Texas Government Insider
Volume 10, Issue 46 - Friday, Nov. 30, 2012

Steen named to replace Andrade as Texas Secretary of State


Boyd next Supreme Court Justice; ERS director Bishop heads to Governor's Office

Hope AndradeJeffrey BoydIn a span of only four days, the state of Texas lost a Secretary of State, got a new one, saw a new Supreme Court justice appointed and learned of a major state agency head who was stepping down to become the governor's chief of staff. Just another ordinary day in Texas state government...


Last week, Hope Andrade (top left), appointed in 2008 as Texas' 107th Texas Secretary of State, announced her resignation, effective Nov. 23. Also last week, Gov. Rick Perry appointed his Chief of Staff Jeffrey S. Boyd (top right) of Austin as justice of the Texas Supreme Court, effective Dec. 3, for a term to expire at the next general election.


Both of those positions were filled early this week when the governor announced that John T. Steen, Jr. (bottom right) of San Antonio would be the state's 108th Secretary of State, succeeding Andrade. Perry followed that appointment with the announcement that Ann S. Bishop (bottom left), executive director of the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS), would become his new chief of staff on Dec. 3.


John SteenAnn BishopAndrade had served as Secretary of State for four and one-half years before her resignation. A native of San Antonio, she was chair of the Texas Transportation Commission before being named Secretary of State. While in office, she led the state to its largest voter registration ever - 13.65 million prior to this month's general election.


In addition to his duties as Secretary of State and Andrade's replacement, Steen will serve as the state's chief elections officer, the governor's liaison on border and Mexican affairs and Texas' chief protocol officer for state and international matters. Steen is an attorney and previously was a board member of the Texas Public Safety Commission. He also is a past commissioner and chair of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and was a member of the Texas Commission on Economy and Efficiency in State Government. Steen holds a bachelor's degree from Princeton University and a law degree from The University of Texas School of Law.




Hutchison seeks Congressional extension of sales tax deduction


Without being extended, provision could cost Texans average of $500 per year

Tax ExemptionIt's that time again! No, Thanksgiving is over and Christmas is still almost a month away. But time is running out toward the end of the year, and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is again pushing for Congress to extend the deduction for state and local sales tax on federal income tax returns for residents of states like Texas - those without a personal state income tax.


Hutchison and a bipartisan group of Senators have penned a letter to the Senate leadership asking for an extension of the exemption that will otherwise expire at the end of 2011. Hutchison has long been a supporter of the exemption. Residents of states which levy income taxes are able to deduct their state income taxes through a permanent deduction. However, the sales tax deduction was eliminated in 1986, penalizing residents in eight states - Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming - which levy sales taxes in lieu of income taxes to fund state and local government operations.


Because the exemption is set to expire at the end of this year, Texans and those in the other seven states previously mentioned will lose a deduction for state and local sales taxes that averages $500 per year. Hutchison has been successful with extensions in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010. She also has filed legislation that would make the exemption permanent. 


Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars


Luis MaciasLuis Macias, chief of staff, Texas Workforce Commission


Career highlights and education: I graduated from The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) in 1974 with a bachelor's degree in sociology. I have been blessed with a pretty diverse work history beginning at the age of 18 with a stint in the Marine Corps where I was a cook while serving in in Vietnam. I have worked as a community organizer working to improve police and community relations at a time when neighborhood patrolling was a new concept. One of my strengths has been in serving in the role of a counselor throughout my career in various capacities at UTEP as a student counselor providing advice and mentoring, as a Juvenile Probation Officer and a social worker with recipients of public assistance who needed help in going back to work and gaining control of their lives. My career in management spans three decades with much of that time serving the State of Texas in positions of increasing responsibility. I was pleased to have served as the Texas Workforce Commission's Division Director for Workforce Development for five years. During my tenure, the Workforce Development division, which supports all workforce activities throughout Texas, implemented significant cost-saving and program improvements which are still in effect today. I also worked for three years with a private sector company that contracted to offer workforce services to local workforce boards and from that experience I learned how the private sector can successfully interface in activities usually reserved for public agencies. I was most recently appointed chief of staff at the Texas Workforce Commission where my responsibilities are to support the executive director and his team in achieving the goals of the agency. I currently serve on the System Integration Technical Advisory Committee for the Texas Workforce Investment Council, which is working toward improved coordination by all state agencies involved in employment and training for Texas citizens. 

What I like best about my job is:  It gives me the opportunity to work closely with members of our leadership team on a broad range of issues. While my background is in Workforce Development, this job affords me the opportunity to also work on issues that affect the support side of our agency, such as information technology and human resources. This guarantees that I will never lack for variety in my job. 
The best advice I've received for my current job is: Listen to the needs of staff with a focus on helping them solve problems. Be a resource.

Advice you would give a new hire in your office:  Don't try to learn everything at once. Let the game come to you.
If I ever snuck out of work early, I could probably be found: on the tennis court. I am a hacker, but love the game.

People would be surprised to know that I: used to needlepoint. If it was good enough for Rosie Grier (Rams football player), it is good enough for me.
One thing I wish more people knew about my agency: We are a very nimble organization focused on identifying and solving problems. Our leadership team works cohesively to address problems with high-quality solutions. Texas has one of the premiere workforce systems in the country.

Cobbs resigns as officer of Cancer Prevention, Research Institute

Jerry CobbsJerold (Jerry) Cobbs, chief commercialization officer for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, recently resigned after three years in that post. Cobbs managed the state's $3 billion state agency's efforts to help for-profit companies develop more effective treatments for cancer. His resignation is effective on Nov. 30 and he plans to join the private sector.


Cobb previously was a managing director for a health care company and an assistant director of technology development at the UT-M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.


TJJD adds Stroud, Williams as new members of its executive team

The Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) has announced two new members of the agency's executive team - Teresa Stroud and James Williams.


Stroud comes to TJJD after working for a private sector firm that works with at-risk youth and families, where she served as operations director since last July. She is a former Texas Youth Commission youth rights specialist, a former program administrator at the Al Price facility and former superintendent of the Ron Jackson unit. She also is a former childcare investigator for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. She also held posts in other private sector firms. Stroud holds a bachelor's degree from East Texas Baptist University and a master's from Stephen F. Austin State University.


Williams, Chief Juvenile Probation Officer for the 35th Judicial District in Brown County, will become TDJJ's new Senior Director of Probation and Community Services. He has been a juvenile probation officer with Brown County since 1983 and has served as the Chief Juvenile Probation Officer since 1986. Williams was an active participant with the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission throughout his career and served as the agency's Chief in Residence in 2010. He is a graduate of Howard Payne University.


Troilo appointed to Texas Department of Information Resources

Arthur Troilo IIIArthur Troilo III (pictured) of Lakeway has been appointed by the governor to the Department of Information Resources (DIR) for a term to expire Feb. 1, 2015.


Troilo is managing director of his own law firm and former assistant attorney general of the Consumer Protection Division in the Texas Attorney General's Office. He earned his bachelor's degree from The University of Texas and a law degree from the University of Houston Law Center.


As a board member for DIR, Troilo will help oversee an agency charged with improving technology decisions and ensuring appropriate use of information resources at state agencies.


Collaboration Nation

Stout selected as special advisor to HHSC Commissioner Janek

Mary Katherine Stout, former vice president for health care policy for an Austin think tank and also former budget and policy director for Gov. Rick Perry, has been named as special advisor to Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Dr. Kyle Janek. Stout will be a key advisor relating to Medicaid issues. The Dallas Morning News reports that Stout also will be engaged in efforts to help reduce the backlog of open child abuse and neglect cases being investigated by Child Protective Services. 


Alamo Colleges seeks P3 for administration building construction

John StrybosAlamo Colleges in San Antonio is looking for a public sector partner to help build a new central administration office that might also serve as a mixed-use facility. And after recently increasing taxes and increasing tuition, board members have made it quite clear that they want no investment on the part of the college other than the land on which it would be built.


In 2008, the district bought a more than 12.6-acre tract of land for $4.13 million. It is on that property that college officials are hoping to attract a developer for a public-private partnership to build a facility to house their 450 district employees in a central location. At a recent board retreat, trustees approved preparation of a minute order to issue a request for qualifications to develop the site. A minute order has to go before the Building, Grounds and Sites Selection Committee on Dec. 4 and the regular board for its approval at its Dec. 18 meeting.


John Strybos (pictured), associate vice chancellor for finance operations and construction management, said officials are looking at the possibility of a mixed-use facility that could also perhaps include residential and retail space. He indicated that the property might well include the office building, an entry plaza, green space and walking trails, surface parking, a 1,000-space parking garage and more. Strybos said the facility also might have a UPS Store, a book store, a cafe, a dry cleaner, clothing shops, a beauty salon, additional office space and student or other housing. That, he said, will be up to the developer. The mixed-use part of the partnership could also mean job opportunities for students, said Strybos.


Visa awarded $7.9M in TEF funding to locate center in Austin

Visa U.S.A. Inc. has announced that it will build a new global IT center and create 794 new jobs in Austin while pumping millions into capital investment. The Visa commitment is in response to an offer of $7.9 million through the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF). Execution of a state agreement is contingent upon finalization of local incentives.


Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, banks and governments in more than 200 countries and territories.


"Visa is continually looking for opportunities to add world-class talent to our organization," said Will Valentine, a Visa spokesperson. "Austin offers a vibrant technology community and business-friendly climate, and we are working closely with local officials to finalize an agreement."


Final patrol vessel commissioned by Texas DPS, honors trooper

Scott BurnsThe sixth and final Tactical Marine Unit patrol vessel was commissioned this week by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). The boat is named in honor of the late Trooper Scott Burns, who was shot and killed in the line of duty in Marion County in 2008. The Scott Burns joins five other 34-foot shallow water interceptors that will ultimately patrol the Rio Grande River and the Intracoastal Waterway. Each vessel is named in honor of a DPS officer killed in the line of duty. 


The black and white patrol vessels are equipped with advanced law enforcement technology, including multiple automatic weapons for self-defense, ballistic shielding and night vision capabilities. The six patrol vessels are funded by the state and federal homeland security grants. 


Texas A&M moves forward with plans to upgrade Kyle Field

Texas A&M University System officials recently agreed that all major home games will remain at Kyle Field in College Station while the facility is undergoing a renovation expected to cost more than $600 million. The deadline to submit applications to be selected as the construction manager of the stadium project is Dec. 7.


A&M officials expect to complete each of the three phases during an eight-month window to prevent moving home games to another location such as Houston while rebuilding the football stadium. Plans call for increasing the capacity from the current 82,600 to between 93,000 and 103,000. Chancellor John Sharp has requested Brazos County officials and city officials in Bryan and College Station to contribute almost $40 million to upgrade the stadium. System officials expect to select the winning proposal on Jan. 11, 2013.


The request for proposals for a construction manager is a starting point and plans may change as the process continues, noted Steve Moore, vice chancellor of marketing and communication. The current proposal calls for structural modifications and additions to the west, east and south sides of the stadium with complete demolition of the west stands now used by former students and non-student fans, Moore said. Other plans include demolishing the Read Building and the G. Rollie White Coliseum located east of the stadium and replacing the lower seating bowl on the east side of the stadium. The stadium upgrades are expected to be completed in August 2016.


City of Richardson picks two new assistant city managers

Don MagnerShanna Sims-BradishTwo new assistant city managers have been named to serve the city or Richardson. They will oversee the city's Community Services functions and its Administrative and Leisure Services functions. Don Hagner (left) has been named the new Assistant City Manager of Community Services and Shanna Sims-Bradish (right) is the new Assistant City Manager of Administrative and Leisure Services.


Magner previously served the city as director of the Community Services Department. He joined the city in 1996 and has served in the Building Inspection Department, where in 2000, he was promoted to assistant building official. He served as head of Neighborhood Services for eight years and then as Director of Community Services. Magner holds a bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at Dallas and a master's from The University of Texas at Arlington.


Sims-Bradish comes to Richland after serving as an assistant city manager for the city of Farmers Branch since 2008. She also previously served the town of Addison as its Strategic Services Manager and assistant to the city manager. Sims-Bradish holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Kansas and a bachelor's degree with honors from the University of Missouri.


Nov. 2012 Tx Bond Elections - Results Package

Texas Water Development Board signs on to social media sites

twitterFacebookTexas Water Development Board (TWDB) officials recently signed on to two new social media accounts to open communication with stakeholders, residents, legislators and local water officials.


The plan is to use a Facebook page containing photographs of projects financed by the agency to announce meetings and relay news about water-related issues such as drought and conservation efforts. The agency also plans to use a Twitter account (@twbd) to update followers on water issues. The agency will also provide information on water levels at lakes and reservoirs, implementation updates on the State Water Plan and state water needs on both social media sites, said Melanie Callahan, executive administrator at the TWDB.


McGrew selected as next COO for UT Medical Branch at Galveston

Deborah McGrew, associate vice president at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Hospital, has been hired as the next chief operating officer for The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, effective Jan. 17, 2013.


McGrew will be responsible for leading, planning and integrating all aspects of the UTMB Health System to include the hospitals, clinics, ancillary services and Correctional Managed Care. She will also work to integrate all health-care services and activities for the Health System to ensure the delivery of safe, timely, efficient, effective, equitable and patient-centered care for UTMB's patient population and the community as a whole.


Prior to her work at UAB, McGrew was administrative director of transplant services at the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics. She completed her bachelor's degree at Drury College in Springfield, Missouri, and earned her Master of Health Administration from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. She completed her administrative fellowship at the City of Hope National Medicine Center, a comprehensive cancer center and research institute located in the greater Los Angeles area.


Angelo State University taps Allen, Swets for new academic posts

Paul SwetsNancy AllenAngelo State University officials recently appointed Dr. Nancy Allen (left) as the interim provost and vice president for academic affairs and Dr. Paul Swets (right) as the new dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.


Allen, who has served as vice provost since 2008, will serve as the interim provost until regents conduct a search and name a new provost and vice president. She is not a candidate for the permanent post, officials said. Allen has a bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at El Paso and a master's degree and Ph.D. from Texas Tech University.


Swets, a faculty member at ASU since 1998, has served as interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences since September 2011. He has a bachelor's degree and Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin.


McCamey Hospital District eyeing new $20 million facility

The board of the McCamey Hospital District recently began discussions on replacing its aging hospital with a new $20 million facility on land now occupied by the current hospital that officials say is too outdated to deliver high-quality health care.


The almost 50-year-old hospital is not designed for the large increase in out-patient care or the array of computerized equipment necessary for patient care, noted Jaime Ramirez, chief executive officer of the hospital. The patient and treatment rooms also are too small for those using the hospital or the Rural Health Clinic and plumbing and electrical systems also are outdated, he said. Funding for the project could come from issuing bonds, seeking grants and cash on hand, said Ramirez, who expects to appoint a project manager by the end of November.


SPI Training Services

TAMU-Kingsville selects Terisa Riley as new senior vice president

Terisa RileyDr. Terisa C. Riley (pictured), vice president of student affairs at Texas A&M-Kingsville since 2007, was recently selected by the Texas A&M System to be the university's next Senior Vice President of Fiscal and Student Affairs. She will lead the areas that formerly were under both the Division of Finance and Administration and the Division of Student Affairs.


Riley came to TAMU-Kingsville from the University of South Dakota, where she was assistant vice president of student services and students. Her higher education resume also includes experience at Saint Louis University, Greenville College, Central Methodist College and the Affton and Lindbergh School Districts in Missouri. She also has served on the graduate faculties of the University of South Dakota and Saint Louis University, teaching courses in higher education administration and serving on dissertation committees.


Seguin may accept public school property for public library

Seguin City Council members recently agreed to again consider accepting a gift of the Mary B. Erskine School property if the school district agrees to donate the site.


One council member, however, noted that city officials had considered the Erskine campus several years ago and a consultant told them the building could not be retrofitted to become a library and that some residents opposed demolishing the building to construct a new library on the property.


The city manager told council that staff was evaluating 14 proposals received from consultants wanting to contract their services to help select a library site and he expects to recommend a consultant soon.


South Texas community colleges win $1.3 million in grants

Raymund ParedesThe Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board recentlly awarded $1.3 million in grants to community colleges in the Eagle Ford Shale region of South Texas to help 800 students train for higher paying jobs in the oil or medical fields. The community colleges to receive the grants include Coastal Bend College, Laredo Community College, Southwest Texas Junior College, Victoria College and Alamo Colleges.


The grants will be available for students seeking training in licensed vocational nursing, welding, commercial truck driving, office technology, medical assisting, maintenance and oil and gas operations, said Raymund Paredes (pictured), Commissioner of Higher Education.


The training programs are geared to prepare students for jobs created from the Eagle Ford Shale boom in the region. The training includes the use of the Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training Program, a national model that teaches skills in a real-world environment using two instructors, one teaching professional who focuses on content and the second instructor teaching basic reading, math, writing and English language skills, Parades said.


Research Analysts - Contracts

Schad to be chief information technology officer for Houston ISD

Lenny SchadHouston Independent School District officials recently selected Lenny Schad (pictured) as the new chief information technology officer for the district. Schad, who currently is the chief IT officer for Katy ISD, will replace Arnold Viramontes, who is retiring in January 2013.


His duties include overseeing the expenditure of about $100 million in funding for classroom technology from bonds approved by voters earlier this month.


Schad previously managed technology departments for the 1991 Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations and the Republican National Convention in 1992. He joined the Katy school district nine years ago, where he is recognized nationally for his four-year initiative to provide mobile learning by expanding public Wi-Fi and providing fifth-grade students at 18 elementary schools with mobile learning devices in their classrooms.


TWDB seeks water projects for possible revolving funds allocations

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) will soon seek projects for the State Fiscal year 2014 funding for Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds. TWDB is also soliciting construction-ready projects that can use funds remaining from SFY 2013 loan funds. Entities interested in seeking these funds must submit project information by Jan. 4, 2013.


The project information forms are due on March 1, 2013. Those projects that are not awarded SFY 2013 funds will automatically be considered for 2014 funding.


The Clean Water State Revolving Fund monies are for wastewater collection and treatment, nonpoint source pollution control and estuary management projects. The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund is for projects that will bring or keep existing public water systems in compliance with drinking water rules and regulations and for source water protection projects.


Skinner elected chair of TSTC Board of Regents, Gurecky vice chair

Ellis SkinnerJoe GureckyEllis M. Skinner II (right) of Dallas was recently elected chair of the Texas State Technical College System Board of Regents and Joe M. Gurecky (left) of Rosenberg is the new vice chair. Skinner is president of his own construction services company in Dallas. Gurecky is president and owner of a manufacturing services company and is a former Rosenberg mayor. Additional executive committee members include Linda McKenna of Harlingen, who will serve in executive committee place one, and Gene Seaman of Corpus Christi, who will serve in executive committee place two.


Skinner's first action as chair was to assign other regents to their respective committee assignments. Gurecky will chair the facilities committee and serve on the audit committee. McKenna will chair the student learning and student development committee and will be a member of the human and organization development and fiscal affairs committees. Seaman will chair the fiscal affairs committee and serve on the human and organization development committee.


Penny Forrest will serve on the student learning and student development committee and the facilities committee. John K. Hatchel will be a member of the fiscal affairs and facilities committee. Joe K. Hearne will chair the human and organization development committee and will be a member of the audit committee and student learning and student development committee. J.V. Martin will chair the audit committee and will be a member of the facilities committee. Mike Northcutt will be a member of the audit committee.


TWU postpones actions on three construction projects

Citing the need to be fiscally responsible, regents for Texas Woman's University recently postponed action on three building projects. The projects were on the agenda for a vote to solicit proposals for designs and for approving an increase in the student union fee to $149 a semester to help pay for a new student union.


After more consideration, regents may discuss plans to build a new residence hall, two parking garages and a student union, said Chancellor Ann Stuart, who told regents that Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board members had urged colleges to be fiscally prudent in the current budget situation. The coordinating board must approve any new construction and legislators must approve the increase in the union fee before either is formally adopted, Stuart said.


Contracting Opportunities

El Paso to create policy to give preference to local bidders

El Paso County commissioners recently authorized the Procurement Review Panel to draft policies to allow the county to award more contracts for services and equipment to local companies submitting bids.


The panel is charged with ensuring that bid specifications are accurate and that no waste or fraud is found in contracts of more than $50,000. New state law that became effective in September authorizes government entities to provide some preference to local vendors in some circumstances, county officials noted. For example, the new statute will allow counties to negotiate a contract to purchase real property with the lowest bidder or the local bidder whose proposal is within 3 percent of the lowest non-local bid if it is determined the local bidder offers the best combination of contract price and the additional economic benefits for local government, county officials said. Commissioners plan to vote on implementing the new local bid policy within several weeks, officials said.


Aransas County ISD eyeing new science wing for high school

Joseph PatekAransas County Independent School District trustees recently began discussions on the best method to build new science laboratories and classrooms at Rockport-Fulton High School. The estimated cost of the project is about $5.74 million for 10 classrooms, eight labs and two preparation rooms totaling 2,800 square feet of space.


Board members plan to use remaining funding from two learning center projects that came in under budget and are exploring the possible sale of surplus property and seeking a low-interest loan of up to $3 million from the Texas Education Agency Qualified Zone Academy bond program, said Superintendent Joseph Patek (pictured). Once funding is secured, work on the science lab project could begin in June 2013 and be completed in time for the 2014-2015 school year, Patek said.


Gillespie County to seek bids for new $15 million jail

After voters approved $15 million in bonds earlier this month, Gillespie County commissioners recently agreed to seek bids for construction of a new, two-story jail facility. The new facility will be built on property behind the current law enforcement center and includes a 96-bed jail, a courtroom, training center, dispatch officies and adult probation offices.


Commissioners voted to proceed with the design and construction phase of the project with an architectural firm and a construction management firm and noted the project must not exceed the $15 million budget.



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El Paso County approves $11 million for capital improvements plan

El Paso County commissioners recently approved a capital improvement plan containing almost $11 million in projects. They were selected from the $46 million in project requests received by a committee whose members approved only $6.9 million in requests.


The county judge said county officials will make an effort to award bids for capital improvement projects to local contractors. Funding for the approved $11 million in capital improvement projects includes $7.5 million from certificates of obligation issued in 2012, $3.83 million from a 5-cent tax increase and a 1 percent increase dedicated to the maintenance and operation budget for smaller capital purchases, the county judge said.


Texas State University System announces regents' officers

Donna WilliamsRon MitchellRegents for the Texas State University System recently selected Donna M. Williams (left) of Arlington as the chair and Ron Mitchell (right) of Marble Falls as the vice chair of its Board of Regents.


Williams is vice president of Parsons Infrastructure and Technology, Inc., an engineering and construction company. Joining the board in 2008, Williams previously was vice chair and currently chairs the finance and audit committee and information technology task force. She has a bachelor's degree from Prairie View A&M University.


Appointed as a regent in 2009, Mitchell is manager and vice chairman of Horseshoe Bay Resort Enterprise. He is a member of the planning and construction committee and chairman of a recent branding initiative for the system that includes eight institutions. The institutions under the System umbrella are Texas State University-San Marcos, Lamar University, Sam Houston State University, Sul Ross State University, Lamar Institute of Technology, Lamar State College-Orange, Lamar State College-Port Arthur and Sul Ross State University Rio Grande College.


Lamar CISD approves plan for new natatorium to seat 600

Board members for the Lamar Consolidated Independent School District recently approved a plan for a new natatorium suitable for swim competitions.


The new natatorium, which will seat 600 spectators, will be located on the current site of the baseball field that will be relocated to a new stadium expected to be completed in January 2014. Plans call for the natatorium to be completed before the 2012-2013 school year begins, district officials said. Board members plan to build practice pools at three high schools when funding is authorized in future bond programs, district officials said.


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Killeen approves $139 million water, wastewater master plan

The Killeen City Council recently approved a $139 million wastewater management master plan that outlines 74 proposed water infrastructure projects the city expects to fund over the next 20 years.


A Dallas-based consulting firm determined that water could be in short supply in the future as the city is expected to grow from a population of 131,474 to 179,825 by 2021. The projects are a balance of renovating existing facilities and new construction. The plan includes renovations to sewer lines, a new wastewater treatment plant for the growing southern area of the city and new water mains, the city manager said.


City officials expect to finalize plans for the first set of wastewater and water projects expected to cost about $20 million in late February 2013.


Alvin eyeing upgrade of public works building, other projects

Gary AppeltAlvin City Council members recently showed support for remodeling the city's public works facility to support a recent reorganization of that department. Council members also plan to discuss the use of certificate of obligation funds to pay for capital upgrades and additions to the city's utility infrastructure, said Mayor Gary Appelt (pictured).


The reorganization calls for hiring a new supervisor who will oversee three code personnel and one health official. All will need office space, the mayor said. The new supervisor will report to Brian Smith, the city's public services director.


Projects that council will consider for funding with general obligation bonds include phase two of the wastewater plant, the west side interceptor and the replacement of an elevated storage facility, Appelt said. The entire wastewater project should take about three years to complete and cost about $13.5 million, including the cost of securing easements, engineering services and construction. Council members are expected to take action on the proposed capital projects in early December, the mayor said.

Did you miss Government Contracting Pipeline?

Hays County seeks bids to provide inmate health care services

Hays County commissioners recently began seeking bids that could lead to privatizing health care services for county inmates within the next three months. Deadline for submitting proposals for both internal and external medical care options for health care services is Dec. 14, county officials said. Commissioners also could decide on keeping the current medical staff providing medical services to inmates, county officials noted.


If commissioners select a private provider and finalize the contract as expected on Jan. 2, 2013, the new medical care providers will begin offering on-site medical services to county inmates by Feb. 1, 2013.


Sabine ISD group eyeing bond election to pay for new school

Stacey BryceA bond steering committee appointed by trustees for the Sabine Independent School District recently unveiled a survey that indicates residents are supportive of a bond election to build a new elementary school.


Superintendent Stacey Bryce (pictured) told board members the steering committee worked with an engineering firm that determined the current elementary school, which was built in the 1930s and expanded several times, is becoming overcrowded, in bad condition and should be replaced. Steering committee members are expected to make a recommendation in December regarding a bond issue in 2013, Bryce said. Trustees most likely will study the recommendation and make a decision in February whether to hold a bond election in May.


El Paso VA Health Care System names Mendoza as new director

El Paso VA Health Care System officials recently named John Mendoza as the new director of the veteran's health care system in El Paso. The El Paso health care system serves more than 23,000 veterans on a $114 million yearly operating budget.


Mendoza, who has 24 years experience in veteran's affairs, previously was the associate director for the Sacramento Division of the Northern California VA Health Care System. He also served in leadership positions at medical centers in West Los Angeles and Tucson and at the South Texas Health Care System. He has a bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at San Antonio and a master's degree from Trinity University in San Antonio.


Kaufman County to work on comprehensive transportation plan

Kaufman County commissioners recently heard a proposal from an engineering and architecture firm on developing a comprehensive transportation plan. The presentation was in anticipation of asking voters in November 2013 to approve a bond package to pay for road improvements.


Developing a transportation plan will involve asking the public to identify projects they wish to see move forward and then find out if and where funding may be available for those projects, said a representative for the consulting firm that has developed similar transportation plans for Denton, Parker and Rockwall counties.


The plan will involve identifying grant programs with the Texas Department of Transportation, Regional Toll Revenue programs and other revenue sources, he said. For example, Denton County voters approved $542 million in bonds that helped attract a total of $3 billion in funding from other sources and Parker County voters approved $80 million in bonds that attracted other funding sources of $110 million to upgrade roads. The next step, commissioners said, is to agree on what criteria are set for how to decide which road upgrades are the highest priority.


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 was 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! 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.


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Texas does not score well

on infrastructure report card


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


Texans will likely not be surprised to hear that infrastructure in Texas received an overall grade of "C" in the American Society of Civil Engineers' 2012 Report Card.


The recent report provided an assessment of Texas' infrastructure regarding capacity, condition, funding, future needs, operation, maintenance, public safety and resilience. The grading components addressed such issues as physical condition of current infrastructure, improvement cost and ability to meet current and future needs.


The underlying message in the report is that without sufficient maintenance and modernization, the state's infrastructure will not adequately serve the people of Texas in the near future.


Texas received a "D" in numerous infrastructure categories. In fact, in a few categories, the state scored even lower. Those that were graded "D" or below included roads, drinking water, dams, flood control and public schools. A "C" grade indicates below-average conditions and a "D" grade indicates poor conditions.


In grading the state's roads, the report noted that although the Texas Transportation Commission has been exploring and implementing new and innovative ways to fund transportation projects, maintenance continues to decline. With much of the state's infrastructure dependent on an unchanged gas tax, which coupled with cuts in state and federal funding has resulted in maintenance work declining steadily and significantly. In fact, the state has fallen from being in 17th place nationwide in highway spending per capita in 2008 to the current rank of 43rd.



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UT officials hoping for partner to develop Pickle Research site

Officials with The University of Texas at Austin have a more than 100-acre site on Braker Lane in Austin, a large portion of which is undeveloped. They are hoping to entice a private sector partner to submit ideas for development of that land.


The land is at the J.J. Pickle Research Center. The university's Real Estate Department has issued a request for qualifications that were due from developers this week. Once those qualifications are received, the university will release a request for proposals, probably in early January 2013.


A study in 2008 showed that the best use of the land would be commercial, retail, multi-family, townhomes and condominiums.


San Marcos names Parker

as assistant city manager

Steve ParkerSan Marcos City Manager Jim Nuse recently promoted Steve Parker (pictured), the finance director for the city since 2008, to be a new assistant city manager.


Parker will continue his duties as finance director and also assists in the oversight of financial matters, economic development, financial negotiations and contracts. He first worked for the city in 1993 as an accounting manager and resigned in 1997 to join a private consulting firm. He returned as an assistant finance director for San Marcos in 2007 and as interim finance director in 2008. Parker has a degree from Texas State University-San Marcos and is a graduate of the Virginia Darden Business School Leadership program.


Houston ISD to issue RFQ

for A&E for bond projects

The Houston Independent School District will publish a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for architectural and engineering firms interested in projects related to its recent successful $1.89 billion bond program election. The projects are aimed at modernizing schools throughout the district.


The RFQ includes design and engineering work for all 40 of the HISD schools slated for renovation or replacement and for new construction as part of the bond program. The RFQ will be available on the HISD Web site. The board could consider awarding contracts at its meeting on Feb. 14, 2013.


SPI seeking veteran marketing/inside sales professional

Strategic Partnerships, Inc. is seeking an experienced marketing/inside sales professional. As a growing and expanding firm that has been successful in offering government procurement consulting, governmental affairs and customized research for more than 15 years, SPI is looking for an individual with a proven record of success in sales. To read the job description and information on how to apply, click here.


Texoma utility board to issue $3.72M for sewer upgrade

Greater Texoma Utility Authority Board officials recently approved the sale of $3.72 million in bonds to pay for upgrades to the sewer treatment and collection system for the city of Sherman. Council members also must vote for the sale of the bonds to finalize the sale, said Jerry Chapman, general manager of the utility board.


Austin eyeing plan to convert old power plant into parkland

Austin city officials recently began working with a Boston-based company to create a plan to transform 10 acres of the Holly Power Plant site into parkland.


City officials are in the process of dismantling the 40-year-old power plant on Lady Bird Lake in East Austin and expect to be completed with the demolition in the summer of 2013.


Research Analysts - States

Lufkin approves $7.1 million in bonds for capital improvements

Lufkin City Council members recently approved issuing $7.1 million in certificates of obligation to pay for 21 capital improvement projects, including a new $800,000 municipal court facility.


City officials also plan on building a new $1 million fire station and conduct a number of street reconditioning projects with the proceeds from the sale of the bonds.


Athens ISD taps Stiles as lone finalist for superintendent

Blake StilesTrustees for the Athens Independent School District recently tapped Blake Stiles (pictured) as the lone finalist for superintendent. Stiles has served as interim superintendent for the school district since October when the former superintendent, Dr. Robert Steeber, resigned from that post.


Stiles previously served as an assistant superintendent for the Athens district and as a high school principal.


Caballero won't be taking

DISD chief of staff post after all

Leonardo Caballero, announced recently as the new chief of staff for the Dallas ISD, has had a change of heart. In a letter to DISD Superintendent Mike Miles, Caballero wrote, "Unfortunately, due to personal and family reasons, I am no longer in a position to serve as your chief of staff. While I am grateful for the opportunity and understand that you have acted upon my acceptance, I know that sometimes one has to do what is best for the family. Therefore, I am hoping you will understand my position."


Miles notified the DISD Board of Trustees of Caballero's decision and said he understands Caballero's decision. Miles said that he expects to fill this and the remaining positions on his cabinet within the next few weeks.


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Lamesa seeking new city manager to replace Vera

Lamesa city officials expect to receive about 50 applications for a new city manager to replace Fred Vera, who is retiring. The city advertised with the Texas Municipal League and already received eight applications for city manager, city officials said. Council members plan to begin narrowing down the most qualified applicants to interview after the deadline for submitting application ends in mid-January.


Frisco ISD taps Lyon as lone finalist for superintendent

Jeremy LyonFrisco Independent School District board members recently selected Jeremy Lyon (pictured) as the lone finalist for superintendent.


Currently a superintendent for the Hays Consolidated Independent School District, Lyon has 27 years experience in public education. He will replace Rick Reedy, who is retiring from that post.


Lyon, who plans to begin his new duties on Jan. 2, 2013, if his contract is finalized, has a bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University and a Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin.



Dallas selects five finalists for parks, recreation director

Dallas city officials recently selected five finalists from 114 applicants seeking the post of director of parks and recreation. The new director will replace Paul Dyer, who is retiring after about 20 years as director.


Three of the finalists currently serve as assistant directors in the Dallas parks department. The local finalists are Daniel Huerta, John Jenkins and Willis Winters. The two other finalists are Subhajeet Seve Ghose, the parks and recreation director in Davenport, Iowa, and Sue Black, the parks, recreation and culture director in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.


A parks board committee interviewed the three internal candidates in late November and expects to interview the two out-of-state candidates on Dec. 13. City officials have set no target date for selecting a new director. Barbara Kindig, who is now the interim director, did not seek the post and plans on continuing her current post as assistant director of administration and business service.


Flower Mound taps Stathatos

as new town manager

Jimmy StathatosFlower Mound Town Council members recently selected Jimmy Stathatos (pictured) as the new town manager. Stathatos has served as city manager in Roanoke, Texas, since 1998 and won recognition for managing the city's economic development program that helped create about 3,700 new jobs and $1 billion in new development projects.


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Adams postpones resignation

as Pilot Point city manager

After Pilot Point City Council members voted to reject the resignation of City Manager Thomas Adams, he agreed to stay on the job past February to help complete a water supply project, including installing a new water well.


Adams said he appreciated support shown by council members and hopes to complete several other projects that need to be addressed in 2013, including upgrades to streets and sidewalks and repairing some buildings.


Prior to joining Pilot Point in May 2010, Adams served as a city manager or an assistant city manager in Abilene, Lubbock, Odessa, San Angelo, Seminole and Sundown. He has a master's degree from Brigham Young University.


Port Neches eyeing $1.9 million federal grant for fire station

Andre WimerThe Port Neches City Council recently began discussions on whether to seek a $1.9 million federal grant to build a new fire station that would require the city to raise around $1.5 million in funding to meet a required 25 percent matching contribution and other costs of the project.


Council members recognize the benefit of using grant funds that may not be available in the future and the need to relocate the old fire station to provide equitable fire protection throughout the city, but must decide if and how the city will pay the required matching cost, said City Manager Andre Wimer (pictured).


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.

Lake Houston TIRZ plans

to buy land for new fire station

Officials of the Lake Houston Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) recently outlined plans to buy property on the west side of US59 as a site for a new fire station.


The new fire station is needed to provide protection to the rapidly growing area on the west side of the freeway that includes Lone Star College-Kingwood, the Kingwood Medical Center and Memorial Hermann Hospital Northeast. They are all currently separated by railroad tracks from the closest fire station, according to a Houston city council member. The councilman also told residents at the town hall meeting that he would urge Houston city council members to approve the land purchase for the fire station. Lake Houston TIRZ officials expect to finalize the land purchase by the end of this year.


Denton ISD's Stephens

retiring after 40 years

Richard ValentaDennis Stephens is retiring from the Denton Independent School District after more than 40 years of service. The district has chosen Richard Valenta (pictured) as Stephens' replacement in the position of assistant superintendent for human resources.


Valenta, who previously was director of human resources for Birdville ISD, also has served as a teacher, a coach and a principal for the Irving and Carrollton-Farmers Branch school districts. He has a bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at Arlington, a master's degree from the University of North Texas and a Ph.D. from Walden University.


Sahadi selected as new municipal court judge in Goliad

Goliad City Council members recently selected Reagan Sahadi as the new municipal court judge. Sahadi, a property owner in Goliad, is a resident of Corpus Christi.


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Government News

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

  • Richardson among tops in digital initiatives

  • Governor announces skilled workforce initiative

  • Mexico, Texas institutions wage war on tobacco

Heimall takes over command of Beaumont Army Medical Center

Michael HeimallCol. Michael S. Heimall (pictured) recently took command of the Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso. Heimall replaced Brig. Gen. Dennis D. Doyle, who is leaving to be the new commander at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu.


A native of New Jersey, Heimall previously was the assistant chief of staff for TRICARE Transition at the Western Regional Medical Command at Joint Base Lewis-McCord in Tacoma, Washington.


Burnet CISD names Cervi

as business, finance director

Trustees for the Burnet Consolidated Independent School District recently selected Sarah Cervi as the new director of business and finance. Cervi previously was director of finance and operations for the College of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma. She replaces Preston Ingram, who is retiring from the Burnet district on Dec. 21.


Recent Reports

Alvarado ISD mulling new

$36.5 M junior high campus

A committee of parents and community members recently urged trustees of the Alvardo Independent School District to ask voters to approve $36.5 million in bonds to pay for a new junior high school.


The new campus is needed to replace the current junior high school that has security issues, an inefficient heating and cooling system and asbestos that prevents replacing flooring, said Superintendent Chester Juroska. Committee members urged trustees to retain the more recently built gymnasium and a hall for continuing education classes and youth sports associations. Voters rejected a bond proposal to build a new junior high two years ago.


Texas Government Insider Archives
Volume 1-10 Archives - 11/7/03 - 11/16/12

Blanch to retire as city administrator in Nixon

City Administrator George Blanch of Nixon recently announced he plans to retire as soon as city officials find a new city administrator. Blanch, who previously served as superintendent for the Eldorado Independent School District, has a bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at Austin.


Port of Corpus Christi selects Brogan as managing director

Frank BroganPort of Corpus Christi commissioners recently selected Frank Brogan (pictured) as the new managing director. A former deputy port director for engineering, finance and administration services, Brogan begins his new duties immediately.


As the managing director, Brogan is responsible for daily operations of the port, including business development, finanance, information technology, human resources, communications and engineering. He reports directly to John P. LaRue, the executive director. He joined the port in September 1987.


Brogan previously worked as a consultant and was president of an engineering company. He has a bachelor's degree in engineering from The University of Texas at Austin and a master's degree from Texas A&M University-Kingsville.


Governor's appointments
Governor Rick Perry has announced the following appointments:
  • David Peeples of San Antonio, presiding judge of the Fourth Administrative Judicial Region;
  • Stephen B. Ables of Kerrville, presiding judge of the Sixth Administrative Judicial Region;
  • Kelly G. Moore of Brownfield as presiding judge of the Ninth Administrative Judicial Region;
  • Rodolfo "Rudy" Ramos Jr. of Houston, chair, Texas State Board of Dental Examiners.

Texas school districts tapped as finalists for "Race to the Top"

U.S. Department of Education officials recently selected several school districts and three charter school groups in Texas as part of 61 national finalists chosen in the "Race to the Top" competition. Winning school districts will be awarded federal grants totalling $400 million in amounts ranging from $5 million to $40 million to each district selected for the award.


The Texas districts named as finalists are Dallas Independent School District; Galveston ISD; McAllen ISD, a group of 11 rural school districts led by Aubrey ISD, and the Burkeville, Newton and West Hardin school districts served by Region 5 Education Service Center. The three charter schools are Idea Public Schools, Uplift Education in the Dallas area and Harmony Public Schools. The grants are to be used to develop programs to personalize and deepen student learning, assess whether achievement gaps are closing, improve the effectiveness of educators and help ensure that students are prepared for careers or college. Galveston ISD applied for $20 million to buy new technology, hire staff to assist teachers evaluate data and create personalized education plans for students. Harmony charter schools requested $30 million for 10 campuses the chain operates throughout the state and Uplift charter schools in Dallas asked for $17 million in grants. A total of 117 school districts in Texas applied for the grant, including Houston ISD and Austin ISD, which were not among the 61 finalists.


Federal officials plan to announce 15 to 25 winning school districts at the end of the year to share in the federal grants in an amount based on the number of students each school district serves.


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Liberty selects Little as

new municipal judge

Liberty City Council members recently appointed Mike Little, a retired district attorney for Liberty County, as the new municipal court judge. Little, who was appointed as district attorney for Liberty and Chambers counties in September 1983, did not seek re-election to that post this year.


Victoria approves $530,000

to buy 20 acres to expand park

Victoria City Council members recently agreed to allot $530,000 to buy about 20 acres of land to expand a city park. City officials declined to identify the location of the property or the park until the negotiations are concluded. City Attorney Thomas Gwosdz said he expects to finalize the land purchase in mid-December.


Midland to seek grant

for hike and bike trails

Midland City Council members recently authorized city staff to seek a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation to help pay for more hike and bike trails. The grant, if approved, will provide about 80 percent of the funding needed for the project and the city must contribute 20 percent of the cost of the hike and bike trail projects.


The Texas Government Insider is a free weekly e-newsletter detailing important happenings throughout the state and summarizing current political issues relevant to individuals interested in government.
Publisher: Mary Scott Nabers
The Insider is published by Strategic Partnerships, Inc. (SPI), a research and consulting firm. Founded in Texas in 1994 by former government executives and public sector experts, SPI has developed a national reputation as the premier marketing partner dedicated to helping companies secure contracts in the $1.5 trillion state and local government marketplace.
To learn more about SPI services click here or contact our sales department at 512-531-3900.
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