News And People

Volume 14, Issue 11 - Friday, March 18, 2016
FirstNet ramping up for launch
Emergency network preparing for $100 billion procurement 

"Of the five, there is no question that Texas is on this thing. Harris County is getting this done!"

Lesia Dickson (pictured, below) was speaking about five pilot programs across the country that are operating dedicated LTE networks for emergency personnel through the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), and she left no doubt about which program was taking best advantage of the technology.

FirstNet issued a request for proposals (RFP) in January seeking a partner to build a nationwide public safety broadband network. The goal of the project is to create a dedicated communications network to be used by the nation's emergency responders without interference from the public's communications.

Responses to the RFP are due May 13. The original due date was April 29, but FirstNet officials pushed it back two weeks to give prospective bidders a bit more time to work on their proposals. But only a little more time. Dickson made clear that the project is on the fast track.

Currently, Dickson is an outreach coordinator doing work for the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). On Monday, March 21, she will start her new job as Region 6 lead for FirstNet. It is her responsibility to make sure everyone who needs to know about the FirstNet project in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas has all the information they need to prepare for what is coming.

And what, exactly, is coming? The public-private partnership (P3) is expected to cost upward of $100 billion. Dickson called it "the largest federal government procurement in history." The idea arose from a recommendation made by the 9/11 Commission to create a nationwide communications network for first responders. Too often, in the middle of crises, communications networks get overloaded due to use by members of the public, and emergency responders are unable to share information with each other. Congress in 2012 dedicated 20 megahertz (MHz) of the broadband spectrum to FirstNet in an effort to create a space solely for the use of police, emergency medical service providers and the like.

That congressional action also appropriated $6 billion to begin the effort.
Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars
LaShon D. Ross, Deputy City Manager, City of Plano

Career highlights and education: I believe that if we apply ourselves and are attentive to our environments and needs, we will find those places where preparation and opportunity meet. In my 30s, I realized that this is the principle that has guided my entire life. Since high school, my career goal was to work in human resources. In 1988, I was fortunate to be hired as a temporary personnel secretary - I don't know if either word is used any more. - for the city of Texarkana. Within three years, I was promoted to personnel director. In 2001, I made a huge leap to become HR director for Plano. Once again, I was welcomed into an environment where I could learn and grow. Because of Plano's location, size and reputation, I have been able to seize opportunities that I could not have foreseen. In 2009, I was promoted to deputy city manager. What began as a simple goal of working in HR turned into a deeper study of employment law and political dynamics, regular engagements as a presenter and on-going opportunities to construct processes that enhance quality of life. I will close out this phase of my career when I retire in June. Although I have worked diligently to earn every opportunity I've been given, I am so thankful for the many people who have noticed me ... supported me ... chosen me. My colleagues and family are accustomed to hearing me say, "it takes a village." This African proverb is a reminder that none of us arrive at our highest potential without assistance from others. I never lose sight of this fact, and I strive to give back as much as I receive. I began my journey by equipping myself with a level of education that would allow me to be considered for entry into my chosen profession. I received a bachelor's degree in management from East Texas State University - Texarkana and later completed a master's degree in counseling from Southern Methodist University. My education, respect for people, professional development and willingness to "sit at the feet of others" and learn from their experiences have contributed to me having a career in local government that I have immensely enjoyed for almost 28 years.

What I like best about my job is: The most enjoyable aspects of my job have always been my interaction with people and the many opportunities to resolve issues. I am energized by the study of systems, whether with people, equipment or processes. With my job, monotony does not exist.

The best advice I've received for my current job is: Several years ago, one of my mentors said to me, "What you focus on gets bigger." He went on to explain to me that if I deplete my energy while fighting "ants," I won't have the energy I need when the "elephants" come along. To this day, I literally revisit these words in my mind when I am faced with difficult issues.

Advice you would give a new hire in your office: Be self-aware and aware of others in addition to focusing on academic and professional achievement. Healthy self-awareness allows us to be genuine, and this is a characteristic that most people appreciate. I have found that the level of success we are able to achieve is largely determined by how we relate to others. Many an opportunity has been squandered by the inappropriate timing and content of a comment.

If I ever decided to leave work early, I could probably be found:  Relaxing at home or having a glass of lemonade on a restaurant patio.

People would be surprised to know that: I would love to own an intimate eatery where I prepare all the food and meet all the guests during brief conversations at their tables

One thing I wish more people knew about my city: The attention to detail that is given to each service delivered to citizens of Plano and each concern presented to city staff. The city of Plano's commitment to excellence is reinforced daily through the work of competent, service-minded staff who work earnestly to meet the needs of all residential and commercial citizens.

Austin named one of seven finalists for Smart City Challenge
At the ongoing South by Southwest festival in Austin last week, U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the finalists for the inaugural Smart City Challenge. The competition targets mid-sized American cities and has as its objective the increased use of technology to improve the way transportation systems move people and products.

The seven finalists are Austin; Columbus, Ohio; Denver; Kansas City, Mo.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Portland, Ore.; and San Francisco.

The idea behind the competition was to allow city officials, who know best how to improve their own transportation problems, an extra funding mechanism to get things accomplished. The USDOT pledged up to $40 million to the selected city, and another $10 million will be contributed by an investment company owned by tech pioneer Paul Allen.

More than 75 cities submitted applications. Each finalist will receive a $100,000 grant to develop their proposals further and to add depth to their plans. The USDOT has encouraged the proposal writers "to think big, and to provide a detailed roadmap on how they will integrate innovative technologies to prototype the future of transportation in their city."

Details of Austin's proposal are scarce, but city officials have said they want to focus on a few areas, including improving autonomous vehicles, increased use of sensors on the roadway and a change to traffic monitoring that would better integrate efforts of the city, the region and the state.

The transportation department will announce the winning entrant in June.
AG opinion confirms state contractors must use E-Verify
Attorney General Ken Paxton's office yesterday released an opinion confirming that state contractors and subcontractors are required to use the Department of Homeland Security's E-Verify system. The opinion, written in a letter to Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Executive Director James Bass, clarified that a new law that went into effect Sept. 1, 2015 does not supersede a previous executive order issued by former Gov. Rick Perry.

Perry's 2014 order directed all state agencies that are governed by a gubernatorial appointee to use E-Verify "to determine the employment eligibility of certain executive agency employees and contractor employees." The legislature passed SB 374 during the 2015 session. It required the same thing of all state agencies and placed the directive into Texas Government Code. However, SB 374 did not explicitly state that agencies were required to use the system for contract employees or subcontractors. Former TxDOT Executive Director Joe Weber requested an attorney general's opinion as to which standard applies.

The attorney general's opinion stated that SB 374's inclusion of all state agencies does supersede the executive order, but the governor's executive order stands with respect to contractors and subcontractors.
Parker County commissioners updated on I-20 interchange
In a recent meeting with engineering consultants, Parker County commissioners learned construction on a $35.5 million project to build a new interchange and new frontage roads on Interstate 20 near Weatherford is set to begin in December.

The project is a partnership between the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), Parker County and the cities of Weatherford and Hudson Oaks. TxDOT officials have agreed to pay approximately $30.9 million for construction costs and relocation of utilities. Officials from Parker County, Weatherford and Hudson Oaks agreed to pay $4.6 million for all right-of-way and engineering costs.

The agreement also calls for TxDOT to pay any additional costs of the project if it comes in higher than estimated, the engineering consultant said.

Oak Ridge North narrowly backs proposed thoroughfare plan
In a 3-2 vote, Oak Ridge North City Council members recently supported the Montgomery County Thoroughfare Plan. The move is designed to provide the county the ability to plan and coordinate expansion and improvements on roads and highways to improve traffic flow countywide.

A major goal of the plan is to create alternate routes of traffic between Houston and Montgomery County cities such as Conroe, noted Caroline Mullins, a transportation planner with the Houston-Galveston Area Council. The plan proposes several construction projects over the next 50 years, but not all portions of the plan would necessarily be built, she noted.
San Antonio ISD to sell property to pay for new central offices
Trustees for the San Antonio Independent School District recently agreed to place several large properties for sale to help pay for a new central administration office and service center.

The goal is to consolidate into one office employees now scattered throughout the city in seven district facilities. The plan would save about $2 million annually by using office space more efficiently, district officials said. The district would also construct a new service center for transportation and maintenance.

Properties to be sold include land at North Alamo and North Austin streets, a food services warehouse, football and baseball fields at Fox Tech High School, the Gonzales Center and several other vacant lots. District officials plan to issue a request for sealed bids for the properties by the end of this month.
Royse City plans to use $3 million in debt for I-30 overpass project
Council members in Royse City recently agreed to publish notice of their intention to issue $3 million in certificates of obligation to pay for upgrades to infrastructure. Much of the funding will be used to pave a portion of Shaw Drive, a project that qualifies as the city's contribution to building an overpass at Interstate 30.

City officials originally agreed to acquire right of way from two property owners for the overpass project. Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) officials, however, offered to purchase the right of way if the city would improve Shaw Drive. Construction on the new I-30 overpass is scheduled to begin this fall.

Other projects to be funded with the certificates of obligation are paving Wood Street, replacing water lines on Bell Street and buying a new truck for public works.

Lubbock seeking proposals to aid thoroughfare plan update project
Lubbock city officials recently began seeking proposals from engineering companies to assist in updating a thoroughfare plan created in 2007. The deadline for submitting a proposal is March 31, said Wood Franklin (pictured), director of public works.

The plan would need to include the city's Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ), which extends 5 miles from the city limits and includes a small portion of Hockley County.

The engineering firm selected will be tasked with identifying and correcting errors in the current plan and performing some traffic modeling necessary to recommend standards for the thoroughfares, Franklin said. The company also will meet with Planning Department representatives to update changes in land use and zoning at major intersections and any design changes considered appropriate. The study should also consider using five-lane thoroughfares in some areas of the city instead of seven-lane thoroughfares.
Harrison County Airport placed among endangered landmarks
Preservation Texas recently placed Harrison County Airport at the top of its 2016 Most Endangered Places List, an action applauded by the president of the local historical commission.

County Judge Hugh Taylor had proposed demolishing the original main terminal building at the airport and building a more modern facility to replace it. But according to Tom Speir, chair of the Harrison County Historical Commission, addition to the list of the most endangered places in Texas could assist in his campaign protect the historic airport terminal.

McKinney approves rezoning request for HS football stadium
McKinney City Council members recently approved a rezoning request from McKinney Independent School District officials to allow a press box and lighting for a new $50.3 million football stadium and events center the district has proposed building.

Trustees for the school district also confirmed this week the stadium project will be included in a $220 million bond package up for vote in May. Rezoning was necessary, said Superintendent Rick McDaniel (pictured), before trustees could finalize the ballot language.

School district officials also plan to replace heating and air conditioning systems at several campuses, along with adding upgrades to plumbing and electrical systems, expanding two band halls and improving the district's security system, if voters approve the bonds.
USDA seeking conservation projects for $20 million in grants
The Texas Natural Resources Conservation Service (TNRCS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently began seeking applications for grants of as much as $2 million each. The grants are meant to promote the newest conservation technologies and approaches. Applications must be submitted by May 10, said Salvador Salinas (pictured), the state conservationist for TNRCS.

The USDA of is offering up to $20 million in Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) to benefit historically underserved agricultural producers, improve and protect water quality or demonstrate the effectiveness of public-private partnerships for conservation, forestry and sustainable agriculture, Salinas said.

Changes in the program include an increase to $2 million for the maximum award and a streamlined proposal process administered through TNRCS, he said.

Pearland midway through design phase for service center project
Pearland city officials recently learned the design phase for the renovation of the Orange Street Service Center is about 50 percent complete. The service center, which now houses the administration of the Public Works Department, a fire station and the Parks Maintenance Division, is comprised of several buildings constructed at different times.

The design firm is tasked with updating the facilities to meet the needs of both the Public Works Department and the Engineering and Capital Projects Department, which will be relocated to the service center. The first phase of the project includes building a 12,000-square-foot administrative building to replace the existing 8,600-square-foot facility and remodeling the Operations Support Center. Current plans call for construction on the first phase of the project to begin later this year and be completed in late 2017.

City officials plan to relocate the fire station on city-owned land and set a goal to begin construction on a new fire station in 2017. Voters approved bonds in 2007 to pay for the renovation of the service center and the new fire station.
South Padre Island to use TIRZ funds to upgrade infrastructure
South Padre Island city officials have targeted three projects for funding from a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ). They expect the TIRZ, which is a partnership between the city and Cameron County, to raise about $8.2 million by 2026. The contribution from the county would be about $3.9 million.

Current plans are to spend much of that funding to improve sidewalks to become compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and make improvements to the entertainment district. The city is planning to build two ecotourism campuses, said Darla Jones, an assistant city manager, and has applied for a grant to do so. If the grant is approved, city officials also might apply some TIRZ funding to those projects.

As it is, the highest priority is adding new sidewalks, improving drainage and installing better street lighting in the entertainment district, Jones said.
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Dozens of public-sector jobs are available. New jobs added this week: Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs - Budget Analyst IV-V; Texas Military Department - Accountant I (Travel Accountant). Click here to view more. Send your posting to editor@spartnerships.com.

Jobs with closing dates listed will be removed from the listings on that date. If your job does not have a closing date, please contact us once it is filled.
Clarendon seeks public's input for proposed $3.9M water project
Clarendon city officials have scheduled a town hall for March 29 to seek public input on a proposed $3.9 million upgrade to the water system. The improvements are needed to address problems with meeting state regulations, as well as reports of discolored water and poor flow in certain areas, city officials said.

The plan calls for replacing about 6 miles of cast iron distribution pipe and replacing all existing water meters with automated meters. That will help the city reduce the amount of resources needed to read more than 700 meters, according to City Administrator David Dockery (pictured).

Preliminary plans are to seek a $1.4 million grant and a $2.5 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, he said. If council members decide to move forward with the upgrades to the water system, city officials expect to seek bids in less than a year. The upgrades should take about three years to complete.
Blinn board to consider Bryan campus improvement projects
Next week, the Blinn College Board of Trustees will discuss upcoming projects at the school's Bryan campus.

The board members will consider a contract for the design of an extension to Red River Road intended to provide increased mobility onto Villa Maria Road. As currently situated, the intersection of Red River Road and the campus allows only an entrance. The proposed project would redesign the intersection to allow vehicles both to enter and exit the school's campus.

Additionally, the school is proposing a dredging project that would remove silt from two campus ponds that feed into Briar Creek, increasing the stormwater capacity of the ponds.

Waco council approves land exchange with Baylor University
Waco City Council members recently approved exchanging five acres of city-owned property on Interstate 35 with Baylor University for the land on which Floyd Casey Stadium is located. The city's goal is to redevelop both properties to increase tax revenue.

The land exchange, however, will not be finalized until the city performs an environmental assessment of the 84-acre stadium site. The city spent more than $2.4 million to remove polluted soil on the five-acre property on I-35.

Baylor officials also agreed that at least 70 percent of the value of the property on I-35 will be placed on the tax rolls even if owned by the university, which is tax exempt. University officials have been negotiating with Baylor Scott & White Health System regarding the possibility of building a new sports medicine center on the property.
Celina approves $1.6 million land buy to expand Old Celina Park
Celina City Council members recently approved $1.68 million to purchase two land parcels to expand Old Celina Park by 19 acres.

The Collin County Funding Assistance Program, established to help cities and nonprofit organizations receive financial assistance for parks, trails and other open space projects, contributed $500,000 to purchase the land. Cities are required to match the contribution from the program dollar-for-dollar.

Celina city officials said adding to the size of the park was necessary to accommodate the increasing number of residents using it. Much of the new property will become a multiuse area that could eventually be developed into fields for baseball, soccer and football. Some of the land also will be used for parking at large festivals and other events at the park.
  
Calendar of Events

EWTG to host longtime state executive Lisa Craven in Austin 
March 23, 2016
Executive Women in Texas Government (EWTG) will host Lisa Craven at a luncheon in Austin March 23. Craven serves as chief of staff for Comptroller Glenn Hegar and has more than 25 years of state service, having worked in both the Texas Senate and House of Representatives. She served as chief of staff for then-Sen. Hegar from 2007-2014, worked in the House of Representatives from 1989-2007 and began her career as a Capitol tour guide in 1986. Craven has a Bachelor of Science degree from The University of Texas at Austin. The luncheon will be held at the Austin Woman's Club and begins at 11:30 a.m. Lunch will be served at 11:45, and the program starts at noon and concludes at 1 p.m. Registration is open.
State agencies to host 4th annual HUB vendor expo in Austin
April 7, 2016
The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, Texas Historical Commission, State Office of Court Administration, Texas Education Agency, General Land Office and Texas Workforce Commission will host the 4th annual HUB vendor Fair April 7 at the J.J. Pickle Commons Learning Center in Austin. The event will provide information to strengthen HUB (Historically Underutilized Business) businesses, including marketing the business. There will be one-on-one meetings with state agencies, universities and prime vendors in construction and information technology. State agencies and universities will be exhibiting. Workshops will include "Teaming for Success," "TPASS DIR" and one specifically for veteran-owned businesses. The event and parking is free of charge. For more information please contact Fred Snell.

Educators, industry leaders collaborate to enhance technology curriculum 

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

A sea-change in high school curriculum is occurring. It's happening because of an ever-changing Digital Age and a critical need for highly skilled technology workers. While elected leaders debate common core issues, collaborative efforts between public-sector educators and private-sector employers are resulting in major changes in educational curriculum throughout the country. The changes cannot come too quickly if the U.S. is to retain its position as a global leader.

Community colleges nationwide have traditionally provided workforce training to meet technology needs and collaboration with industry was common. Courses offered were suggested and usually designed by regional employers. But as the gap widened between technology job openings and trained workers to fill them, education experts and private employers began working together to focus their efforts at the high school level to help close the technology gap.




Texas Government Insider will not publish next week
Because the offices of Strategic Partnerships, Inc. will be closed next Friday, March 25, in observance of Good Friday, Texas Government Insider will not publish next week.
We will resume our regular Friday publication dates April 1. Our offices will be closed Good Friday and reopen at 8:30 a.m. Monday, March 28.
Turner names Carrin Patman new Metro chair
At the beginning of the month, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner selected Carrin Patman (pictured) to be the new chair of the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (Metro). Patman's appointment still needs to be confirmed by city council.

An attorney in Houston, Patman served as a board member of Metro from 2010 to 2014. She will replace Gilbert Garcia, who has been in the position since 2010. Patman also is a board member of The University of Texas (UT) Law School Foundation and the UT Health Science Center at Houston Development Board.

Patman is a graduate of Duke University and the UT School of Law.

Two senior staff members to depart governor's office
Two of Gov. Greg Abbott's senior staff members, Luis Saenz (pictured, above), the director of appointments, and Stacey Napier (pictured, below), the director of administration, recently announced they are leaving their posts.

Saenz was a vice president of a consulting firm prior to joining the Office of the Governor. He also was a senior adviser and a senior appointments manager for former Gov. Rick Perry. Saenz also has served as an assistant secretary of state, chief of staff in the Office of the Comptroller and as an aide to two former U.S. Senators. He is a graduate of St. Mary's University in San Antonio.

Napier previously worked as an aide in the Texas House of Representatives and Texas Senate prior to joining the Texas Attorney General's office in 2003 as chief of the intergovernmental relations division. She also was a senior counsel and deputy attorney general for administration prior to joining the governor's office in January 2015.
 
Denison to eliminate post of assistant city manager, reorganize leadership
Denison City Council members recently approved changes to the organization of city staff proposed by City Manager Jud Rex (pictured).

The new organizational plan calls for eliminating the job of assistant city manager and reducing the number of city staff members who report directly to the city manager. Rex had been assistant city manager prior to being promoted to his current position in October 2015. Previously, eight staff members reported directly to the city manager and five to the assistant city manager.

Under the new plan, the heads of the fire, police and public works departments, along with a representative from external services (such as the library and parks) and a representative from internal services (such as the utility department and accounting) will report directly to the city manager. The new setup also calls for creating the position of planning director to oversee future development, Rex said.

Governor declares state of disaster in 17 counties
Gov. Greg Abbott this week declared 17 counties in east and southeast Texas to be in a state of disaster following historic flooding. The governor also raised the activation level of the State Operations Center and urged citizens to follow warnings from local officials related to the severe flooding.

Counties included in the disaster declaration are Angelina, Erath, Gregg, Hardin, Harrison, Hood, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Madison, Marion, Newton, Orange, Parker, Sabine, San Augustine and Tyler.

State officials currently are working with local leaders in Newton, Jasper and Orange counties to provide assistance during evacuations and for swift water rescues when requested.

Glenn Morrison to retire as city manager in Killeen
City Manager Glenn Morrison (pictured) of Killeen recently informed city council members he plans to retire in April.

Morrison said he plans to spend time with family and friends after working 30 years in municipal service.

Austin to draw up master plan for largest city park
Officials with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department are preparing to begin the process of devising a master plan for the city's largest park. The mostly undeveloped Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park includes the Travis County Exposition Center, which occupies 128 acres of the 3,715-acre park.

In recent years, a private developer has put forth plans to build golf courses that might be able to attract professional tournaments. The courses would be the focal point of larger developments on the city-owned property, but those plans have stalled in the past year.

Other ideas include a $620 million redevelopment of the expo center and the creation of a "sports district" that would feature various recreational opportunities.

Travis County officials commissioned a study of the expo center, which recommended building a 15,000-seat sports and entertainment arena, 200,000 square feet of expo hall space, a 30,000-square-foot ballroom and 25,000 square feet of meeting space.

The master plan will be the first such document for the park since 1968. The city has set aside $500,000 for the process.

Cedar Park allots $1.3M for roads, sidewalks
Cedar Park City Council members recently approved $950,000 to pay for improvements to four turn lanes and $350,000 to build new sidewalks and add pedestrian ramps at eight sidewalk locations.

City officials said the project will be designed and constructed as one group project, but they have not yet adopted a timeline for the project.

Temple approves $2M water and sewer project
Members of the Temple City Council have approved a $2 million water and wastewater line replacement project.
The project will replace pipes that are more than 70 years old.

"In this area of town, we've got old clay pipe that's broken and is leaking. So, in addition to replacing old broken lines with new, better and larger sewer lines that will drain better, we're also eliminating a problem area," acting Public Works Director Don Bond said. "This will provide new and improved sewer service to 109 residential lots, two churches and new water service to 28 residential water customers."

The council also approved a $300,000 sidewalk improvement project and a $158,000 roof replacement at the Summit Recreation Center.
LeFleur Transportation

Thorndale ISD hires Ivy as new superintendent
The Thorndale ISD Board of Trustees has selected Adam Ivy (pictured) as the district's new superintendent.

Ivy most recently served as assistant superintendent in Latexo ISD. He began his career as a teacher and coach in the Katy school district and served as assistant principal in Buffalo, Hudson and Central ISDs, before serving as principal in Central and Latexo ISDs.

Ivy will begin his new job March 21.

Harlingen approves new parks master plan
Harlingen city commissioners this week approved a parks master plan calling for $43 million in improvements. It will replace a previous master plan that had expired in 2015.

City officials now intend to send the parks master plan to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for the approval necessary to allow the city to be eligible for grants, said Javier Mendez, the director of parks.
KRONOS

Aransas Pass ISD asking voters to approve $17.9M bond package in May
Aransas Pass Independent School District trustees recently agreed to ask voters to approve $17.9 million in bonds May 7.

If voters approve, trustees plan to build a new elementary school to replace two existing schools and a new $3.8 million, 18,800-square-foot gymnasium for the high school with a full-sized space for basketball and volleyball, bleachers, restrooms and a ticket booth.

For the new elementary school, district officials plan to construct a two-story facility to house 750 students. The project also would include a library, cafeteria, gymnasium and secured entries for visitors. The goal is to open the new school by the fall semester in 2018.

Greenville seeking bids for second phase of street improvement project
Greenville city officials recently began seeking bids to complete the second phase of a $12.6 million bond project to upgrade streets. The deadline for submitting bids is March 29.

The first phase of the project completed sections of three streets, and the second phase calls for rebuilding sections of Wellington and Stonewall streets.

Council members have not yet adopted a timeline for beginning the third phase of the bond projects.

Neeley named as director of economic development in Oak Ridge North
Heather Neeley recently won selection as the new director of the economic development corporation (EDC) in Oak Ridge North.

Currently the city secretary, Neeley (pictured) said she plans to continue in that role until a replacement for the position can be found.

Board members of the economic development corporation also backed her appointment as director of the EDC, said City Manager Vicky Rudy.
College Station council unveils water master plan
College Station City Council members got their first look at a new water master plan that includes a new tower and upgrades to water and sewer lines.

The plan includes the construction of a new water tower and installation of new pressure reducers at the request of some residents living in low-lying areas, said David Coleman (pictured), director of water services. The plan also calls for replacing water and sewer lines. City officials have not yet adopted a schedule for the proposed upgrades to the water and sewer system.

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Plainview, Hale County net grant for business park infrastructure
The Economic Development Administration (EDA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce recently awarded the city of Plainview and Hale County a $1 million grant to help build a new business park west of Interstate 27.

The funding will help pay for roads, water lines and a sewer line for the new business park. The project is a 50-50 partnership between the city and county and is an effort to create sites considered shovel ready for business owners.

Current plans are to begin construction on the new business park this summer and complete the project in about nine months.
RECENT REPORTS
State of Texas Financial Portion of the Statewide Single Audit Report for the Year Ended August 31, 2015
GOVERNOR'S APPOINTMENTS
Gov. Greg Abbott has announced the following appointments:
  • John F. Nichols, Spring Branch, Adjutant General of Texas. 
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