Volume 17, Issue 41 - Friday, October 25, 2019 Optional Link
North Texas recovering from $2B in estimated insured losses, council says
Tornado path from a plane courtesy of Stella Ballard
The 10 tornadoes that struck North Texas on October 20 caused an estimated $2 billion in insured losses, the costliest in the area's history, according to the Insurance Council of Texas.

National Weather Service officials reported the strongest tornado carved a 15-mile path from northwest Dallas to Richardson at speeds up to 140 mph.

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson tweeted on October 22 that 104 structures were destroyed, 286 suffered major damage, 344 had minor damage, and 153 sustained very minimal damage.

On October 21, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for Cass, Cameron, Collin, Dallas, Ellis, Erath, Hunt, Kaufman, Lamar, Panola, Rains, Rockwall, Rusk, Tarrant, Van Zandt and Wood counties. 

The declaration also waives specific state regulations in order to allow utility companies to seek out-of-state assistance in restoring power to affected communities. By October 24, one utility reported 3,000 customers were without power.

In 2015, the tornadoes that struck the Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs of Rowlett and Garland resulted in $1.2 billion in insured losses.
Tarrant County College to hold $825M bond election for campus upgrades
Tarrant County College - Southeast Campus
Tarrant County College (TCC) is embarking on its first bond election in 25 years as it asks voters to decide on $825 million in campus improvements on November 5.

To serve a student population that has nearly doubled in a quarter-decade, the college's board of trustees are seeking authorization to sell bonds for:
  • $308 million to redevelop the TCC Northwest Campus;
  • $202 million to upgrade the districtwide infrastructure;
  • $190 million to make district improvements; and,
  • $125 million to renovate the TCC Southeast Campus.
Proposed upgrades for the TCC Northwest Campus are a new learning commons, new classrooms in ideal sizes and formats, a new registration counseling center, new early college high school, a new campus 'front door,' and a new student union. Other proposed improvements at that campus include new physical education fields and courts, new campus mall, new faculty and staff workspaces, and upgrades to outdoor student learning and study spaces. 

Improvements at the TCC Southeast Campus would address poor hallway circulation of students, inadequate classroom sizes, use of modular buildings for classrooms, and overflow parking issues.

Funding for infrastructure projects would go toward flood mitigation projects, lighting and power upgrades, new chillers or boilers, and water utility improvements.

If the measure is approved by voters, the TCC board would contract a project management firm to oversee the project budgets and schedules, according to district officials.
USDOT proposes rule change for LNG
Washington, D.C. - Two federal agencies are publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding the transportation of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) are seeking comment on authorization of transportation of LNG.

Currently, LNG can be transported by rail only when in a portable tank and approved by the FRA. However, other flammable cryogenic liquids may be transported in tank cars with the DOT 113 specification, a design specification that may suit the safe transportation of LNG.

Safety standards will be a priority during any rulemaking, and the agency will collect and analyze the latest data regarding rail cars. However, the chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee opposed USDOT's action, stating that its passage would avert sufficient testing, analysis, or reviews and pose a significant risk to public health and safety.
HOV lanes added to I-35 Austin design
Rendering of I-35 Capital Express South project
Planners at the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) are incorporating high-occupancy vehicle lanes into their vision of the I-35 Capital Express project in Austin.

Prohibited by the Texas Legislature from collecting tolls on this much-traveled section of highway, TxDOT is considering the addition of two toll lanes, or managed lanes, in each direction on Interstate 35 between Ben White Boulevard and SH 45 Southeast.

North of downtown Austin, TxDOT would construct one toll lane on I-35 from SH 45 North to U.S. 290 East. The projects call for bike and pedestrian paths and safety enhancements along the highways and access roads.

TxDOT has $400 million in funding for the northern section and $300 million for the southern section of the I-35 Capital Express project, but the central portion is yet to secure funding and is anticipated to cost billions of dollars.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2022 on both sections.
TML resolution seeks state oversight, public input during pipeline planning
Permian Highway Pipeline route
The Texas Municipal League (TML) adopted a resolution asking the state of Texas to pass legislation establishing additional regulations over the routing of oil and gas pipelines.

Members of TML, which represents Texas cities in legal matters and provides other services, voted for the resolution in response to the planned construction of the 430-mile Permian Highway Pipeline from the Texas Gulf Coast to the Permian Basin.

The resolution seeks a state process that mandates opportunities for public input on routing plans with the power to negotiate. It also requests a requirement for economic and environmental study compliance.
 
Hays County, Hays Consolidated ISD, and the cities of San Marcos, Buda, Kyle, and Austin have passed similar resolutions.
Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars
Felicia Retiz, Deputy State Geographic Information Officer (GIO), Texas Natural Resources Information System (TNRIS)

Felicia Retiz
Career highlights and education: As a mapping professional, I have used my skills to assist in several disasters in Texas. When the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster occurred in 2003, the TNRIS was called in to assist the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with its efforts to map the debris. In 2004, two other colleagues and I received FEMA's Undersecretary Award for our contributions to the recovery of Space Shuttle Columbia. I received a geography degree from The University of Texas-Austin (UT). I also earned a master of public affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at UT.

What I like best about my public service: Location intelligence truly does present us with the opportunity to understand the why and the how, which in turn allows us to take action and make the best decisions. What I like even better is the data is standardized and available for public use. Bottom line: taxpayer money is spent once to collect the data and used multiple times to solve a problem or enhance a service.

The best advice I have received for my current job: Be curious. No matter what position you are in, never stop learning or striving to be better at your job. If you don't know the answer, find it.

Advice you would give a new hire in your office: There is no detailed operating manual for the work we do. The technological advances in our field happen at warp speed, which causes us to constantly rethink our strategies, our standards, and our policies. We must think creatively, remain open to change, and be willing to work with a team to make those changes possible.
 
If I ever had the opportunity to leave work early, I could probably be found: Spending time working on our new home. I find it therapeutic to organize our living space, giving it our own personal touch.

People would be surprised to know that I: Love to dance. I grew up in Texas dance halls while my father played guitar in a country band. Two years ago, I discovered salsa dancing and a partner I will dance with for life!

One thing I wish more people knew about TNRIS: That we exist! The geographic data we produce and make available from our online DataHub isn't just for mapping professionals. We encourage all Texans and those beyond our state boundary to use the data for good and for change.
Parts of Guadalupe Valley Lakes reopen; future of dams still unknown
Lake Gonzales dam
Certain areas of the Guadalupe Valley Lakes are open to the public again after negotiations between property owners and the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) resulted in a court-ordered temporary injunction that blocked GBRA's plan to drain the lakes. 

The authority planned to lower the lakes because of concerns about the safety of its 90-year-old dams and spillgates on four Guadalupe River lakes. GBRA's spillgates on lakes Dunlap and Wood failed in 2019 and 2016, respectively, which resulted in those lakes draining completely and creating safety hazards. 

As part of the agreement, both parties formed a three-member panel of engineers that determined unsafe zones for recreation on lakes Gonzales, Meadow, Placid, and McQueeney. 

The panel designated some areas of the lakes as prohibited unsafe zones, which restrict all water sports, and other areas as restricted unsafe zones that the panel deemed unsafe for swimming and tubing only. 

Once the panel ruled on the zones, all areas not identified as unsafe automatically reopened to the public. The temporary injunction is still in effect for prohibited unsafe zones.
TxDOT moves closer to design-build contract for $478M Oak Hill Parkway
Rendering of Oak Hill Parkway
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is working on an Oak Hill Parkway project to expand 6 miles of Hwy. 290 near its intersection with Texas 71.

TxDOT plans to fund the $478 million project.

The agency plans to expand Hwy. 290 to three main lanes and two or three frontage road lanes in both directions. An elevated overpass at William Cannon Drive and flyovers would allow nonstop travel between Hwy. 290 and Texas 71. Plans also call for a 1-mile expansion of Texas 71. 

Officials say their goal is to enter a design-build contract in mid-2020 with construction beginning later that year. TxDOT is conducting a feasibility study for extra upgrades to West Hwy. 290 between its intersection with Texas 71 - also known as the Y - and Dripping Springs.
League City weighs library options
Helen Hall Library
Consultants presented four options to League City officials for building new libraries and expanding their current library. Each of the options is estimated to cost a minimum of $100 million total. 

The city's Hellen Hall Library was built in 1985 at 29,000 square feet - the same size it is now. It serves a population that has grown to about 106,000. Its square footage per capita of .25 is below the state's suggested square footage of 1.

Design firm officials developed several options to remedy the space and demand issues that all feature a central library, western library, and eastern library at varying square footages with different opening and expansion timelines.

Estimated costs of these timelines range from $105 million to $157.45 million. One councilmember said he would like a library project put before voters by November 2020.
The Colony raises utility rates to fund $51M wastewater plant improvements
Stewart Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant
The city of The Colony increased its utility rates by 5 percent to help fund $51 million in phased upgrades to its Stewart Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP).

City officials say the upgrades are necessary to maintain standards amid continued population growth and development in The Colony and to meet Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) guidelines.

Most of the funding, $40 million, will go toward expansion of the WWTP's capacity to achieve 6.1 million gallons per day as required by TCEQ. The remaining $11 million will fund upgrades to the facility's dewatering systems.

SMU business facilities, programs boosted by record alumni donation
David Miller speaks during the donation announcement.
The largest alumni donation in the history of Southern Methodist University (SMU) will transform the institution's Cox School of Business.

On October 18, the university announced Carolyn and David Miller's gift of $50 million to support the school's strategic plan of enhancing its facilities, modernizing curriculum, providing more scholarships, and collaborating on new interdisciplinary programs. The donation also will support the university's community outreach efforts to develop corporate partnerships and expand inclusivity.

The Millers also have given $17.5 million toward the expansion of Moody Coliseum and renovation and construction of the Miller Event Center.
Kyle City Council is considering the construction of a proposed new police station in a mixed-use development.

Funding for the new facility in the Uptown Kyle at Plum Creek development would come from the city's general fund combined with a possible 2020 bond election.

Kyle's mayor told the audience at a recent chamber of commerce meeting that the new development would include not only a new police department but also a new convention center and hotel, park, office buildings, retail space, and 300 residential units.

One councilmember favored the central location of the development that would improve response times.
 
In the city's five-year capital improvement plan (CIP) for 2016-2020, a new police station project is estimated to cost $15.4 million to construct a building that will accommodate the department's needs for a minimum of 20 years.

According to the CIP document, the new facility would feature an emergency operations center and training rooms. The current police facility is undersized for department personnel and the public's needs.
San Marcos identifies flood mitigation priorities for $24M in federal funding
San Marcos River
The city of San Marcos has identified six priority flood recovery actions to receive $24.01 million in federal grant funds.

Earlier this year, the city was awarded the Community Development Block Grant Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) funding by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

City officials' proposed priority actions are:
  • Establishing evacuation plans and improving routes;
  • Making disaster shelter improvements;
  • Preserving land in strategic upland and floodplain areas;
  • Improving drainage properties that have been flooded multiple times;
  • Upgrading flood and hazard warning systems; and,
  • Increasing the number of warning signs and barricades at low water crossings.
Mitigation grants provide funding for projects that proactively prevent or reduce damages resulting from disaster events.
Department of Justice awards grants to schools for security improvements
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is awarding $7.65 million in grant funding to several Texas school districts, Texas State University, and first-responder agencies to improve school security.

The grants are part of a national DOJ grant program that will award a total of $85.3 million to educate and train students and faculty and support first responders who arrive at the scene of a school shooting.

Texas grant recipients are San Antonio ISD, El Paso ISD Police Services, Waco ISD, Austin ISD, Del Valle ISD, Seguin ISD, Karnes City ISD, Texas State University, and the Texas Department of Public Safety. Other Texas awardees are Lake Worth ISD, Weatherford ISD, McAllen ISD, Pasadena ISD, Mission Con ISD, Duncanville ISD, Humble ISD, and Colorado City ISD.

The grant programs are managed by the department's Bureau of Justice Assistance and Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS).

Grant funding will go to:
  • Develop school threat assessment teams and pursue technological solutions to improve reporting of suspicious activity in and around schools;
  • Implement or improve school safety measures, including coordination with law enforcement, as well as the use of metal detectors, locks, lighting and other deterrent measures;
  • Train law enforcement to help deter student violence against others and themselves;
  • Improve notification to first responders through implementation of technology that expedites emergency notifications;
  • Develop and operate anonymous reporting systems to encourage safe reporting of potential school threats;
  • Train school officials to intervene when mentally ill individuals threaten school safety; and,
  • Provide training and technical assistance to schools and other awardees in helping implement these programs.
Calendar of Events
Project leaders to convene for P3 Government Conference
December 3-4 / Washington, D.C.
Join more than 850 public representatives, design-build leaders, and P3 experts at the P3 Government Conference for two days of transportation, water, energy, and social infrastructure project delivery.

The conference is scheduled from December 3-4 at the Marriott Marquis Washington, D.C.

The P3 Government Conference invites local, state, and federal project representatives evaluating upgrades and new developments for two days of P3 education and networking.

This year's program provides the essential tools and know-how to successfully plan, deliver, and operate P3 projects of all sizes.

Connect with owners who want to better understand how alternative project delivery can be used for their next project, identify partners and procurement opportunities, and meet with other communities and agencies using P3s for their critical infrastructure challenges.

Join other delegates to discover new projects and new partners! To be included in future event updates, receive presentations, and connect with the over 800 delegates who attended last year's conference, please visit the conference website and register today!
Check out our social media links!




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

Public-private partnerships (P3s) are being launched somewhere in the U.S. every day. Public officials with critical project needs are seeking alternative funding sources, and almost any version of a P3 is attractive to them. Since the trend appears to be the future, here's a sampling of what is happening currently.

Upcoming P3 opportunities related to education:

Iowa
The University of Iowa (UI) is considering the P3 engagement for a multimillion-dollar utilities project. University leaders say the outcome of a study will determine whether or not additional P3s will follow. The university hopes to engage with a private sector partner to build a university power plant that will service the university and also generate additional revenue for the school.

Alabama
The University of Alabama also is considering a P3 for a utility system. The school has requested proposal responses for financial advisers to help university executives explore the project's potential. Then, if it is advisable to move forward, the next step will be to develop a solicitation document and seek private sector interest in the project.

California
Foothill-De Anza Community College District trustees are discussing financial options for the construction and/or renovation of multiple buildings. There is a need to replace a 48-year-old facility with a performing arts center. Additionally, student housing is needed at two campus locations. Financing options under consideration include a P3 engagement, a bond, or a parcel tax measure. This initiative will have to wait for completion of an environmental impact report and approval from the Division of the State Architect, but it appears to be on a fast track.

President intends to nominate Texan to lead U.S. energy
Dan Brouillette
President Trump announced in an October 18 tweet his intent to nominate U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette of San Antonio to be the DOE's new secretary of energy.

Brouillette would succeed Rick Perry who announced his resignation on October 17, effective later this year.

As a U.S. Army veteran, Brouillette also has served three decades in both the public and private sector. Most recently, he was the senior vice president and head of public policy at a financial services firm and vice president of a global automobile manufacturer.

Prior to that, Brouillette was chief of staff to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, assistant secretary of energy for congressional and intergovernmental affairs, and a member of the Louisiana State Mineral and Energy Board.
Prado to lead HHS financial services
Elizabeth Prado
Texas Health and Human Services (HHS) has selected Elizabeth Prado to lead its financial services division, effective November 6.

As the deputy executive commissioner for the agency's financial services division, Prado will oversee the financial management of the HHS system, including accounting, budget, forecasting, federal funds, actuarial analysis, rate analysis, and fiscal policy.

Prado comes to HHS from the Texas Legislative Budget Board (LBB), where she worked for 14 years in management and analyst roles, most recently as manager of the contract oversight and technology teams and previously as manager of the LBB team responsible for oversight of the HHS budget.

Prior to her work at LBB, she held various audit and accounting positions at the State Auditor's Office, Department of Information Resources, and Teacher's Retirement System.


Board for Teacher Retirement System gains new members
Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Michael Ball and Robert "Rob" Hamilton Walls Jr. and reappointed David Corpus to the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) of Texas board of trustees for terms that expire August 31, 2025.

Michael Ball
Ball of Argyle is the chief financial officer at Lewisville ISD. He is a member of the Texas Society of CPAs and the Government Finance Officers Association.

Robert Walls Jr.
Walls Jr. of San Antonio is an attorney and private investor and was formerly an executive in the energy, private equity, and media industries.

David Corpus
Corpus of Humble is a bank office president and serves on the Harris County Housing Finance Corporation board of directors. He has served on the TRS board of trustees since October 2013.

The TRS board of trustees manages retirement and other benefits for teachers and employees of the state's public schools and institutions of higher education.
Seguin picks Parker to be city manager
Steve Parker
The city of Seguin is set to appoint Steve Parker as its next city manager at a City Council meeting on October 29.

He will take over for former City Manager Doug Faseler who announced his plans to retire in January 2020.

Parker serves as assistant city manager in San Marcos where he began as assistant director of finance and was promoted to director of finance.

His first day as city manager of Seguin is scheduled for January 5, 2020.
Killeen narrows city manager list
Killeen City Council has named four finalists in its search for a new city manager: Kent Cagle; Torry Edwards; Aretha Ferrell-Benavides; and Stephen Williams. They are scheduled for interviews on November 1 and 2.

Kent Cagle
Cagle has 18-plus years of city management experience in a 32-year local government career. He most recently served in the top post for Leander from November 2011 to May 2019. He was city manager of Duncanville from 2001 to 2011 following four years as assistant city manager.

Torry Edwards
Edwards served more than 11 years as city manager for Terrell between April 2002 and January 2019. He previously worked in the city manager's office for the city of Dallas as a management assistant and strategic manager.

Aretha Ferrell-Benavides
Ferrell-Benavides has 24 years of experience in government and the private sector. She currently serves as city manager for Petersburg, Virginia. Prior to that position, she was city manager of Glenn Heights, Texas. Her additional experience includes positions with the government of the District of Columbia, the city of Chicago, and Maryland state government.

Stephen Williams
Williams has been in city government for more than 23 years. He has been the assistant city administrator and chief financial officer for the city of Conroe since January 2014. His tenure with Conroe also includes service as director of finance from 2005 to 2011 and director of finance and administration from 2011 to 2014.
Celina taps Stovall asst. city manager
Karla Stovall
The city of Celina appointed Karla Stovall as assistant city manager.

Stovall most recently served as chief financial officer (CFO) for the town of Little Elm and, prior to that, as CFO for the city of Bastrop and budget officer for the city of Wylie.


GOVERNOR'S APPOINTMENTS
Gov. Greg Abbott has announced these appointments/reappointments from October 18-24:

Sanjay Narayan - Dallas, Texas Radiation Advisory Board

William Pate, Dr.P.H. - League City, Texas Radiation Advisory Board

Douglas Posey, D.V.M. - Corpus Christi, Texas Radiation Advisory Board

Lynn Slaney Silguero - Frisco, Texas Radiation Advisory Board

John P. Hageman - San Antonio, Texas Radiation Advisory Board (reappointed)

Thierno Barry - Austin, Texas Radiation Advisory Board

Kenneth Peters - Granbury, Texas Radiation Advisory Board

Robert Redweik - Tomball, Texas Radiation Advisory Board

Darlene Metter, M.D. - San Antonio, Texas Radiation Advisory Board (reappointed)

Darshan Sachde - Austin, Texas Radiation Advisory Board (reappointed)
RECENT REPORTS & DATA
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas - Texas Employment Forecast

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas - Texas Economic Indicators

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas - Permian Basin Indicators

Texas Legislative Budget Board - Exempt Position Analysis

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services - FY 2020 Business Plan

The University of Texas System - Procurement - Summary of Purchase Orders (9-1-2015 thru 10-21-2019)
JOB BOARD
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 Department of Information Resources - Auditor II/III

Texas Department of Information Resources - Data Base Administrator IV

Texas Department of Information Resources - Program Specialist IV (Inventory Specialist)

Texas Secretary of State - Attorney

Texas Secretary of State - Program Specialist II

Texas Secretary of State - Programmer VI

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts - CPA - IT Security Analyst

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts - CPA - CAPPS Administrative Assistant

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts - Cybersecurity Project Manager

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts - Statewide Procurement Contract Developer

Texas Department of Public Safety - Chief Psychologist, Victim and Employee Support Services


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: Devin Monk 
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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