Volume 17, Issue 8- Friday, February 22, 2019 Optional Link
Lawmakers file bills for cloud storage of data
During the 86th Legislative Session, lawmakers will consider improvements to the state's data centers. In 2005, the Texas Legislature created twin data centers to centralize data management operations at several state agencies. Since that time electronic information has become the preferred source for additional agencies and the cost to run the facilities has escalated. Under the state's current 2-year spending plan, it costs about $489 million to operate the centers. 

The plan is to utilize private companies who own private networks of remote servers that can store the information in the cloud. Cloud storage is purchased from a third-party cloud vendor who owns and operates data storage capacity and delivers it over the Internet in a pay-as-you-go model. These cloud storage vendors manage capacity, security and durability to make data accessible to a user's applications all around the world.

Senate Bill 819 was filed Feb. 13. It would require state agencies to consider cloud-based storage options when creating new government software applications. House Bill 1096, filed Jan. 26, would create a technology modernization fund that agencies could use to pay for a transition to cloud-computing services.
HCFCD to perform study on flood tunnels
The U.S. Economic Development Administration awarded 2018 Disaster Supplemental funding of $320,000 to the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) to conduct a 4-month feasibility study on building flood tunnels. The district will provide an $80,000 match for a total project cost of $400,000. The tunnels would shift stormwater to the Houston Ship Channel without overtaxing the area's bayous. The system would provide tunnels at least 20 feet wide and 150 feet deep that would use gravity to move water up to 30 miles from upstream bayous to the ship channel. The region's flat surface could present impediments for the tunnels. 

If the feasibility study concludes with positive results, the district will implement two additional studies to map out specific tunnel routes and the scope of the project. These additional studies will determine the cost of building a flood tunnel, the amount of water the tunnels can move and where the water will be transported to and from. The HCFCD has estimated the costs of the tunnels from $40 million to $163 million per mile. The 2018 Bond Program includes a total of $20 million for preliminary engineering in connection with the tunnel concept.  
Dallas adopts P3 guidelines
The city of Dallas has adopted public-private partnership (P3) guidelines. The guidelines begins on page 24 at the following link. In 2011, the Texas Legislature enacted the Public and Private Facilities and Infrastructure Act to encourage private investment in public facilities and infrastructure. Under the approved guidelines, Dallas may identify development opportunities and initiate the process for review and approval of proposals. The process for receipt and review of a proposal is initiated by a solicitation by the city in the form of a request for proposals or request for qualifications. 

The P3 guidelines is a flexible development tool that allows the use of innovative financing techniques. Private entities are encouraged to include innovative financing methods, including the imposition of user fees or other forms of service payments, in their proposal. The contracting person can be involved in a variety of ways, from designing the facility to undertaking its financing, construction, operation, maintenance and management.  
Design phase progressing for Abilene ISD projects 
A Fort Worth-based architecture firm has presented preliminary designs for a two-story floor plan for Austin Elementary, on the southwest side of the city, and Taylor Elementary, in northeast Abilene. The school district, before its recent bond was passed, came to a purchase agreement to buy a plot of land on East North 10th St. to house a new school. It is unknown if that will be the new location of Taylor Elementary. The designs are associated with the recently passed $138.7 million bond for the Abilene Independent School District. Designs of the two new schools will continue into March and there is no official date on the release of a solicitation for construction bids. 

Designs for the district's athletic field improvements and the new Career and Technical Education (CTE) high school are also underway. A solicitation for proposals should be released March 8 for the athletic fields which includes practice turf at both high schools, improvements to baseball and softball fields, lighting for night games and a track complex at Shotwell Stadium. The CTE building is in the pre-design phase and is not expected to be designed until a year from now with a projected opening expected for the start of the 2020-21 school year. The facility will be located on Navaho Trail along Loop 322.
Channelview ISD calls for $195.4M bond election in May
The Channelview Independent School District Board of Trustees agreed to call for a $195.4 million bond election in May. The bond proposal includes a replacement school for DeZavala Elementary with increased capacity and a replacement school to combine Cobb Elementary and Schochler Elementary schools. A new, 1,000-seat auditorium would be added at Channelview High School and renovations and additions would be made at the softball, baseball and football fields and running track. 

A Career and Technical Education Center would be constructed at Channelview High School to increase capacity and opportunity for students in the program. If the bond is approved, the district also will provide safety and security upgrades including enhanced video surveillance and controlled entrances at every campus, and an enclosed connection between Channelview High School and the Kolarik Ninth Grade Center.
Copperas Cove receives update on Business 190 renovations
Copperas Cove City Council members received an update on the renovation to U.S. Business Highway 190. This is the first of two Texas Department of Transportation meetings on improvements to Business 190 between Constitution Road and Avenue D. The project includes the construction of a concrete median between the eastbound and westbound lanes along with a sidewalk and a bicycle lane. The median will run along the entire length of the route, with a five-foot bicycle lane and six-foot sidewalk on the south side, and a 14-foot shared bicycle and vehicle lane on the north side. 

The city anticipates completing most of the project's design phase by June 2019. Between March and May 2020, bid letting for construction of the project is set to begin. The renovation of Business 190 has a completion timeframe of summer 2021. For residents of Copperas Cove who are searching for updates and would like to comment on the project can do so here. The next public hearing will be Feb. 27 at the civic center in Copperas Cove.
Capital Metro to study Green Line
Capital Metro will study the potential for transit-oriented development between Austin and Manor. The proposed commuter rail service called the "Green Line" will be funded by a $600,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration. 

The Green Line would operate on 15 miles of track owned by Capital Metro. It would travel east from its downtown station toward Johnny Morris Road and the Colony Park area of eastern Travis County before reaching Manor. The Green Line has been identified as a potential corridor to be developed under Project Connect, a long-term vision for a regional public transportation system.
Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars
Ivan Langford III, General Manager, Gulf Coast Water Authority
Ivan Langford III

Career highlights and education: As general manager of the Gulf Coast Water Authority (GCWA), Ivan Langford III leads the special water district's work to reliably deliver quality water to municipal, industrial and agricultural customers in Brazoria, Fort Bend and Galveston counties. GCWA maintains an extensive system of canals, pump stations, pipelines, reservoirs and a water treatment plant to deliver as much as 200 million gallons of water a day from the Brazos River Basin to its customers. Before joining GCWA in 2012, Ivan held top management positions with the town of Little Elm, the city of Dickinson, the Dickinson Water District, and the city of La Marque. He holds a bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University in College Station and a master's degree from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. Ivan and his wife Linda have five sons, five daughters-in-law, eight grandkids and seven great-grands.

What I like best about my public service: Our entire staff are public servants dedicated to reliably delivering water to all of our customers and safe drinking water to our municipal customers. I consider public service a noble career. Public service leaders have the responsibility to present the long view, even when the short-term implications are not popular. If public service leaders do this well, then today's citizens and future generations benefit. 

The best advice I have received for my current job: You can't do it all yourself. You have to trust and have faith in the people around you to get the job done. Some of my staff have been at the Authority almost their entire careers and I trust their judgement.

Advice you would give a new hire in your office: The same advice that I pass on to my grandkids - stay off your phone, stay in the present and listen before you speak.
If I ever had the opportunity to leave work early, I could probably be found: At home with my wife working on home projects. We've spent the last one and half years restoring our home after Hurricane Harvey and have enjoyed working together.

People would be surprised to know that I: Have five sisters and no brothers.

One thing I wish more people knew about the Gulf Coast Water Authority: Not everyone appreciates that our water comes from several hundred miles away and that it takes, at times, extraordinary efforts to get it to people's faucets. When circumstances demand, our dedicated employees work long hours in extreme weather without fanfare or public recognition.
AFC hosts grand opening at Capital Factory
The Army Futures Command (AFC), yesterday, held its grand opening of the Center for Defense Innovation at the Capital Factory in Austin. The Capital Factory is a technology hub for hundreds of startups working in software, hardware and innovation. The 8th floor of the Onmi Hotel building will house the AFC Applications Lab, the Air Force's AFwerX, the Department of Defense Innovation Unit, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and a team from a technology consulting firm will work in the space. 

Austin competed with more than 140 cities for the command which is based at The University of Texas and employs 500 U.S. Army personnel and civilians. While the Future Command's primary base is at the University of Texas System building downtown, the organization's Capital Factory outpost provides a space that is close to potential startup partners. Austin is home to 6,500 tech companies and 36 incubators. The Army is also working to start other outposts at Texas A&M University.
San Antonio considers electric city work vehicles
The city of San Antonio is conducting an estimated 12-month study to determine the cost of converting its fleet of vehicles to electric and if funding should come from the Volkswagen emissions scandal settlement. The counties of Bexar, Wilson, Guadalupe and Comal are expected to receive $61.5 million in grants from the Volkswagen Beneficiary Mitigation Trust

San Antonio's goal is to increase its total fleet of hybrid electric and alternative fuel vehicles to 85 percent of city-owned sedans by 2020. The city budgeted $125,000 for the research which targets the 604 sedans used by the city's administrative offices. The city expects to have 505 hybrid sedans by September 2019. There are 5,368 total vehicles in the city fleet, 1,869 of which are light-duty sedans and trucks.
MPOs planning to merge in Rio Grande Valley
Officials of Cameron County and Brownsville agreed to support a merger of three organizations that handle transportation planning. The decision is contingent upon their review of a finalized agreement between the three metropolitan planning organizations (MPO) in Hidalgo County, Brownsville, and Harlingen-San Benito. If the agreement is finalized, the merger would make the Rio Grande Valley the fifth largest MPO in Texas. That would make the region eligible for a pot of money containing 83 percent of Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) funding compared to the 17 percent of money it competes for now. 

Harlingen, McAllen and the TxDOT Pharr District would each have two members on the board. The Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority, Hidalgo County Regional Mobility Authority, Edinburg, Mission, Pharr and Valley METRO would each have one representative. More cities could be added to the board when they reach a population of 50,000, according to the proposed terms.
Hill County prepares solicitation for supplies/services
The Hill County Commissioners' Court plans to solicit bids for its supply and services for the county that will be used throughout the year. The county's needs include fuel, oil, road materials, corrugated steel pipe, petroleum supplies and emulsions, treated lumber, all types of road base, contracts for crushing services, concrete and corrugated bridges, box culvert construction, contracts for hauling and other services. Commissioners plan to work on bid sheets outlining the needs of the county. 

Commissioners discussed adjusting the bidding process to ensure that departments throughout the county can utilize providers that best serve their area in a cost-effective manner without bringing politics into matters that involve county finances. The court approved advertising for bids and will work on bid sheets.
Mineola ISD wants to be future hub for CTE programs
The Mineola Independent School District could eventually serve as a regional hub for career and technical education (CTE). The district, as it expands its offerings of CTE programs, would be able to accommodate students from Alba-Golden, Yantis, Grand Saline and other schools by this fall. The board has approved the solicitation of bids to build a welding shop in the space between the ag shop and the auto shop at the high school campus. The district will also be reworking the electrical system for the facility, to handle the additional load. 

Tyler Junior College has been working with the district on offering dual credit to students in the welding program. The district has secured a grant from the Texas Workforce Commission for welding equipment and plans to request additional funding through the Texas Education Agency in the Texas Regional Pathways Network. The district has secured pledges from interested businesses. Longterm, the district will need to consider new facilities for its CTE programs.
Candidates make short list for city of Austin
City Manager Spencer Cronk has narrowed down the lists for the two remaining assistant city manager positions that will oversee mobility and safety. Candidates for the mobility post are Public Works Director Richard Mendoza, Transportation Director Rob Spillar, Deputy Chief Financial Officer Greg Canally and Austin Water's Assistant Director for Engineering Chris Chen. Two candidates that aren't employed with the city of Austin are Gina Fiandaca from Boston and Michael Rogers from Dallas. 

Candidates for the safety position include ACM Rey Arellano, Ronnelle Paulsen, assistant director of the Austin Fire Depart­ment, Gina Montes from Arizona and Genaro "Chip" Iglesias from Miami. Interviews will occur in the coming weeks. The city has also begun recruitment for the deputy city manager position, a replacement for retiring Elaine Hart.
Canyon considers AMR testing for water
City of Canyon Commissioners recently approved learning more about the benefits of replacing its water meters. The city plans to proceed with pilot testing for automated meter reading (AMR) systems. This type of system decreases the chance for human error by providing accurate, on time and analyzed data. 

AMRs automatically collect consumption, diagnostic and status data from water devices and then transfer that information to a central database for billing and analysis. Benefits include reducing billing errors, lowering the cost of meter reading and providing data that could promote conservation practices. After city staff has gathered information on the cost, financing possibilities and competition, the data will be brought back to the Commission at a later date.
GLO funds projects under CMP
The Texas General Land Office (GLO) announced the selection of 19 projects for funding under the Texas Coastal Management Program (CMP) Grant Cycle 24. Approximately $1.74 million in federal funds will improve the management of the state's coastal resources and ensure the long-term ecological and economic productivity of the coast. 

Applications considered for funding include studies and projects intended to address habitat restoration, coastal erosion, to mitigate the effect of coastal erosion or maintain/enhance beach stability or width.
Fulshear prioritizes projects in approved parks plan
The Fulshear City Council has approved the Parks and Pathways Master Plan, initiated in 2018, and the Livable Center Study. These studies provide recreational and development guidelines for the city. The Parks and Pathways Master Plan has identified priority projects such as to build the 25-acre Primrose Park near Huggins Elementary on Dixon Road. The projected cost for the park is $6.4 million. Another project is to build a 5-acre park at a location that has yet to be determined. The projected cost is $1.6 million. 

The 80-page Livable Center Study will help plan for future development, prepare downtown for the increased population and mitigate potential negative effects of development. Suggestions for the plan were based off three themes: creating a pedestrian-friendly environment, growing development in a sustainable way and preserving Fulshear's small town feel while also welcoming new growth.  
Hill County creates advisory committee
The Hill County Commissioners' Court approved the creation of a Hill County Economic Development Advisory Committee. The committee will be comprised of representatives from the Hillsboro and Hubbard Economic Development Corporations, Lake Whitney and Itasca chambers of commerce, the county judge, and a representative appointed by each county commissioner. 

The nine-person committee will spend the first year educating themselves about economic development issues before acting as a non-decision-making advisory committee for the commissioners' court.
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The 7th Annual Public-Private Partnership Conference & Expo will be held March 4-6 at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel. Texas Government Insider readers can use promo code 100TGI to receive $100 off their registration.  Register for the event here.

Join over 1,250 senior representatives from governments, higher education institutions and leading firms in the global construction and financial markets. The conference attracts professionals from all corners of the industry and provides a valuable opportunity to facilitate new partnerships with industry peers and public sector partners. Attendees will discover new alternative project delivery methods, strategies for implementing successful P3 projects, the nuts and bolts of how deals work, and how to manage risks associated with legal and financial frameworks. 

Attendees will participate in interactive panels, workshops, and conversations specifically tailored to the needs of public agencies evaluating P3s. The conference is designed for all levels in the market including those beginning to explore P3s and seeking to better understand where alternative and accelerated project delivery methods can be applicable.

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

While response to public-private partnerships (P3s) at the state and local levels of government has been a little tepid in some parts of the country, federal agencies are forging ahead with all types of collaborative initiatives. Federal officials have acknowledged that partnerships with private-sector firms not only provide greatly-needed funding, but the engagements also bring valuable technical expertise and decades of experience and best practices from the private sector. Federal officials have been attempting to promote P3s, joint ventures and alternative funding. 

So, while P3s are beginning to become almost common with large projects at every level of government, most of the collaborations have occurred in regions of high growth, aggressive economic development efforts and large populations of citizens. But, there are huge needs in rural America as well. Alternative funding options are desperately needed for smaller, but still critical, initiatives. Addressing that issue, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced a program designed to make P3s more attractive to investors who might otherwise not be interested in smaller projects in rural areas. 

Applications are now being accepted from rural counties for technical assistance related to economic development planning. The Rural Economic Development Innovation initiative, developed by USDA, is a collaborative effort that partners the USDA, the National Association of Counties, a private-sector engineering firm and two universities.  

The goal of the new program is to assist and support rural communities by providing planning resources and assistance. Communities chosen to participate in the program will receive educational and interactive tools, training and assistance and other development resources. Government officials participating in the program will be encouraged to form partnerships with neighboring counties to find solutions to rural problems. There will be no cost for counties chosen to participate in the program. The technical assistance that will be provided will be focused on helping launch economic development projects that will strengthen communities. 

Check out this article from our Pipeline newsletter!

Busby appointed to Supreme Court of Texas
Brett Busby
Gov. Greg Abbott has appointed Brett Busby to the Supreme Court of Texas for a term set to expire on Dec. 31, 2020. Busby's appointment follows the retirement of Justice Phil Johnson. 

Busby is a former Justice of the Fourteenth Court of Appeals, having served from June 2012 through December 2018. He also served as a partner with a law firm and as an adjunct professor at The University of Texas School of Law. Busby is a committee chair for the Texas Access to Justice Commission and the chair of the State Bar of Texas Appellate Section. This appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.
Hilliard joins Port of Corpus Christi Commission
Catherine Tobin Hilliard
Catherine Tobin Hilliard this week was sworn in as a new member of the Port of Corpus Christi Commission. Hilliard will fill the seat of port commissioner Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales. Hilliard was appointed by Nueces County commissioners to fill Canales' unexpired term on Feb. 6. That term runs through the end of this year. 

Hilliard is a managing partner and co-owner of a law firm. She is a native of San Diego, Texas, but moved to Corpus Christi in 1999 to begin her legal career. The seven-member port commission is responsible for setting the port's annual operating budget, encouraging industrial expansion, setting operating policy, as well as building and maintaining public terminals.

Abercrombie named Henderson city manager
Jay Abercrombie
Jay Abercrombie has been chosen as the new city manager of Henderson. Abercrombie currently serves as the Bullard city manager and has served in this position since November 2015. 

Prior to taking his current position, he served as vice president and branch manager of a bank in Tyler for 14 years. Abercrombie will take the place of Henderson's Interim City Manager Rusty Chote. Former City Manager Tim Kelty announced his resignation in September after taking the position of city manager in Freeport.
Zeno to lead economic development in Lago Vista
Eric Zeno
Leander Economic Development Manager Eric Zeno left his position with the city Feb. 15 to become the economic development director for the city of Lago Vista, effective Feb. 18. The Lago Vista City Council approved the creation of a new Economic Development Department and director during the Fiscal Year 2019 budget process. 

Zeno has worked for the city of Leander since 2011, working primarily on business retention and expansion.
Stahl to step down as South Padre Island mayor
Dennis Stahl
South Padre Island Mayor Dennis Stahl has resigned. Stahl has served as mayor for 13 months. He was elected un-opposed in November 2017. He was previously the mayor pro-tem. 

Stahl, who joined the South Padre Island City Council in 2014, announced his resignation so a new mayor could run for election on May 4. Stahl plans to assist during the next three months on transition matters.
CEO position open at ABIA
Austin is searching for its next executive director of the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA). The position was posted last week, and applicant reviews will begin March 8. The new CEO will replace Jim Smith who plans to retire. 

In 1984, Smith joined the city of Austin and has served Austin as director of building inspection, director of public works and transportation, director of planning and development, assistant city manager, and now director of Austin's airport. The ABIA expects to exceed 31 million annual passengers by the year 2037 and has implemented its 2040 Master Plan.  
Sheriff Moody to retire from San Patricio County 
Charles Leroy Moody
After 54 years in law enforcement, San Patricio County Sheriff Charles Leroy Moody has decided to retire. Moody was elected sheriff in 1989 after he served as deputy. Moody's last day will be March 31.

San Patricio County Judge David Krebs plans to recommend to commissioners that Chief Deputy Oscar Rivera be appointed to the post for the remainder of the term, rather than accept applications for the role. Moody's term ends in 2020. Commissioners will likely take up the appointment during their April 1 meeting.  

NCTCOG to solicit RFP for public transportation study
The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) is developing a request for proposals (RFP) to be issued later this summer for a study to determine and identify the best solution for the region's public transportation needs. 

The scope of the study would include Tarrant, Dallas and Collin counties and is estimated to cost more than $2 million. The study will research internal and regional connections, focus on strategic implementation and look at what can be accomplished now and in the next 10 years.
Midlothian mayor announces retirement
Bill Houston
Midlothian Mayor Bill Houston has announced he will be retiring. Houston was first elected in February 2012 and has served as the mayor for seven years. Houston is mid-way through his third term after being re-elected in 2017. He intends to continue in his role until the next mayor is elected in May. 

Houston previously served on the Midlothian City Council under its Place 2 seat for four years before he was elected mayor in 2012. Besides serving on the Midlothian City Council, Houston is also a licensed real estate agent. Upon acceptance of Houston's resignation, the council will act upon a resolution to call a special election to be held for Houston's replacement.
Winona appoints Land as mayor
Winona City Council members have appointed Mayor Pro Tem Curtis Land as mayor. He replaces Pat Schlau, who resigned Jan. 29. Land will fill Schlau's remaining term through May 2020.  

Land previously worked as an auditor for the state for about 25 years and also served as a contract manager for a state agency.

Texas State Auditor's Office- Report on the Implementations Status of Prior State Auditor's Office Recommendations
Texas State Auditor's Office- Audit Report on Selected Contracts at the Department of Motor Vehicles
Legislative Budget Board- Initial Decision Documents - House Appropriations Committee
Legislative Budget Board- Overview of House Bill 1
Legislative Budget Board- Railroad Commission Funding Overview
Legislative Budget Board- Health and Human Services Overview
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 Agriculture- Nutrition System Specialist
  • Texas Military Department- Rescue Specialist I/Fire and Crash Rescue for Aircraft
  • Railroad Commission of Texas- IT Business Analyst IV/Business Relationship Manager
  • Texas Education Agency- Educator Testing Specialist/Program Specialist IV
  • Texas Department of Public Safety- HRO Employment Background Investigator
  • Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts- Data Warehouse Developer
  • Texas Facilities Commission- Executive Assistant I
  • Capital Area Council of Governments- Regional Planner
  • City of Waxahachie- Budget Analyst
  • City of Webster- Economic Development Specialist
  • City of Plano- Marketing Specialist 
  • City of Keene- Director of Economic Development
  • City of Portland- Assistant City Manager
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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