Volume 17, Issue 19 - Friday, May 17, 2019Optional Link
Comptroller forecasts $500M more for state coffers this fiscal year   
Legislators hashing out budget details received good news May 14 in a letter from Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar predicting an additional $500 million for the state budget.

Earlier this year, Hegar estimated $4.2 billion in revenues by the end of the fiscal year Aug. 31, but more robust tax collections prompted his revision to $4.7 billion.

In his letter this week, he said the state would reap extra revenue from higher-than-projected oil and natural gas tax collections, pumping $300 million into the state's Economic Stabilization Fund, or rainy day fund. Modifying online sales tax collections on out-of-state sales could net an additional $550 million proposed legislation passes this session.
State sends $3B cancer agency bond referendum to voters this November
The decision to renew the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) program for $3 billion will go before voters in November courtesy of a Texas Legislature resolution May 10. State senators approved the authorization of the bond referendum 31-0, and the House backed it, 130-15.

Chartered in 2009 with the mission of developing cancer cures and therapies, CPRIT provides more cancer funding of any such entity next to the National Center Institute. The majority of the CPRIT funding goes to Houston organizations with most of it to MD Anderson Cancer Center and Baylor College of Medicine.

On May 15, CPRIT awarded 10 new academic research grants totaling more than $31 million to recruit cancer researchers to Texas. Other funding also supports research efforts and infrastructure improvements, faculty hires, biotech company starts and job creation not to mention service to Texans with cancer.
Engineers, TGLO refining $23B-$32B Galveston Bay coastal barrier plan
Galveston Island
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Texas General Land Office (TGLO) presented their plans on May 15 at San Jacinto College for a storm gate that would defend Galveston Bay from flooding that results from major storms.

Early findings from the two organizations' study guided them to an idea for a 76-mile coastal barrier formed of floodwalls and levees on Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula at an estimated $23 billion to $32 billion.

Officials said the Corps is looking into replacing the floodwalls and levees with sand dunes and natural barriers.
Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars
Corbin Van Arsdale, Mayor, City of Cedar Park
Corbin Van Arsdale

Career Highlights and EducationI'm a fifth generation Texan who graduated from The University of Texas-Austin with degrees in finance and law-and lettered in baseball.
In my professional career, I've been an attorney practicing constitutional law, maritime law, and construction law. I'm now serving as president and general counsel of a statewide trade association in the commercial building industry.
In public service, I've served in the Texas House of Representatives, on the Cedar Park City Council and on several public boards and commissions.    

What I like best about my public service is: Hands down: helping people. It's amazing to be able to use your position to help people solve problems. Serving in public office can be quite grinding and not much fun sometimes. But, helping people is what makes serving in office worth it. 

The best advice I've received for my current job is: Perfection is the enemy of improvement.

Advice you would give a new hire in your office: Listen first. Think second. Talk last.

If I had the opportunity to leave work early, I could probably be found: With my wife, Stephanie, and our kids.

People would be surprised to know that I: Had five different kids of mine attending five different universities at the same time!

One thing I wish more people knew about the City of Cedar Park: That our city staff has a great, can-do attitude about solving problems and working together. They're efficient and much more private-sector minded than what you typically see in government staff.
DFW transportation authority fast tracking TEXRail line expansion
Officials at Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) are pushing up their plans for expansion of their new TEXRail passenger rail line based on encouraging ridership on its new commuter rail line from downtown Fort Worth to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

The agency secured a $908 million loan in December to fund the Cotton Belt Corridor Regional Rail Project that would travel 26 miles from the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to downtown Plano and is slated to open in 2022.

DART officials envision the line linking to regional and statewide systems, including the proposed high-speed bullet train connecting Dallas and Houston.
Millions in federal funds coming to 3 Texas airports for runway projects
McAllen Miller International Airport
Three Texas airports learned May 14 they will receive a portion of $779 million in federal dollars that will help fund their runway improvement projects.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced it will award McAllen Miller International Airport $10 million for its runway safety area project. Monahans Roy Hurd Memorial Municipal Airport will receive $3.4 million, and Seymour Municipal Airport will collect $2.2 million.

According to USDOT, many of the projects nationwide will be able to proceed to construction bid and grant award in the near term. Other projects may not be ready for grant award until later in fiscal year 2019 or in fiscal year 2020.
Odessa eyeing $200M in city projects
City leaders in Odessa, Texas recently reviewed a list of projects with a debt adviser to address anticipated population growth.

Widening and full-depth reconstruction of Faudree Road would cost about $19.7 million, and design and reconstruction of two Grant Street sections were estimated at $22 million total.

The city's police department is in need of a new animal shelter estimated to cost $10.5 million and funding to complete a multipurpose building for their police academy. Odessa Fire Department urged the city to fund the relocation of Fire Station No. 6 for $9.5 million as part of a project to expand the facility to a substation to house administrative offices and training rooms. City staff singled out improvements to Floyd Gwin Park and Sherwood Park as the most pressing, but requested $3 million for overall repairs and updates to city parks.
District 2 Council Member Dewey Bryant said councilmembers would discuss their project priorities soon after agreeing to a debt payment level.
Environmental study precursor to $144M bridge project in South Texas
The city of Mission's Rail Bridge Action Committee authorized city staff May 6 to put together a request for qualifications (RFQ) for an environmental study on the Madero bridge project. City Council members will review the final RFQ document.

A Houston-based firm developed a study for a standard bridge used by cars and commercial vehicles that estimated the project cost at $144 million; however, Mission Mayor Armando "Doc" O'cana is seeking a railroad bridge.
Williamson County weighing bond amid $2.7B in infrastructure needs
Representatives from the cities of Hutto and Taylor presented several road and drainage projects to Williamson County Precinct 4 Commissioner Russ Boles and Senior Director of Infrastructure Bob Deigh at a Citizens Bond Committee meeting May 14.

The meeting is one of several that will be held in each county precinct. Cities, school districts and municipal utility districts pitch their projects to be included in a possible bond.

Daigh reported a countywide total of $2.7 billion in requests will go before the committee whose members will determine by July if a bond election should be recommended to Williamson County commissioners and, if so, which projects should be included in the referendum. The commissioners have the final say in calling a bond election.
Lake Dallas ISD mulls construction manager at risk for bond projects
After passing a $105 million bond package on May 4, Lake Dallas ISD board members and staff discussed which projects to prioritize at a board meeting May 13.

The bond called for expansions, renovations and security enhancements at Corinth and Lake Dallas elementaries, Lake Dallas Middle School, Lake Dallas High School and LDISD's Disciplinary Alternative Education Program.

A construction manager at risk method garnered the most attention as it would aid district officials in estimating the costs of each project as it is being designed.
District representatives are targeting the start of the 2021-22 school year for completion of all construction.
Flood-hit counties to get $46.4M
Cameron, Hidalgo and Jim Wells counties are lined up for $46.4 million in flood recovery funding from Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR).

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded the grants to the three counties that suffered devastating flooding in 2018. The source of the federal dollars is the Supplemental Appropriations Act for Disaster Relief in October 2018 that authorized $1.68 billion in CDBG-DR funding for "disaster relief, long-term recovery, restoration of infrastructure and housing and economic revitalization in the most impacted and distressed areas resulting from a major disaster declared in 2018."

State officials said they would work with both local and federal representatives in advance of HUD instructions on how to use the funds.
Aransas County, Rockport to rebid Downtown Anchor Project
Commissioners in Aransas County jumpstarted the Downtown Anchor Project by withdrawing all requests for qualifications (RFQ) for architect proposals at their May 13. Rockport councilmembers were expected to follow suit.

The project, which includes a new Aransas County courthouse and Rockport city hall, received commissioners' approval to rebid the RFQ and allow for a construction manager agent. It would also eliminate the appearance of any possible conflicts of interest.

According to RFQ documents, the Anchor Project is the first major step of recovery in the reconstruction of government facilities lost in Hurricane Harvey. Initial estimates for the courthouse project called for about 55,000 square feet with a budget $18 million to $19.3 million. The City Hall project was initially estimated at 28,000 square feet at a cost of $9 million to $10 million.
Melissa Road makeover set for fall
The city of Melissa is preparing for construction to start this fall on Melissa Road to enhance the major thoroughfare that will connect the city's downtown to state highways 5 and 121. Plans specify a five-lane segment of two lanes in each direction and a center turn lane.

"The completion of Melissa Road from Hwy 5 to Hwy 121 will serve as the hub for the development of the downtown area and will give us both an economic development boost and a destination area for locals and visitors," City Manager Jason Little said in a statement.  "We see the new segment as the completion of the foundation upon which we'll build a downtown that will be distinctively Melissa."

Earlier bond sales will pay for construction. A start date is pending review of applications and awarding of a contract.
Bastrop County study zeroes in on flood mitigation in Alum Creek area
Prone to heavy flooding, the Alum Creek area is undergoing a study commissioned by Bastrop County to assess previous floods and resulting damages and pinpoint solutions.

Alum Creek is the eighth one in the watershed that consultants have studied. Others include the Willow-Gazley Creek near Smithville and Gills Branch and Piney Creek in Bastrop.

The study is expected to be complete in May 2020, at which point the county intends to apply for federal and state grants to fund flood mitigation projects.
Take advantage of sales tax holiday on water- and energy-efficient items
Texas retailers are gearing up for a sales tax holiday May 25-27 for water- and energy-efficient products.

Estimates from the Texas Comptroller's office are that the public will save about $12.6 million in state and local taxes during the Memorial Day weekend sales tax holiday.

Water-efficient products must have a WaterSense label or logo on them to be purchased tax-free for personal or business use. These include showerheads, bathroom sink faucets and accessories, toilets, urinals and landscape irrigation controls. Lawn and garden products that help conserve water, such as soaker or drip-irrigation hoses, moisture controls for sprinkler or irrigation systems, mulch, and plants, trees and grasses also qualify. During the sales tax holiday, there's no limit to the number of water-efficient or water-conserving products one may buy tax-free.

Energy-efficient items that show the Energy Star logo will be tax-free, including air conditioners $6,000 or less, refrigerators at $2,000 or less, ceiling fans, fluorescent light bulbs, dishwashers, dehumidifiers and clothes washing machines.
HHSC recognizes inaugural group of Innovators in Aging with awards
Texas Health and Human Services Commission on May 16 announced the first ever Innovators in Aging award recipients who have made positive impacts on the lives of older adults in Texas.

HHSC's awards program, now in its first year, recognizes five recipients for developing and carrying out new and innovative ideas in communities across the state that meet the needs of older adults.

The 2018 Innovators in Aging award recipients are:
* University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Geriatric Task Force (Dallas): This task force established a multidisciplinary partnership that created an educational program focusing on older adults with cognitive impairment.
* Meals on Wheels, Inc. of Tarrant County (Haltom City): Meals on Wheels created an innovative care coordination pilot program to successfully navigate aging clients through the complex continuum of care without traditional health care reimbursements.
* Cognitive Disorders Center (Austin): The center established the first neurology specialty dementia clinic, designed to put patients' health values first.
* Workforce Enhancement in Healthy Aging and Independent Living (Fort Worth): This group created a partnership of organizations in Fort Worth that have expanded gerontological training in the community to improve care and health outcomes for older adults and caregivers.
* Namkee Choi, Ph.D., Centennial Chair in Gerontology in the School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin (Austin): This award recipient is being recognized for her work and research on problem-solving therapy delivered to older adults through video conferencing.
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Calendar of Events
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.
2019 Texas Public Owners Conference
August 8 & 9 / Fort Worth, Texas
The Institute for Leadership in Capital Projects (I-LinCP) is taking early bird registration for its 2019 Texas Public Owners Conference on Aug. 8-9 at the Sheraton Fort Worth Downtown Hotel, 1701 Commerce St., Fort Worth, Texas 76102.

The conference theme is "The Bridge Over Troubled Waters: Project Delivery to Operations." Municipalities, counties, ISD's and other public entities will come together to share what they know, and define what they want to know more about capital project planning design, delivery and operations. I-LinCP is a nonprofit organization serving the Texas region to better the capital projects industry. 

Early bird registration is available through July 19 for public facility owners at $125 per person and $275 for all others. Tables are $1,375.

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

The 1,051 community colleges in the United States - more than 900 of which are public - are no longer viewed as stepping stones for students on the path to a degree from a four-year institution. Because of the country's growing economy and the immediate need for specialized workers, community colleges are a critical component of America's global economic prowess.

Community colleges throughout the country collaborate with industry leaders to provide critical training for high-demand jobs. Community colleges are producing high-skilled workers in business sectors that include technology, renewable energy, cybersecurity and health care.

To manage the increased demand and facilitate the enrollments of significantly more students, community colleges must have more facilities as well as upgrades to buildings that are 50 to 60 years old. A growing student population requires the latest in technology, study labs, training rooms, equipment and more. Many community colleges also provide student housing, parking garages and health clinics. As a result, community colleges are becoming a major sector in an expanding government marketplace. 

Check out this article from our Pipeline newsletter!

3 remain for economic development position 
Three finalists have been announced for the city of Austin's next director of economic development. Larry Westerlund, Al Latimer or Veronica Briseno will be chosen to lead the department's global business expansion, urban regeneration, small business development, cultural arts and music efforts for Austin.

The previous economic development department director, Kevin Johns, retired in late 2017. Rebecca Giello has served as the department's interim director.

Veronica Briseno
Briseno, the only internal candidate, has worked for the city of Austin for more than 20 years. She's currently the interim homeless strategy officer. Before that, Briseno was the director of the Small and Minority Business Resources Department. 

Latimer most recently 
Al Latimer
served as director of the Office of Economic Vitality in Tallahassee, Fla. He has also worked for the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Jacksonville Sports Development Authority and Enterprise Florida. He played as a defensive back with three NFL teams.
Larry Westerlund

Westerlund is an economic development 
director for the city of Fresno, Calif. He also 
works part-time as special counsel for a law firm in Fresno. He previously was on the Fresno City Council and in the U.S. Navy for 24 years of active and reserve service.

Mountain View College tabs Joseph as president
Dr. Beatriz Joseph
Dr. Beatriz Joseph is the next president of Mountain View College (MVC). 

The Dallas County Community College District's board of trustees approved the appointment of Joseph, who currently is vice president of college services at Palo Alto College in San Antonio. 

Since 2010, Joseph has been responsible for implementing a $30 million annual operating budget and has overseen key college support operations at the college. Joseph will fill a vacancy left by Dr. Robert Garza, MVC's former CEO. Dr. Sharon Davis served as interim president during the search.
Davis selected as Marlin new city manager
Cedric Davis
Cedric Davis Sr. has been chosen as the new city manager for Marlin. 

Davis, the former mayor of Balch Springs, has also served as the police chief of the Wilmer-Hutchins Independent School District and chief of security for an asset-protection firm.

The city has been without a manager since March when City Manager Alan Grindstaff, who was hired in February 2017, stepped down.
Hillsboro mayor announces retirement
Edith Omberg
Hillsboro Mayor Edith Omberg has announced she will retire from her position.

Omberg, who served as mayor pro tem for years 2007, 2008 and 2010, has held the position of mayor for eight years. Omberg also worked for 25 years for the Hillsboro independent School District as an administrator before retiring in 2000. 

She took on the position as mayor after former mayor Dr. John Erwin opted not to run again.

Lone Star College opens with Wright as president
Quentin Wright
Lone Star College-Houston North has received approval and accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission. Dr. Quentin Wright has been named founding president of LSC-Houston North and will assume his duties June 15.

Wright began his career as an adjunct speech communication faculty member at Mountain View (Dallas CCCD) and Tarrant County College District. He also served as executive dean of communication and social science and interim vice president of academic affairs at Mountain View before being hired as vice president of instruction for LSC-Tomball in June 2015. Since May 2017, he has served as special assistant to the chancellor at LSC, where he has held critical roles in student services, academic affairs and planning for LSC-Houston North.

LSC-Houston North, which opens this fall, is the seventh college in the LSC system.
Gendy named Lakeway's new finance director 
Shereen Gendy
Shereen Gendy has been appointed as Lakeway's new finance director.

Gendy's appointment comes after several years of Julie Oakley serving as both assistant city manager and finance director for the city. Oakley will remain assistant city manager for Lakeway.

Gendy is a certified public accountant with a master's degree in accounting and 20 years of experience in governmental accounting.

Gov. Greg Abbott has announced the following appointments/reappointments from May 10 - May 16:

Amy Litzinger - Continuing Advisory Committee for Special Education

Laura Villarreal - Continuing Advisory Committee for Special Education

Danielle Franklin, D.D.S. - Dental Review Committee

Raymond L. Wiggins D.D.S., M.D. - Dental Review Committee

Joanna Allaire - Dental Review Committee (reappointment)

Jessica Bell, D.D.S. - Dental Review Committee - term to expire Feb. 1, 2021

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board  -  2019 Texas Public Higher Education Almanac

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission -  Summer 2019 Reliability and Energy Market Assessment

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas - Permian Basin Economic Indicators

U.S. Governmental Accountability Office - Women-Owned Small Business Program:Actions Needed to Address Continued Oversight Issues
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 Real Estate Commission- Attorney
  • Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs- Housing Choice Voucher Regional Coordinator
  • Texas Department of Motor Vehicles- Contract Specialist V
  • Texas Education Agency- Manager of Educator Equity and Support/Manager V
  • Texas Department of Public Safety- Data Analyst IV
  • Texas Department of Agriculture- Payroll/Timekeeping/HR Specialist
  • Texas Department of Banking- Financial Examiner I-III/Assistant IT Security Examiner
  • Texas Department of Information Resources- Project Manager IV/Procurement Project Manager
  • Texas General Land Office- Natural Resources Specialist III
  • Teacher Veterans Commission- Director of Program Operations
  • Texas Military Department- Program Supervisor V/Installation Status Report Manager
  • City of San Antonio- Central Procurement Specialist I
  • City of Houston- Contract Administrator
  • City of Brownsville- Digital Graphic Designer
  • City of Sugar Land- Contracts Coordinator

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, 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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