Volume 17, Issue 10- Friday, March 8, 2019Optional Link
Steady stream of bills proposing billions for Hurricane Harvey  
March 8 is the deadline for the unrestricted filing of bills and joint resolutions other than local bills, emergency appropriations and emergency matters submitted by the governor. Lawmakers are rushing to beat the deadline. Meeting that March deadline are Senate Bills 6, 7 and 8 that propose calling for $3 billion from the Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF), also known as the Rainy Day Fund, to assist with Harvey relief and flood mitigation. 

The Senate proposals include spending $1.8 billion to improve training for emergency response directors and debris removal after a disaster, establishing a fund to finance flood-mitigation projects, creating a statewide flood plan to coordinate efforts and adopting a dam maintenance plan. An additional $1.2 billion would be a rider in the budget to essentially pay back state agencies for money already spent on recovery efforts. The funds would also support school districts that lost property value as a result of the damages left behind from Harvey. View other upcoming dates of interest for the 86th Legislature here
House introduces proposal on public school finance
The Texas Senate Committee on Finance recently amended and approved Senate Bill 3, a bill that would give full-time classroom teachers a $5,000 raise beginning next year. The House's plan, proposed this week, commits the Legislature to providing raises in the minimum salary schedule for teachers and other school employees, but the responsibility for carrying out those raises would be left to individual districts. 

House Bill 3 proposes a $9 billion plan that increases per pupil spending, funds full day prekindergarten for low-income children and offers merit pay salary increases that are decided at the local level. The bill also would increase the base funding per Texas student by $890, compress all school districts' tax rates by 4 cents per $100 of taxable property value and help reduce recapture payments by about $3 billion. Recapture, also known as Robin Hood, is a state program that takes excess funding from wealthier school districts with higher property values and redistributes it to poorer school districts and charter schools.
Change in state agencies proposed for Permanent School Fund
A bill filed Wednesday, Senate Bill 1659, could transfer funding from the School Land Board to the Texas Education Agency. All revenue received from mineral or royalty interests, including bonus payments, surface lease revenues, royalties and any other type of revenue received from those interests, would be transferred each month to the State Board of Education for investment in the Permanent School Fund. 

The land board, a division under the General Land Office, would no longer use revenue generated from the land and mineral rights to make its own investments in real estate, infrastructure, energy, minerals and land. A portion of the earnings in the more than $40 billion Permanent School Fund is sent to Texas public schools every year for instructional materials, technology and day-to-day operating expenses.
Austin votes on initial $151M from approved bond package
Austin voters approved a $925 million bond package in 2018 and the Austin City Council voted this week on an initial $151 million in appropriations. The funds will support the following:

- $42 million to the Neighborhood Housing & Community Development Department for affordable housing; 
- $3.7 million for library improvements;  
- $28.1 million to the Parks and Recreation Department for museum and parkland improvements; 
- $61.7 million to the Watershed Protection Department for flood mitigation, open space and water quality protection; 
- $2.5 million for transportation improvements; 
- $600,000 to Austin Public Health Department for a new public health facility in Dove Springs; 
- $7.8 million for emergency medical services improvements; 
- $1.6 million for fire station improvements; 
- $500,000 to the Economic Development Department for creative spaces; and 
- $2.6 million to the Public Works Department for transportation infrastructure improvements 

The $925 million bond is scheduled to be appropriated over a six-year period.  
Port of San Antonio expanding technology campus
The Port of San Antonio is negotiating a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with an investment firm and has announced plans to build an innovation center on the port's 1,900-acre Project Tech Campus. Port San Antonio plans for its innovation center to be inside an existing 130,000-square-foot building that was built last year as flexible industrial space located on the northeast corner of Billy Mitchell Blvd. and 36th St. at the port. 

The next 120 days will be focused on developing project costs, feasibility, design and funding sources. The innovation center will provide additional office space to house defense and private-sector cybersecurity. It will also be available for other advanced technology employers serving the region's large military operations and commercial clientele. The innovation center will house co-working spaces, a technology arena, conference center, amenities such as food service and retailers, and an expansion of the San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology which includes an industry showplace. 

A second project outlined by the MOU will entail further planning for a new technology office building elsewhere on the campus. This effort builds upon the success of the first facility launched at the Port's Project Tech complex, which was completed in mid-2018.
Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars
Caroline Jones, Commissioner, Department of Savings and Mortgage Lending
Caroline Jones

Career Highlights and Education: I grew up in San Antonio. My undergraduate degree is from Tulane University in New Orleans. After that I returned to San Antonio to attend St. Mary's University School of Law. I began my career in the title industry. Subsequently, I worked as in-house counsel for several financial institutions, including an agricultural lender, a bank, and a mortgage banker. At each of those institutions, I was fortunate to work for and with knowledgeable and dedicated people at all levels of the organization, from whom I learned a great deal. One of the highlights of my career was during my time as General Counsel of Savings and Mortgage Lending. I completed the Governor's Executive Development Program in 2011. Through that program I met wonderful state employees, learned many good lessons in leadership, and learned more about the state system in general. 

What I like best about my public service is: I have been involved in community service and volunteering my whole life. My family set an example. My father was a minister so a lot of our family time was spent at church and church outreach events. In college I volunteered at a school for disadvantaged children and tutored some of the kids in reading. As an adult I have served on and chaired various community boards in Austin. For many years, I tried to combine my professional life with my interest in service. When I came to work for the state 11 years ago, I felt I had finally achieved that combination. Every day I have the privilege of contributing to the state of Texas by living out SML's mission of protecting Texans as they obtain a residential mortgage loan.

The best advice I've received for my current job is: Be accessible, seek out opportunities to meet stakeholders face to face, establish relationships with a wide variety of people and organizations that touch the mortgage industry, and be open to listening to and learning from each one of them.

Advice you would give a new hire in your office:  Work hard and recognize that the job you are doing is an important service to Texas and its citizens. The work you do benefits people as they purchase a home for their family, which for most will be the biggest investment of their life. The mortgage industry, either through mortgage companies or savings institutions, is about putting people into homes. SML is here to protect consumers through that process.

If I had the opportunity to leave work early, I could probably be found: In a variety of places whether it is in a state or city park, binoculars in hand, birding and enjoying the variety of birds we have in Central Texas, or in a yoga class, or at home reading a murder mystery with my miniature dachshund on my lap.

People would be surprised to know that I: Was on a kid's quiz show in elementary school that aired on our local public television station. We went a couple of rounds before we lost to another team but it was a fun experience. My one shot at TV fame!

One thing I wish more people knew about the Department of Savings and Mortgage Lending: Our team is fantastic! We have a dedicated team who are efficient, effective, and hardworking. I applaud them for the work they do every day for the state of Texas and their fellow Texans.
Senate/House bills could make data sharing easier between state agencies
The Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) currently has a statewide data coordinator, a role held by Ed Kelly. The position was created in September 2015, when the Texas Legislature passed the statute creating this position, which is set to expire in 2021. Senate Bill 819, referred to the Senate Committee on Business and Commerce on March 1, would rename Kelly's position to "chief data officer" and make it a permanent role. The chief data officer would be tasked with the creation of a "digital transformation guide" designed to assist state agencies with efforts to collect, store and manage state data. 

A second bill, House Bill 1784, that was referred to the House Committee on State Affairs on March 4, directs agencies to create data-management officers, who would act as official points of contact to the statewide data chief. The DIR office recently created a statewide data exchange compact, a template that allows agencies interested in data-sharing to forego the usual legal discussions required before an agreement could be formalized. Work is also underway to expand use of Texas' open data portal, which was recently migrated to a new private-cloud platform under a contract with a software/technology firm. The new platform makes it easier for state offices to share data within their agencies or other outside departments.
TWDB approves $30M for water, wastewater projects
The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has approved financial assistance totaling more than $30 million for water and wastewater system projects located in three counties. More than $4 million was approved for rural projects. 

The city of San Antonio in Bexar County, on behalf of the San Antonio Water System, received $25.3 million from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund for improvements at its Dos Rios and Leon Creek water recycling centers. The Brookshire Municipal Water District in Waller County received $2.6 million from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) to replace approximately 55,380 linear feet of water pipeline. 

The city of Groveton in Trinity County received $2.2 million from the DWSRF for a water supply project. The city will construct a new water well and pumping, treatment and transmission facilities to connect to the city's water system. The project will provide 150-250 gallons per minute in additional water supply when complete.
$6M study advancing along Buffalo Bayou
The Galveston District-U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) began a three-year study in October 2018 to examine a list of potential flood control measures. The $6 million Buffalo Bayou and Tributaries Resiliency Study will be federally funded, according to the Harris County Flood Control District, the USACE's nonfederal sponsor for the study. 

The study scope will address flood risk impacts to structures in the pool area upstream of both reservoirs and downstream along Buffalo Bayou. Potential flood risk management measures include an additional reservoir/dam, increased reservoir storage capacity, improved outlet discharge capacity, improved inflow and outflow discharge channels and changes to the dam operation plan. The bipartisan budget Act 2018 included funds for post-hurricane relief for Harvey, Irma and Maria. Of the $10.4 billion, the Galveston District-USACE received $4.5 billion.
Bills could help deliver internet coverage to rural areas
There are large areas of rural Texas that do not have access to high-speed internet or even cell phone coverage. Several Texas lawmakers who reside in districts that suffer from internet coverage have filed bills that stress the need for internet coverage in rural areas. Texas lawmakers want to bring high-speed internet connectivity to those who live in rural areas. Senate Bills 1103 and 1104 and House Bills 2423 and 2422 propose the creation of a broadband office within the Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas that would provide grants to public or private entities for projects that stimulate the installation and maintenance of broadband in rural areas. The bills also authorize the PUC to set goals for broadband deployment, coordinate various local and state governmental efforts, act as an information clearinghouse on the issues and seek out federal funding. The bills would also encourage deployment of broadband conduit, such as fiber-optic cables, on state-owned land and in state buildings. 

Also filed this week was House Bill 1960, which would allow the creation of a 15-member Broadband Council to advise the Legislature on steps needed to improve access in rural areas. Senate Bill 14 proposes that Texas electric cooperatives, with more than 300,000 miles of distribution lines, could be tapped into for broadband support. The idea is to use the existing electricity infrastructure to deploy broadband to the members they serve and meet their need for high speed internet. 
Four appointed to The UT System Board of Regents
Nolan Perez
Nolan Perez, M.D. has been appointed to The University of Texas (UT) System Board of Regents for a term set to expire on Feb. 1, 2021. Also appointed were Christina Melton Crain, Jodie Lee Jiles and Kelcy Warren for terms set to expire on Feb. 1, 2025. 

Christina Melton Crain
Perez of Harlingen is CEO of a medical group practice. He is a member of the Texas Medical Association, American Medical Association, American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and the American Gastroenterologic Association. 
He has served as a member of the Texas Woman's University Board of Regents since 2015 and as board chair since 2017. 

Jodie Jiles
Crain of Dallas is an attorney and the founder and president/CEO of Unlocking DOORS. She is a member of the American Correctional Association and the Texas Corrections Association. She is president of the Trinity River Authority of Texas Board of Directors and a public member of the Texas Public Transportation Advisory Council. 

Kelcy Warren
Jiles of Houston is director of business development for a commercial real estate company. He is a member of The University of Texas at Austin Development Board and The UT Health Development Board. 

Kelcy Warren of Dallas is chairman and CEO of a natural gas and propane pipeline transport company. He is a member of the Parks and Wildlife Commission and also serves on the board of directors of The Klyde Warren Park, The Lamplighter School and The University of Texas at Arlington.  
Three appointed to TTUS Board of Regents
Ginger Kerrick
Ginger Kerrick, Mark Griffin and Dustin Womble have been appointed to the Texas Tech University System (TTUS) Board
Mark Griffin
of Regents for terms set to expire on Jan. 31, 2025. 

Kerrick of Webster is the Flight Integration Division Chief for NASA, Johnson Space Center, and has served in other various roles and capacities in human space flight training and operations over 27 years. She is a member of the Society of Women Engineers. 

Dustin Womble
Griffin of Lubbock is general counsel of a petroleum products and services company and serves as president of a petroleum company. He is a member of the Texas Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, State Bar of Texas, the Lubbock County Bar Association, and director of the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance. 

Womble of Lubbock manages multiple private businesses and real estate holdings and is a board member of a software company.

TWCVB has issued a REOI for water vessel operations
The Woodlands Convention and Visitors Bureau (TWCVB) is soliciting a request for expressions of interest (REOI) from professionals or firms with experience in boat operations in cities, amusement venues and other destinations. REOIs must be received by May 31. Please send questions in email at info@visitthewoodlands.com to the attention of Nick Wolda by May 17. 

The chosen vendor will provide an innovative approach to boat service on the Woodlands Waterway. The Woodlands Waterway is a 1.4-mile-long transportation corridor that features rubber-wheel trolleys, bike and running paths and a canal for boats. Brazos Transit District, The Woodlands Development Company and TWCVB had operated six boats on The Woodlands Waterway for 15 years until the custom-made boats reached their estimated useful life. Rather than invest tens of thousands of dollars in these existing boats, The Woodlands CVB is looking for a fresh new alternative that could feature regular passenger trips, entertainment options like catered events and recreational activities like music or yoga cruises.
GLO and TAMUS team up to measure, map and manage flood risk
The Texas General Land Office (GLO) has approved an interagency agreement with the Texas A&M University System (TAMUS) to coordinate a planning study entitled "Measuring, Mapping and Managing Flood Risk in Texas." The study will measure, map, model and visually present data recorded during historical flood events across Texas. It will then recommend techniques to mitigate future hazards and risks of flooding in targeted regions of Texas affected by the 2016 Floods. 

Many of these areas were again impacted by Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The GLO will contribute $2 million towards the study. The goal of the study is to develop new quantitative maps that include layers of information not normally used in flood maps, such as census data, National Flood Insurance Program payouts, crowdsourcing information and survey data.
$18.3M left for vehicle repair/replacement assistance
The last day to apply for assistance with vehicle repair or replacement through the AirCheckTexas Drive a Clean Machine Program is April 8. There is $18.3 million of dedicated funding remaining. Any money not spent will be returned to the state. Administered by the North Central Texas Council of Governments, AirCheckTexas has helped qualifying motorists repair or replace more than 71,000 vehicles since 2002. AirCheckTexas is one of the many programs helping improve air quality, which is in nonattainment for ozone and working to meet federal air quality standards. 

Motorists whose vehicles failed the emissions portion of the annual state inspection within the past 30 days or are at least 10 years old are eligible for assistance if they meet certain income requirements. A family of four with an annual household income of $77,250 or less, for example, can qualify for assistance. The program offers residents who meet the income and vehicle requirements vouchers of up to $3,500 toward newer, cleaner-burning vehicles and up to $600 toward emissions repairs. The program has led to an annual savings of 140 tons of nitrogen oxides. For more information on the program, including the income requirements, visit here.
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By Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc.

After a long period of totally inadequate funding for critical water projects, the tide appears to be turning and funding is becoming more readily available. 

Late in 2018, authorization was given for almost $6 billion in funding for water infrastructure projects. The funding resulted from passage of the America's Water Infrastructure Act. The act also reauthorized the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA), which offers long-term, low-interest supplemental loans for regional and national infrastructure projects. This funding provides a huge boost for funding at the state and local levels of government. 

The U.S. Department of Commerce released data this week indicating that total state and local water-related construction increased by 4.46 percent from December 2017 to December 2018. Total spending on such projects during that same timeframe increased from $32.8 billion to $34.3 billion. 

The city of Baltimore is the most recent recipient of WIFIA financing. The city learned last week that it had been awarded a $202 million loan to make improvements and renovations system-wide and to its aging Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant. Also seeking WIFIA funding were 61 other entities. The 39 that were invited to apply for the loans were seeking a total of $9.1 billion but the WIFIA program only authorizes up to $5 billion. That $5 billion, however, will help finance more than $10 billion in water infrastructure investments throughout the country.  

The good news continued as the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced its plans to invest an additional $1.2 billion to help rebuild and improve rural water infrastructure in 46 states. One of the named recipients is the city of Bethel, Arkansas. City officials learned that a $13.627 million project was awarded an $8.25 million loan and a $5.02 million grant. The new funding is allocated for improvements in the city's water and sewer services. 

Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency contributed $2.2 billion to the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds. This funding is designed to help communities replace or upgrade drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. The funds emanate from the federal government but are administered by the states.   

Check out this article from our Pipeline newsletter!

New San Antonio city manager chooses executive staff
Maria Villagomez
Erik Walsh was sworn in as San Antonio's new city manager March 1. Walsh succeeded Sheryl Sculley who retired after 13 years with the city. 

Walsh's first order of business was to select his executive staff. Walsh
Peter Zanoni
promoted Maria Villagomez to replace him as deputy city manager. She will join Peter Zanoni as a top deputy to Walsh. Villagomez will oversee the police, fire and animal services departments while continuing to run the budget department. Villagomez has been an assistant city manager since October 2015.
Colleen Bridger

Walsh also named Colleen Bridger as an assistant city manager, overseeing the Health, Parks and Recreation and Human Services departments, along with the Office of Equity. Bridger was formerly the director of the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District.

Texas springs ahead March 10
Sunday, March 10, Texas will turn its clocks ahead one hour for daylight saving time. Smartphones and other Wi-Fi-connected devices should do it automatically at 2 a.m. 

Bills have been filed in both the Texas House and Senate that would end daylight saving time. Similar bills have been filed over the years to end daylight saving time, but none have passed through the Texas Legislature. For the 2019 Texas Legislature, House Bill 49 and Senate Bill 190 have been filed, with both being referred to the House and Senate State Affairs committees. 

Senate Joint Resolution 59 was also filed Thursday that would allow Texas residents to vote on whether to end this time change. Currently, Arizona and Hawaii are the only two states that do not observe daylight saving time in the United States.
Holsted named city manager of Wylie
Chris Holsted
Chris Holsted was promoted to the post of Wylie city manager. Holsted assumes the post on May 1, the day after the current City Manager Mindy Manson retires. 

Holsted joined the city of Wylie in 2000 as the city engineer and became the assistant city manager in August 2016. After 24 years of service to Wylie, a dozen of those years in the chief administrative post, City Manager Mindy Manson plans to retire effective April 30.

HUD secretary previews 3-D printed home
Ben Carson
U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson visited Austin on Thursday and toured the construction of a 3D-printed home on display during the South by Southwest Conference and Festivals. The 350-square-foot home took under 50 hours to print from a computer-controlled concrete-pumping machine. 

Carson commented that these homes would be beneficial after natural disasters. The technology could also help with affordability challenges for a population that is burdened when it comes to housing costs. The cost to build the 3-D home was $10,000. The company plans to make homes at a cost of up to $125 a square foot, fully delivered. The company that manufactured the printed home has partnered with a San Francisco-based non-profit to focus on ending homelessness.
Lewisville ISD selling 250 acres
The Lewisville Independent School District has hired a commercial real estate firm to sell properties in Carrollton, The Colony, Lewisville, Flower Mound and Highland Village. The sale includes more than 250 acres in Dallas' northwest suburbs and ranges from 3.5 acres to more than 80 acres. Two of the properties have buildings, including a 23,000-square-foot building in downtown Lewisville. 

Because bond funds were used to purchase these properties, any profits from the sale of the properties must go back into the district's bond funds. Lewisville ISD will be able to utilize the funds for bond-related projects. The parcels are being offered individually, in groups, or as an entire portfolio, and consist of undeveloped, vacant land at infill locations in established neighborhoods.
Turner selected to lead Universal City
Kim Turner
Kim Turner will become Universal City's new manager on May 1. Turner replaces Ken Taylor, the current city leader who will retire April 30 after 16 years at the helm. 

Turner, who has served as assistant city manager since February 2014, arrived in 1998 and quickly formed the city's first economic development department. She officially began her career with Universal City as a consultant before assuming the title of economic development director. She was promoted to development services director in November 2004 and to assistant city manager in 2014.

Langley named Burleson city manager
Bryan Langley
Bryan Langley has been chosen as the new city manager of Burleson. Currently, Langley is the deputy city manager and chief operating officer in Denton. He manages Denton's finance, technology services, human resources, transportation and airport. 

Langley replaces Dale Cheatham, Burleson's city manager since 2012. Cheatham retired in February and Robert Ranc, deputy city manager, took over the vacant office as acting city manager on Feb. 4. Langley will start his new position April 1.
Kloefkorn resigns as city administrator
The Quitman City Council this week accepted the resignation of City Secretary/Administrator Andrew Kloefkorn. He has served in this position since August 2018. 

Prior to his position in Quitman, Kloefkorn was a management analyst for the city of Irving. The open interim role was offered to Rodney Kieke. The city plans to begin the search immediately for a new administrator.

Gov. Greg Abbott has announced the following appointments/reappointments from March 1-March 7:

Lynne Aronoff- Houston, Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission (chair) (reappointed)
Jeffrey Beck- Dallas, Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission
Ilan Emanuel
- Corpus Christi, Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission
Karrie Lynn Crosby-
Robinson, Physician Assistant Board (chair) 
Larry Hughes, Ed.D.
- Frisco, Physician Assistant Board
Jennifer Clarner
- Austin, Physician Assistant Board (reappointed)
Cameron McElhany
- Austin, Physician Assistant Board
Janith Mills
- Irving, Physician Assistant Board
John Scott, D.O
.- Keller, Physician Assistant Board
Vincent Morales Jr.
- Rosenberg, Texas Juvenile Justice Board (reappointed)
Scott Matthew
- Georgetown, Texas Juvenile Justice Board (reappointed)
Melissa Martin
- Deer Park, Texas Juvenile Justice Board
Mona Lisa Chambers.- Houston, Texas Juvenile Justice Board
Jessica Barta- Austin, Injured Employee Public Counsel (reappointed)
Texas State Auditor's Office- State of Texas Federal Portion of the Statewide Single Audit Report for the Year Ended August 31, 2018 
Texas State Auditor's Office- Classification Compliance Audit Report on Information Technology Positions at Natural Resources Agencies
Texas State Auditor's Office- State of Texas Financial Portion of the Statewide Single Audit Report for the Year Ended August 31, 2018
Texas State Auditor's Office- Report on an Audit of Financial Transactions Associated with the Suspension of Operations of the Texas Health Reinsurance System
House Research Organization Texas House of Representatives- How a bill becomes a law: 86th Legislature
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- Systems Analyst VI
  • Railroad Commission of Texas- Attorney I 
  • Texas Military Department- Behavior Analyst I
  • Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board- Assistant Director, Financial Reporting
  • Texas Department of Public Safety- TDEM - Executive Assistant
  • Texas General Land Office- Administrative Assistant III
  • Texas Department of Agriculture- Digital Media Specialist
  • Office of the Texas Governor- Staff Services Officer
  • Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts- Appropriation Control Officer
  • Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs- Associate Asset Manager/Program Specialist IV
  • Alamo Area Council of Governments- Program Manager Joint Land Use Study and Related Plans
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, the SPI Team has developed a national reputation for partnering public and private sector entities.   
To learn more about SPI services, click here or contact our sales department at 512-531-3900. 
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