Volume 19, Issue 44 - Friday, October 29, 2021
By Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships Inc.
In the immediate past, water and wastewater infrastructure projects rarely created any public excitement … but that may be changing. Citizens throughout the country now realize the critical need for clean and safe drinking water and careful management of wastewater facilities. And, contractors who provide water-related services are welcoming a massive and expanded marketplace for their companies.

Public works-related infrastructure projects have been funded throughout the U.S., and even more funding is anticipated soon. The financial assistance is coming from many sources already, but the long-awaited infrastructure bill contains billions more for new water and wastewater infrastructure projects.

In Boise, Idaho, city leaders will hold a $570 million bond election for funding to expand a wastewater treatment plant, replace aging pipes, and develop water renewal or wastewater recycling services. Additionally, city leaders plan to use some of the funding for various other projects included in a Water Renewal Services plan that outlines projects with projected costs that exceed $900 million.

More than $3 billion in tuition revenue bonds will fully fund 47 capital projects at all state university systems, independent institutions, and state technical colleges with the governor’s signing of SB 52 on October 25. 

The Texas Legislature passed the bill with an emphasis on renovation, projects to replace inoperable buildings, and deferred maintenance and construction for regional campuses. 

Texas A&M University System construction and renovation projects will benefit from more than $727.42 million in state funding with appropriations going to its campuses in Commerce, Corpus Christi, Galveston, Kingsville, Texarkana, San Antonio, West Texas, and Central Texas, as well as its Health Science Center in Houston, International University in Laredo, Tarleton State University, Prairie View A&M University, and RELLIS campus. 

Sixteen projects under The University of Texas (UT) System will receive $834.2 million with funding going to various campuses. 

UT-Arlington will receive $52.4 million, UT-Austin will get $56.15 million, and J.J. Pickle Research Campus was appropriated $56.15 million. 

UT-Dallas and UT-El Paso will each receive $52.4 million. Nearly $45 million will go to renovations at UT-Permian Basin, while UT-Rio Grande Valley will receive the same amount to construct a new building. The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio will get $59.9 million, and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center will receive $69.9 million. 

All of $208.5 million in state funding for Texas State Technical College will go toward expansions at its campuses in Williamson County, Fort Bend County, Harlingen, Marshall, North Texas, West Texas, and Waco. 

Legislators appropriated more than $287.16 million to The University of Houston System (UH) for construction projects at its Hobby School of Public Affairs and campuses in Sugar Land, downtown Houston, Clear Lake, and Victoria. 

The Texas State University System (TSUS) will receive funding for projects at its Lamar State College’s Orange and Port Arthur campuses, Lamar University, and Lamar Institute of Technology. As part of TSUS, Sam Houston State University will get $254.4 million for three building construction projects. 

Texas Woman’s University and Stephen F. Austin State University were authorized to improve their facilities for sums not to exceed $100 million and $44.9 million, respectively. Texas Southern University will get $95.2 million for renovation and construction projects while the University of North Texas System will receive $273.3 million. 

All totaled, Texas Tech University will receive $80 million while Midwestern State University and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center will receive state funding for renovations and upgrades to existing facilities. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso will get $59.9 million. 
The National Juneteenth Museum will be built in Fort Worth as part of a mixed-use development that will help revitalize the city’s Historic Southside neighborhood.

Declared a federal holiday on June 17, 2021, when President Joe Biden signed the law with Opal Lee by his side, Juneteenth has sparked celebrations worldwide commemorating freedom for the enslaved via the abolition of slavery in the United States.

Lee is affectionately known as the Grandmother of Juneteenth and has been leading the charge to see the National Juneteenth Museum become a reality.

The National Juneteenth Museum will be erected on land that currently houses Lee’s Fort Worth Juneteenth Museum that has served the community for nearly two decades.

As the epicenter for the preservation of Juneteenth history and a center for discussions about freedom, the new museum will host events and exhibits as well as seminars and lectures.

The museum will be led by a collaboration of activists, researchers, historians, and members of the public. It will educate guests on the legacy and experiences of the enslaved and provide factual narratives about people who overcame the trials and hardships of oppression.

Museum planners hope to secure funding from government partners as well as private and corporate donors, according to a project spokesperson.

Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker lent her support for the project in a press release, saying she is excited to add this concept to the collection of world-class museums in the city.
Today is the final day for early voting on eight amendments to the Texas Constitution that will appear on the Election Day ballot November 2.

The propositions touch on activities by professional sports team charitable foundations, county authority to issue bonds, limitations on religious services, court judge eligibility, and complaints against state judicial candidates.

Remaining amendments address visitation rights for residents of facilities and school district property tax homestead exemptions.

These amendments will appear on the ballot as:

Proposition No. 1: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the professional sports team charitable foundations of organizations sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association or the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association to conduct charitable raffles at rodeo venues.”

Proposition No. 2: “The constitutional amendment authorizing a county to finance the development or redevelopment of transportation or infrastructure in unproductive, underdeveloped, or blighted areas in the county.”

Proposition No. 3: “The constitutional amendment to prohibit this state or a political subdivision of this state from prohibiting or limiting religious services of religious organizations.”

Proposition No. 4: “The constitutional amendment changing the eligibility requirements for a justice of the supreme court, a judge of the court of criminal appeals, a justice of a court of appeals, and a district judge.”

Proposition No. 5: “The constitutional amendment providing additional powers to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct with respect to candidates for judicial office.”

Proposition No. 6: “The constitutional amendment establishing a right for residents of certain facilities to designate an essential caregiver for in-person visitation.”

Proposition No. 7: “The constitutional amendment to allow the surviving spouse of a person who is disabled to receive a limitation on the school district ad valorem taxes on the spouse’s residence homestead if the spouse is 55 years of age or older at the time of the person’s death.”

Proposition No. 8: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a member of the armed services of the United States who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty.”

Registered voters may cast a ballot at any early voting location in their county of registration.
Nadine Lee
President and CEO
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART)
Public career highlights and education: Prior to joining DART as president and CEO, I was the chief of staff for Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro). Three culture-transformation functions were established under my leadership: Equity and Race, Customer Experience, and the Better Bus Program. As deputy chief innovation officer, I led the development of Metro’s Vision 2028 Strategic Plan. I was appointed to the Leadership APTA Committee in 2019, and I am a past director of the WTS International Board. I was awarded 2019 WTS International Woman of the Year. A registered professional engineer in Colorado and Kansas, I received my bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

What I like best about public service is: Improving communities. What we do at DART is critical to making places more inclusive and useful. I specifically like helping those who don’t have a voice or are often ignored. Having the problem-solving abilities of an engineer coupled with some degree of political acumen, I’m better positioned to help those who have been historically, and are still currently, disenfranchised.

The best advice I’ve received is: Being your authentic self. Everyone talks about it, but there’s always been so much pressure to be like someone else. I certainly saw that growing up in Missouri and being someone who looked different. I was dealing with my own self confidence trying to figure out how to be successful and learning that who I am is exactly what makes me successful.

My favorite way to de-stress is: Ballet. I’ve been taking lessons for almost 10 years. It really brings me joy. Almost nothing gets in the way of me doing that. I don’t plan to dance for the Bolshoi, but ballet requires so much mental energy that I can’t think about work. It’s my yoga. My meditation. When I go to class, I’m able to let go of everything else, even for a short time.

People might be surprised to know that I: Used to compete in triathlons. Also, I am an introvert.

One thing I wish more people knew about DART is: We are building The People’s Transit System – a transit system that puts people at the heart of everything we do. We are embarking on an effort to build a new and long-lasting relationship with our customers and with the people in this region, a courtship, if you will. We want to be lifelong partners for everyone in the North Texas region. We want people to love transit and love DART.
Slightly more than half of respondents to an annual cybersecurity survey of city and county government technology leaders said their elected officials are only somewhat engaged with their jurisdiction’s cybersecurity efforts.

The Public Technology Institute (PTI), part of the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), released the results of its annual cybersecurity survey on October 27 that show that local technology leaders continue to struggle with budgets and with bringing more local officials into the decision-making process when it comes to cybersecurity programs.

Fifty-two percent said their officials are familiar with their cybersecurity initiatives, and the majority (58 percent) of local tech leaders said their cybersecurity budgets are not adequate to support security and cloud initiatives.

Only 4 percent of respondents said their cybersecurity budgets had decreased this year compared to last year with the lion’s share (96 percent) saying budgets increased or stayed the same.

Most leaders (69 percent) said their jurisdictions are paying more in insurance premiums this year compared to previous years.

Thirty-one percent of tech executives are planning substantial cloud computing implementations in the next 12 months, while 27 percent of respondents said they are already using cloud computing services.

PTI, which has been conducting the survey for the last six years, interviewed professionals who work for local governments of all sizes as part of the 2021 National Survey of Local Government Cybersecurity Programs and Cloud Initiatives.
A city of Cedar Park bond advisory task force is developing a list of proposed transportation, public facilities, public safety, and parks projects for consideration in a future bond election.

Not all proposed projects will be included in the presentation to the Cedar Park City Council, but task force members estimated the final recommendation may be at a value of up to $125 million for a bond package.

Task force members are ranking more than $93 million in transportation projects including the high-priority $12.2 million Whitestone Boulevard at 183A innovative intersection.

The upgraded intersection will be designed to improve traffic flow with roadway maintenance, safety, and mobility improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians. This intersection is currently operating over-capacity, and delays are expected to worsen as traffic increases due to regional growth and the future frontage road connection. The proposed configuration would increase the number of vehicles able to travel through the intersection at a time, which will better accommodate increased traffic volume.

Phase one of an expansion to the city’s public safety training facility is estimated to cost $28.2 million. The joint initiative between the Cedar Park Fire Department, Police Department, and Emergency Management division consists of a joint classroom facility, training personnel office space, a city emergency operations center and conference room, and three bays for emergency management and fire department equipment.

Completion of Lakeline Park for $16.2 million tops the list of eight parks and recreation projects totaling $54.51 million that are being proposed for a future bond election.

The second phase of the park project would add 30 acres of highly maintained recreational space to include:
  • Sports fields. 
  • 2 multipurpose fields (artificial). 
  • 2 softball fields (natural). 
  • Tennis, pickle ball, basketball, and volleyball courts. 
  • Trails. 
  • Splash pad. 
  • Natural recreation/fishing. 
  • Roadways/utilities/parking. 
  • Restrooms. 
  • Playground/play equipment. 

With the construction of a new Cedar Park Public Library, the city’s current library building would be demolished and the site repurposed into a new $16.1 million senior center.

This facility would be larger at approximately 24,000 square feet and more modern than the existing Treasure of the Hills Senior Center facility, and would be designed to meet the needs of the current and future senior population.

These are some of the proposed projects that could be included in a future bond election for the city of Cedar Park.
The city of Beaumont could open bidding in the next one to two months for a $27 million project to stabilize the Riverfront Park shoreline.

Hurricane Harvey caused significant shoreline erosion to the park in 2017.

Since then, the Beaumont City Council has discussed options for restoring the park that has been closed indefinitely.

As the city awaits Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) funding that will finance 90 percent of the project, Beaumont’s engineering firm already is coordinating with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to evaluate alternatives considering elements such as wind, rainfall, erosion, slope, and soil quality.

Councilmembers indicated a preference for stabilizing the existing shoreline rather than building it out to its original state. Construction is scheduled for completion in 2023.
Iowa Park is proceeding with the design and construction of a new fire station and police station after councilmembers approved the recommendations of the Public Safety Facilities Committee.

The 21-member committee determined that the size and condition of the city’s existing public safety facilities are inadequate for current and future fire and police operations.

Competitive proposals will be sought for the design and construction of an estimated 4,000-square-foot fire station between the existing fire station and the post office. The new facility would feature a minimum of three double drive-through bays for modern apparatus as well as increased office, meeting, maintenance, and storage space. The city desires the ability to add a fourth vehicle bay and future office space.

Committee members recommended a new 7,500-square-foot police station with a tower, parking, and space to add a new city hall on site in the future. It would be located on city property on East Highway between North Victoria and North Texowa avenues.

Additionally, the committee advised the Iowa Park Community Development Corporation to consider the demolition of the existing police and fire facilities for City Hall Park improvements.
The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) and Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) have resumed efforts on the MoPac South Environmental Study.

Launched in 2013, the study evaluated a full range of Alternatives and recommended the Express Lane(s) Alternative.

Now, the transit partners intend to determine if one or two express lanes is the best alternative, and how to design the connections to downtown.

South of Cesar Chavez Street, the MoPac corridor is a critical link in the Austin region, keeping South Austin and Hays County connected to major highways such as Loop 360 and US 290, and providing access to downtown Austin.

This 8-mile stretch of MoPac attracts up to 179,000 cars and trucks per day. Expanding population, as well as residential and commercial development have led to increased traffic congestion. If transit authorities do nothing to address congestion, drivers could spend an additional 35 minutes traveling the corridor by 2035, according to the CTRMA.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Aviation Division has rebid for work involving pavement rehabilitation and drainage improvements at Coleman Municipal Airport to expand a runway.

Extension of the 7,820-foot Runway 15-33 will be carried out in three phases, with the first phase extending the runway by 1,000 feet on the north end with hot mix asphaltic concrete.

Phase 2 calls for extending the runway by 500 feet on the south end, and the third phase will complete the project by repaving the existing runway with hot mix asphaltic concrete and relocating the Runway 33 glide slope.

A pre-bid conference for this project will be held at 10 a.m. November 10 at Terminal Building, Coleman Municipal Airport, 503 Airport Road, in Coleman.

Bids will be received until 2 p.m. November 30.
Lewisville ISD (LISD) is entering the design phase for a new district bus yard and maintenance shop with the selection of an architectural firm.

LISD is exploring the possibility of creating a new facility on district property near Vickery Elementary in Flower Mound.

To develop a concept, it will charge the firm with conducting feasibility studies, planning, and designing the bus yard and maintenance shop.

In addition, the district will begin the design process and bid package development with the architect and present recommendations for contractor selections and a guaranteed maximum price to the board of trustees for approval.
As current and emerging cyber threats spread from the online world into proliferating commercial technologies, cybersecurity leaders and educators are partnering to research ways to mitigate the risks.

The relationship between the National Security Collaboration Center (NSCC) at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is a prime example of an effective synergy between military and academia.

The two organizations recently signed a new $18 million federal research contract, Advanced Capabilities for Cyber Resilient and Assured Missions (ACCRAM), that will fund UTSA researchers and students as they work with the U.S. Air Force (USAF) to integrate innovative cyber-related solutions into technologies in support of the USAF's needs.

Specifically, the research will address cybersecurity and resiliency of those systems and databases identified as the Air Force’s highest priority challenges such as:
  • 5G. 
  • Internet of Things (IoT). 
  • Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). 
  • Their applications. 

By advancing these solutions, UTSA and AFRL will support the transition of these capabilities from academia and industry into military operational use for Air Force personnel.

ACCRAM also will allow for a greater partnership with a broader team of researchers and operators and acquisition experts including Air Force Life Cycle Management, Cyber Proving Ground, and Air Force Modeling and Simulation.

The contract is not limited to Air Force research. Other Department of Defense agencies and divisions, such as Army Futures Command and Department of Homeland Security, as well as federal government partners will be able to utilize the studies and research to tackle common objectives.
The Strategic Partnerships Inc. (SPI) Team welcomes Bob Brown and is delighted to add the knowledge and expertise he brings from his four decades of government service.

Bob is recently retired as the senior vice president for finance and administration and chief finance officer (CFO) at the University of North Texas (UNT), a Carnegie R1 Research Institution. Before that, he served as vice president for business and administration at Texas A&M University-Commerce and vice chancellor of business affairs at Dallas College. Bob also held leadership roles as a CFO/chief business officer for 38 years. He is a Certified Public Accountant.

During Bob’s career, he led many procurements and strategic sourcing workgroups, and he read and evaluated more than 2,000 proposals that were submitted to public entities.

Primary career successes include leading financial turnaround at three institutions. He mentored higher education finance professionals who have subsequently achieved the ranks of vice president, CFO, chancellor, and president.

Bob received the Distinguished Business Officer Award from the National Association of College and University Business Officers and the Nation’s Outstanding Chief Business Officer award from the Community College Business Officers organization in 1996.

He also received the Distinguished Service Award from the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers in 2008 and was named an Innovator of the Year in 1990 and again in 2003 by the League for Innovation in the Community College.

Bob has held roles as president, past president, and several board positions with the Texas Association of Senior College and University Business Officers. He earned both a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration from UNT.
The Trinity Metro board of directors named Paul Ballard as interim president and CEO on October 25. He will take over from President and CEO Bob Baulsir who is retiring as of October 31 because of ongoing health isssues. 

Ballard preceded Baulsir in the role and retired in April 2019 after serving at the helm for five years. Shortly after leaving Trinity Metro, Ballard served as interim general manager and CEO for the Regional Transportation District in Denver. 
The Flower Mound Town Council on October 25 voted unanimously to appoint James Childers as the new town manager. He will take over from Interim Town Manager Tommy Dalton who succeeded Interim Town Manager Debra Wallace. 

Childers, who currently serves as the assistant city manager for the city of Irving, will start with the town on January 3, 2022. He previously served as director of community services and then as assistant city manager for the city of Abilene.
The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) named Glenna Bowman as chief financial officer (CFO) and director of the Finance and Administrative Services Division. 

Previously, Bowman served as CFO for the Texas Office of Court Administration, State Board of Public Accountancy, Alcoholic Beverage Commission, and Department of Agriculture, as well as deputy CFO for the Texas Water Development Board. 
In a unanimous decision, the Texarkana City Council hired David Orr as city manager on October 25. 

Most recently, Orr had served as interim city manager since April 2021 after the retirement of City Manager Shirley Jaster. Before that, he was assistant city manager and director of the city’s Planning and Community Development Department. 
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner selected Mark Wilfalk as the new director of the Solid Waste Management Department. 

Wilfalk has held various positions, including director and chief of operations, with the Department of Solid Waste and Environmental Program Management at the city of Tampa, Florida. 
The city of Fort Worth named Jannette Goodall as city secretary, pending City Council approval in November. She will succeed Mary Kayser who retired in June. 

Goodall has served as city secretary for the city of Austin since 2013. 
The Federal Reserve Banks of Dallas and Kansas City will host their sixth joint energy conference, Energy and the Economy: Opportunities and Challenges of the Energy Transition, from 8:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. November 5 virtually.

Leading energy experts will join Kansas City Fed President Esther George in conversation about the state of the energy sector, the outlook for global energy markets, regional and macro implications of the global energy transition, technology and advancing the energy transition, and the changing U.S. energy landscape.

The free, virtual event includes panels on the outlook for global energy markets, regional and macro implication of the global energy transition, and a new panel on technology and advancing the energy transition.

Registration is open. Questions may be submitted in advance.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced these appointments and reappointments from October 22-28:

482nd Judicial District Court Judge 
Maritza Antu - Houston 

Texas Judicial Council 
Zina Bash - Austin 
Evan Young - Austin (reappointed) 

Judicial Compensation Commission 
Guy Fidelie Jr. - Wichita Falls 

Brazos River Authority
Board of Directors 
Christine Giese - Brenham 
Helen Jimenez - Richmond 
Anthony Mbroh - Dallas 

(Reappointed) 
Cynthia Flores - Round Rock  
Charles “Rick” Huber III - Granbury 
John Henry Luton - Granbury 
Austin Ruiz - Harker Heights 
Wintford Taylor III - Waco 

Red River Authority
of Texas Board of Directors 
Conrad Masterson - Cee Vee 
Todd Boykin - Amarillo (reappointed) 
Jerry Bob Daniel - Truscott (reappointed) 

North East Texas
Regional Mobility Authority 
Gary Halbrooks - Tyler 

North Texas Tollway Authority Board of Directors 
Lynn Gravley - Gunter (reappointed) 
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts – FiscalNotes: Winter Storm Uri 2021 


Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas – Texas Employment Forecast

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas – Texas Economic Indicators
Dozens of public-sector jobs are available. Click here to view all job openings and guidelines for job submissions to SPI. New jobs added this week:

  • Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs – Asset Manager

  • Office of the Texas Governor – Research Specialist IV

  • Texas Legislative Council – Trainer II

  • Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts – Texas Broadband Outreach Coordinator

  • City of Pflugerville – Utility Superintendent
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