Volume 17, Issue 45 - Friday, November 22, 2019 Optional Link
CPS Energy considers RFP for renewable power sources 
In an effort to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases to net zero by 2050, CPS Energy plans to begin the procurement process for renewable power sources - more solar and battery storage capacity. These power sources would replace San Antonio's dependency on fossil-fuel gas. The utility wants to replace 1,700 megawatts of capacity from five gas steam units that are about to reach the end of their usefulness. CPS Energy is also considering either a procurement or no-contract bids for natural gas supplies. 

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg has suggested that the energy provider bundle the solar, battery storage, and natural gas into one request for proposals. The electric company will continue seeking feedback from its customers before making a final decision on its "FlexPower Bundle," its replacement plan for these plants.
Williamson County begins road projects approved by voters
Williamson County officials are seeking requests for qualifications (RFQ) for a general engineering consultant, planning and design services and other professional services associated with road projects. The county received approval from voters on November 5 for the issuance of $412 million bonds for road safety and mobility projects. 

The county has identified more than 50 road projects in the RFQ, due January 6. Some of the road projects include the Anderson Mill Road extension, widening of CR 112, Sun City safety projects, Brushy Creek Road widening, and Forest North Roadway drainage improvements.
TWDB approves $78.8M in financial assistance for water infrastructure improvements
The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) approved financial assistance totaling $78,780,000 for water and wastewater system projects. Of this funding, $3.5 million was approved for rural projects. The city of Port Arthur will receive $60,560,000, consisting of a $56,310,000 loan and $4,250,000 in loan forgiveness, from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF). The city will make improvements to the Main Wastewater Treatment Plant. The city received funding from the TWDB in 2015 for the planning, acquisition, and design of the improvements. 

The Greater Texoma Utility Authority on behalf of the city of Sherman received a $13,595,000 loan from the CWSRF. The city will use the assistance to finance planning, acquisition, design, and construction costs associated with wastewater system improvements. 

The city of Everman received $3 million, consisting of a $2,700,000 loan and $300,000 in loan forgiveness, from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). The city will replace aging water lines, which will improve service and reduce water loss. 

The city of Athens received $1,125,000, consisting of an $825,000 loan and $300,000 in loan forgiveness, from the DWSRF. The city will replace approximately 5,000 linear feet of water line. 

Palo Pinto County received a $500,000 loan from the CWSRF. The county will plan and design a new wastewater treatment plant to replace the existing plant, which is reaching the end of its design life.
Future construction opportunities approaching at Aledo ISD
With a $149.9 million bond vote officially approved, the Aledo Independent School District wants an architect in place before the end of 2019. A request for quotation (RFQ) has been issued through December 9 for an architect. 

A few of the bond projects that will assist with student growth include a new middle school for $62.5 million, a sixth elementary school for $36 million, and the renovation and expansion of Aledo Middle School at a cost of $33.4 million.
Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars
Jackie Sargent, General Manager, Austin Energy

Jackie Sargent
Career highlights and education: I attended the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and graduated with honors and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. I also earned a Master of Science in technology management from the same institution.
I am currently enjoying the highlight of my career serving as the first woman to hold the position of general manager for Austin Energy - the city of Austin's municipally owned electric utility. Previous highlights include serving as the first woman general manager and CEO at Platt River Power Authority based in Fort Collins, Colorado, senior vice president of power supply and market operations at Austin Energy, and vice president of power supply and renewable integration at Black Hills Corporation based in Rapid City, South Dakota.
 
What I like best about my public service: The opportunity to serve customers by leading a team of skilled and dedicated employees whose mission is to safely deliver clean, affordable, reliable energy and excellent customer service. We take this mission to heart, and it shines through in our work and our commitment to serve customers and the communities in which we live, work and play.

The best advice I have received for my current job: It's important to be open to different perspectives and not take things personally. Our customers are well educated, passionate people with diverse opinions. It is important to appreciate those views and factor them into decision making, but not to let them keep you from doing what is in the best interest of customers and your business.

Advice you would give a new hire in your office: You get out of your career what you put into it. Don't wait for someone else to develop you. Be proactive and seek out opportunities for your own growth. Be curious and open to taking some risks - be willing to try something new and different outside of your comfort zone.
 
If I ever had the opportunity to leave work early, I could probably be found: Spending time with my granddaughters, Charli and Elizabeth. They are an absolute joy and they make me smile. Having grandchildren is simply the best!

People would be surprised to know that I: Head back to my home state of South Dakota ever year for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. However, I prefer the engineering and balance of a BMW boxer to Harley.

One thing I wish more people knew about Austin Energy: Austin Energy is an innovative, customer driven and community focused public power utility providing safe, reliable, affordable and environmentally sound energy and services. As part of public power, we have the benefit of planning and investing for the long-term benefit of our community. Next year, Austin Energy will celebrate 125 years of serving the city of Austin and 14 surrounding communities - and the future looks bright!
UTSA's short- and long-term development vision master plan approved 
The University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA) finalized its master plan in November with a projected vision to provide 5.3 million gross square feet of new space to accommodate a 45,000-student enrollment. New academic, research, and administrative space will be clustered near the current campus center and will vary from three to five stories. The master plan has identified space for over 10,000 total beds on campus. 

Some of the upcoming development at the university will include a new Performing Arts Center near the UTSA Oval, new Child Development Center that will be located in the northwest corner of the campus, a new arena near the terminus of the extended Paseo Principal that will replace the existing Convocation Center, and a Living Laboratory and Pavilion that will be built on the northwestern corner of the campus. There also will be a Tricentennial Innovation Park built and integrated with the future Roadrunner Village, a mixed-use development.
Deteriorating embankment needs $5M fix along Lake Brazos Dam  
Lake Brazos Dam
An earthen embankment along the Lake Brazos Dam has been deemed unsafe due to its deterioration and it will take an estimated $5 million to repair. The embankment, built in 1969 as part of the original dam, has been replaced twice. An engineering firm is currently putting together the design, which should take about a year, including the permitting process by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The city plans to seek federal assistance through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

Past inspections show that the metal sheet pile wall keeping the embankment in place is deteriorating. In the early part of 2019, the city had to perform emergency repairs due to a sinkhole that had formed. Repairs to the embankment will include replacing the valves, building a stilling basin that would extend the flow of the outlet works, fixing the stability issues along the embankment, and making improvements upstream.
TxDOT puts Harbor Bridge project on hold 
Rendering of Harbor Bridge
Design work on the new $803 million Harbor Bridge in Corpus Christi has been temporarily put on hold while the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reviews an engineering firm that is working on the project. The National Transportation Safety Board in October named the firm's design errors as the probable cause of the March 2018 pedestrian bridge collapse at Florida International University. 

TxDOT has been closely monitoring design and construction activities since the project began and, for safety reasons, will move the 2021 completion date to 2023. The agency has given no indication as to when the bridge project would restart. The current Harbor Bridge design at 1,661 feet in length, would be the longest cable-stayed bridge in the U.S. The bridge tower's height of 538 feet will make it the tallest structure in southern Texas. The transportation department is expected to deliver an update on its review of the project next month.
City of Lubbock studies public transportation system 
A study is underway on the city of Lubbock's public transportation system. Ridership in the past 10 years on the Citibus has decreased from 1 million riders per year to about 600,000. The study will look at routes, new ways of transportation and passenger demand. A recent survey shows that current riders want more routes, the service map to be expanded, and hours of bus service to be extended. 

The study is expected to be completed in the summer of 2020 and will provide recommendations for improvement and the development of a contingency route structure should funding levels decrease.
$18M BUILD grant to assist Port of Beaumont with three projects
Port of Beaumont
On November 6, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded an $18 million Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant to the Port of Beaumont for three infrastructure projects. The grant will fund a portion of the Main Street Terminal 1 dock rehabilitation project, the addition of a second rail track, and the rehabilitation of the Grain Dock. 

The Main Street Terminal 1 dock rebuild is a $79 million project that will restore dock service at the former Wharves 2, 3, and 4, which failed in 2011. The Buford Rail Yard Interchange Track is a $13.2 million project that will provide two additional unit-train "slots" within the Port of Beaumont that will alleviate current rail capacity challenges. The Grain Dock rehabilitation is a $16.5 million project that is a continuation of the current Port of Beaumont Master Plan and will ensure continuity and reliability of service at the port's grain elevator.
City of Austin's underused/abandoned property is on the market 
The city of Austin is ready to find a contractor to redevelop on property it purchased for $6.5 million in 2017. Sitting on the land is a former rehab facility, located at 1215 Red River St., and adjacent parking garage, located at 606 E. 12th St., that closed in 2016. The request for proposals (RFP) is due January 16. 

The hospital is 88,944 square feet and sits on a 1.38-acre tract; and the garage contains 62 spaces. The property has been appraised for $36.3 million. Options for contractors that are presented in the RFP include: 
  • Buy the hospital and garage at maximum value and present a potential development concept that addresses community priorities; 
  • lease the property through a fully paid ground lease or ongoing payments; or, 
  • develop a transaction providing the city with sale or ground lease revenue, affordable housing and other in-kind benefits, or a hybrid of the two.
Corpus Christi seeking input for future North Beach Eco Park 
The city of Corpus Christi's Planning and Environmental Service Department is hosting a two-meeting workshop to seek community input on a plan for a North Beach Eco Park. The city received a technical assistance grant from the National Park Service's River, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program to help set up the process for developing a site design. 

The plan for the North Beach community is to establish an eco park on 30 acres of city-owned land that incorporates Dolphin Park as well as other contiguous property. One of the workshops was held Thursday, November 21 to generate public input. Presented at the second meeting, held this evening, will be volunteer landscape architects that will take the information from Thursday and develop one or two site plans.
PN-GISD hit by cyberattacker 
A suspected oversease cyberattacker encrypted millions of files belonging to the Port Neches-Groves Independent School District (PN-GISD). The school district paid an undisclosed amount within the four-day deadline issued by the criminal. The PN-GISD had to pay in Bitcoin, which is a virtual cryptocurrency that can be used to buy products and services. 

The cyberattacker has released all of the files and the district has hired a cybersecurity team to perform a thorough analysis of its physical computers and network. The Department of Information Resources recommends keeping all software patches and anti-virus tools up-to-date, creating strong passwords and changing them regularly, and enabling multi-factor log-ins. 
NADB assists Texas border towns with water projects 
The North American Development Bank (NADB) will provide more than $168 million in loans and grants for two environmental projects in Texas and five in Mexico. NADB provides financing to support the development and implementation of environmental infrastructure projects to protect and enhance the environment of the border region in the United States and Mexico. 

In Texas, the Village of Vinton will receive $3 million for a wastewater project that will benefit that community of 2,000 just west of El Paso. The town has been struggling for more than 10 years to provide its residents with a wastewater system and in 2017 received $2.7 million from the Texas Water Development Board for the design of the system. El Paso Water Utilities manages the wastewater treatment plant. 

The city of Presidio will receive $3 million from the Border Environmental Infrastructure Fund (BEIF) and an $800,000 credit from the NADB to make improvements to its water distribution system. This project will prevent the future loss of up to 160,000 gallons of potable water per day by eliminating line breaks which, in addition, can lead to water contamination. The bulk of the funding goes to projects in Mexico, including two for renewable energy.
Public comment period for TWDB's proposed plan
The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) invites the public to review and comment on the proposed Flood Infrastructure Fund rules and Flood Intended Use Plan, which includes information on eligibility, minimum standards, program timeline, financial assistance categories, prioritization criteria, and additional information. Comments on the rules should be submitted to rulescomments@twdb.texas.gov, and comments on the Intended Use Plan should be submitted to Flood-IUP-Comments@twdb.texas.gov. The public comment period will end mid-January 2020. The proposed rules will also be posted in the Texas Register later this month. 

The Flood Infrastructure Fund was established by the Texas Legislature and approved by Texas voters on November 5, 2019, to assist in the financing of drainage, flood mitigation, and flood control projects. 
Art and music commissions request input on $12M in bond funds
The Austin Music Commission and Arts Commission are deciding how to spend $12 million in bond funds that were part of a $128 million bond proposition voters passed in 2018. The Commission is seeking input from the public through December 5. Commissioners have emphasized the money could only be used to acquire or improve space for creative endeavors and could not be used to fund programs. 

One of the proposals included in the draft of the recommendations is to offer flexible rehearsal space, theater capacity of at least 50 people, visual arts studios or gallery space, classroom space, or live music venues with a minimum 250-person capacity. The art commission will meet December 9 to approve final recommendations on how to use the funds.
EVENTS CALENDAR
Nabers to speak at D.C. 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. 

Strategic Partnerships, Inc. President and CEO Mary Scott Nabers will be a guest speaker at this year's event. Nabers has three speaking engagements starting with the P3 101 Breakfast Workshop for those who are new to the P3 process. Her other speaking topics include, Why do a P3? Building the Business Case, and Top 10 Critical Issues When Procuring a P3.

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. Please visit the conference website and register today!
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Blinn College to issue RFQ for RELLIS Phase II building
The Blinn College District Board of Trustees have approved for the college to issue a request for qualifications (RFQ) for architectural services. The chosen firm will provide services related to the programming, planning, design, and construction of the proposed RELLIS Phase II building. 

At the RELLIS Campus, Blinn is part of the RELLIS Academic Alliance, a partnership between Blinn and the Texas A&M University System's regional universities. This allows students to complete foundational coursework with Blinn before transitioning to one of the Texas A&M System regional universities located at the RELLIS Academic Complex.
Temple airport has new director 
M. Sean Parker
M. Sean Parker has been hired as the new Airport Director for Temple's Draughon-Miller Central Texas Regional Airport. Parker succeeds Joseph Medici, who started as the city's director of airport services on January 2. 

Parker, who has served for the last eight years as airport director and rescue and firefighting chief at Sierra Blanca Regional Airport outside of Ruidoso, N.M., has 32 years of emergency response and aircraft rescue and firefighting and 26 years of airport and aviation experience.
San Marcos airport updates master plan
The San Marcos Regional Airport has updated its 2001 master plan. Capital improvement projects from the plan will be added to an airport layout plan and sent to the San Marcos City Council and the Texas Department of Transportation's Aviation Division for review. The two entities will forward the projects to the Federal Aviation Administration for funding approval. 

The master plan lays out where the airport should be in the next 5 to 20 years and provides alternatives for land use, taxiways, and runways. 

Recommendations for land use include cargo development, non-aeronautical development, fixed base operator development, and commercial aeronautical development. Of the three runways at the airport, one would be extended, another would be closed and the third would be decoupled.
Oakley promoted to Lakeway city manager 
Julie Oakley
Lakeway's Interim City Manager Julie Oakley was promoted to the position of city manager following a city council meeting November 18. Oakley had been named interim city manager in September following the sudden August 19 resignation of Steve Jones, who had been Lakeway's city manager since 2005. 

Previously, Oakley served as Lakeway's finance director for seven years and was promoted to assistant city manager in March 2017.
MISD chooses news superintendent 
Dr. Kimberley Cantu
The Mansfield Independent School Board named Dr. Kimberley Cantu as the lone finalist in its search for a new district leader. 

Cantu currently serves as the district's deputy superintendent and has worked in public education for 27 years. MISD's school board began its search for a superintendent after Dr. Jim Vaszauskas announced his retirement in June.
Cagle selected as Killeen city manager 
James Cagle
James "Kent" Cagle has been selected as the new Killeen city manager and will begin his new position December 3. Cagle was one of the four finalists chosen from a field of 29 applicants to succeed City Manager Ronald Olson, who retired effective October 1. 

Cagle, who has more than 18 years of city management experience, served as city manager of Leander from November 2011 until May. Cagle also served as city manager of Duncanville from 2001 to 2011 after four years as assistant city manager.


Martin moves to economic development 
Molly Martin
The city of Keene promoted employee Molly Martin to the position of economic development director. 

Martin replaces Landis Adams, who resigned November 9. Martin began working for the city in June 2010. 
Buchholtz joins TREC as executive director
Chelsea Buchholtz
The Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) has selected Chelsea Buchholtz as executive director of TREC effective January 1. The executive director also serves as the commissioner of the Texas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board (TALCB).

Buchholtz currently serves as the commission's general counsel. She will succeed long-serving Executive Director and Commissioner, Douglas Oldmixon, who will remain with the agency for a period of transition through March 2020.
Tyler ISD hires director of safety and security 
Jeffrey Millslagle
Tyler Independent School District has a new position of director of safety and security and it has been filled by Jeffrey Millslagle. Over the span of his 26-year career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Millslagle has managed and directed investigations of counter-terrorism, violent crimes, drugs, white collar crimes, and crisis management. 

Since 2011, the East Texas FBI agent has served as a special agent with the special inspector general for Afghanistan Reconstruction. 


City of Houston to replace water-damaged library  
The Houston City Council has approved the design phase of the new Westbury Neighborhood Library, estimated to cost $14.4 million to build. A $1.4 million design contract was authorized for the facility, which will be located at 5505 Belrose Drive. 

City Council members in 2018 approved spending $1.2 million to purchase a 2.48-acre property for the new library. This structure will replace the Meyer Neighborhood Library which was shuttered during Hurricane Harvey and will not reopen.
Majdalani offered DD6 general manager position
Joe Majdalani
The Jefferson County Drainage District 6 (DD6) Board of Directors has extended an offer to Beaumont Public Works Director Joe Majdalani to be the new DD6 general manager. His anticipated start date is January 6. Majdalani will succeed Richard P. LeBlanc who retired on October 31. 

Majdalani has over 35 years of experience in the private and public sectors. 


Swan Lake gets marsh restoration funding of $12.5M
The Texas General Land Office is getting $3 million and contributing another $9.5 million to restore about 80 acres of coastal marshes in Galveston County's Swan Lake. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and NOAA on November 18 announced the $3 million grant as part of $29 million in funding for 44 recipients from the National Coastal Resilience Fund (NCRF). 

The NCRF was launched in 2018 to support on-the-ground projects that engage communities and reduce their vulnerability to growing risks from coastal storms, sea-level rise, flooding, erosion, and extreme weather. The 44 grants will generate $60 million in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of $90 million.


GOVERNOR'S APPOINTMENTS
Gov. Greg Abbott has announced these appointments/reappointments from November 15-21:

Thomas Michael Bates - Odessa, State Independent Living Council (reappointed)
Keisha Rowe Nunn - Austin, State Independent Living Council (reappointed)
Colton J. Read - New Braunfels, State Independent Living Council (reappointed)
Douglass W. Boyd - Boerne, Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission
Francisco Cigarroa, M.D. - San Antonio, Chronic Kidney Disease Task Force   
Erin Bennett - Austin, Director Of The Regulatory Compliance Division 
Craig Bessent - Abilene, Texas School Safety Center Board
Kerri Ranney - Georgetown, Texas School Safety Center Board 
Alan Trevino - Burnet, Texas School Safety Center Board 
Andrew Kim - New Braunfels, Texas School Safety Center Board (reappointed) 
Terry Deaver - Silsbee, Texas School Safety Center Board 
Edwin Flores, Ph.D. - Dallas, Texas School Safety Center Board 
Dan Gilliam - Victoria, Texas School Safety Center Board (reappointed) 
Jill Tate - Colleyville, Texas School Safety Center Board (reappointed)
RECENT REPORTS & DATA
Legislative Budget Board: 2020-2021 State Budget (General Appropriations Act)
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:
  • Ector County - District Attorney-Legal Secretary
  • Ector County - Health Department Chief Sanitarian
  • Office of the Secretary of State - Director IV
  • Office of the Secretary of State - Administrative Assistant III
  • Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts - Statewide Procurement Data Analyst
  • Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts - Statewide Procurement Marketing Coordinator
  • Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts - Appropriation Control Officer II
  • Texas State Securities Board - Financial Examiner
  • Texas Department of Information Resources - Accountant III
  • Office of the Governor - Compliance Analyst II
  • Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs - Texas Homeownership Specialist
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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