Volume 17, Issue 25 - Friday, June 28, 2019Optional Link
City of Austin officials say they plan to spend $5.7 billion on capital projects over the next five years.

Eighty percent of the funding for these projects is voter-approved debt from 2016 and 2018 bond elections. About $352 million is non-voter approved debt.

Projects slated for the city's capital improvement plan in this five-year timeframe include mobility and corridor improvements, low-income housing developments, and public safety initiatives such as new police or fire stations and flood buyouts of at-risk homes. Austin's water, electric, convention center, resource recovery, and aviation projects are expected to account for $3.5 billion of the $5.7 billion total.
DISD trustees mulling $2.5B bond
David W. Carter High School
Dallas ISD's Board of Trustees may call a $2.5 billion bond election for the November 2020 election. The funding would help renovate the district's 200-plus schools, many of which are showing signs of aging and becoming inadequate. The average age of schools in the district is 52 years.

Of the proposed amount, $1.5 billion would go toward renovating existing campuses, and another $500 million would go toward building 16 new schools. If approved by voters, the first bond sale would come in August 2022.

Trustees are set to vote on establishing a bond steering committee during their June 27 board meeting.
Austin park could get planetarium, Ferris wheel in $800M makeover
Walter E. Long Park master plan rendering
Walter E. Long Park in Austin could get $800 million in new amenities including a planetarium, Ferris wheel, and water sports zone after the city's Parks and Recreation Board unanimously approved a new master plan for the east Austin park on June 25.

The first phase of the plan, if approved by the Austin City Council, would focus on 272 acres of the park's southern edge where a rowing course and floating water sports zone could be located. This area is estimated to cost $144 million to develop. About $26 million of that would come from private funding.

Other proposed amenities include areas for a marina, ropes course, sculpture garden, and amphitheater along with trails, swimming and picnicking, skeet shooting, model airplane flying, and fishing.

The master plan is set for review by Austin City Council members when they return from their summer recess.
Ronald Reagan Boulevard
Williamson County officials are looking to build new roads and parks for an estimated $640.9 million. A citizen committee recommended county commissioners seek a bond at this year's November election, which will go toward funding the projects.

More than $573 million would go toward road projects. Some top projects would include $24.7 million to widen Ronald Reagan Boulevard, $13.2 million for work on the Liberty Hill bypass, and $27.5 million to improve Sam Bass Road.

Another $67.6 million would be set aside for improving parks and major trails in the county. County commissioners will hold another meeting to decide whether the bond will go on the ballot in November.
Hospital system to break ground on $500M facility for women, children
Rendering of new hospital
The University Health System (UHS) is set to break ground this fall on a new $500 million hospital in San Antonio specializing in women's and children's care.
 
Set for completion in 2022, the 12-story hospital will be located on the South Texas Medical Center campus where there is currently a visitor parking garage. Saved cash reserves and refinanced bonds used for a 2014 sky tower project will fund the construction project.

A hospital spokesperson said the new hospital would have an emergency room for children and another emergency room for women. Patient rooms will be dedicated for neonatal intensive care babies, a nursery for newborns, mothers who have just delivered their babies, and children receiving treatment and care at the hospital.
University Health System, which is owned by the citizens of Bexar County, has a partnership with The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars
John Kolhoff
John Kolholff, Commissioner, Texas Credit Union Department

Career Highlights and EducationAlmost 25 years as a regulator as a bank, information technology and credit union examiner. The last 16 years of my career involved overseeing credit union regulatory programs responsible for oversight of all state-chartered credit unions within the state.

As part of my work as a state regulator I've worked as the Director of the Office of Credit Unions in the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services and for the last six months as the Commissioner for the Texas Credit Union Department.

I'm proud to have supported several regulatory agencies and their associations through various work groups including the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors, National Institute of State Credit Union Examination, National Credit Union Administration, Financial and Banking Information Infrastructure Committee, and Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council. 
 
What I like best about my public service is: I maintain a firm belief that our efforts toward ensuring a safe, sound and viable financial services industry significantly impacts the lives of all residents.  While we are most known for ensuring the safety of consumer deposits within the institutions we regulate, the Commission and its employees also strive to ensure credit unions are able to provide a wide range of competitive products and services that will meet consumer needs today and into the future.   

The best advice I've received for my current job is: "Remember why we do our job." When challenges present themselves that seem insurmountable, it's focusing on the simple goals that will ensure our compass is pointed the right way. 

Advice you would give a new hire in your office: "Remember why we do our job."

If I had the opportunity to leave work early, I could probably be found: In my new role I've been spending much of my time at the office or home working as I acclimate to Texas' regulatory system. If I leave early you'd probably find me enjoying time with friends and family. If that time is spent outside, especially on a lake, that is wonderful.

People would be surprised to know that I: Probably the biggest surprise would come from the fact that I'm a multi-instrumentalist and have been in several "hobby" bands over the years.  I enjoy live music venues and can't wait to further discover the music scene within Austin.

One thing I wish more people knew about Texas Credit Union Department: I wish it was more evident how committed, competent and conscientious the Department staff are to the industry and its consumers. Most of their work is done behind the scenes, and most citizens only have a very general understanding of how financial depositories are regulated. Despite the difficulties related to their duties, their unsung work remains a cornerstone in the consumer confidence foundation of an industry whose greatest commodity will always be the trust that it's members shares are safe and available.
Galveston ISD citizen committee advocates $352M facilities plan
Champions Advisory Committee members at Galveston ISD recommended a $352 million plan for razing the existing Ball High School and rebuilding it at a new location. The plan also calls for constructing a new elementary school and selling four campuses with low enrollment.

Under the current plan, the high school would be built at the current site of Scott Elementary School, which would be torn down. Alamo, Rosenberg, and Morgan elementaries would be demolished or sold. Projected costs could be reduced by sale of some of these properties.

The 76-member committee developed a three-phase plan for construction, remodeling, and removal of district schools. The first phase of construction of new facilities is underway and is being financed by 2018 bond monies.

The second phase will address the district's high school and middle school needs. A recent facilities study indicated a need for a new high school. Under the committee's proposal, Central Middle School would house seventh and eighth grades, the Collegiate Academy at Weis would be used as a middle school for fifth and sixth grades, and Austin Middle School would be converted into a temporary site for athletic facilities. Alamo Elementary School, which is at one-sixth capacity only for an alternative high school program, would be razed or sold. This phase is projected to cost $256 million.

Phase three would focus on elementary schools with the construction of a new school at a site to be determined. It would include the sale of Rosenberg and Morgan elementaries and leave Austin Middle School vacant until the district's board of trustees makes a decision on its future. The final phase is estimated to cost $93 million.
State officials to sell historic G.J. Sutton complex in San Antonio
G.J. Sutton Complex
Texas Facilities Commission (TFC) staff members are preparing the historic G.J. Sutton Complex in San Antonio for the Texas General Land Office to issue a request for proposals (RFP) to sell it.
State representatives who advocated for the bill's passage estimated the RFP process could take between six months to a year.

After the passage of HB2944 in June, state officials now may sell the state-owned site for residential redevelopment as long as the property or buildings on the site retain the G.J. Sutton name. In 2017, city of San Antonio officials said they would offer incentives to a residential developer who would add housing, jobs, and retail in the East Side; however, state statutes restricted redevelopment of the site to agricultural or commercial use at the time.

The site is zoned for mixed-use development, and the Obama administration designated the area as a Promise Zone in 2014 to provide federal incentives for development projects. The complex was built in 1912 and operated by a machine and supply company. In 1975, state officials purchased the 112,000-square-foot complex that sits on 6 acres and converted it into office space for 200 employees, but persistent maintenance issues forced the state to abandon the site in 2013.
DART awarded $60.8M federal grant
The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) authority secured a $60.8 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) on June 27 to extend its red and blue line platforms.

Extension of the platforms will allow DART to service more riders and longer trains at 28 stations along the red and blue rail lines. The DART Red and Blue Line Platform Extensions project will strengthen and support existing and planned developments in Plano and elsewhere along the red and blue lines. Total project cost is $128.74 million.

Funding for the project is provided through FTA's Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program, which provides monies for major transit projects nationwide. Projects accepted into the program must go through a multi-year, multi-step process according to legal requirements in law to be eligible for consideration.
FAA awards Texas airports $57.1M in grants for construction projects
George Bush Intercontinental Airport
Several Texas airports will receive $57.1 million in grant funding from the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) administered by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The grants are part of AIP's second allotment of $495 million in funding that the FAA will distribute to 327 airports.

Some of the Texas airports receiving AIP grants are:
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport - $23.19 million, taxiway rehabilitation;
  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport - $15 million, taxiway reconstruction;
  • El Paso International Airport - $6.52 million, taxiway rehabilitation and reconstruction;
  • Fort Worth Alliance Airport - $5.5 million, taxiway extension;
  • Dallas Love Field Airport - $2.66 million, taxiway rehabilitation and reconstruction;
  • Sheppard AFB/Wichita Falls Municipal Airport - $2 million, access road and terminal building construction;
  • Longview East Texas Regional Airport - $1.47 million, taxiway construction.
Earlier in June, FAA officials awarded the first round of AIP grants totaling $840 million to apply toward infrastructure improvements at U.S. airports. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers graded the country's airports at a "D" in 2017, which indicates significant deterioration in a majority of the system. Chao said the grants would support high levels of safety in U.S. aviation.
 
For a complete list of AIP's first and second grant allotments, click here.
UT-Arlington researchers creating medical innovation district plan
Urban studies researchers at The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) are creating a strategic development plan for the city of Fort Worth's Medical Innovation District. UTA's Center for Transportation Equity, Decisions, and Dollars (CTEDD) research team is collaborating with hospitals, health-care facilities, the community, and business leaders to identify strengths and weaknesses of the district, including available resources.

Fort Worth economic development officials said city staff members are focused on establishing the nation's most livable medical district that serves medical needs and fosters innovation, discovery, and creativity.

CTEDD is one of 32 University Transportation Centers in the U.S. The centers are funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation to advance transportation research and technology.
New Braunfels moves forward on $25.78M sports complex phase
Sports complex rendering
The New Braunfels City Council passed a resolution on June 24 to accept a $15 million donation from the city's Economic Development Corporation to go toward design and construction of a new regional sports complex.

In May, voters approved the sports complex' first phase, which is estimated at $25.78 million, as part of a $120 million bond that included three other propositions.

The complex, located at the intersection of Klein Road and FM 1044, will span over 150 acres and include soccer, baseball, and softball fields, concessions and parking areas, restrooms, and shading.
Dallas college district secures $12M grant for apprenticeship program
Paramount Health Building
Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) will receive a $12 million apprenticeship grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Secretary Alexander Acosta announced Tuesday on a tour of the district's El Centro Center for Allied Health and Nursing in the Paramount Health Building.

Prior to Acosta's visit, the department released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on June 24 that established a process for advancing development of high-quality, industry-recognized apprenticeship programs (IRAPs).

DCCCD's grant will help fund the training of 7,500 apprentices in critical health-care occupations. It is part of $183.8 million in Scaling Apprenticeship Through Sector-Based Strategies grants that will support public-private apprenticeship partnerships in information technology, advanced manufacturing, and health care around the country. Houston's San Jacinto Community College also was awarded grant funds for its apprenticeship program that is in a partnership with several technology and IT companies.
TDLR dragnet uncovers unlicensed contractors in Central Texas
Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) representatives will file 47 enforcement cases against unlicensed electricians and air conditioning contractors as the result of a joint operation by 11 states.

The National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies (NASCLA) coordinated the operation that included 52 jobsite sweeps in Central Texas by TDLR's Regulatory Program Management Division. Their checks of 233 people for electrician licenses found 17 whose licenses had expired. Five individuals did not possess a license of any kind that would allow them to perform electrical work.

As part of the national operation, TDLR investigators also identified 100 advertisements in San Antonio in which electrical or air conditioning work was offered that did not appear to be licensed. Undercover investigators invited these unlicensed contractors to provide bids, and 42 of them offered to perform electrical work or install an air conditioning unit.

The national enforcement effort provided participating states with the opportunity to protect consumers, deter illegal construction activity, and level the playing field for legitimate contractors in the construction industry.

Currently, TDLR manages 39 business and occupational licensing programs with more than 800,000 licenses across the state.
Facilities Commission staff hosts Brazilian government delegation
The Texas Facilities Commission (TFC) welcomed a delegation from Brazil on June 12.

Brazilian government officials sought more information on state procurement and surplus processes, and TFC staff delivered presentations on construction procurement, space and building management, competitive solicitation, and state of Texas procurement practices. They also learned about Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB) and surplus property management.

TFC officials previously hosted delegations from Botswana in 2014 and from Panama in 2017, both sponsored by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) in partnership with a nonprofit business council. A Chinese delegation also visited TFC in April of this year on a trip coordinated by the Texas Comptroller's Office.
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Calendar of Events
TASSCC 2019 Annual Conference
August 11-14 / Fort Worth, Texas
The Texas Corporation and Association of State Systems for Computing and Communications invites public sector IT professionals to join TASSCC to celebrate its 42nd Anniversary Conference from Aug. 11-14 at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel, 1300 Houston St.

This year's theme is "Steerin' IT to New Frontiers." We will take on how we can help to navigate and steer technology into a new direction and take a look ahead to see what the future holds for public sector technology. Global futurist, speaker, and author Jack Uldrich is the keynote speaker.

Experienced public sector IT professionals consider the TASSCC Annual Conference to be one of the best and most affordable opportunities for learning and sharing in Texas. Because the conference focuses on the unique opportunities and problems that we face in delivering services to citizens, this event has earned a loyal following of participants.

Early bird registration is available through July 13 at $550 for full government members, $625 for non-members in government, and $700 for associate members.

For more information or to register, click here.

County courthouses, city halls, and government buildings of all types are being renovated, sold, or replaced. Most public facilities of this type are old, inefficient, costly to maintain, and unable to accommodate new technology. Some are unsafe and no longer meet federal compliance standards. Contractors interested in pursuing contracting opportunities to provide upgrades or new construction will find lots of options in every state.

In Scranton, Pennsylvania, city leaders have addressed an old city hall which was built in the late 1800s. It seems to cry out for renovation or replacement. After much discussion about which direction to take, city leaders issued a request for qualifications from parties interested in either option - acquiring or renovating the building. Similar conversations are happening throughout the U.S. Sometimes it's less costly to construct a new public facility than to renovate an old one.
 
Two years ago, the Office of Court Administration in Bath, New York, ruled that the courtroom facility located in the Steuben county building, which opened in 1986, no longer meets state standards. Over the last few decades, the space has had very few upgrades or renovations, so there are many issues to resolve. Although the project does not have a final price tag, there's no doubt it will be a multi-million dollar effort. Solicitation documents for contractors will go out for bid in early 2020. The project will include additional courtrooms, hearing rooms, waiting areas for the public, renovated space for court administration staff, and more.

Check out this article from our Pipeline newsletter!



Eskridge appointed Houston federal judge
Charles Eskridge
Houston lawyer Charles Eskridge was approved by the Federal Judicial Evaluation Committee (FJEC) to fill a judicial vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. He will replace Judge Gray Miller who took senior status.

Eskridge is a partner at a Houston law firm that focuses on commercial litigation. Before he joined the firm, he worked two decades at the office of a Houston attorney. He is a member of the American Law Institute and serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Houston Law Center.

After graduating from law school, Eskridge served as a law clerk at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and to Supreme Court Justice Byron R. White.


South Padre Island taps Smith as city manager
Randy Smith
South Padre Island City Council members appointed interim city manager Randy Smith as the city's full-time manager.

He had been serving as the city manager since January after Susan Guthrie announced her resignation in December 2018. Guthrie accepted the position of town manager of Sunnyvale.

Smith was South Padre's police chief for nine years. He has 36 years of experience as a veteran police officer and 22 years as a police chief for the Village of Surfside Beach and for South Padre Island. He simultaneously served 15 years as an emergency management coordinator and nine years as a public safety director.
Nelinson named as Carrollton strategic services director
Krystle Nelinson
Krystle Nelinson has been named as the city of Carrollton's new director of strategic services.
 
Nelinson has worked at the city since 2014 as management analyst/city secretary and development program manager. She has served as interim director of strategic services since January.

Before joining the city of Carrollton, Nelinson was an economic development specialist at the town of Flower Mound and a marketing and event specialist at a faith-based nonprofit in Lewisville.
  
Anna hires economic development manager
Taylor Lough
The city of Anna has tapped Taylor Lough as its new economic development manager, effective July 8.

Lough is presently the assistant to the city manager in Richardson and supervises the city's Community Services Department, which includes code enforcement and other neighborhood improvement and community development programs. She also researches and analyzes economic development projects and incentives within Richardson.

Prior to her current role, the six-year Richardson employee served as a management analyst and management intern with the city.
Copperas Cove names Haverlah as city manager
Ryan Haverlah
The Copperas Cove City Council unanimously selected Ryan Haverlah as its city manager on June 25. He succeeds former City Manager Andrea Gardner who resigned in January 2018.
 
Haverlah had been serving as the city's interim city manager since February 2018. He joined the city of Copperas Cove in March 2011 and held various positions, including budget director, assistant finance director, assistant to the city manager, and deputy city manager.

His official appointment date is to be determined.
Port of Victoria selects Stibich as new director
Sean Stibich
Port of Victoria commissioners recently hired Sean Stibich as the port's executive director.

Stibich previously managed container, break-bulk, project cargo, and liquid cargo shipping logistics at the Port of Houston, Port of New Orleans, and other ports in the Americas.

He replaces Paul "Skip" Kaup who is retiring after five years with the port.


GOVERNOR'S APPOINTMENTS
Gov. Greg Abbott has announced these appointments/reappointments from June 21-27:

Stacey Napier - Austin, Department of Information Resources

Kara Thompson - Austin, Department of Information Resources

Casey O'Neal - Austin, Advisory Committee to the Texas Board of Criminal Justice on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments

Wally Kraft - Paris, Sulphur River Basin Authority Board of Directors

Robert "Reeves" Hayter - Paris, Sulphur River Basin Authority Board of Directors (reappointed)

Paul Morris - Palestine, Upper Neches River Municipal Water Authority Board of Directors

Brett Flagg - Frisco, Texas Mutual Insurance Company Board of Directors

Randell Resneder - Lubbock, Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities

Molly Spratt - Austin, Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities

Emmett "Toby" Summers III - San Antonio, Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities

Rebecca "Hunter" Adkins - Lakeway, Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (reappointment)

Kimberly Blackmon - Fort WorthTexas Council for Developmental Disabilities (reappointment)

Kristen Cox - El Paso, Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (reappointment)

Scott McAvoy - Cedar Park, Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (reappointment)

Ronald "Ronnie" Browning - Spring, Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities

Robert Schier III - Elgin, Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities

Gladys Cortez - McAllen, Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (reappointment)

Mary Durheim - Spring, Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (reappointment)

John Thomas - Weatherford, Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (reappointment)

Paul Cardarella - Denton, Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities

Maverick Crawford III - San Antonio, Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities

Eric Shahid - Somerville, Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities

Kimberly Torres - Houston, Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities

Andrew "Andy" Crim - Fort Worth, Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (reappointment)

Michael Peace - Poteet, Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (reappointment)

Lora Taylor - Katy, Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (reappointment)


RECENT REPORTS and DATA
Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Legislative Update

Texas Sunset Advisory Commission - Final Results of Sunset Reviews (2018-2019)

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas - Texas Economic Indicators

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas - Texas Employment Forecast

U.S. Census Bureau - American Housing Month

Mineta Transportation Institute - What Do Americans Think About Federal Tax Options to Support Transportation?
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: 
  • Office of the Texas Governor - Advance Representative (Program Specialist II)
  • Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation - Industrialized Housing and Buildings Senior Program Specialist
  • Texas Real Estate Commission - Attorney IV
  • Texas Real Estate Commission - Document Imaging Technician
  • Texas Real Estate Commission - Customer Service Representative III
  • Ector County - Sheriff's Office Secretary
  • Texas Department of Information Resources - Program Specialist VII
  • Texas Treasury Safekeeping Trust Company - CPA - Portfolio Manager III
  • Texas Legislative Council - Systems Programmer III
  • Alamo Area Council of Governments - Weatherization Assistance Program Manager
  • Alamo Area Council of Governments - Area Agency on Aging Ombudsman


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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