Volume 16, Issue 25- Friday, June 29, 2018ptional Lk
HUD approves $5B recovery plan for Texas
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved $5 billion through its Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery Program to support long-term recovery efforts in Texas due to Hurricane Harvey. 

The largest share of the funding, $2.3 million, goes to the city of Houston and Harris County to address their recovery needs. Both city and county officials must submit those plans to state officials for approval. The Single-Family Homeowner Assistance Program is being allotted $1.1 billion to help homeowners rehabilitate and rebuild homes damaged during Hurricane Harvey. Around $413 million supports infrastructure repairs and enhancements for local communities as part of a comprehensive long-term recovery program along with Federal Emergency Management Agency funding. 

HUD officials approved $275 million to allow certain eligible homeowners to sell their damaged home to a local government and $251 million to pay for the state program costs, including contract administration, compliance monitoring, the provision of technical assistance to applicants and other activities. Another award includes $250,000 million for the Affordable Rental program to rehabilitate, rebuild or build new affordable multi-family rental properties.
Port of Corpus Christi approves $217M in bonds to upgrade ship channel
Port of Corpus Christi officials approved the issue of up to $217 in bonds to pay for major upgrades to the Corpus Christi ship channel. The upgrades include creating more terminals, rail and providing channel improvements. Currently at a depth of 45 feet, the 36-mile channel will be dredged to 54 feet to accommodate larger vessels and widened to 530 feet to allow for two-way traffic flows. 

Another major announcement came earlier in the month when the United States Army Corps of Engineers included nearly $23 million in its work plan for the Corpus Christi Channel Improvement Project. The channel project, expected to cost around $335 million, has now received over $138 million in Federal and port contributed funds. Dredging operations are expected to commence later this year. "With the growth our customers are experiencing, coupled with our P3 (public-private partnership) development structures, this additional financing will augment our already strong balance sheet and position the South Texas Coastal Bend for further prosperity," Sean Strawbridge, CEO of the Port of Corpus Christi said.
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College of the Mainland trustees set $162.5M bond vote for November
College of the Mainland (COM) trustees scheduled a $162.5 million bond election on Nov. 6 to pay for capital improvement projects. The 50-year-old college had its last successful bond election in 1970, when voters approved a $4.75 million referendum. If voters approve the bonds, the largest portion of the referendum - about $138 million - is proposed for the three new buildings. 

The 160,000-square foot science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and Allied Health building will include innovative programs such as surgical technology, physical therapy assistance and communications. The proposed 90,000-square foot industrial careers building would house the occupational safety technician and heating, ventilation and air conditioning programs, among others. The planned 60,000-square foot student success building would replace the existing administration building. The rest of the bond would go toward renovations and expansions at the fine arts building, physical plant and technology upgrades. The police station, technical vocation and administration centers would be demolished under the current bond proposal.
Houston to spend nearly $1B to repair/build homes and apartments damaged by Harvey
The Houston City Council agreed on a plan to spend nearly $1 billion, the first long-term federal aid for housing damaged from Hurricane Harvey to repair or rebuild single-family homes and apartments. 

Houston proposes to spend the funds as follows: 
  • $385 million would go to help homeowners repair or rebuild storm-damaged homes. 
  • $315 million would go to buy land for the construction of new apartments, as well as to acquire or repair damaged apartment buildings. 
  • $200 million would go to build new homes in partnership with commercial and non-profit developers. 
  • $60 million would go to repair small rental properties - from single-family homes to four-unit rentals - or build new ones. 
  • $60 million would go to social services and homelessness programs. 
  • $21 million would go to down payment assistance to help renters buy homes or help homeowners in floodplains buy homes outside of floodplains. 
  • $40 million would be used to buy out repeatedly flooded single- and multi-family properties. 
  • $30 million would be used for economic revitalization, such as providing credit and technical assistance to small businesses to boost the job market in struggling areas. 

The city plans to allocate $23 million for planning and $20 million for administration to ramp up staffing and hire contractors to help oversee the recovery programs. Before moving forward, however, Houston's plan must win approval from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. It will then be attached as an amendment to the Texas General Land Office's plan that addresses recovery along the rest of the Gulf Coast.
Lubbock moves forward with $60M project for law enforcement
The Lubbock City Council has chosen a $1.37 million design and engineering contract for three new police substations. Expected to cost about $60 million, some of the funding for the police station project has already been collected through bond proceeds. The action is part of its effort to decentralize the police department by establishing police stations in east, south and north areas of the city that will each have its own patrol units and investigative teams. 

All three of the substations will be similar in design and focus on the geographical area in which it is located. While the east side substation will be located on city-owned land near Martin Luther King Boulevard, city staff are exploring possible sites for the north and south substations. City officials expect to begin construction on the substations in about one year.
TWDB approves $22.2M for water/wastewater projects
Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) members approved $22.2 million to upgrade water and wastewater systems for the cities of Boyd and Bangs, Kerr County and the Green Acres Riverview Water Works. 

Board members approved $14,426,400 from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) to Kerr County for a wastewater system upgrade. The money will pay for the second phase of a project that provides wastewater service to Center Point and in eastern areas of Kerr County. The city of Boyd in Wise County received approval for $5,840,000 in funding from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). The money will assist with the planning, acquisition, design and construction to upgrade the water system. City officials in Boyd plan to improve the water supply, treatment, pumping and storage facilities as well as institute an asset management plan and a water conservation and drought contingency plan.

The Green Acres Riverview Water Works in El Paso County received $216,000 from the DWSRF to assist in funding planning, design and construction projects to improve water quality and replace water meters. The city of Bangs in Brown County received approval for $1,760,000 from the DWSRF to help finance planning, design and construction costs to replace existing waterlines and increase the size of the water supply line from the pump station to the elevated storage tanks. Bangs city officials also agreed to install a supervisory control and data acquisition system.
Bastrop County issues solicitation for $4M emergency shelter
Bastrop County Commissioners agreed to seek bids to build a $4 million, 12,000 square-foot emergency shelter at Mayfest Park. The shelter will be located on 2.35 acres of land in the park leased from the city of Bastrop for $102,366. The building will be used to house a community center and serve as a shelter when needed. 

County officials also plan to use the new facility to house AgriLife Extension offices, meeting space for 4H clubs, Future Farmers of America and the Bastrop County Long Term Recovery Team. County officials are using revenue from bonds to finance the new emergency shelter/community center.
Santa Fe ISD to remove or block off scene of school shooting
Santa Fe Independent School District trustees agreed to spend $330,000 to $550,000 to quickly renovate or block off the portion of the high school where 10 people were killed and 13 more were wounded before the school year begins in late August. Even though that portion of the school is no longer an official crime scene, the two art classrooms and hallway where the shootings occurred are pitted with so many bullet holes and in such disarray that it could traumatize returning students and teachers, the board president said. 

The Houston-based architectural firm hired by trustees to design changes to the high school presented options that include blocking off the art hallway with drop-down doors or entirely removing the hallway and build a new hallway bypassing the art area. Board members are reviewing the options and are expected to decide soon. The hired architect pointed out that work must begin at the high school this month to have it completed before students and teachers return in the fall. District officials are also considering building a secured entry vestibule with bullet-proof glass in the front of the school, fencing the entire high school with a gated chain-link fence and adding more offices for police officers scattered around the school.
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Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars
Mike Reissig, Deputy Comptroller, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Mike Reissig

Career highlights and education: I like to joke that I'm so old that every college I attended now has a different name. I received an associates degree from Concordia Lutheran Junior College (now a 4 year university), a bachelor's degree from Texas Lutheran College (now University), and an MBA from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University). I started my career at the state in 1985 as an analyst in the Comptroller's Revenue Estimating Division and became a supervisor in 1990 just before I left the agency at the end of that year to go to work at the Capitol at the Ways and Means Committee. In July 1993 I returned to the Comptroller's Office to be the Chief Revenue Estimator. In 1999 I became Assistant Director of Fiscal Management, then in 2000 the director. In 2002, I went to the tax side of the house here at the Comptroller's office to become the Director of Tax Administration. In 2007, I was promoted to the executive offices to become Associate Deputy Comptroller for Tax and Fiscal Affairs. Then finally, in January 2015 when Glenn Hegar became Comptroller I became Deputy Comptroller.

What I like best about my job is: What I love about my job is the wonderful people I work with here in Executive Administration, starting with the Comptroller Glenn Hegar himself and extending to literally the whole staff down here who are some of the smartest, hard-working folks that it's been my privilege to call colleagues in 32 years of working for the state.

The best advice I've received for my current role: Be humble and pay attention. Do not over-promise and under-deliver, and be absolutely transparent in your dealings with everyone. Treat everyone with the same attention and respect no matter where they are on the org chart. Sometimes those of us in upper management start to believe our own hype about how great and accomplished we are while forgetting that everything around here is a team effort.

Advice you would give a new hire in your office: For a new hire I always say that you need to show up mentally and physically each day for work and that you need to learn your assigned job so well that there is no one who knows it any better than you do. Also, take for granted that some people will be difficult to deal with don't let that discourage you from what you are doing, or from being the type of person that others want to work with and be around. If you do those simple things, you will be amazed at what good things can happen for you.

If I ever left work early, I could probably be found: At the bookstore or out somewhere walking.

People would be surprised to know that I:
 Love to read poetry and philosophy. I wish I could say that I understand poetry and philosophy like a college professor, but that's not always as true as I would like it to be. I do, on the other hand, find that the older I get, the less everything needs to make perfect sense to me the first time I read it. That's kind of what life is like anyway.

One thing I wish more people knew about the Comptroller's office: That we do a huge variety of things here. If you're a state agency you might think that we only process warrants and keep the books, and if you're a taxpayer you might think that all we do is collect and enforce tax, and if you're a state depository you might think that we are just the state treasurer, but the fact is that we are 2,700 people who on a daily basis touch virtually all aspects of the state's fiscal affairs and help keep the whole state running.
Harris County recognized at TAMIO for creativity and communication 
Ed Emmett
The Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM) received two awards June 7 at the annual Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers (TAMIO) conference. HCOHSEM was the most creative with its winter preparedness social media marketing campaign featuring Eddy the Ready Elf. HCOHSEM also was honored by best use of social media. During Hurricane Harvey, staff at the Harris County Regional Joint Information Center kept the public informed by continuously distributing emergency alerts and social media. Through active monitoring, rumors and misinformation were quickly addressed. 

"We do our best to keep our residents informed when disaster strikes, and work year-round to promote emergency preparedness," Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said. "False information can spread rapidly and create problems for both the public and emergency responders. This is why we always urge residents to get their information from official and trusted sources." This year, TAMIO received more than 300 award entries. The awards recognize outstanding communication products in various categories including, website, social media, video production and publications.
Midland to issue RFQ for two fire stations
Midland City Council members authorized staff to seek a request for qualifications (RFQ) from engineering/architectural firms to design and renovate two fire stations. City officials plan to build a new Fire Station 11 and demolish and redesign Fire Station 5 at an estimated cost of more than $8.9 million. 

In an agreement with petroleum operation company that donated the 5 acres of land, the city must begin construction of Fire Station 11 within six years. The property is in northwest Midland, on Briarwood Avenue, west of Holiday Hill Road. Fire Station 5 was built in 1958 at Garfield Street and Golf Course Road in central Midland. The city wants to demolish the current facility and replace it with a two-story fire station. The goal is to complete construction of the fire stations by 2020.
Calendar of Events

July 11-13
The Texas State Agency Business Administrator's Association (TSABAA) is hosting its 49th Annual Summer Conference on July 11 through July 13. The event will be held at the Hilton San Antonio Airport, 611 Northwest Loop 410 in San Antonio. 

Take advantage of this networking opportunity and listen to a variety of speakers during this three-day conference. A few of the topics include:
  • Joe Alves, Epoch Performance and Madeleine York-York, Inc.: "Discovering Personal Effectiveness" 
  • Dr. David Biemer, Texas State University: "5 Percent Succession Planning"  
  • Mary Scott Nabers, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.: "State Government - Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow"
View the agenda here and register here to attend.
July 11-13
The Aging in Texas Conference (AiTC), "Aging Through the Waves of Change," takes place July 11-13 at the Omni Corpus Christi Hotel, 900 N Shoreline Blvd., Corpus Christi. The conference is an annual gathering of individuals who work within the aging community. The AiTC supports professionals in the field of aging with the most current research, unparalleled trainings, and innovative tools and resources to create excellence in service delivery. 

The Texas Health & Human Services Commission has certified more than 8 hours of continued education units (CEUs) for this year's conference at no additional charge. With 40 sessions to choose from, this year's conference will offer ways professionals within the aging services community can incorporate best practices and innovative programming to assist older Texas as they navigate changes. Register here and view the conference schedule here.
July 16 and 17
The 9th Annual Texas Rural Challenge (TRC) will be held July 16 and 17 at the New Braunfels Civic and Convention Center located at 375 S Castell Ave, New Braunfels, Texas. 

With this year's theme, "Forging Our Future," the 2018 conference will focus on trending themes among today's rural communities including technology, trade and regionalism. With an emphasis on best practices, learning experiences and collaborative opportunities, the 2018 TRC is aimed at providing the necessary tools to put ideas into practice. The TRC offers valuable opportunities for everyone involved and connects rural communities with the resources to spur job creation, expand small businesses and fuel local economies. 

The conference is hosted by the UTSA Institute for Economic Development, the South-West Texas Border SBDC Network and the UTSA Southwest Trade Adjustment Assistance Center. Register here and view the agenda here
July 23 and 24
The P3 Airport Summit will be held July 23 and 24 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, 1 Market Place, San Diego, Calif. Several speakers, including Mary Scott Nabers, will examine airport infrastructure challenges faced nationwide and offer lessons learned and best practices in project delivery, procurement and life-cycle asset management. The event will provide keynotes, case studies, panels, workshops and diverse networking opportunities. 

Attendees with little experience in the development and operation of the P3 model will benefit from industry experts presenting their knowledge and valuable insights into market trends crucial for business decisions. Attendees include senior management from firms in the construction, engineering, architecture, legal, investment and consulting industries as well as senior business and facility administrators from airports. Join over 1,000 industry leaders, public owners and stakeholders for this two-day event with a packed agenda. Register for the event here.   

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

Public officials at all levels of government struggle with funding needs that are spiraling out of control. Yet, the prevailing trend is to cut funding at the state and local levels of government even more. Revenue shortfalls and the ever-growing critical needs at the state and local levels of government will soon result in huge changes - changes that are destined to impact citizens in ways that most may not have anticipated. 

City leaders suffer because of employee pension responsibilities they cannot meet. They also struggle with the burden of decades of deferred maintenance to public facilities. Water resources are critical and too many cities have water pipes that are a century old. Municipal leaders also continue to get handed new and costly mandates - immigration responsibilities, enhanced security on school campuses, infrastructure reform and prevention of cyber threats. Almost every public official at this jurisdictional level is at a loss about what to do - there's simply not enough revenue. 

Help is available because private-sector capital is abundant and collaborative efforts on major projects are encouraged, but many cities pose financial risk that scares away potential investors and partners. New revenue streams must be found but citizens violently resist higher taxes or any kind of increase in service fees. 

Just focusing on one critical municipal issue brings the revenue problem into full focus. Pension responsibilities, if these were the only problems, are enough to cause immediate concern and it's enough of a problem to cause huge change - "disruptive change." 

The city of Alton, Illinois, was forced to sell its water system and water treatment plant and city leaders sent almost all of the proceeds to its pension program. Detroit declared bankruptcy in part because of its unmet pension obligations. And the cities of Dallas and Houston have seen their credit ratings fall because of continuing spikes in unmet pension liabilities.

Austin votes in November on $925M bond package
Austin City Council members approved a $925 million bond package to be voted on in November. The bond will be revisited by council members again in August to further break down where the money will go. 

As of now, the bond categories include $250 million for affordable housing; $38 million for public safety; $160 million for transportation; $184 million for flood mitigation and open space; $149 million for parks facilities; $128 million for libraries and cultural centers; and, $16 million for health and human services.
Garner tapped as area engineer for Mount Pleasant
Kimberly Garner was selected as the new area engineer for the Mount Pleasant office of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). She will be responsible for maintaining and building state highways in the counties of Camp, Morris, Titus and Upshur when she begins her new duties on July 1. Garner will replace Bill Compton who is leaving to become the director of construction in the Waco district office of TxDOT. 

 A licensed professional engineer, Garner began working during the summers for the Texarkana area office of TxDOT and then worked for a highway contractor building Loop 151 in Texarkana. She returned to TxDOT in 2002 and rotated through area offices, district design, advanced planning for the TxDOT Atlanta District and for the environmental division in Austin. Garner returned to the Texarkana TxDOT office in 2019 and was promoted to assistant area engineer in 2013.

Breland selected as city manager of Pflugerville
Sereniah Breland
Sereniah Breland was selected as the new city manager of Pflugerville. When she begins her new duties on Aug. 13, she will replace Brandon Wade, who resigned in December for a position with the Gulf Coast Water Authority. 

Breland now serves as city manager in Alvin, a post she has held since 2015. She has also held administrative posts in the cities of Sugar Land, Denton, Greenville, Goliad and Guthrie.
Carson named city manager of Forney
Tony Carson
The Forney City Council has appointed Tony Carson as the new city manager. Carson is currently serving as the city manager in Pekin, Ill., and has served in that capacity since November 2016. He replaces Assistant City Manager Wendle Medford, who served as the interim city manager after James Fisher left the position in September 2017. Former Waxahachie City Manager Paul Stevens also served a brief stint as interim city manager while the search continued for a permanent replacement. 

Carson is expected to begin his new role as the city manager on Aug. 31.

Erlinawati-Emo named as new finance director in Houston
Tantri Erlinawati-Emo
The mayor of Houston appointed Tantri Erlinawati-Emo as the new director of finance for the city. She has served as the interim finance director since September 2017. 

Erlinawati-Emo has 15 years of experience in private financial services and with the city. She served in the Finance Department from 2007 to 2017 where she won promotion to deputy director. She served as the deputy director of Houston Public Works from Jan. 2017 until she was appointed as interim finance director in September of that same year.
Tyler in design phase of Bike Stripes Project
The city of Tyler plans to connect a system of bike lanes throughout the city that reaches all three colleges with downtown being the hub. Tyler City Council members approved an advance funding agreement for the Texas Department of Transportation to cover 80 percent of the cost of the Tyler Bike Stripes Project. The remaining 20 percent will be covered through the city's Half Cents Sales Tax Fund. 

The design phase is expected to take 12 to 18 months before the city is ready to put the project out on the street to begin the stripping process.
Capital Metro bringing driverless buses to Austin
Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Cap Metro) officials are planning to kick-off a pilot program by the end of this year to operate six electric driverless minibuses between the Central Library and the Downtown Station in Austin. The pilot program calls for using shared-use vehicles that will transport up to 15 people along with an attendant, according to Elaine Timbes, chief operating officer for Cap Metro. 

A company that operates and maintains transportation systems will pay for the initial pilot and offset its costs as well as provide free service for passengers during its first year. The company has issued a proposal to lease six vehicles and included options to extend the program through Sept. 30, 2022. Cap Metro officials expect passenger service to begin in late fall and include destinations such as city hall and Republic Square. The goal is for the driverless minibuses to stop to drop off and pick up passengers every five-to-seven minutes.

Mission CISD selects Perez as lone finalist for superintendent
Carolina Perez
Trustees of the Mission Consolidated Independent School District selected Carolina (Carol) G. Perez as the lone finalist for superintendent. 

Perez began her career as a teacher for McAllen ISD and has held several titles during her 31 years of educational experience. Since 2014, Perez has served as superintendent of the Kingsville ISD.

Gov. Greg Abbott has announced the following appointments/re-appointments from June 22-June 28:
  • Mario Gutierrez, O.D.- San Antonio, Texas Optometry Board
  • Bill Thompson, O.D.- Richardson, Texas Optometry Board
  • Ty Sheehan- Sann Antonio, Texas Optometry Board
  • Kimberly Fitzpatrick- Dalworthington Gardens, Judge of the 342nd Judicial District Court
  • Paul LePak- Temple, Judge of the 264th Judicial District Court
  • Erin Lunceford- Houston, Lease of Texas Department of Criminal Justice Lands
  • Darryl Tocker- Austin, Texas State Library and Archives Commission
  • Lynwood Givens, Ph.D.- Plano, Texas State Library and Archives Commission
  • Arthur Mann- Hillsboro, Texas State Library and Archives Commission
  • David C. Garza- Brownsville, Texas State Library and Archives Commission
  • Cliff McCauley- SanAntonio, Finance Commission of Texas
  • Will Lucas- Center, Finance Commission of Texas
  • Vince E. Puente, Sr.- Fort Worth, Finance Commission of Texas
Dozens of public-sector jobs are available. Click here to view all job openings and guidelines for job submissions to SPI. New jobs added this week:  
  • Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts- CAPPS Administrative Assistant
  • Texas Facilities Commission- Human Resources Specialist VI
  • Texas Library and Archives Commission- Systems Administrator
  • Texas Commission on Environmental Quality- Business Analyst III
  • Texas General Land Office- Purchaser VI
  • Texas Water Development Board- Accounts Payable Accountant II
  • Employee Retirement System of Texas- Auditor
  • Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs- Tax Lien Analyst in the Manufactured Housing Federal Standards Division
  • Ector County- Receptionist/Legal Secretary for District Attorney's Office
  • Alamo Area Council of Governments- External Affairs Coordinator
  • City of El Paso- Auditor II
  • City of San Marcos- Chief Building Official
  • City of College Station- Senior Planner
  • City of Austin- Procurement Specialist II
View our Texas Government Insider and Government Contracting Pipeline newsletter archives

Texas Government Insider is a free weekly newsletter detailing important happenings throughout the state and summarizing current political issues relevant to individuals interested in government.   
Publisher: Mary Scott Nabers
Editor: Kristin Gordon 
TGI is published by Strategic Partnerships, Inc. (SPI), a research and consulting firm. Founded in Texas in 1995 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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