Volume 19, Issue 11 - March 12, 2021
The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 signed on March 11 contains $27.62 billion for state and local governments in Texas to support their response and recovery. The state government will receive $16.8 billion, and local governments will get $10.4 billion from the pandemic relief bill.

Metro cities in Texas, as determined by U.S. Census data, will receive $3.37 billion. Counties will receive almost $5.67 billion, and non-county areas will collect $1.4 billion. More aid will be directed to capital projects with $480 million in funding.

The bill will provide the city of Houston with $615.44 million and Harris County with $914.12 million. Fort Bend County was allocated $157.42 million, and Montgomery County will get $117.8 million.

Dallas County and the city of Dallas will gain $511.14 million and $377.13 million, respectively. Collin County was allocated $200.68 million, and Denton County will get $172.07 million.

San Antonio is set to receive $326.58 million, and Bexar County will get $388.58 million. Austin will collect $195.8 million, and Travis County will get $247.08 million. Williamson County will receive $114.53 million.

Elsewhere in the state, El Paso County will get $162.77 million, and the city of El Paso will receive $159.22 million. Hidalgo County will accept $212.7 million.

White House officials said local governments would receive 50 percent of the funding within 60 days of the bill being signed into law. The other 50 percent would be available in 2022.

Another $10 billion would go into the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund to help finance recovery efforts across the nation.

Each state will receive $100 million for critical capital projects that directly enable work, education, and health monitoring, including remote options, in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Of the remaining amount, 50 percent will be allocated to the states based on their population in comparison to each other. Another 25 percent will be distributed among states based on populations in rural areas. The final 25 percent will be disbursed according to household income levels below 150 percent of the poverty line.

Elsewhere in the pending legislation, $219.8 billion in coronavirus recovery funds would go to states and $120.2 billion would go to counties and cities. Some of this funding may be used before 2025 for construction projects.
Irving councilmembers called a $553.2 million bond election on May 1 that will seek voter approval of several capital project propositions, including $152.7 million for a new public safety campus. Many of these bond items were held over from the city’s November 2020 bond election that it canceled.

Proposition A would request authorization to spend $207.8 million on street and transportation improvements such as traffic congestion relief, paving, traffic signals, alleys, and street lighting.

If approved, Proposition B would provide $9.2 million for enhancements to the Irving City Hall campus and Proposition C would fund $10.2 million for improvements to field operations, fleet maintenance, and central warehousing facilities.

Upgrades to the city’s human services offices and facilities would receive $1.3 million in bond funding with the passage of Proposition D.

Approval of Proposition E would provide $29.93 million for police facility improvements and land acquisition.

Proposition F would fund $5.77 million in improvements to the animal care campus, and Proposition G would authorize the city to spend $34.3 million for the design and construction of fire station and administration facilities and purchase land for the structures.

More than $78 million would go to park and recreation improvements and construction of new facilities if Proposition H passes.

Fiber optics and information technology infrastructure projects would be funded for $10.7 million with the passage of Proposition I.

Over $20 million from Proposition J would go toward constructing or expanding library facilities, and Proposition K would provide $3 million for improvements to the Irving Arts Center, including a roof replacement.

Proposition L would fund the construction of a new public safety campus and land acquisition.
The Austin City Council took a significant step in delivering $460 million in local mobility projects by approving the release of funds from the 2020 Active Transportation and Safety Bond. Voters approved the bond in November 2020.

Austin Transportation and Austin Public Works will hire initial staff to begin work on the projects.

The city will commit $102 million to major capital projects including multi-modal improvements to the Longhorn Dam Bridge, the Congress Avenue Urban Design Initiative, creation of a preliminary engineering report for Barton Springs Road, and upgrades to the South Pleasant Valley Corridor.

Additional funding will support these initiatives:
  • $80 million - Sidewalks. 
  • $80 million - Urban trails. 
  • $65 million - Safety/Vision Zero. 
  • $53 million - Substandard streets. 
  • $40 million - Bikeways. 
  • $20 million - Safe routes to school. 
  • $19 million - Local transit enhancement. 
  • $1 million - Neighborhood partnering program. 

Construction is anticipated to begin in late 2021 or early 2022, and all work related to the 2020 Active Transportation and Safety Bond is anticipated to be completed by 2027.

These projects are in addition to the $160 million in funds approved in November 2018 and $720 million voters approved in November 2016.
The final design plan for the estimated $115 million remediation of the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund site is expected soon.

Located in Harris County at the site of a former paper mill, the area consists of two sets of impoundments, or pits, built in the mid-1960s for disposing solid and liquid pulp and paper mill wastes that are contaminated with dioxins and furans.

The northern set of impoundments, about 14 acres in size, are on the western bank of the San Jacinto River, north of the Interstate 10 bridge over the San Jacinto River. These northern impoundments are partially submerged in the river and were covered with an armored cap in 2011 as a temporary way to contain the contaminants. The southern impoundment, less than 20 acres, is on a small peninsula that extends south of I-10.

In 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the cleanup plan to address dioxin contamination at the site. The selected remedy includes removal of the dioxin containing material from the waste pits and off-site disposal.

The EPA’s cleanup plan includes installing engineering controls such as a cofferdam before excavating approximately 212,000 cubic yards of dioxin-contaminated material for disposal.
Paco Felici
Chief of Staff / Chief Communications Officer
Port San Antonio
Career highlights and education: I have served as chief of staff and chief communications officer at Port San Antonio since 2008. Previously, I led communications for the Nature Conservancy of Texas and also worked for 15 years in various capacities in the Office of the Texas Attorney General, where I also served as deputy communications director. Created over 20 years under ago under Texas law as an independent base redevelopment authority, Port San Antonio has reimagined the site of the former Kelly Air Force Base as a technology innovation destination that will launch a new state-of-the-art innovation center in 2022.

What I like best about public service is: Being part of teams that innovate and achieve real results for people: fulfilling immediate needs today and developing and implementing sustainable programs that genuinely make lives better for upcoming generations. This has been true throughout my career, whether it was protecting consumers, crime victims, or the environment to my current work as part of a committed team that is connecting people with life-changing educational, career, and entrepreneurial opportunities.

The best advice I’ve received is: Never use the word “I” when taking credit. Always “we.” It’s not only good manners to do so; it’s invariably true.

My favorite way to destress is: Art - making it, traveling the world to see it, talking about it, and reading about it.

People might be surprised to know that I: Left college for a semester to pursue a career in acting.

One thing I wish more people knew about Port San Antonio is: In addition to leading the growth of the economic landscape of South Texas, the Port’s framework is increasingly a model of economic development for other communities across the nation to follow. In short: Don’t compete by touting yourself as a “cheap” place to do business. Instead, compete on the value of your work and your ideas as a community by investing in people’s talent, building enduring partnerships between industry and education, and playing to your strengths as you innovate and participate in tremendous opportunities across the world. Humankind is in the middle of a seismic systems-based technological revolution — be a leader in that conversation, not a back shop.
Tarrant County commissioners are planning a $400 million transportation bond program for a November 2021 election.

The county will establish a project evaluation committee to develop a priority list of projects that will be sent to the Commissioners Court for approval. In addition, the city of Fort Worth has proposed several dozen projects to be considered. The city would be required to provide at least a 50 percent local match of the total cost of each project.

Fort Worth’s transportation and public works staff reviewed the county’s bond policy, criteria, and three main funding categories to identify eligible projects with the best opportunity for county bond funding.

These projects have been identified for city of Fort Worth funding and Tarrant County bond funding:
  • Arterial roads, 12 projects with a $302.2 million total project cost.  
  • Intersections, 12 projects with a $32.8 million total project cost.  
  • Traffic signals, 15 projects with a $9 million total project cost.  
  • Grade-separated railroad crossings, $60 million total project cost. 

On April 6, the City Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution of support for the county bond program. Commissioners Court approval is expected to come in August or September.

Fort Worth plans its own city bond election in May 2022. Public meetings for the city’s 2022 bond election will begin this summer.
Flood and water system improvement projects in Hidalgo County and the city of New Braunfels will benefit from more than $82.6 million in financial assistance from the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB).

At their March 10 meeting, board members approved more than $91.12 million to five projects across the state.

New Braunfels will receive $40 million for water system improvements, including expansion of its Surface Water Treatment Plant (SWTP).

The city’s current treatment capacity of 8 million gallons per day (MGD) is inadequate for projected water demands, and existing infrastructure at the plant is in the floodplain. Significant flooding from the Guadalupe River occurred at the plant in 1998 and 2002. The city has identified additional areas of the existing SWTP that need improvement, such as the filter backwash system and the safety of the chlorine system.

To protect the SWTP from flooding, the improvements will include constructing a berm or floodwall around the perimeter of the facility, elevating raw water pumps and electrical equipment, and adding a new, enclosed chlorine building elevated above the floodplain with a dry scrubber system.

Design work is expected to begin in June 2022 with construction starting the following November to expand the plant to 16 MGD. Officials anticipate completion in September 2023.

TWDB awarded $32.67 million in financial assistance to Hidalgo County Drainage District No. 1 for the first phase of a flood improvement project.

To reduce frequent flooding problems and to accommodate the area’s future development, the district plans to expand and improve the main drainage ditch, drainage ditch laterals, regional detention facilities, culvert crossings, the discharge structures, and pumps.

The project has been divided into four segments that interconnect and drain into the two outfalls that drain into the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) floodway. The construction of each segment is composed of channel excavation, regional detention pond excavation, embankment, gate well control structure, pump and controls, concrete rip rap, reinforced concrete boxes, and reinforced concrete pipe. The rights-of-way are limited in the area; therefore, land acquisition is included in the project.

Improvements will benefit over 400 structures in the area. The project will reduce the water surface elevation by more than 1.5 feet and it will increase the storage and discharge capacity of the storm system.

The design phase is set to begin in November, and construction is expected to commence in June 2022. Completion is scheduled for June 2024.
After delaying and canceling several major capital projects, the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) board of directors authorized $75 million for the design of Terminal C renovations.

The airport is modernizing the 25-gate terminal built in 1972 to meet current and future operational requirements. Consisting of four levels, the terminal is in need of upgrades to passenger and visitor areas as well as work on its electrical and HVAC systems.

In 2019, the board approved $500 million for the project in 2019, but it has been delayed multiple times over the years. According to 2017 disclosure statements, the Terminal C renovation budget was $815.9 million, but it was uncertain if DFW would renovate the terminal as originally planned.

Construction could begin as early as 2022.
Disaster preparedness and response are two primary components of a 10-year Statewide Preservation Plan in development by the Texas Historical Commission (THC).

The intent of this project is to develop a new plan to examine current statewide preservation efforts and identify strategies to advance preservation efforts on local, regional, and statewide levels.

In its solicitation for historical studies, conservation-resource management, and environmental planning and advisory services, the THC requires a goal and set of objectives specific to disaster planning –– preparedness and response –– and supplemental disaster-related documents.

Some of the requirements are:
  • Goal and set of objectives that address disaster preparedness and response issues incorporated within the plan document, along with implementation recommendations. 
  • Data collection and analysis of historic resources in communities impacted by Hurricane Harvey. 
  • Statewide assessment of disaster-related threats and recommendations. 
  • Best practice guide for local government planning. 
  • Planning and facilitation services. 
  • Texas Statewide Preservation Plan with disaster planning components. 
  • Historic property owners handbook. 

Another primary project objective is to create and implement a planning strategy to develop a plan that fulfills the State Historic Preservation Office’s responsibilities under the National Historic Preservation Act.

Services requested would begin June 1 and end December 1, 2022.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) awarded a $1.2 million grant to a research center at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) to help identify high-value assets in order to prioritize resources and planning.

CISA will partner with UTSA’s Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security on the two-year pilot State, Local, Tribal and Territorial High Value Asset Program. The partnership will develop guidance based on best practices to address the identification, categorization, and prioritization of information technology systems to enable increased protection of assets across various jurisdictions.

The partnership's objective is to develop scalable guidelines, templates, and tools that may be used to facilitate implementation of identified processes within the context of each community’s risk management framework, available resources, and authorities.

UTSA is a nationally recognized Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense.
The town of Flower Mound is commissioning a feasibility study for an outdoor tennis center.

Consultants will be expected to conduct a needs assessment as well to assist the town community in determining whether to proceed with planning, funding, and developing a tennis center.

The town is seeking a system-wide approach to evaluating current tennis facilities and amenities in order to develop goals, policies, program pricing methodology, and guidelines along with achievable strategies.

Flower Mound is served by two high schools with numerous athletic facilities which include tennis centers consisting of 12 courts at each school. Recreational tennis opportunities are not currently offered to the public in either high school.

The town operates a four-court tennis facility at its Leonard and Helen Johns Community Park and a single tennis court at Westchester Park. The recommended service level for tennis courts in the town’s 2017 Parks and Trails Master Plan indicates one court per 6,000 residents. This leaves a shortage of eight tennis courts based on the current population of about 78,080.

Study objectives include assessment of partnership opportunities with public, private, and not-for-profit organizations as well as facility and program scope, size, features and amenities, site evaluation, market analysis, and initial cost estimate.

A final report will be presented to the town’s Parks Board and Town Council.
Harris County has filed a lawsuit to stop development and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has asked for a pause on contract solicitations for the North Houston Highway Improvement Project (NHHIP).

Both organizations are seeking additional environmental reviews of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) project, citing potential noise, air quality, and displacement of residents the highway expansion could cause.

TxDOT released a Record of Decision on February 4 that features a selected alternative designed to create additional roadway capacity by adding four managed express lanes on Interstate 45 from downtown Houston to Beltway 8 North and rerouting I-45 to run parallel with Interstate 10 to the north of downtown and parallel to U.S. Highway 59 on the east side of downtown.

FHWA officials acted on letters they received from U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, from the Air Alliance Houston, and Texas Housers community organization expressing environmental justice concerns about the project.

According to the letter, although TxDOT is responsible for the required reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act through an agreement with FHWA, the agency evaluates and processes complaints against federal-aid recipients under Title VI.
Is your government organization struggling to manage its appeals processing?

County and city governments are burdened with manual, paper-based, and extremely time-intensive appeals processes. Additionally, citizens who wish to reduce their tax burden by filing an appeal or exemption are faced with the same complex procedures and antiquated systems, as well as a lack of visibility into the process and inefficient communication with the appropriate government office.

Attend AST’s webinar at 1 p.m. EDT March 25 to learn how its Appeals and Exemptions solution provides government organizations with the missing pieces to the appeals management puzzle – automation, efficiency, and centralized, accurate data.

Eliminate inefficient, manual paper processes and adopt no-touch, completely remote appeals and exemptions management.

Gov. Greg Abbott reappointed Peter Lake to the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) on March 10.

Lake of Austin has served on the board since December 2015 and as chairman since 2018. He is the former head of business development at an oil company.
El Paso County selected Michael Hernandez as its new economic development director. 

Hernandez most recently served as executive director of Horizon City Economic Development Corporation. Prior to that, he was a public policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Texas House Research Organization. 
Killeen ISD Superintendent Dr. John Craft appointed Iris Felder to serve as the executive director for elementary schools for the district. 

Felder is currently the principal at Brookhaven Elementary School in Killeen ISD. Before that, she was an assistant principal and curriculum instructional specialist.
The city of Tyler named Steve Thompson as airport manager for Tyler Pounds Regional Airport. 

Thompson most recently served as manager of airport safety at Denver International Airport. Previously, he worked for the National Center for Atmospheric Research as research pilot-safety officer and as director of safety for the Embry-Riddle Flight Training Program with the U.S. Air Force Academy. 
The city of Paris named Andrew Mack as director of planning and community development, effective April 1. 

Mack most recently served as city planning director for the city of Park Rapids, Minnesota. Before that, he was a principal planner for a rural and urban planning firm and community development director-city planner for the city of Pine City, Minnesota. 
The Granger ISD board of trustees named Jeni Neatherlin as the lone finalist for superintendent. If approved, she would succeed Randy Willis who is retiring as superintendent at the end of March. 

Neatherlin currently serves as the chief operations officer at Salado ISD. Prior to that, she was principal of Llano High School in Llano ISD and Abell Junior High School in Midland ISD. 

The board is set to vote on her appointment on March 17. 
Gov. Greg Abbott announced these appointments and reappointments from February 19-March 11:

Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board 
Carl Ray Polk Jr. - Lufkin (reappointed)

Governor's Committee
on People with Disabilities
Eric Lindsay - San Antonio (reappointed)
Elyse Lieberman - Victoria (reappointed)
Kristie Orr - College Station (reappointed)
Ellen Bauman - Joshua (reappointed)
Dylan Rafaty - Plano (reappointed)
Kris Workman - Sutherland Springs (reappointed)

Sulphur River Basin
Board of Directors
Emily Glass - Sulphur Springs
Kirby Hollingsworth - Mt. Vernon (reappointed)

Upper Neches River Municipal Water Authority Board of Directors
Steven Herrington - Palestine (reappointed)

Upper Colorado River
Authority Board of Directors
Leslie Lasater - San Angelo
Reese Braswell - Bronte
Erica Hall - Abilene
Nancy Blackwell - Ballinger (named chair)

Texas Juvenile Justice Board 
Edeska Barnes Jr. - Jasper (reappointed)
Lisa Jarrett - San Antonio (reappointed)
Ann Lattimore - Cedar Park (reappointed)
Wes Ritchey - Dalhart (reappointed)

Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation Board of Directors
Lemuel Williams Jr. - Austin
Courtney Johnson Rose -
Missouri City

State Pension Review Board 
Christopher Gonzales - Cypress
Stephanie Leibe - Austin
Christopher Zook - Houston

Legislative Budget Board – Funds Outside of the Treasury

Texas House Research Organization – Writing the State Budget: 87th Legislature

Texas Workforce Commission – Texas Business Today - 1Q 2021

U.S. Government Accountability Office – Electricity Grid Resilience
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 Health and Human Services Commission – Civil Rights Director (Director IV)

  • Public Utility Commission of Texas – Director of Engineering

  • Public Utility Commission of Texas – Engineer IV

  • Public Utility Commission of Texas – Engineer I-IV

  • Public Utility Commission of Texas – Engineering Specialist I-V

  • Public Utility Commission of Texas – Attorney I-IV

  • Public Utility Commission of Texas – Attorney II-IV

  • Public Utility Commission of Texas – Senior Regulatory Accountant

  • Public Utility Commission of Texas – Government Relations Specialist II

  • Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs – 811 Program Administrator

  • Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs – Performance Specialist

  • Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs – Border Field Officer

  • Texas Department of Transportation – Statewide Planning Branch Manager

  • Texas Department of Transportation – International Trade-Border Branch Manager

  • Texas Water Development Board – Flood Coordinator

  • Texas Water Development Board – Revenue Accountant
Connect with Us

Check out our social media links!
View our Texas Government Insider and Government Contracting Pipeline newsletter archives
Help us share this message.
To ensure delivery and proper formatting of the newsletter, be sure to add editor@spartnerships.com to your safe senders list. Otherwise, the newsletter may be flagged as spam and automatically routed to your junk e-mail folder.
 For news or calendar items: editor@spartnerships.com 
For information about SPI's products and services: sales@spartnerships.com
© 2021 Strategic Partnerships, Inc. All rights reserved.