Volume 17, Issue 23 - Friday, June 14, 2019 Optional Link
Gov. Greg Abbott signed off on an $11.5 billion school finance bill (HB3) on June 11 that will buy down property tax rates by an average of 8 cents per $100 of property valuation in 2020 and initiate a 2.5 property tax cap in 2021.

That measure dovetails with a student-focused funding formula based on student needs and not on a child's ZIP code.

Featured in the legislation is a $2 billion incentive pay program for teachers that mandates the new funds be used for pay raises, benefit increases, or other compensation increases for full-time teachers, librarians, nurses, and counselors with emphasis on employees who have at least five years' experience.

The bill also creates career, college, and military readiness bonuses for school districts. It funds all-day prekindergarten for students in poverty, and it requires all elementary school principals and teachers kindergarten through third grade to be trained on science-based reading instruction by 2021.
Cities and counties must limit their property tax rate increases to 3.5 percent under new legislation signed by Gov. Greg Abbott on June 12.

SB2 requires tax rate increases to stay under the cap or otherwise trigger a rollback election, also known as a tax ratification election. The rollback rate will be renamed the "voter approval tax rate" going forward.

Tax entities must also publish their budgets, tax rates, and tax rate calculation worksheets online. Lawmakers also made revisions to the appraisal and protest process by prohibiting an Appraisal Review Board (ARB) from increasing the value of a taxpayer's property above its initial value, raising the training requirements for ARB members and arbitrators, and providing taxpayers with the evidence that appraisal district representatives plan to present at their ARB hearing. This service is free to the property owner.
Gov. Greg Abbott signed several disaster relief and preparedness bills June 13 to combine with $3 billion in aid earmarked from the state's 'Rainy Day Fund' for areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

Abbott signed the following bills:
HB5 - Requires the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) to develop a catastrophic debris management plan and training and creates a work group to make recommendations to local governments and property owners' associations on how to assist with recovery efforts. It also mandates that TDEM create a model contract for debris removal.

HB7 - Requires the governor's office to create a waiver list that could be enacted in the event of a disaster and to establish a plan to help local communities with disaster preparation contracts for services.

SB6 - Requires TDEM to develop a model guide for disaster response and a wet debris study group for local communities. The bill also establishes a disaster recovery loan program at TDEM for communities that suffered significant infrastructure damage.

SB7 - Creates a framework for providing $1.6 billion in matching funds via the Texas Infrastructure Resilience Fund (TIRF) for areas most impacted by Hurricane Harvey and also through the Flood Infrastructure Fund for statewide infrastructure projects to mitigate future flooding.
Emergency management division moved under A&M system
Texas legislators voted this session to transfer the operations of the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to the Texas A&M University System, effective Sept. 1.

All rules, policies, and procedures in place under DPS will carry over in the transition, but would be superseded by any new rule or administrative action at A&M. Current TDEM staff members will remain with the division but be considered A&M employees. The director's position would be appointed by the governor.

DPS and A&M system officers must enter into a memorandum of understanding by Oct. 1 to transfer powers, duties, contracts, records, property, and unspent budgets and other funds relating to TDEM to the Texas A&M System before Jan. 1, 2020.
Executive order stays plumbing board's expiration until 2021
Facing expiration on Sept. 1, the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners earned a reprieve through Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order to extend its activity.
 
Abbott cited the board's essential role in the state's recovery from Hurricane Harvey as the rationale for his decision to issue the order. Licensed plumbers, he said, are critical to the success and safety of the many infrastructure, medical, residential, and other projects under way or set to begin. More than $10 billion of federal funds are available to areas struck by Hurricane Harvey.

The order allows the board to continue its operations through May 31, 2021.
Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars
Jeff Harvey, Superintendent, Fayetteville ISD
Jeff Harvey

Career highlights and education: 
Throughout my career in teaching, coaching, and leadership, I have been able to experience a wide range of the educational spectrum. My experiences include working in affluent schools, as well as in a district with a student body that was well over 70 percent socioeconomically disadvantaged. Additionally, I have had the privilege of working with every level of student, from those learning basic life skills to those earning perfect scores on the SAT. 

I have taught a variety of classes over the years, including various resource classes, U.S. history, economics, and AP Government. I coached football, baseball, powerlifting, and golf. I was blessed to work with many talented young men and women over my 15-year coaching career, which included back-to-back state championships in football at Daingerfield High School. 

I am a graduate of Northwood University with a degree in business administration. I earned my master's degree in educational administration from the University of Texas at Arlington and my principal's certification from Stephen F. Austin State University. Additionally, I earned my doctorate in education from Texas A&M University-Commerce.
 
What I like best about my public service: My passion is to give all children, regardless of background or circumstance, a quality public school education. My goal is to provide an opportunity for each student to grow academically, socially, and emotionally to reach their maximum potential.  

The best advice I have received for my current job: I had a mentor give me two thoughts by which to lead the district: hire good people who love kids, and know what you don't know, then learn it. 

Advice you would give a new hire in your office: Be kind and treat each child as if he or she were your own. Remember, each day you have an opportunity to change a life.
 
If I ever had the opportunity to leave work early, I could probably be found: hanging out with my wife at a sporting event. 

People would be surprised to know that I: worked as a welder while in college, and then I owned a graphic design company where I designed the official logo for two separate school districts. 

One thing I wish more people knew about Fayetteville ISDJust because we are a small rural school district does not mean our students have limited opportunities. In fact, it is just the opposite. With the support of our parents, community, and our strong and dedicated staff, our students have limitless opportunities to reach their maximum potential. In Fayetteville ISD: We are ONE PRIDE!

$295M Clear Creek Watershed project under way in Harris County
Flood Control District and U.S. Army Corps officials celebrate partnership
The Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD), in a partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), will be leading the $295 million Clear Creek Watershed project.

The project entails benching and an in-line detention on a 15-mile stretch along Highway 288. The project will be funded through a combination of a 2018 bond and federal funds.

Expected to begin in late 2019, the project's construction timeline is five years. The Flood Control District is leading the design and construction of the project under a non-federal implementation pilot program originally authorized by Congress in 2014. Clear Creek will be the first USACE project in the U.S. to be implemented from start to finish under this program.

Unlike reimbursement-based local-lead authorities, the pilot program allows the Flood Control District to receive the federal share of eligible costs in advance increments as the project is designed and built. HCFCD will work closely with its co-sponsors, Brazoria Drainage District No. 4 and Galveston County, to enter separate agreements that share the project's local match and maintenance responsibilities.

Meanwhile, the city of Friendswood will pursue its own drainage projects if a potential November bond is passed. HCFCD's leadership on the Clear Creek Watershed project will not impact Friendswood's plans but will provide benefits to the city. 
Starcke Dam
SB500, signed on June 6 by Gov. Greg Abbott, will appropriate $150 million from the economic stabilization fund to the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) for dam infrastructure projects.

Over the course of two years, the funds will be administered through grants to the local sponsors of Flood Control Dams, including Soil and Water Conservation Districts. The repair and rehabilitation projects involve dams built for the purpose of slowing and redirecting floodwaters.

There are 2,041 dams that were originally built by the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service, according to the TSSWCB. Of those dams, 622 are at high risk of failing; however, only 123 of these meet high-hazard criteria.

On June 10, Abbott also signed Senate Bill 8, which will establish a 10-year plan to bring all high-hazard dams up to safety standards. The plan will be developed between the TSSWCB and the Texas Water Development Board. Designed to be similar in format to the water development board's State Water Plan, the state flood plan would give representatives from each of the state flood planning regions the ability to craft a plan and submit it to the board for consideration in a master plan.
New Braunfels approves land purchase for new police facility
Rendering of police facility
Residents of New Braunfels approved a $120 million bond in May that included more than $36.3 million for a new police facility. This week, the city closed on two properties that will house the new headquarters, at a combined total of nearly $1.9 million. The pair of tracts total 11.78 acres located on San Antonio Street, across from the Comal County Sheriff's Office and new jail.

The police station will replace the existing facility, located on South Seguin Avenue, and includes office space for all divisions, a public space, training room, vehicle maintenance bays for the fleet, evidence storage, a gym, and other space for miscellaneous uses. 
Grapevine to issue $24.7M in bonds for new fire stations, animal shelter
Construction is set to begin this fall on two new fire stations, an animal shelter, and golf course clubhouse in the city of Grapevine after its City Council voted June 4 to issue $24.7 million in bonds.

The source of the funding is a 2017 municipal bond election in which voters approved $16 million for purchasing land for and constructing fire stations No. 2 and No 3. They also voted to renovate and expand the city's animal shelter for $3.9 million and convert the Grapevine Municipal Golf Course into a multipurpose facility with a banquet hall, meeting space, clubhouse, and restaurant for $4.8 million.

City officials said the projects are in the design stage with completion targeted for 2020.
San Antonio council approves midtown redevelopment plan
Rendering of midtown plan
San Antonio councilmembers adopted a new Midtown Area Regional Center Plan on June 6 that officials hope will revitalize the midtown area by increasing density, improving walkability, providing local transit options, and connecting neighborhoods while boosting the economy.

The midtown section spans 3.7 miles from Interstate 10 to the University of the Incarnate Word with 11 key areas identified, including Main Avenue, North Broadway, St. Mary's Street, and San Pedro Springs.

The regional center plan is part of SA Tomorrow, the city's 25-year comprehensive plan that City Council adopted in 2016.
Texas, Arkansas splitting cost of $20M roadway project
State Line Avenue
Arkansas and Texas transportation officials have been discussing a $20 million plan to resurface U.S. Highway 71, also known as State Line Avenue, that leads from Interstate 30 to the federal courthouse. Crews are tentatively scheduled to begin resurfacing State Line Avenue in 2023. The project could take about two years to complete.
  
The Texarkana Community Committee met this week to discuss the project. This bi-city panel was formed by the Texarkana USA Chamber of Commerce to share information about matters of common interest. The southbound lanes of the road are in Texas, and northbound lanes are in Arkansas. More than 27,000 motorists travel the roadway daily.

The Arkansas Department of Transportation plans to spend $9.9 million on the project, and the remaining funds will come from the Texas Department of Transportation and Texarkana Metropolitan Planning Organization. Local officials say they would like to see bike paths, sidewalks, better lighting, fewer billboards, more green space, and even slower speeds on the corridor. Funding for these additional proposals could come from a federal Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant.
Killeen ISD considers 3 options for bus storage, maintenance center 
Voters in May 2018 approved two school construction bonds for a total of $426 million to build and renovate schools in Killeen ISD. On June 11, the Killeen school board approved authorizing the issuance, sale, and delivery of $126 million in KISD unlimited tax school building bonds.

The board also selected an architect, a commissioning agent, a geotechnical engineer, and materials testing services for the Sheridan Transportation Facility expansion. KISD plans to issue a request for bids for a construction manager at risk as a delivery method for the expansion. KISD has considered three options for expansion of the Sheridan bus storage and maintenance center, which is at capacity with 110 buses.

A five-year plan would include 210 additional bus parking spaces, 210 additional vehicle parking spaces, a 6,000-square-foot administration building, and four additional maintenance bays. This plan would cost the district $6.5 million.

A 10-year plan would include 265 additional bus parking spaces, 265 additional vehicle parking spaces, a 12,000-square-foot administration building, and six additional maintenance bays. This plan would cost the district $10 million.

 A 20-year plan would include 375 additional bus parking spaces, 375 additional vehicle parking spaces, a 17,000-square-foot administration building, and nine additional maintenance bays. The final plan would cost the district $15 million.
Iowa Park considering new police, buildings for possible bond project
The Iowa Park City Council is currently tackling how to provide new facilities for the city's police and fire departments.

Existing facilities, constructed in 1975 with modifications in the 1980s, face problems with overcrowding, drainage, and maintenance.

City officials would like to put a building in place that houses the departments comfortably for another 30 years. While a future bond has been floated by the city manager, councilmembers are scheduled to discuss the city's options at their June 17 meeting. 
City closer to final decision on location for desalination plant  
Corpus Christi City Council members are set to receive exact locations in August of the proposed seawater desalination plant.

The chosen areas for the plant, which need to have accessibility to existing power and water grids, are in the Inner Harbor and the La Quinta Channel. Once the location is finalized, the city will then apply for water rights and discharge permits. In March 2018, the Port of Corpus Christi applied to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for a permit to build a desalination plant. In 2018, the city released a request for information soliciting ideas for alternative water supply projects.

This type of plant would be the first seawater desalination plant in the state, according to the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB). A total of 49 plants operating in the state desalinate brackish water - water that has more salinity than freshwater but less than seawater, according to the TWDB. Desalination is the process of removing dissolved salts from water.
EVENTS CALENDAR
Save the date for DIR conference
Oct. 3, 2019 / Austin, Texas
Mark your calendar to attend the DIR Technology Forum 2019 on October 3 from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at the Commons Learning Center, J.J. Pickle Research Campus, 10100 Burnet Road, Austin, TX 78758.

Journey to the Cloud: How to Get There is the theme of this year's forum, a free one-day, two-track conference for public sector IT leaders. Plan to attend educational sessions on strategic issues, technology updates, and DIR solutions and services.

More than 200 attendees from a wide variety of Texas state agencies and universities are expected to attend. The free event is open to any current Texas government or public sector staff member interested in information technology issues. Pre-registration is required and opens in early July. The cancellation deadline is September 27; a $50 fee will be charged for any no shows and late cancellations.

Complimentary morning and afternoon refreshments and a luncheon will be served. DIR invites vendors to participate by exhibiting and/or providing a speaker. Subject matter experts are encouraged to submit presentation abstracts for consideration by June 28.

For information, email Joy Hall Bryant.
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By Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc.

Upcoming transportation projects are abundant throughout the country. Projects of every size and type can be found, but a sweeping trend is for larger projects to be collaborative in nature. Delivery methods may be called public-private partnerships or comprehensive development agreements, but whatever the name, the common link is that private sector capital is invested and the risk is shared.
 
Currently, 39 states have enabled the use of public-private partnerships (P3s). That's because private sector capital is necessary, and large, complex projects benefit from leading edge technology and private sector expertise.
 
A few recent examples of collaborative transportation projects include Denver's $1.3 billion I-70 expansion and Texas' $2.9 billion Grand Parkway project. Neither could have been completed without private sector funding.
 
The good news is that there are various funding options - at least for large transportation projects. In the first four months of 2019, legislation was introduced in 46 states to increase transportation funding. And while federal funding is still available but inadequate, private sector funding is another option. Most government leaders are now comfortable with alternative funding options.
 
Check out this article from our Pipeline newsletter!

Schulze named DART chief of staff
David Schulze
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) appointed David Schulze as the new chief of staff on June 13.

Chosen after a competitive internal recruitment, Schulze becomes DART's first executive level chief of staff, serving as senior advisor to the president/executive director. He will lead a variety of strategic, tactical, and operational activities in the new role and focus on issues that have an agency-wide impact.

Schulze, a lawyer with 29 years in public service, previously served in DART's legal department from 1994 to 2001. Following a special three-year assignment with the City of Dallas, he rejoined DART in 2004. He joined the deputy executive director's staff in 2013 and served as vice president of policy and strategy to the president/executive director.

Most recently, he led strategic initiatives, managed policy development, and provided analysis of critical issues for DART's executive team while overseeing the creation of the agency's historical archive.
Eads gets nod to chair transportation council
Andy Eads
Denton County Judge Andy Eads will lead the Regional Transportation Council for the next year after his election as chair of the 44-member transportation-making body on June 13.
 
Eads, who moves up from vice chair, replaces Tarrant County Commissioner Gary Fickes. Fickes chaired the RTC through the 86th Session of the Texas Legislature, which concluded in May.  
Johnson County Judge Roger Harmon was elected vice chair after serving as secretary for the past year. Dallas County Commissioner Theresa Daniel was named the new secretary. The new officers will serve in their positions through June 2020.
  
A fifth-generation resident of Denton County, Eads has served on the RTC since 2009 and has helped address transportation issues in the growing county as well as the entire region. Harmon was appointed to the RTC in 2001. Daniel has been a member since 2018. 

As the transportation policymaking body for the 12-county Dallas-Fort Worth area, the RTC oversees transportation planning for the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the country. The region has a current population of over 7 million people and is expected to grow to more than 11 million by 2045. The RTC guides the development of roadway, rail and bicycle-pedestrian plans and programs; allocates transportation funds; and recommends projects to the Texas Transportation Commission.


Allen selects Ellwanger to be new city manager
Eric Ellwanger
Allen councilmembers unanimously approved Eric Ellwanger as the city's next city manager at their June 11 meeting.
 
He has been serving as Allen's acting city manager since May 1 after former city manager Peter Vargas retired.
 
Ellwanger joined Allen as assistant to the city manager in 2012 and earned promotion to assistant city manager in 2014. He previously held municipal service positions with the cities of Plano and Colleyville.


Cavazos named new Mart police chief
Albert Cavazos
The city of Mart selected Albert Cavazos to helm its police department.

Councilmembers unanimously voted to appoint Cavazos to the post over two other finalists. He will begin his duties on June 21.

The Kingsville native is a master peace officer who currently works as a police officer in Marlin. He previously served as a sergeant investigator and deputy constable for Nueces County and a constable for the Kleberg County Constable's Office. He also was an investigator, patrol sergeant, and task force officer for Kleberg County Sheriff's Office. Cavazos succeeds former Police Chief Paul Cardenas.
Shiner ISD selects Remschel as lone finalist
Alex Remschel
Shiner ISD board members selected Alex Remschel as the lone finalist for the district superintendent position on June 11. He is currently Academy ISD's assistant superintendent in Bell County, Texas.

Remschel replaces Shiner ISD Superintendent Trey Lawrence who retired at the end of the school year. Prior to serving as assistant superintendent, Remschel was principal and assistant principal of Academy High School, athletic director, and teacher. He also held positions with Hudson ISD and Yorktown ISD.


AISD names 4 assistant superintendents
Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney recently announced four new school assistant superintendents, effective July 1.

Todd Lindeman was named assistant superintendent of high schools, while LaTonia Amerson, LaToya Wynne and Dr. Faviola Cantu were named assistant superintendents of elementary schools.

Todd Lindeman
Lindeman brings more than 24 years of experience in the field of education to his new position, and served as principal of Eisenhower High School for the last two years. Lindeman has served as a teacher, principal, site coordinator, and department chair.

LaTonia Amerson
Amerson has more than 15 years of experience in the field of education with all of them devoted to Aldine ISD. She began her career in 2004 as a sixth-grade language arts teacher at Parker Intermediate School and served as an assistant principal and principal. She served as the principal of Eisenhower Ninth Grade School for five years and also worked at Conley Elementary School and Eisenhower High School.

LaToya Wynne
Wynne is returning to Aldine where she began her educational career as a first-grade ESL teacher at Stephens Elementary School. She brings 16 years of experience to her new position and has served as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and a district leader. She previously was executive director of teaching and learning with Klein ISD.

Faviola Cantu
Cantu brings 15 years of experience in the field of education to her new position with Aldine ISD. She currently works as the director of multilingual programs for Sheldon ISD. Cantu also has served as an assistant principal and principal.
RECENT REPORTS & DATA
Texas Health and Human Services Commission - Community Resource Coordination Groups of Texas Report

Texas Health and Human Services Commission - Enterprise Data Governance (EDG) Initiative Quarterly Report

Texas State Auditor's Office - Audit Report on Inspections and Enforcement at the Commission on Jail Standards

U.S. Census Bureau - 2019 Capital Spending Report: U.S. Capital Spending Patterns 2008-2017

U.S. Census Bureau - USA Trade Online

U.S. Department of Labor - Mine Data Retrieval System
JOB BOARD
Dozens of public-sector jobs are available. Click here to view all job openings and guidelines for job submissions to SPI. New jobs added this week:  
  • Texas State Securities Board - Attorney I
     
  • Texas Legislative Council - Systems Programmer III
  • Office of the Texas Governor - Economic Development Finance Specialist (2 positions)
  • Office of the Texas Governor - Administrative Assistant III
  • Office of the Texas Governor - Grant Coordinator (Grant Coordinator II)
  • Ector County - Part-Time Jailer
  • Ector County - Animal Control Officer
  • Ector County - Managing Librarian - Southwest History & Genealogy


View our Texas Government Insider and Government Contracting Pipeline newsletter archives

Texas Government Insider is a free weekly newsletter detailing important happenings throughout the state and summarizing current political issues relevant to individuals interested in government.   
Publisher: Mary Scott Nabers
Editor: Devin Monk 
TGI is published by Strategic Partnerships, Inc. (SPI), a research and consulting firm. Founded in Texas in 1995 by former government executives and public sector experts, SPI has developed a national reputation as the premier marketing partner dedicated to helping companies secure contracts in the $1.5 trillion state and local government marketplace.   
To learn more about SPI services, click here or contact our sales department at 512-531-3900. 
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