Texas Government Insider
Volume 10, Issue 9 - Friday, March 2, 2012

TFC's Federal Surplus Property Program saving entities big bucks


From fire trucks to file folders, purchasers typically pay 10 percent of original cost

Before and After
The Reagan Wells VFD turned the tanker truck it purchased (above) into a fire truck (below). 


Call it the "Home Shopping Network" for government agencies.


Where else can a county road department get a scoop loader for $12,000? Or a volunteer fire department purchase a fire hose assembly for $10? 

Before and After
Kristy Fierro


As cities, counties, school districts, institutions of higher education and public health care struggle trying to make ends meet and in many cases bridge multi-million-dollar budget shortfalls, many may be overlooking a great source for many of their needs - and at deeply discounted prices.


Kristy Fierro (right) and the Texas Facilities Commission's (TFC) Federal Surplus Property Program are trying to change that.


Fire Hose
These firefighting hose assemblies sell for $10 each.

Fierro is assistant director of the program that serves municipalities, cities, counties, all state agencies, public health organizations, volunteer fire departments, providers of assistance to the homeless and some small businesses. What the program offers is a wide variety of federal surplus property - property the federal government no longer uses or needs.


The cost of the items "varies by asset," said Fierro. Because the program is a cost-recovery program at TFC, it charges a fee for purchase of the donated federal property. The end cost to the buyer is typically 10 percent of what the federal government originally paid for the items. So if the federal government bought a desk for $1,000 new, after it reaches the Texas Federal Surplus Property Program in Texas, the buyer will usually pay around $100 for it.




Smitherman elected chair of Texas Railroad Commission


Replaces former chair who resigned position to seek state Senate seat

Barry SmithermanTexas Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman (pictured) was recently elected chair of the state agency. Smitherman was appointed to the Railroad Commission in July of last year. He replaces former Chair Elizabeth Ames Jones, who recently resigned from the Commission to pursue a seat in the Texas Senate.


Smitherman is a former commissioner of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, having been appointed to that post in 2004. In 2007, he was named chair. He currently serves as Texas' representative on the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission and as vice chair of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners' Gas Committee.


Smitherman received his BBA degree summa cum laude from Texas A&M University and earned his law degree from The University of Texas School of Law. He also holds an M.P.A. from Harvard University. 


Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars


Randall WootenRandall Wooten, president, Texas State Technical College Marshall 


Career highlights and education:  I started my career at Texas State Technical College (TSTC) Marshall as Vice President, Student Learning in 2006, and moved to the president's position soon after. I started working in high school, behind the soda fountain at a drug store, then on a pipeline as a welder's helper, and as an aircraft mechanic during college. After that, I served in the United States Air Force primarily as a pilot, but with 12 years in education assignments. After leaving the USAF in 1997, I worked in education and the water business, before coming to TSTC. My degrees are a B.S. from Texas A&M Commerce, an M.S. from Troy State University and degrees from two Air University colleges - Air Command and Staff College and the Air War College.
What I like best about my job is:  Making change happen. TSTC has been offered the opportunity by the Texas Legislature to reinvent the way technical education at the college level is presented. It is an opportunity to shorten the degree or certificate process to concentrate more on the results or outcomes, and not be tied to old notions of process. The student benefits by obtaining training or certifications faster, and with less expense. This equates to better paying careers for our students, accomplished at a quicker pace.

The best advice I've received for my current job is:  Think outside of the box...don't be afraid of failure...try new things.
Advice you would give a new hire in your office:  The same advice I got, and "keep your boss informed."

If I ever snuck out of work early, I could probably be found: at the gun range or golf course.
People would be surprised to know that I: fly my own experimental airplane.

One thing I wish more people knew about my TSTC Marshall:  We make a difference in peoples' lives by giving them a livelihood. 


DPS announces commissioning of second of six patrol vessels

DPS VesselThe Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Thursday commissioned its second of six patrol vessels, a 34-foot shallow water interceptor. Each of these vessels are being named for DPS officers killed in the line of duty in each of the state's six regions. This second vessel is named in honor of fallen Trooper David Irvine Rucker, who was killed in the line of duty in 1981 in Cameron County. All six are expected to be commissioned by this summer.


The first vessel (pictured) was commissioned in December of last year. It was named in honor of fallen Trooper Jerry Don Davis, who was shot and killed in the line of duty in Lubbock County in 1980.


The $580,00 patrol boats, paid for with federal Homeland Security Grants and a state appropriation, will be used to patrol the Rio Grande River, international lakes and the Intracoastal Waterway and will be manned by members of the new Highway Patrol Tactical Marine Unit. The boats are equipped with multiple automatic weapons and have night vision capability.

Community colleges, technical institutes share $3 million

Eleven community colleges and technical institutes in Texas will share $3 million in grants from the Jobs and Education for Texans career training grant program to buy equipment to train students in critical workforce skills. The funding is administered by the State Comptroller's Office.


The funding will help purchase equipment necessary to train students in skills for emerging industry jobs in areas such as engineering, science, technology, health care and other industries. The institutions estimate that 54,000 students will be trained over the life of the equipment.


The funding and the training for which it will be used include:

  • Brazosport College - $288,325 for electrician training;
  • Hill College - $282,281 for welding technician training;
  • Lee College - $314,193 for electrician training;
  • Navarro College - $150,176 for geological and petroleum technician training;
  • Northeast Texas Community College - $202,785 for dental hygienist training;
  • South Texas College - $336,229 for Registered Nurse training;
  • Temple College - $335,580 for Registered Nurse training;
  • Texarkana College - $289,248 for welding technician training;
  • Texas State Technical College Marshall - $349,734 for network and computer systems administrator training;
  • Texas State Technical College Waco - $290, 939 for mechanical engineering technician training; and
  • Weatherford College - $170,786 for HVAC mechanics and installers training.

Since 2009, community colleges and technical institutes have been awarded $13 million to buy career training equipment.


TxDMV sets record for oversize, overweight permits issued

Heavy LoadThe Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) has set a record for the number of permits issued for oversize and overweight permits in only its first month of issuing the permits. Officials say TxDMV issued 58,514 permits in January, well over the previous high of 57,139 set in August of last year when the permitting function was handled by the Texas Department of Transportation.


TxDMV officials report that since the start of the new fiscal year on Sept. 1, more than 325,000 oversize and overweight vehicle permits were issued, up 20 percent from the same period last year. If that trend continues, TxDMV can anticipate an all-time high permits record for one fiscal year approaching 700,000.


Officials credit the launch of the Texas Permitting and Routing Optimization System, the first of its kind in the country, that allows haulers to secure permits online 24/7 and also provides them a route that is safe for their load. TxDMV says more than 60 percent of permits are being issued through the system. 


Workforce group wins $4.9 million grant for training

The U.S. Labor Department recently awarded a $4.9 million grant to Workforce Solutions for North Central Texas and to several training partners. The funds will pay for education, training and job placement assistance in information technology and for professional, scientific and technical services.


Training partners in the program include IBM, Lockheed Martin, AT&T, Labinal, Business Control Systems and North Central Texas College. Fees paid by employers to bring foreign workers into the United States under the H-1B visa program provide funding for the training grant.


Contracting Opportunities

Hallmark will serve TAMU System in new position

James HallmarkDr. James Hallmark (pictured), current provost and vice president for academic affairs at West Texas &M University, has been named acting vice chancellor for academic affairs at the Texas A&M University System. Hallmark was recommended to Chancellor John Sharp by a search committee of faculty and administrators from throughout the System.


Hallmark became a member of the WTAMU faculty in 1991, serving as dean of the university's Graduate School and Research and director of the Attebury Honors Program. In his new post, he will work on behalf of the chancellor to provide leadership and direction for both academic and student affairs.


Hallmark holds a bachelor's degree from Oklahoma Christian College and a master's and Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma.


Five finalists chosen for new president of Coastal Bend College

Karen BleekerJames CargillBeatriz EspinozaFive presidential finalists have been named for the position of president of the Coastal Bend College. All of the five will be invited to participate in public forums at the college and in interviews with the Board of Trustees, who selected the five.


Thomas RascoDavid PelhamAmong the finalists are: Dr. Karen Bleeker (top right), former president of the Community College of Denver and former vice president of Educational Services at Temple College; Dr. James Cargill (top center), current president of Dawson Community College in Dawson, Montana, and former chief academic officer at Ashland Community and Technical College in Ashland, Kentucky; Dr. Beatriz Espinoza (top right), current vice chancellor for Educational Planning and Services at Yuba Community College District in Marysville, California, and former vice president for Workforce Learning Services at Arizona Western College in Yuma, Arizona; Dr. W. David Pelham (bottom left), director of Higher Colleges of Technology - Fujairah in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates and former president of Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, California; and Dr. Thomas Rasco (bottom right), former president of Texarkana College in Texarkana and former president of South Arkansas Community College in Eldorado, Arkansas.


Houston ISD officials give hint of possible upcoming bond election

Terry GrierHouston Independent School District officials gave hint Thursday of a possible upcoming bond election as early as November. Although he didn't mention it in his annual State of the Schools speech, the Houston Chronicle reports that in a follow-up interview, HISD Superintendent Terry Grier (pictured) said it might be time to begin thinking of a bond referendum to deal with aging structures among the district's campuses.


Word is that next Thursday's HISD board meeting has an agenda item on it that would have the trustees approve a study of the district's building needs. The Chronicle reports that when asked about a possible upcoming bond issue, Grier responded, "It's something we need to begin having open discussions and dialogue about. There's no question that at many, many, many of our high schools, we have serious facilities needs." The district's last successful bond vote was an $805 million package in 2007.


DFW announces plans to build $176.7 million parking garage

Jeff FeganOfficials with the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Thursday announced plans for a $176.7 million parking garage at Terminal A. The garage project is in conjunction with a seven-year, $1.9 billion Terminal Renewal and Improvement Program to upgrade the airport's four original terminals that are more than 35 years old.


Airport CEO Jeff Fegan (pictured) said the new garage "will have greater improvements in terms of accessibility, lighting, convenience and technology." It will replace three existing garages and will have 7,700 spaces, making it one of the largest parking facilities in the state.


Among the features are 3 million square feet of space in five levels, enhanced terminal entries with covered walkways, more brightly lit parking areas, more ADA accessibility, a pedestrian bridge from infield parking to the parking structure, a guidance system to direct motorists to empty spaces and more.


Sharp would outsource dining services, facilities services

John SharpTexas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp (pictured) plans to seek requests for proposals aimed at the possibility of outsourcing Texas A&M's facilities services and dining services.


Sharp noted that the university's dining service has been losing $1 million per year. He tried to allay fears of food service employees by saying that most of them likely would stay on as their jobs would be absorbed by the private sector firm that won the contract. Regarding facilities services, which includes facility and grounds maintenance, renovation, cleaning and utilities, Sharp said large maintenance companies have increased buying power and can purchase maintenance supplies at a much cheaper price than the university.


The chancellor added that one of the main considerations of outsourcing any services will be improved efficiency and revenue, while ensuring that current employees who would ultimately be hired by the private sector firm get good deals and that their retirement benefits are maintained.


Tarrant County College studying possible switch to digital textbooks

Looking for ways to save students money while allowing them to use learning tools that are interactive, Tarrant County College is considering a switch from traditional textbooks to digital textbooks.


With increases in tuition rates, college officials are looking for ways to help save students money so they can continue their educations. And textbook costs are among the largest part of many students' educational budgets. TCC leaders will receive a recommendation from a committee this summer to determine if the shift to e-books will meet the needs of the faculty and students.


Docog to serve as Institute of Texan Cultures executive director

Angelica DocogAngelica M. Docog (pictured) has been named executive director of the University of Texas at San Antonio's Institute of Texan Cultures. Docog, who comes to UTSA from the Charlotte Museum of History and has 14 years of museum experience, will take over her new position on March 12. She has experience as a researcher, educator and museum administrator.


Docog sits on the advisory board of the Smithsonian Affiliates, the Asian Pacific Committee of the American Association of Museums and the board of directors for the Confucius Institute at Pfeiffer University in Charlotte. She has served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of North Carolina and the University of Colorado, teaching museum education. She has extensive experience in various aspects of museum operations including exhibit curator, researcher and director of education and interpretation.


Harris County selects Ellis as new chairman of housing authority

Harris County Commissioners recently appointed Joe Ellis, a retired major in the U.S. Marine Corps, to replace Casey Wallace, who has served as board chairman since 2007, to the board of the Harris County Housing Authority. Ellis served 20 years in the Marines before retiring to begin work in the private sector as a security contractor in Afghanistan and Iraq.


Citing revelations of unnecessary spending by housing authority staff,  Commissioner El Franco Lee said he also is interviewing candidates to replace Walter Jones, his appointee to the board of the housing authority.


County officials also are meeting with Guy Rankin IV, the chief executive officer of the housing authority, to negotiate the terms of his departure from the job he has held since 2004. Housing authority board members will select a new chairman to replace Wallace from the five members now serving of the board.


College of the Mainland signs lease for League City campus

Larry DurrenceCollege of the Mainland trustees recently approved a new two-year lease for the North County Learning Center in League City. Trustees also authorized administrators to look for a new facility in the northern area of the county and to research whether the college should lease an existing facility or build a larger campus at a new location.


Trustees had discussed closing the learning center in League City because the campus attracts only enough revenue to meet expenses and is located outside of the taxing district for the college. Larry Durrence (pictured), interim president of the North County Learning Center, cited census projections that indicate that the school-age population in League City will grow 11 percent by 2017 compared to population growth of school-age children in other mainland communities that is projected to decrease or remain stagnant during that same time.


Durrence also urged trustees to consider locating the new campus for the learning center south of the current location or along the border of school districts in Dickinson and Clear Creek and to expand efforts to recruit students in that area.


Clarendon to ask voters to approve $700,000 bond issue

Lambert LittleThe Clarendon Board of Aldermen recently agreed to ask voters on May 12 to approve $700,000 in bonds to pay for street improvements.


City Administrator Lambert Little (pictured) recommended street improvements on Sixth Street, Third Street, Carhart Street and one block of Wood Avenue. Little also suggested street repairs for Allen and Sims streets near the stadium and seal coating only on Clarendon and Regents avenues if officials of Clarendon College agree.


Plans call for seeking bids from contractors for the curbing and for tar and gravel seal work while city crews will perform the base work on the street, Little said.


SPI Training Services

Wylie ISD to ask voters to approve $21 million in bonds

Board members of Wylie Independent School District recently agreed to place a $21.1 million bond package on the May 12 ballot. If approved by voters, bond funds will be used for renovations and some new construction at two high schools.


District officials plan to build additional career and technology classrooms, expand the band hall, cafeteria and field house as well as finish out second floor classrooms at Wylie East High School. Plans call for renovating the science lab and adding dressing room space at Wylie High School.


Harris County selects Chang as judge in civil county court-of-law

Theresa ChangHarris County officials recently selected Theresa Chang (pictured) a former county district clerk, as a judge in a civil county court-at-law, according to the Houston Chronicle.


Chang replaces former Judge Jacqueline Lucci Smith, who resigned in January to return to the private practice of law.


Chang also was previously an attorney in the county attorney's office.


Yorktown ISD sets $5.8 million bond election

Yorktown Independent School District trustees recently agreed to schedule a $5.8 million bond election on May 12 to pay for upgrading the high school and an elementary school.


District officials plan to build a new high school classroom building and a new lobby connecting the classrooms with an existing auditorium. They also plan to install a new heating and air conditioning system along with upgrading windows at an elementary school. Other projects include building a new restroom facility for the kindergarten building and at the football stadium in addition to several projects to bring facilities into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.


Houston to build new $3 million sobering center as alternate to jail

Houston city officials recently agreed to spend about $3 million in public safety bonds to create a new sobering center at the Star of Hope Mission with the goal of easing crowding in jail facilities.


Only people whose sole crime is public intoxication will be diverted to the sobering center, said Houston Mayor Annise Parker. Drivers suspected of driving while intoxicated or those with outstanding warrants will be sent to jail rather than the sobering facility, the mayor added. Those sent to the sobering center will be held at least four hours, must reach sobriety to leave the facility, but will avoid a record of arrest, the mayor said.


Did you miss Government Contracting Pipeline?

San Benito plans cultural heritage center to house museums

The City of San Benito is planning to apply for a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration to help fund a cultural heritage center in the city. The center would house the city's three museums. The city also will seek requests for qualifications from architects to design the 15,750-square-foot center.


If received, the grant funds would match $1.2 million in revenue from a 2007 sale of certificates of obligation set aside for the project.


Officials will pay for the architectural work with sales tax revenue set aside for economic development and, once the design is completed, will also begin a fundraising campaign. The architectural design is expected to be completed in September, with a contract awarded in November or December.


Agriculture Commission selects Navasota for nutrition award

Bert MillerThe Texas Commissioner of Agriculture recently selected the city of Navasota and Mayor Bert Miller (pictured) as winners of the 2011 Mayors Challenge Award for promoting child nutrition by making healthy food available to more children through the summer nutrition program.


The award includes $1,500 donated by a Texas-based grocery chain that the Navasota mayor will contribute to a local charity that focuses on nutrition.


The agriculture commissioner recognized the city of Tyler and Mayor Barbara Bass for the second place prize in promoting better child nutrition.


New Caney ISD sets $97 million bond election in May

New Caney Independent School District trustees recently approved a $9.5 million bond election on May 12 to ask voters to approve funding for two new schools, additions to other schools and a series of renovations.


District officials are seeking approval of $29.9 million for a new middle school, $16.2 million for a new elementary school, $11.4 million for renovations and additions to the high school and $16 million for renovations and new construction at the stadium and other athletic facilities. Plans also call for building a new $3.2 million agriculture science center, $7.4 million to pay for additions to elementary schools and $2.8 million for renovations at the middle school and the sixth grade campus if voters approve the bond proposal.


Also on the ballot are $7 million to purchase land for new schools, $2 million for projects at elementary schools and about $300,000 each to expand the child nutrition warehouse and for transportation maintenance projects.


Parkland Hospital's board chair McDonald resigns seat

Lauren McDonaldDr. Lauren McDonald (pictured), a nephrologist appointed to the Parkland Memorial Hospital board of manager in 1999, has resigned her position. Appointed by Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, McDonald was serving as chair of the board.


McDonald's resignation is effective March 6. It comes on the heels of an investigation by the U.S. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services that has resulted in efforts to improve patient care to avoid the loss of federal funding. However, she denied that her resignation had anything to do with the investigation, citing her desire to spend more time with her family as the reason for leaving the board.


Brownwood looking at $20 million to upgrade water system, streets

Brownwood City Council members recently began discussion on a list of capital improvement projects recommended by city staff. The projects included $4 million to $5 million for street improvements, $3.5 million to $4 million for a new fire station, $2 million for new soccer fields and $8 million to $10 million for upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant and a project to reuse wastewater.


City Manager Bobby Rountree (pictured) urged council to use certificates of obligations to help fund the street improvements, the new fire station and other smaller projects. He also suggested borrowing from $8 million to $10 million from the Texas Water Development Board to finance the wastewater treatment plant and the wastewater reuse project.


Bowie ISD eyeing $8 million bond issue for facility repairs

Steven MonkresWith an eye toward asking voters to approve about $8 million in bonds to upgrade facilities, trustees for the Bowie Independent School District recently began studying the results of a facilities survey sent to 1,600 parents, faculty and staff members of the school district.


Replacing or updating 50-year-old heating and air conditioning equipment at the intermediate school scored as a top priority in the survey, said Superintendent Steven Monkres (pictured). Replacing the 150-ton unit with a 300-ton unit recommended for the building will cost about $2.5 million, he said. Moving baseball and softball fields to the new high school complex was the second priority cited by those surveyed.


Other projects receiving support were to air condition the gym at the junior high along with replacing the roof and windows to reduce energy use, replacing the roof at the elementary school and demolishing the intermediate school complex. Upgrading seating at the junior high auditorium, kitchen upgrades and replacing the gym floor at the elementary school also were listed as priority projects in the facilities survey, he added.


Yorktown school district setting $5.8 million bond election

Yorktown Independent School District trustees recently agreed to schedule a $5.8 million bond election on May 12 to pay for upgrading the high school and an elementary school.


District officials plan to build a new high school classroom building and a new lobby connecting the classrooms with an existing auditorium. They also hope to install a new heating and air conditioning system along with upgrades to windows at an elementary school. Other projects include building a new restroom facility for the kindergarten building and at the football stadium and several projects to bring facilities into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.


  Job Seekers Looking to move up in job status?

Check out our Public Sector Job Board!

Temple College is seeking a Vice President of Administrative Services, Ector County is looking for a help desk technician in its Information Technology Department and the State Comptroller has numerous auditor spots open statewide. These and dozens of other public sector jobs are listed on our job board. Click here to view jobs. Free job postings for state and local governments, nonprofits and other public sector entities. If you have jobs available, send your posting to editor@spartnerships.com


Brock school district OKs four propositions for possible bond issue

Four propositions will be on the ballot if a bond election is called in May in the Brock school district. The propositions range from $150,000 to $2.5 million. They include:

  • Proposition 1 - $2.5 million for football, band, track and cross country facilities - bleachers, a press box, high school field house, fencing, parking, concessions, restrooms, weight room equipment, stadium lights, site utilities, excavation and stabilization, design, fees and testing;
  • Proposition 2 - $2.295 million for baseball and softball facilities including fields, bleachers, press boxes, stadium lights, utilities, dirt work and field structures;
  • Proposition 3 - $150,000 for an agricultural show barn with pens and fenced area and drive, dirt work and utilities; and
  • Proposition 4 - $530,000 for a new junior high roof, elementary school parking lot work, technology and two new buses.

Jasper voters will decide $7.3 million school bond issue

Chris ColemanA $7.2 million bond issue will go before Jasper Independent School District voters in May, following recent action of the school board trustees. The revenue from the bonds would go toward upgrades at school buildings and to replace school buses. JISD Assistant Superintendent Chris Coleman (pictured) said the school district is eligible for $6.2 million from a federal stimulus act interest-free loan. A committee will be established to determine the most immediate needs of the facilities in the district.


One million dollars of the bond proceeds would go to purchase new buses, as many of the district's buses are more than 20 years old. The federal funds cannot be used for the buses.


El Paso, Fort Bliss kick off plans for landfill, waste-to-energy plant

Officials of El Paso and Fort Bliss recently began planning on a project to build a $7.5 million landfill at the military base and to explore the possibility of building a plant to convert waste to energy.


El Paso city officials also agreed to delay opening a city-owned landfill at McCombs and a planned $18.5 million expansion of the landfill at Clint in order to move forward with the Fort Bliss project. A task force for the U.S. Army has proposed providing 500 acres of land at Fort Bliss for the landfill that could eventually play a role in developing renewable energy projects on military installations.


Plans call for the city to be responsible for construction, permitting and maintenance of the landfill project, which is expected to take about four years to complete. City officials also are looking for a company that will agree to own and develop the waste-to-energy plant, although city officials could decide to operate the facility, environmental services officials said. The new landfill at Fort Bliss would accept both commercial waste and waste from residents of El Paso.


Subscribe to the Government Contracting Pipeline

Houston port hires engineering firm to design upgrades to docks 

Commissioners of the Port of Houston Authority recently selected Jacobs Engineering Group to design $60 million in upgrades planned for two wharves at Barbours Cut, the largest container terminal on the Gulf Coast.


Commissioners cited an expected increase in mega-sized container vessels expected to arrive in 2014 as the reason for the expansion and upgrade of the wharves 1 and 2. These are located at Morgan's Point and cannot currently handle larger containers. The current container terminal features only 13 cranes that are too small to unload the much larger vessels expected to arrive from Asia once the expansion of the Panama Canal is complete. The upgrade to the two docks could take as long as five years to complete, port officials said.


McAllen considers instituting residential gas, electric tax

Richard CortezA proposed residential gas and electric tax for residents of the city of McAllen would raise more than $1.1 million for the city, officials say. To instate such a tax, the city must first pass an ordinance. City commissioners recently received a draft ordinance to consider.


If approved, the new tax would raise $876,000 for the city's general fund and $292,000 per year for the development corporation. McAllen is one of only three eligible Valley cities that do not collect the tax. Mayor Richard Cortez (pictured) said city revenues have been "flat," and that the tax would create much-needed revenue. "Everybody's struggling to keep up with escalating costs," Cortez said. "But so are cities."


Waxahachie group eyeing upgrades to civic center, sports complex

Waxahachie Community Development Corporation board members recently began eyeing the possibility of using almost $2 million in existing bond funds to pay for upgrades to the civic center and sports complex.


Repairing roof leaks at the civic center is a priority because the center has had continued problems since it opened in 2000, said April Ortiz, director of the civic center. Ortiz also urged board members to consider replacing carpet, surveillance cameras and parking lot lighting.


At the sports complex, the most pressing need is to replace two large batwing mowers that cost around $45,000 each, the recreation superintendent said. City officials also should consider adding a playground, renovating a football field and adding more shade, he said.


UT to host 19th annual HUB/SB Vendor Fair in April

The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas System will host their 19th Annual HUB/SB Vendor Fair, Tuesday, April 17.  The event will be held at the Frank Erwin Special Events Center, 1701 Red River St., Austin, TX 78701 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The HUB/SB vendor fair is designed to give Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) owners an opportunity to market their products and/or services to UT departmental purchasing representatives, as well as to the many other State of Texas agencies located in the capital city. The vendor fair is FREE for exhibiting vendors and open to the public. Online registration and a list of participating vendors is available here.


Institutes on Evidence-Based Quality Improvement set in July

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


2012 North American Workforce Symposium scheduled in April

The 2012 North American Workforce Symposium, hosted by North America's Corridor Coalition, is slated for Thursday, April 26, at the Speedway Club at Texas Motor Speedway. The event will bring together business leaders, educational partners and community organizations to help ensure trained and certified personnel for the manufacturing, supply chain and logistics industries. The symposium will also emphasize the necessity of partnerships between regional business, economic and education organizations. Among the keynote speakers is Jennifer McNelly, senior vice president of The Manufacturing Institute. The symposium is being presented in cooperation with Workforce Solutions for North Central Texas and the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council. Sponsorships are available. For more information and to view the tentative agenda, click here. To register, click here.


Huntsville to host 16th Annual HUB/Vendor show

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


DIR to host 12th Annual Information Security Forum

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


E-Learning Symposium 2012 planned for June 13 in Austin

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


Media Notice

Subscribe to TGI

Many state water projects lend themselves to P3s


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


The 2012 State Water Plan, which was released recently by the Texas Water Development Board, contains some sobering language. The take-way is that Texas has critical water needs and the projected cost to address the problems could exceed $50 billion.


As the state struggles to recover from one of the worst droughts in history, there is a flurry of activity related to water issues, particularly at the local level. More than 560 unique water supply projects were brought to the attention of agency officials who developed the state's new water plan.


Numerous water projects are currently under way and requests for additional funding are abundant. Earlier this month, more than $191 million in financial assistance was made available to cities, water supply corporations and water districts for wastewater system improvements, water system upgrades and development costs for water projects.


In Ward County, a 42-mile water pipeline project is being constructed and 21 new wells are being drilled. The pipeline will carry additional water to existing systems.


Follow Mary on Twitter Like Mary on Facebook View Mary's profile on LinkedIn
Gemini Global Group

El Paso housing authority

wins $6.9 million federal grant

The Housing Authority of El Paso recently won a $6.9 million grant to pay for capital improvement projects at public housing units. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded the grants through the Capital Fund Program.


Former county judge appointed to transportation board

Rene RamirezRene Ramirez (pictured), former Hidalgo County Judge, has been appointed to the advisory council of the Texas Transportation Institute.


The council is responsible for studying challenges facing transportation in the state. Ramirez is one of 41 members of the council. He was appointed to serve out the last year of former Hidalgo County Judge J.D. Salinas' term after Salinas resigned to take a federal position. The Institute studies transportation challenges and trends, with its findings used to improve safety, mobility and the environment.


Longview to raise hotel tax by two cents for arena upgrades

Longview City Council members  recently agreed to raise the hotel occupancy tax from 7 percent to 9 percent to pay for improvements at the rodeo arena. City officials expect to raise an additional $450,000 annually from the increased hotel tax once it becomes effective on June 1. Plans are to add concession stands and restrooms at the rodeo arena with the additional revenue.


VIP Consulting

Cap Metro seeking low-interest loan for new fleet of buses

With many of its buses 12-15 years old, Capital Metro is seeking a $20 million low-interest loan to purchase a new fleet of buses. The agency made its presentation for the project to the Cap Metro Board of Directors earlier this week.


The buses being sought are larger than the current models, and will cost approximately $430,000 each, according to Cap Metro officials. The $20 million loan would allow the agency to purchase 47 buses. They hope replacement of the fleet over a period of about seven years will result in lower maintenance costs and more modern buses. That lower maintenance cost could result in a savings of approximately $8 million, according to Cap Metro.


Marion ISD extends contract for interim superintendent until 2013

Mario SoteloTrustees for the Marion Independent School District recently extended the contract of Interim Superintendent Mario Sotelo (pictured) until June 30, 2013.


District officials said that rather than hiring a new superintendent at a time when the district is kicking off construction on bond projects, they support Sotelo remaining on board to provide continuity in the construction plan.


Burleson ISD sets goal to begin maintenance program this spring

Trustees for the Burleson Independent School District recently began exploring which of 11 maintenance and repair projects costing at least $1 million that the district could begin work on as early as this spring.


Board members also discussed plans to upgrade technology throughout the school district, but made no final decisions on the maintenance projects or technology upgrades.


Maintenance department employees identified priority projects that included upgrades to the administration building, removing asbestos and repairing the roofs at a middle school and at an elementary school in addition to repairing air conditioners. District staff can perform some of the repairs such as maintenance on the air conditioners, but board members expect to seek bids for other projects in late spring or summer after taking a closer look at the projected costs and prioritizing maintenance needs.


Your Ad Here!

Nelson retiring as finance

director for Deer Park

Keith NelsonKeith Nelson (pictured), finance director for the city of Deer Park for the last five years, recently announced he is retiring from that post. Nelson also was a finance director in Bryan, an assistant finance director in Pasadena and at the North Texas Toll Way Authority in Dallas following a successful career in the military.


Loraine ISD to ask approval of $12M in bonds for new school

Board members for the Loraine Independent School District recently voted to place a $12 million bond proposal on the May 12 ballot to pay for a new school for pre-kindergarten to 12th-grade students.


Facilities Improvement Committee members recommended the new school after finding the current school is plagued with plumbing, electrical and wiring technology issues, security concerns and inadequate space. Repairing the old facility would cost almost as much as building a new school, committee members said.


Health Information Designs

Burnet reviewing plan for new

$2 million wastewater plant

Burnet City Council members recently began reviewing a new engineering plan for a proposed $2 million wastewater plant. Thornhoff Consulting Engineers presented the engineering plan for the proposed wastewater plant to council members in February.


De La Torre resigns as superintendent of Socorro ISD

Xavier De La TorreSuperintendent Xavier De La Torre (pictured) recently announced he is resigning his post at Socorro Independent School District effective on June 30. De La Torre, who joined the Socorro district in June 2009, is leaving to serve as the county superintendent in Santa Clara County, California. 


Fort Stockton to seek grant

to help pay for landfill

Fort Stockton City Council members recently authorized the city manager to apply to the Regional Solid Waste Grants Program of the Permian Basin Regional Planning Commission for a grant to help the city pay for unexpected costs at a landfill.


SPI on Twitter

North Zulch ISD schedules $950,000 bond election in May

North Zulch Independent School District trustees recently agreed to place a $950,000 bond proposal on the ballot before summer begins. Board members also authorized the sale of unlimited tax refunding bonds to refinance existing debt.


If approved, proceeds from the bonds will be used to pay for $210,000 in technology upgrades at the school district, repairs to heating and air conditioning, replacing the roof on a gymnasium at a cost of about $375,000 and buying two new buses and other transportation needs for about $215,000, the superintendent said.


Perez chosen as interim superintendent for SAISD

Sylvester PerezSylvester Perez (pictured), retired superintendent of the Midland Independent School District, Thursday was chosen as the interim superintendent of the San Antonio School District. Perez was among those seeking the SAISD top position when current Superintendent Robert Duron was chosen as superintendent.


A short list of five candidates for interim superintendent was announced previously. Two were former administrators in the district. Others on the short list were: Peggy Stark-Wilson, retired associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction for SAISD; Sylvia Reyna, chief of administration for Fort Worth ISD and formerly with SAISD; and Elizabeth Garza, who served as Edgewood ISD superintendent until June. A fifth candidate on the list, Ann Dixon, former superintendent for Somerset ISD and now interim superintendent of Burnet Consolidated ISD, removed her name from consideration. Perez is expected to take over for Duron, who has resigned, as early as next week.


Recent Reports

Oak Point approves $485,592

to build new city hall

Doug MouselOak Point City Council recently approved $485,592 to pay for construction of a new city hall. Plans call for the 4,278-square-foot building to have a reception area, administrative offices, a municipal courtroom that also will serve as the council chamber, two conference rooms, a break room and a room for technology and restrooms, said City Manager Doug Mousel (pictured).


Texas Government Insider Archives
Volume 1-10 Archives - 11/7/03 - 2/24/12

Rick Summers to retire as superintendent of Deweyville ISD

Superintendent Rick Summers recently said he plans to retire when his contract expires at the end of the 2011-2012 school year after 21 years with Deweyville Independent School District. Summers previously served as a teacher and a coach before becoming a principal for a school district in High Island.


Governor's appointments
Governor Rick Perry has announced the following appointments:
  • Manuela "Mamie" Salazar-Harper of El Paso, State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners;
  • Mary Durheim of McAllen, chair, Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities;
  • David Taylor of El Paso, Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities;
  • Scott McAvoy of Cedar Park, Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities;
  • Fenton Lynwood Givens of Plano, Midwestern State University Board of Regents;
  • Charles "Jeff" Gregg of Seymour, Midwestern State University Board of Regents;
  • Samuel Sanchez of Fort Worth, Midwestern State University Board of Regents;
  • Craig M. Mixson of Buna, judge of the 1st Judicial District in Jasper, Newton, Sabine and San Augustine counties;
  • Gregg Philipson of Austin, Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission;
  • John "Mark" McWatters of Dallas, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs;
  • Ruthie Burrus of Beaumont, Texas Medical Board District Four Review Committee;
  • John Guerra of Mission, Texas Medical Board District Four Review Committee;
  • Richard Newman of San Antonio, Texas Medical Board District Four Review Committee;
  • David Miller of Abilene, Texas Medical Board District Three Review Committee;
  • John S. Scott Jr. of Keller, Texas Medical Board District Three Review Committee;
  • Lewis Benavides of Oak Point, Texas Medical Board District Two Review Committee;
  • Randall Blair Isenberg of Dallas, Texas Medical Board District Two Review Committee;
  • Hari Reddy of Fairview, Texas Medical Board District Two Review Committee;
  • Melissa Tonn of Dallas, Texas Medical Board District Two Review Committee;
  • Sharon Barnes of Rosharon, Texas Medical Board District One Review Committee;
  • David Davila of Cypress, Texas Medical Board District One Review Committee.

Odessa College hires firm to oversee two building projects

Odessa College officials recently hired a Lubbock-based construction company, Lee Lewis Construction, Inc., to manage construction of a new math and science center and a campus center.


Voters approved bonds in November 2010 to pay for the two new buildings, but the expectation of reduced state revenue caused a delay in the project, the president said. Construction on the two projects should begin this summer, he added.


Teague seeking bids to repair malfunctioning water well

City council members in Teague recently agreed to seek bids for repairs to a water well that has been out of service due to malfunctions.


Water Well 2 needs to be repaired now as continued use of the water well could result in further damage that would cost even more to repair, the public utilities director said.


South Texas International Airport to benefit from $2.2 million grant

A grant award of more than $2.2 million is headed to the South Texas International Airport, thanks to the Texas Transportation Commission. The funds will be used for taxi-way improvements.


The grant funds are part of the Texas Department of Transportation's Aviation Facilities Grant Program. The city of Edinburg will have to match 10 percent of the funding. Construction will start within the next couple of months.


Amarillo approves $60,000 to design airport backup system

Jarrett AtkinsonAmarillo City Commission members recently approved $60,000 to pay a Florida-based engineering company to design a back-up power system capable of maintaining power at a reduced scale during power outages at the airport terminal.


The proposed diesel-powered backup generator system, which could cost about $750,000, would be designed to provide interim power for lighting at the terminal, 110-volt electrical outlets, air circulation equipment and automated baggage belts and boarding bridges in order to keep operations continuing during power outages, City Manager Jarrett Atkinson (pictured) said.


Royse City ISD plans to name lone finalist for superintendent

Royse City Independent School District trustees are expected next week to name a lone finalist for superintendent. Board members interviewed four candidates selected from the 59 applications the district received. They plan to interview two finalists for superintendent at meetings scheduled for Monday and Tuesday of next week. Trustees set a goal to try to hire the new superintendent by March 27.


Greenville to use grant

to retrofit school buses

The Greenville school district will use a $28,000 grant to purchase and install mufflers on the district's buses. The funds, from the Texas Clean School Bus Grant, will buy mufflers that reduce diesel-exhaust emissions inside the cabin of each bus.The program is designed to reduce emissions of diesel exhaust by retrofitting older school buses. More than 33 percent of school buses in Texas fleets are more than 10 years old. 


McKinney and development group unveil airport plan

McKinney city officials and McKinney Airport Development Corporation (MADC) board members recently set a public meeting to allow taxpayers to review a proposed airport layout plan recently completed by a consulting firm. MADC officials, airport staff and the consultant plan to unveil the airport plan on March 8 and to be available to respond to questions.


The proposed plan for the Collin County Regional Airport includes short-term, mid-term and long-term projects that can begin as demand arises and funding is available, Ken Wiegand, executive director of MADC said. The proposed location and footprint of a terminal complex, additional hangars, parking expansion, a second runway with a taxiway for the east side of the airport and upgraded access roads are included in the new airport plan, Wiegand said. Council members in McKinney are expected to vote on the plan this month.


Help us share this message.
To ensure delivery and proper formatting of the newsletter, be sure to add editor@spartnerships.com to your safe senders list. Otherwise, the newsletter may be flagged as spam and automatically routed to your junk e-mail folder.

Huff retires from position

as city secretary in Grapevine

After 25 years of service, Linda Huff recently retired as city secretary in Grapevine. A graduate of a business college in Abilene, Huff began her career in Grapevine at the Convention & Visitors Bureau. Council appointed Jodi Brown, the former assistant city secretary, as the new city secretary to replace Huff.


Upton County Airport due major upgrades from state grant funds

The Upton County Airport will use a $2 million grant through the Texas Department of Transportation's Aviation Facilities Grant Program to upgrade pavement and lighting and the facility. The county will cover the remaining costs of the project.A consultant for the project will be chosen in the spring.


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.
Barton Oaks Plaza One, Suite #100
901 S. Mopac Expressway
Austin, Texas 78746