naomi Gonzalez, Jodie Laubenberg, Eddie Lucio III and Charles Perry.


Breckenridge Community

Schools issue $4.1M in bonds

The board of education for Breckenridge Community Schools recently approved the sale of bonds for $4,135,000 to pay for renovating district facilities and installing technology.


District officials also plan to buy equipment and furnishings to upgrade schools, improve athletic facilities at the middle school/high school site, purchase buses and demolish a building. Superintendent Sean McNatt said. District officials are seeking bids for computers, buses and asbestos abatement, he said.


San Antonio taps Zanoni

as new deputy city manager

Peter ZanoniCity Manager Sheryl Sculley of San Antonio recently selected Peter Zanoni (pictured) as the new deputy city manager. Zanoni will replace Pat DiGiovanni, who will leave his post with the city this monthy to become chief executive officer of the Centro Partnership on Jan. 1, 2013.


Zanoni previously served as the budget director for the city before being appointed as interim assistant city manager in October 2009 and as an assistant city manager in April 2010. He also worked in Leon County, Florida, and for the Office of the Governor in Florida. Zanoni has a bachelor's degree from Jacksonville University and a master's degree from Florida State University.


Sculley also appointed Carlos Contreras, the director of international relations, and Gloria Hurtado, the director of human services, both as assistant city managers.


Houston Metro plans bus

purchases, more shelters

Houston's Metropolitan Transit Authority officials recently announced that they plan to add shelters at 100 bus stops in the next year. They also anticipate purchasing new 26-foot buses for routes that do not warrant larger conventional 40-foot buses, but still need transit service. Metro will also add some larger, 60-foot articulated buses along local routes where the conventional smaller buses have become crowded. The bus shelters also are due automated systems that offer information on bus arrival times.


Research Analysts - Solutions

Developer named for 'Horseshoe'

project in Dallas congested area

The Texas Transportation Commission has selected the developer for the "Horseshoe" project, an upgrade of the I-30 bridge and part of the Mixmaster and the northbound and southbound I-35 bridges near downtown Dallas. Commission Chair Ted Houghton said the project, which partnered state lawmakers, regional and city leaders, TxDOT and private partner Pegasus Link LLC represents the "types of public-private partnerships that make it possible for us to stay true to our mission - working with others to find safe and reliable transportation solutions for Texas."


TxDOT sought proposals last December from qualified teams interested in designing, constructing and potentially maintaining the Horseshoe project. Three responded. Construction on the Horseshoe project is expected to begin in the summer of 2013 with a projected completion date of 2017.


Crummel will be retiring as superintendent of Burleson ISD

Richard CrummelSuperintendent Richard Crummel (pictured) of Burleson Independent School District recently announced that he plans to retire when the school year ends.


An educator for 41 years, Crummel previously served as a band director in the Fort Worth ISD and then as a band director and principal at Burleson ISD before becoming superintendent two years ago.


Brownwood to borrow $3.4M

for wastewater plant upgrade

Brownwood City Council members recently agreed to borrow $3.4 million through the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) to pay for upgrading the wastewater treatment plant. Plans call for using $3.08 million of the combination of tax and revenue certificates of obligation to upgrade the plant and $360,000 to reimburse the city for the cost of engineering services for planning and designing upgrades to the existing treatment plant, city officials said.


TWDB officials have agreed to lend up to $12 million to Brownwood to pay for Phase 1 and Phase 2 construction, but council members must vote again to approve moving forward with phase 2 of the wastewater treatment plant upgrade.


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Vega resigns job as principal

in beleagured El Paso ISD

Johnnie Vega, an assistant high school principal who admitted to following orders to remove students who might keep the campus from meeting federal accountability standards, recently resigned from the El Paso Independent School District.


Vega and two other employees of Bowie High School were suspended with pay last week while district officials investigated their alleged roles in the district-wide cheating scandal. He was a 19-year employee of the school district and has served as an assistant principal at Bowie since August 2006.


Belton appoints Romer as

new public information officer

Paul RomerBelton city officials recently selected Paul Romer (pictured) as the new public information officer for the city. City officials included funding in the budget for 2013 to hire a public information officer to coordinate and distribute information on city programs, services and issues as well as manage the city's Web site and other communications programs.


Romer, a former reporter and editor for the Temple Daily Telegram, has a bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University.


Texarkana selects Whitson

as its next city manager

The Texarkana City Council recently selected John Whitson as the new city manager. Whitson served as town manager in Morrisville and Lewisville. His last day on the job in Morrisville is Dec. 14 and Whitson begins his new job in Texarkana on Jan. 2, 2013.


Whitson, a major in the U.S. Army who retired from service in 1992, also was the military comptroller of the Red River Army Depot for three years.



Garland ISD taps Reeves

as interim superintendent

Gary ReevesGarland Independent School District trustees recently tapped Assistant Superintendent Gary Reeves (pictured) to serve as interim superintendent after Superintendent Curtis Culwell retires in late December.


Reeves served as a principal before becoming assistant superintendent of administration in 1994.


Board members set a goal to conduct interviews for a new superintendent in January of next year and the new superintendent begin work in February or March.


Mannsfield agrees to match funds for $1.3 million hike, bike trail

Mansfield City Council members agreed to contribute to federal funding for a proposed $1.3 million project connecting downtown to Town Park with a hike and bike trail. City staff will now seek $924,000 in grant funding from the Transportation Enhancement Program of the Texas Department of Transportation to help pay for the connecting trail.


The goal of the trail is to provide residents a way to walk, hike or bike rather than drive downtown, said James Fish, senior park planner. The downtown trail is expected to be a concrete sidewalk at least 12 feet wide running along both sides of Main Street, city officials said.


Knight to retire from post

as Lufkin ISD superintendent

Roy KnightSuperintendent Roy Knight (pictured) recently announced plans to retire from the Lufkin Independent School District, effective June 30, 2013.


Knight began his career in education more than 30 years ago as a teacher and coach for Cameron ISD and Lufkin ISD, and an administrator at DeKalb ISD and Hallsville ISD. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University.


Alice ISD names Everett as

lone finalist for superintendent

Alice Independent School District trustees recently selected Dr. Grace Everett as the sole finalist for superintendent. Everett, who has served as interim superintendent since this summer, will replace Dr. Salvador Cavazos as superintendent once the final contract is approved when the required waiting period ends.


How helpful is this?

Ysleta ISD names two new

associate superintendents

Trustees for the Ysleta Independent School District recently selected Angelica Nieto as the associate superintendent of academics and Roland Kafka as the associate superintendent of finance.


Nieto has served as interim superintendent of academics since July 2012. She replaces Dana DeRoeun, who is now director of employee relations and operations for the school district.


Kafka, who has served as interim associate superintendent of finance since July 2012, replaces Jimmy Laredo, who retired from that post.


Linden-Kildare CISD seeking

$100K grant to replace HVAC

James CowleyBoard members of the Linden-Kildare Consolidated Independent School District recently agreed to apply for a $100,000 grant from the State Comptroller's Office to replace 10 air conditioning and heating systems located at two campuses.


The new heating and cooling units are needed to replace failing units that are 27 to 29 years old at the junior high school and for the building for kindergarten through first grade, said Superintendent James Cowley (pictured). District officials last year received a similar grant and spent $300,000 to replace HVAC units at the high school and some of the units at the junior high school, Cowley said.


Check our Web site for additional press releases

It probably comes as no surprise that we get dozens of press releases from a variety of state agencies, colleges, universities, nonprofits and local government entities seeking inclusion in the Texas Government Insider each week. Space limitations prevent us from using them all. However, we recently began posting a select number of those that didn't make it into TGI on the Strategic Partnerships, Inc. Web site. Each week, we pick out some of the press releases that feature information we think will be of interest to the majority of our readers and post them under Government News on our Web site. Readers are encouraged to bookmark and check that page often, as we attempt to post new information there as it is received.

Johnson City voters reject

city manager government

By a large margin, voters in Johnson City recently rejected a proposition to adopt a city manager form of government in which city council members would hire a city manager to administer the daily operations of the city while the council sets policy and approves a city budget.


As a result of the 262 to 50 vote rejecting the city manager form of government, the mayor will continue administering operations of the city and the $75,000 allotted in the city budget for a city manager will remain in the city budget, city officials said.


Oswald resigns position as

state director of the Alamo

Steve OswaldAfter only five months on the job, Steve Oswald (pictured), the first state director of the Alamo, recently resigned that post. An employee of the Texas General Land Office, Oswald was appointed to the position to work with the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and the staff of the Alamo to upgrade fundraising and visitor experience at the San Antonio mission along with preserving the historic old mission in San Antonio.


Oswald previously was chief financial officer for Haven for Hope, a campus for homeless individuals and a financial manager at a telecommunications company in San Antonio. His resignation as state director of the Alamo becomes official on Dec. 3.


Odessa to apply for grant

to build two hike, bike trails

Odessa City Council members recently authorized Parks and Recreation staff to apply for a grant from the Enhancement Program of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to pay for two new hike and bike trails.


One of the proposed trails will be located in the eastern area of the city and another in the southern area of the city, said Steve Patton, director of the parks and recreation department. The grant funding will be awarded in 2013 after TxDOT officials review all applications and select the winning applications, Patton said.


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Government News

Check the GOVERNMENT NEWS section of the SPI Web site for these and other press releases:

  • Vestal earns Excellence in Extension regional award
  • Richardson Eco Devo Partnership wins top ranking
  • UT Southwestern wins patient satisfaction award
  • Texas A&M Forest Service honors employees

Howard Payne appoints Attaway

as its assistant VP finance

Emily AttawayHoward Payne University officials recently appointed Emily (Tittle) Attaway (pictured) as the assistant vice president for finance. A Certified Public Accountant, Attaway has a bachelor's degree from Howard Payne University and a master's degree from The University of Texas at Dallas. Her new duties include overseeing business operations of the college, including accounting operations, financial reporting, budget management and compliance.


Hays County taps Smith as emergency management  head

Hays County commissioners recently tapped Kharley Smith as the new emergency management coordinator. An 11-year county employee, Smith previously served as the coordinator of the county's strategic stockpile to ensure that sufficient medicine is available locally if a major health crisis occurs.


Smith has a bachelor's degree from Texas State University and will be responsible for making sure the county is prepared for disasters and working with emergency response teams in the county.


Texas Government Insider Archives
Volume 1-10 Archives - 11/7/03 - 11/9/12
Governor's appointments
Governor Rick Perry has announced the following appointments:
  • Howard R. Marcus of Austin, Texas Council on Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke;

  • Michael Reis of Woodway, Texas Physician Assistant Board

  • Wesley Ward of Houston as judge of the 234th Judicial District Court in Harris County

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Philyaw resigns as Greenville

public information officer

Lori Philyaw, community relations manager and public information officer for Greenville recently resigned, effective on Nov. 30. Philyaw, who joined the city in 1991, has accepted a post as director of operations for Strategic Government Resources (SGR) in Keller, a group that provides assistance with public information, Web sites, media relations and public relations services to cities in Texas. City officials now plan to use SGR to provide public information, Web site assistance and media relations, assistance with special projects and events assistance and to produce marketing collateral, an action that will result in savings for the city.


Brownwood to apply for grant

to build new walking trail

The Brownwood City Council recently agreed to allow city staff to apply for a grant from the Enhancement Program of the Texas Department of Transportation to pay for a new two-mile walking trail. The new trail, estimated to cost about $475,000, will connect a neighborhood school and homes to an aquatic center, a sports complex, a stadium, a park and a proposed soccer complex. City officials will be required to provide $95,000, or 20 percent of the funding, for the Camp Bowie Walking Trail.


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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