Volume 17, Issue 16- Friday, April 26, 2019Optional Link
HCFCD studying underground tunnels to mitigate flooding  
The Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) received a $320,000 grant in February to conduct a feasibility study into whether a flood tunnel can be supported by the geology of Harris County. Another $2.5 million has been set aside for two future studies that would determine the cost of building a flood tunnel, the maximum capacity of water the tunnels can move and where the beginning and end points would be for the transported water. Rough estimates put the cost of building the tunnels between $2 billion and $3 billion and construction would take about five years. 

An engineering firm recently presented a tunneling concept to the Cypress Creek Flood Control Coalition. The main goal of a tunnel is to move stormwater through the county faster by increasing the amount of water that can be carried through the system at once. Running the tunnel along a major highway would cut down on the amount of right of way the county would need to purchase. Starting the tunnel at a detention facility would cut down on sediment accumulation. Waterways that could benefit from the tunnel include the Brays Bayou, Buffalo Bayou and Cypress Creek. The HCFCD is in negotiations with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to find funding.  
City of Odessa to issue RFPs for affordable housing
The city of Odessa wants to increase the availability of affordable housing and has a site in mind where 40 homes could be built. City officials plan to issue a request for proposals (RFP) for the lot, located near the intersection of Rochester Avenue and Seminole Street, for housing development. The city will begin the process by undergoing an environmental assessment of the property. Other needs for the property to thrive as a housing development is to add sewer and water lines, electricity, gas, curbs and gutters. The RFP will show that housing prices would need to fall between $110,000 and $180,000. 

The city is also developing a RFP for a property on Fitch Avenue where 29 homes will be developed. A professional services agreement has already been executed to bring sewer and water lines to the property.
CapMetro transitioning to electric buses
The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (CapMetro) is phasing out its diesel engine buses and plans to be running on electricity by 2022. CapMetro plans to have two electric buses in service by the end of 2019, with two more joining the fleet in early 2020. In the meantime, the agency will replace 33 buses with up to 29 clean diesel buses in 2020. 

As electric buses are integrated into CapMetro's transit line the agency will need to negotiate electricity rates with Austin Energy. The utility provider is currently working with the agency on the design and infrastructure of its future smart electric bus yard, located adjacent to the agency's North Operations Facility, at the site of an old warehouse. The area is being designed with electric conduit to potentially act as a charging and storage space for nearly 200 electric buses. The agency is at the beginning of the design phase for the charging facility.
Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars
James B. Milliken, Chancellor, The University of Texas System
James B. Milliken

Career Highlights and Education: I'm a fifth generation Nebraskan, went to college at the University of Nebraska and after a stint as a legislative staffer in Washington, graduated from NYU Law School. I practiced law for a number of years on Wall Street before shifting careers and spending the next 30 years at large university systems in four states. In other words, preparing to lead the UT System.   

What I like best about my public service is: Talent is universal; opportunity is not. Higher education, and particularly public higher education, which awards 70 percent of the degrees in this country, is the best we know to match talent and opportunity, and improve lives and society.

The best advice I've received for my current job is: Buy more burnt orange.

Advice you would give a new hire in your office: The advice I'd give anyone: find what you love to do and do it. This was Steve Jobs's advice from a Stanford commencement. You will spend much of your life working, so you should find what you love to do or you won't be happy. And you'll be good at it!

If I had the opportunity to leave work early, I could probably be found: Trying to keep up on a run with my two new rescue dogs or making a dent in the leaning tower of unread books at home. If I had more time, on a golf course or hunting.

People would be surprised to know that I: Won a North Carolina history trivia contest my first year in Chapel Hill; I'm working on Texas now.

One thing I wish more people knew about The University of Texas System: It is envied the world over for being a leading system of eight academic and six health institutions, ranging from the number one cancer center in the world, M.D. Anderson, to one of the premier public research universities in the world, UT Austin, and the home of 240,000 of the most talented students anywhere, who are the future of Texas.
City of Pflugerville issues RFQ for Phase I of wastewater plant
The city of Pflugerville has issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) for Phase I of a wastewater treatment plant expansion project at 15500 Sun Light Near Way. The close date is May 15. The water treatment plant is expected to reach 90 percent capacity by 2020. The project will be done in three phases with construction wrapping up in 2028. 

The city expects to invest approximately $40 million in the first phase of the plant's expansion. City documents state that funding for the project is provided through wastewater impact fees and bond funding. The plant has a current maximum capacity of 5.3 million gallons per day (MGD). The completed expansion will provide a maximum capacity of 10 MGD.  
League City approves development of flood mitigation plan
The League City City Council has approved an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to develop a comprehensive flood-mitigation plan for the lower Clear Creek and Dickinson Bayou watersheds. League City and the USACE will split the cost of the agreement, around $500,000 each. The USACE will focus on ways to reduce flooding such as bypass channels, pump stations, property buyouts and detention modifications. 

These potential remedies will be broken down by cost, benefits and effects on the community and environment. Once drainage problems are located and solutions are identified in the watersheds, the next step will be to look at a design firm contract and charting out future projects. The planning process is expected to take a year-and-a-half to complete.
TIRZ board discusses a new Marble Falls City Hall
The city of Marble Falls' Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) board is looking to undertake a project from its Capital Improvement Plan, which lays out the city's needs through 2023. A new City Hall with parking has been proposed for construction at an empty lot on Avenue J. The proposal includes renovating the area along Whitman Branch to add private developments as well as a new City Hall on the creek. 

The current City Hall building, located at 800 Third St., was a former bank. If a new City Hall is built, the current building could be sold and returned to the tax rolls. Development Services also would move into the new facility and its current home, 801 Fourth St., would be put back on the tax rolls. The TIRZ board plans to continue talks on the project at its next meeting in July.     
City of Middletown plans project/audit to save energy
The city of Middletown plans to replace approximately 5,200 streetlights with light-emitting diodes (LED) bulbs that will provide a cleaner more focused light at a lower cost. The current lights are high-pressure sodium vapor lights. The new lights will provide an estimated cost savings of $130,000 annually. The city plans to issue a request for proposals within the next week for someone to install the bulbs. 

City officials are also considering an energy audit to identify areas where energy efficiency can be increased. Area schools do not even have LED bulbs, and this is one of the locations where efficiency could be improved. One of the funding options for the audit is to use anticipated cost savings from the first year to fund the audit rather than allocating additional funds for the project. The audit would take around six months to complete.
Roadwork to provide traffic relief in Fort Bend County
The design and environmental phases of a road project in Fort Bend County are underway and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) plans to seek bids this year for the construction phase. Work will take place on the two-lane southbound frontage road from South Fry Road to Farm-to-Market Road 1093 and from Cinco Ranch Boulevard to Westheimer Parkway. The project, estimated to cost $22.5 million, would extend the southbound frontage road along the Grand Parkway in two sections. In addition to that project, construction should begin by the end of 2019 to add right-turn lanes on Cinco Ranch Boulevard at State Highway 99, also known at Grand Parkway.

Future work in the area, which is part of TxDOT's 2025 program, includes widening Grand Parkway in two segments between Interstate 10 and FM 1093. The letting timeframe is around 2022 and the cost will be around $49 million.
Four appointed to Texas Woman's University Board of Regents
Carlos Gallardo has been appointed to the Texas Woman's University Board of Regents for a term set to expire on Feb. 1, 2021. Additionally, Robert "Bob" Hyde and Stacie McDavid have been appointed and Mary Pincoffs Wilson has been reappointed for terms set to expire on Feb. 1, 2025. 

Gallardo of Frisco is a talent acquisition management and human resources executive. He is a member of Rotary International and the Federation of State Medical Boards. 

Hyde of Irving is a senior vice president of a financial institution. He is a former board member of the Dallas Friday Group and a board member, former vice president, and treasurer of the Versailles Villas Home Owners Association Board. 

McDavid of Fort Worth is CEO of a real estate and investment company. She is a member of the Texas Real Estate Association and the MD Anderson Board of Visitors. 

Wilson of Austin is involved in her family's privately-run business. She is former chair of the Texas Woman's University Board of Regents and past president of Les Amis de Hospice Austin Board of Directors and West Austin Youth Association.
TxDOT and Pearland gathering input on $40M road project
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is gathering public comments through May 8 on changes to Maykawa Road between Beltway 8 and Farm-to-Market Road 518. Construction is expected to take place in 2021. 

The $40 million project includes widening Mykawa from a two-lane undivided roadway to a four-lane divided roadway with a 10-foot shared use path along the west side of the roadway. Construction also would include street lighting, storm water drainage and modifying traffic signals. The proposed project will include up to 25 acres of right of way acquisition and up to four residential and two business displacements. TxDOT will partner with the city of Pearland on the project.  
Paris plans for $30M water treatment plant
The city of Paris is estimating that more than $30 million will be needed to replace its 60-year-old water treatment plant. The city is looking to sell bonds for the project. 

The new plant, expected to accommodate 7 to 9 million gallons of water per day, will take up to two years for the engineering design phase and then three years or more for construction. The capacity of the current plant is about 7.5 million gallons with the average daily flow of a little more than 4 million. Paris' daytime population reaches 50,000 according to the Texas Department of Transportation.
Wichita Falls ready to begin next portion of Circle Trail
In 2017, the city of Wichita Falls had completed approximately 18 miles of an estimated 25-mile trail. That year the city also received Transportation Alternatives Program grant funding from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). The three grants totaled about $6.5 million on an 80-20 match. Three phases of the Circle Trail project are complete, and the city is ready to begin the fourth and final phase. 

City Council has agreed to advance a funding agreement with TxDOT for the construction of the next part of the Circle Trail. The next section will connect Barnett Road to Seymour Highway. Officials will start receiving bids from contractors within the next 30 days. The city has applied for a grant to fund the remaining part from Barnett Road to Larry's Marine. On April 27 the city will be hosting a Circle Trail Tour to showcase the sections that are already complete.   
Funding opportunities to increase for Rio Grande Valley MPO
The mayors from the counties of Brownsville, Harlingen-San Benito and Hidalgo met this week to sign an agreement that will merge them into one metropolitan planning organization (MPO). Due to its increase in size, the newly-formed Rio Grande Valley (RFV) MPO will benefit more from state and federal funding. By merging the RGV's three MPOs, it can now compete with the larger, urban MPOs. 

While larger MPOs are eligible for 80 percent of transportation dollars, the smaller rural MPOs can only seek funding from the remaining 20 percent. After the agreement was signed it was sent to the governor and the Texas Department of Transportation to be executed. The plan is to have the new MPO up and running by October.
HHSC thanks volunteers 
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) has announced the recipients of the "All on DEC" (Deputy Executive Commissioner) awards, highlighting the value of volunteers during National Volunteer Month. The "All on DEC" awards are named for the Deputy Executive Commissioner, Mike Maples, who oversees the state hospital and state supported living center systems and approves the selection of recipients for this high-profile award. 

This year's recipients of the "All on DEC" Volunteer Service Awards are: 

The Volunteer Council for Rusk State Hospital (Volunteer/Advocate of the Year): The 15 members of this nonprofit service organization celebrate patients' birthdays, provide gifts and money donations to patients' trust funds at Christmas and have restocked the lake at the hospital's wilderness camp and purchased a pontoon boat for use by the patients. 
Dan Maxwell (Volunteer/Advocate of the Year): In addition to his volunteer work at the Austin State Supported Living Center, Maxwell makes the monthly 425-mile roundtrip from his hometown of Austin to Lufkin to volunteer at the state supported living center there. A retired state-supported living centers employee, Maxwell continues to give to the SSLC system by offering his music and video production skills built up over his decades of service to the state. 
Dyess We Care Team (Veteran Contribution Award): Composed of active-duty and retired military from Dyess Air Force Base, this team of a few dozen volunteers has most recently painted three homes for residents of the Abilene State Supported Living Center. The group was founded in 2000 and over the past 19 years, the volunteers have given their time to help individuals who cannot afford or are not able to do the work themselves. 
Rusk High School (Spirit of Youth Award): The students of Rusk High School are recognized for their work individually and through several student groups - the Rusk High School Instructional Practice, Student Council, Peer Helpers, Lady Eagles Basketball Team, Eagles Football Team and the Eagles Cross Country Team - in service to the patients of Rusk State Hospital. In all, the students have logged a combined total of more than 2,000 volunteer hours and donated $550 worth of food, goods and money.
Calendar of Events
April 30 / Austin, Texas
The 6th annual Texas Innovation Day will be held from 12 p.m.-5 p.m. on April 30 at the Hyatt Regency, 208 Barton Springs Rd., Austin, Texas. Attendees are also invited to a reception on the Zilker Terrace from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Join this immersive session packed with content and conversation about how revolutionary technology platforms easily integrate with current infrastructure - enabling automation, collaboration, mobile and rapid response to change. 

The session provides an open forum for presenters and attendees to share both their roadblocks and journey to success using the Salesforce platform and partner solutions. Register for the event here
June 12 & 13 / Georgetown, Texas
Plan to join the Texas K-12 Chief Technology Officers (CTO) Council in Georgetown for their Summer Clinic 2019! The event will be held at the Georgetown Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center, 1101 Woodlawn Ave. on June 12 and 13. This annual event is the premier professional training conference for technology education leaders in Texas, bringing together leaders from around the state and the region to discuss pressing issues in education technology. 

This year the clinic will focus on building a "trusted learning environment," which includes physical, network and data security. Register for the event here.

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

Over the past two decades, schools throughout the country have beefed up campus security - so much so that the school security market has become a multi-billion-dollar industry. Market research firm, IHS Markit, estimates school spending on security projects totaled $2.7 billion in 2017 and that total is expected to hover around $2.8 billion through 2021. 

This year's 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado that resulted in the deaths of 13 and the more recent shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida that left 17 dead let the world know that school violence is continuing nationwide. In spite of the billions that have already been spent, thousands of schools remain vulnerable.  

Many school districts have deployed video surveillance as the epicenter of their security efforts. Campus Safety magazine surveyed school districts and found that about 96 of survey respondents already have some sort of surveillance in place. And, 66 percent of those surveyed said they plan to purchase or upgrade their current video surveillance technology in the next three years. While surveillance is good, most experts point out that school campuses need more than that. 

Officials at both the federal and state levels of government have worked to secure funding for security upgrades on public school campuses. Following the Florida school shooting in 2017, more than 25 states released about $960 million for school safety initiatives.  

New Jersey's governor approved a state legislative plan to seek voter approval for up to $500 million for school safety upgrades. Texas' governor proposed $110 million in new school safety recommendations. Most school districts are consolidating state and local funding with federal grants.     

Check out these articles from our Pipeline newsletter!

Zanoni named Corpus Christi city manager
Peter Zanoni
San Antonio Deputy City Manager Peter Zanoni has been selected as the new Corpus Christi city manager. Zanoni's last day in San Antonio will be May 10. He was one of four finalists and is set to begin work on May 20, replacing former City Manager Margie Rose who quit last May. Assistant City Manager Keith Selman has been serving as interim. 

Zanoni has spent about 22 years with the city of San Antonio, with six of those as the deputy city manager.
TWDB approves $46.1M for wastewater system in Houston
The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) this week approved financial assistance of more than $46.1 million from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) to the city of Houston. 

The city will use the loan to finance construction costs associated with wastewater system improvements including replacing and rehabilitating collection system pipelines. The city could save approximately $13 million by using the CWSRF.
Arjanen joins Trinity Metro
Jon-Erik Arjanen
Jon-Erik Arjanen has been named vice president and chief operating officer for rail at Trinity Metro in Fort Worth. 

Arjanen previously served as vice president and general manager for a rail carrier in Lakewood, Colo. Prior to that he worked for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co. in Fort Worth as an operations director.

Rogers named Denton economic development director
Jessica Rogers
Jessica Rogers has been appointed as the economic development director for the city of Denton. Rogers came to work for the city in 2015 as an energy services manager for Denton Municipal Electric. She later served as an assistant to the city manager and most recently as the deputy director of public affairs and intergovernmental relations. 

Before coming to work in Denton, she worked for the city of Dickinson, overseeing budget and financial operations. She also worked as a project assistant with the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation in Bloomington, Ind.

Athens hires first IT director
Athens city officials have chosen city of Corsicana employee Derek Whitley to be their first director of information technology (IT). 

Whitley has 24 years of experience in the field and has worked for Corsicana since 2004. The new position with the city of Athens was budgeted for in October 2018.
Hornes resigning as Palestine city manager
Michael Hornes
Palestine City Manager Michael Hornes has announced his resignation and plans on staying with the city until May 24. Hornes has been the city manager since October 2017. 

Before becoming city manager, Hornes acted as assistant city manager under Mike Alexander. City council members will likely hire a management consulting firm to find an interim city manager for Palestine.  
Sales tax holiday begins April 27
This weekend is the time to take advantage of the sales tax holiday for emergency supplies. Beginning April 27 through April 29, Texans can purchase certain items tax free during the state's sales tax holiday for emergency preparation supplies. There's no limit on the number of qualifying items for purchase. 

Items include  household batteries, fuel containers and flashlights priced at less than $75; hurricane shutters and emergency ladders priced at less than $300; and, portable generators priced at less than $3,000. The Comptroller's office estimates shoppers will save more than $1.6 million in state and local sales taxes during the 2019 sales tax holiday for emergency preparation supplies.  

Gov. Greg Abbott has announced the following appointments/reappointments from April 12 - April 25:

George P. Bithos, D.D.S., Ph.D.- Austin, Independent Ombudsman for State Supported Living Centers (reappointed)
Tommy Gonzalez- El Paso, Risk Management Board (reappointed)
Edward Keenan
- Houston, Texas Emergency Services Retirement System Board of Trustees
Rod Ryalls-
Burkburnett, Texas Emergency Services Retirement System Board of Trustees 
Stephanie "Steph" Wagner
- Wimberley, Texas Emergency Services Retirement System Board of Trustees
Frank Torres
- Raymondville, Texas Emergency Services Retirement System Board of Trustees
Judson Scott
- Bee Cave,Veterans' Land Board
Ron Simmons
- Carrollton, Texas Mutual Insurance Company Board of Directors (chair)
Holland Harper
- Paris, Sulphur River Regional Mobility Authority
Frank Parker Jr.
- Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority (reappointed)
Joyce Wilson
- El Paso, Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority
Andy Williams
- Forth Worth,Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation Board of Directors
Lali Shipley- Austin, Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation Board of Directorse 
Courtney Johnson Rose- Missouri City, Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation Board of Directors
Valerie Vargas Cardenas- San Juan, Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation Board of Directors
William H. "Bill" Dietz Jr.- Waco, Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation Board of Directors

Port of Houston - Houston Ship Channel Economic Impact
Government Finance Officers Association - Bringing Sales Tax into the 21st Century: A Report on Remote Sales Tax
National Association of Counties- Local Government Guide to Coastal Resilience Funding
First Street Foundation and Columbia University - Impacts of Sea Level Rise and Flooding
Dozens of public-sector jobs are available. Click here to view all job openings and guidelines for job submissions to SPI. New jobs added this week: 
  • Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts- Procurement Operations & Certification Specialist
  • Texas Public Utility Commission- Chief Program Officer/Deputy Director I
  • Office of the Texas Governor- Lead Program Coordinator/Program Specialist V
  • Texas Department of Agriculture- Quality Assurance Quality Control Specialist
  • Texas Department of Information Resources- Director I/Shared Technology Services Vendor Manager
  • Texas Education Agency- Director of Strategy and Operations/Director III
  • Texas Department of Public Safety- Disaster Recovery Systems Analyst VI
  • Texas Military Department- Procurement Director III
  • Texas Facilities Commission- Manager I
  • Teacher Retirement System- Accounts Payable and Travel Specialist
  • Texas Parks and Wildlife Department- Contract Specialist IV/Contract Manager
  • Texas Department of Motor Vehicles- Desktop Support Specialist III
  • Railroad Commission of Texas- IT Program Specialist VI
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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