Volume 19, Issue 37 - Friday, September 10, 2021
Williamson County and the city of Taylor this week approved incentive packages to Samsung as the company evaluates potential locations for an estimated $17 billion investment to build a semiconductor plant.

The project will be comprised of $6 billion in buildings and other real property improvements, $11 billion in machinery and equipment, 1,000-plus acres, and a 6 million-square-foot manufacturing facility, which will produce advanced semiconductor technology. The plant is slated to be fully operational by the end of 2025.

In a joint meeting with Taylor, the Williamson County Commissioners Court approved a resolution, a Chapter 381 performance-based agreement, and a development agreement as an incentive package for Samsung Austin Semiconductor to build its newest semiconductor plant in Taylor.

Since January, Williamson County has been in consideration as the possible location of Samsung’s future expansion in the U.S. As of September 10, the company had not selected a site.

If Williamson County is selected, it would be the largest economic development project in Texas and the largest economic development project with foreign investment in the United States, County Judge Bill Gravell said.

In Williamson County’s agreement, Samsung must construct a minimum of 6 million square feet of facilities by January 31, 2026, with incremental deadlines. The company also must create 1,800 full-time jobs.

If these conditions are met, the county will then grant Samsung an amount equal to 90 percent of ad valorem taxes paid by the company for the first 10 years of the agreement. For the second 10 years of the term, the county will grant an amount equal to 85 percent of ad valorem taxes paid by the company.

Taylor’s resolution includes authorization for the city’s mayor to take necessary action to execute a Tax Abatement Agreement, a Development Agreement, a Development Review Services Reimbursement Agreement, and a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Economic Development Agreement and Chapter 380 Economic Development Incentive Agreement.

The city’s final tax abatement agreement will be scheduled for consideration at a special City Council meeting on October 14.
Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas (KBHCCD) officials are preparing to present a final alternative to the Dallas City Council in January or February 2022 for the renovation or replacement of the center.

Preliminary cost estimates range from $500 million options to alternatives reaching $3 billion that would involve total replacement.

A baseline patch and repair option includes renovation of existing spaces/ballrooms and addresses outstanding maintenance issues with a focus on outstanding maintenance.

Plans for a campus hybrid retain and modify the existing building, partially open Lamar and Griffin streets, and face the entrance to the Cedars.

The West of Lamar calls for total replacement of the center. The new venue would feature a main entry along Lamar Street with exhibit halls and truck access elevated above railroad tracks. Memorial Drive and the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) station would be under the building that spans Interstate 30 into the Cedars. This alternative reconfigures Lamar Street to create a central lobby and plans large ballrooms facing north and south with outdoor event terraces above the lobby. It would leave Memorial Arena and The Black Academy of the Arts and Letters as a separate free-standing facility.

A subcategory under the West of Lamar option would replace most of the structure except for D, E, and F halls.

An underground option would replace the entire center with a new venue featuring 750,000 to 800,000 square feet of exhibit space, an exhibit level 50 feet below grade, exhibit halls and loading docks below street level, and open surface streets to daylight thereby eliminating the center as a barrier.

All options incorporate four key components: the KBHCCD master plan; multimodal master plan; area master plan; and transportation study.

The KBHCCD master plan prioritizes “must-do” upgrades of additional ballrooms, meeting rooms, and a new kitchen. In addition, it calls for phased work to re-build center to re-envision building and district as well as the creation of a walkable district including restaurants and a hotel.

“Need-to-do” improvements include fixing pedestrian circulation, wayfinding, restrooms, back-of-house network, food service, building identity, and amenities.
As many schools at Georgetown ISD (GISD) near capacity and its enrollment surges, trustees called a $381.67 million bond election on November 2 to fund school construction.

According to a recent demographic study, the district is anticipated to grow by 2,400 students over the next five years and nearly 6,000 students by 2031, increases of 19 percent and 48 percent, respectively, during that time.

The proposed projects will be presented to voters in five separate propositions on the ballot in compliance with a new state law.

Proposition A would provide funds for:
  • Construction of two new elementary schools, a new middle school facility, and a future-ready complex that would house advanced career and technical programs, Richarte High School, the Bridges 18+ program, Early Learning Center, and the GISD Health & Wellness Center. 
  • Land acquisition and design for future facilities. 
  • Upgraded safety and security infrastructure/equipment. 
  • Agriculture barns at East View and Georgetown high schools. 
  • HVAC and roof upgrades/replacements. 
  • Buses and maintenance vehicles. 

Funding from Proposition B would enable the district to acquire technology to support its one-to-one initiative, as well as improve the infrastructure to support connectivity.

Proposition C would support renovations to the interior finishes at the Klett Performing Arts Center, and Proposition D would provide for a district swim facility. Proposition E would provide renovations to the tennis courts at Georgetown High School.

The board’s decision follows a series of workshops and board meetings after a recommendation from the Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC) that studied current facilities and facility assessments, demographic reports and enrollment projections, financial information, educational programs, and immediate and future needs of the district.
The Texas Lottery Commission (TLC) will host a virtual pre-proposal conference at 1:30 p.m. September 21 for its next biennial security study.

TLC is seeking a comprehensive review and evaluation of security for the Texas Lottery, including cybersecurity and security for computers, systems, and all aspects of the lottery.

This security study will assess the security measures which support Texas Lottery operations (including information technology services), gaming services, systems, scratch and draw ticket games, and products. In addition, it will include an assessment of lottery vendors that impact lottery security, including the lottery operator and the scratch ticket manufacturers.

The pre-proposal conference will include an overview of the request for proposals (RFP) and a presentation on subcontracting plan requirements. A question-and-answer session will take place regarding general, technical, and subcontracting questions. Attendance at the conference is recommended, but not mandatory.

The TLC anticipates announcing an apparent successful proposer by December 1.
Sam Listi
City Manager
City of Belton
Public career highlights and education: I have been incredibly fortunate to do what I love over four decades in a career shaped by a large, loving, Italian, Catholic family, in the turbulent 1960s and a search for my path. After high school, I joined the Coast Guard Reserve and earned a Bachelors in Political Science/Urban Studies at The University of Texas at Dallas, followed by a Masters in Planning from the University of Minnesota. While political office was considered, I found my comfort zone working as a staff planner addressing growth issues in Denton, Midland, and Temple as planning director and then assistant city manager. In 2001, I was given the opportunity to serve Belton as its city manager.

What I like best about my public service is: Public service provides the opportunity to make a difference, regardless of one’s various roles. A city the size of Belton has proven ideal for me because it remains the level of government closest to the people where City Council policies matter in the lives of our citizens, where we listen and respond to their input, and where partnerships bridge the resource gaps in the community. Putting the pieces together successfully with a great team results in the true joy of public service.

The best advice I’ve received is: Karen Listi (wife): “Pray, calm yourself, be patient. Quietly listen to remember more and understand better.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower: “Leadership consists of nothing but taking responsibility for everything that goes wrong and giving your subordinates credit for everything that goes well.”
St. Francis of Assisi: “Lord make me an instrument of your peace … .”

My favorite ways to de-stress are: Working with mosaics in crafting artwork. Other de-stressors include good movies, birdwatching, music (Rock N Roll), reading, yardwork, cooking pasta and kayaking. Karen and I enjoy traveling in the U.S., and have been on pilgrimages to Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and Israel.

People might be surprised to know that I: My father, John Listi, participated in the D-Day Invasion at Omaha Beach, France, on June 8, 1944. With Italian roots, family is extremely important, and I am blessed with the support of my wife, Karen, and the blessings of my son Matt and his wife Cheryl and sons Carter, Gabe, and Noah; my son Nicholas; and my entire Italian family. I am pleased to see private space travel has relaxed age limits for explorers, and will continue to monitor opportunities to volunteer for a future mission to the International Space Station, the moon, Mars, or beyond.

One thing I wish more people knew about the city of Belton is: A welcoming place that invites you to get involved, since it will give you back more than you gave. Choosing to be part of your community is important for a fulfilling life. It takes commitment for full immersion into the culture of a place. This message was compelling when I considered Belton as a place to move my family and career, and it continues to be true today, over 20 years later.
The city of Austin extended the deadline to September 14 for its request for qualifications (RFQ) for a principal architect-engineer to support expansion at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA).

Initial tasks may include campus-wide programming for facilities and infrastructure and will include the airside, terminal, landside, and utility improvements necessary to support ABIA’s Airport Expansion and Development Program (AEDP) through 2030.

Deliverables are anticipated to be multiple project schematic design packages that will be issued for solicitation of design and construction teams to complete through construction and occupancy.

Early design and programming tasks may include:
  • Barbara Jordan Terminal expansion. 
  • New Concourse B. 
  • Passenger and utility tunnel. 
  • Third-party landside development. 
  • Intermodal connection(s). 
  • Central Utility Plant. 
  • Existing terminal improvements. 
  • Taxiways and access roads. 

The contract is anticipated to be a six-year agreement with two extensions of two years. The professional services fee is estimated to be about $25 million.
The Texas A&M University System issued a request for information (RFI) on primary care physician group services.

Through this RFI, the A&M System hopes to identify innovative, alternative solutions to traditional primary care medical services including virtual and in-person visits.

Services can be provided through a fee-for-services or claims-based arrangement for a self-insured employee group health plan. All services should be paid through its third-party administrator.

Currently, the Texas A&M University System Group Health Program is composed of three plans. The system’s staff is not looking to replace its current Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) medical plan, but rather the potential to enhance the offerings to its employees.

RFI submissions are due by 2 p.m. CDT September 24.
An interactive online tool that can help Texans prepare and respond to flooding events has ­newly added capabilities to help inform state and local flood management decisions that can help protect life and property.

Emergency managers and the public across Texas now have access to near real-time information on statewide reservoir and traffic conditions at one convenient location to help assess flood risks and identify evacuation routes as a flooding event is occurring.

In addition to the newly added statewide road and reservoir information, the web-based tool, known as the Flood Decision Support Toolbox (FDST), also provides maps and information about the possible extent and depth of flooding at select locations near some U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) stream gauges and can be used to conduct flood risk assessments and damage analyses.

The FDST lets users see estimated economic impacts of flood events on homes and communities near monitoring sites. The web tool will continue to be updated as more information becomes available to support advanced planning and real-time flood response efforts in the state.

The tool uses a network of USGS stream gauges coupled with flood inundation models to display various flood scenarios at select areas throughout Texas. By adding building damage datasets developed and maintained by the Texas Water Development Board, users can visualize historic flood events or forecast future flooding events to better understand and prepare for flood risks.
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) will appoint a monitor to the South San Antonio ISD after a final report found the district’s board of trustees violated the Texas Education Code in failing to collaborate with the superintendent.

In an August 31 letter to the district, the TEA wrote that the trustees did not work with the superintendent on actionable items which pertained to the district educational plan.

In addition, the final report found that individual members of the board of trustees further operated outside their authority when specific members personally contacted staff directly to ask for information and to discuss district business such as discipline, and setting or changing board agendas, all of which exhibited overreach.

Individual trustees also contacted vendors, consultants, and other educational organizations on behalf of the district without the superintendent’s knowledge.

According to the report, the process provided insufficient opportunity for the superintendent or his staff to provide input outside of collecting information and preparing reports requested by the board for the purposes of informing individual trustees and consultants hired by the board.

The final report recommended that a monitor be appointed to the district to work with the district to identify issues that led to the noncompliance and report to the agency on the development of a corrective action plan to address the issues.
The Texas Facilities Commission (TFC) has scheduled two requests for qualifications (RFQs) on September 17 to replace Building 5 on the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Camp Hubbard campus.

Plans call for demolishing Building 5 and constructing a 187,500-square-foot building at the same location. Based on a TFC assessment, the age and physical condition of the building is such that a tear-down and rebuilding is a more cost-effective approach than repairing and renovating.

Buildings 1 and 5 at Camp Hubbard were built in 1955 and are experiencing multiple infrastructure system failures that require continuous repairs and maintenance. All campus buildings have a systemic mold problem.

One RFQ is for architectural and engineering services in a $3 million contract. The other RFQ is for third-party review and cost estimating services for $200,000.

DMV’s Strategic Plan for 2021-2025 estimates the total project cost at $72 million. Planning and design phases are scheduled for 2022 to 2023 with a construction timeline of 2024 to 2025.
Researchers at Texas A&M University will lead a hub of five institutions across the country to conduct fundamental research to support holistic decision-making for historically underrepresented communities impacted by coastal hazards.

A five-year, $4.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) established the Focused Coastline and People Research Hub at Texas A&M, which will bring together communities, stakeholders, and researchers.

Along the Northern Gulf Coast, communities from Texas to Florida are particularly at risk for coastal hazards, including hurricanes, tsunamis, coastal storm surges, flooding, sea-level rise, and erosion.

Dr. Maria Koliou, assistant professor in the Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Texas A&M, will serve as lead principal investigator of the hub.

In addition to researching various tasks, Koliou will oversee the project schedule and community engagement and ensure all milestones and deliverables are met.

Through community events, surveys, roundtables and discussion forums, this project will identify critical community needs, priorities and concerns, determine critical issues, co-collect data and solicit expertise, co-develop and refine research, and create evaluation metrics.
The University of Texas at Austin (UT) plans to hire an architect in November to design an expansion of the Leadership Class Computing Facility at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC).

Located on the J.J. Pickle Research Campus, TACC operates out of the Advanced Computing Building and the Research Office Complex (ROC). The proposed addition would provide opportunities for personnel growth through additional offices and workspace, and enhanced cyberinfrastructure to support the high-performance computing initiatives of TACC.

The 44,000-square-foot expansion would include a 10,000-square-foot data center, presentation and museum space, support space, staging area, and loading dock.

Other campus infrastructure improvements associated with this project are a new chilled water plant with 7,500 tons cooling for the data center, a new chilled water piping distribution system interconnect, evaporative cooling towers, and a 2 million-gallon thermo storage tank.

A 2020 formation study estimated the construction cost for the completed expansion at $78 million to $86 million. Construction is scheduled from March 2024 to August 2025.
Strategic Partnerships, Inc. (SPI) consultant Linda Smith is a recognized education leader with 30 years of experience in public education. She has served as a director, principal, and teacher.

Most recently, Linda was a district director for Portland Public Schools in Oregon. Prior to moving to Portland, she spent four years working in Houston ISD in leadership providing professional development on numerous aspects of educational excellence including strategic operations.

Earlier in her career, Linda served for 13 years as a principal, establishing new systems, analyzing data, and establishing relationships with numerous stakeholder groups. She also consults and conducts school site evaluations for the International Baccalaureate World Organization.

Linda holds a Master of Education in mid-management and supervision from the University of Houston and a Bachelor of Education from Southwest Texas.

Her expertise is welcomed by the SPI Team, and her understanding of the education industry will be extremely valuable to the clients served by SPI.
Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Cassie Brown of Austin as the Commissioner of Insurance on September 7. 

Brown has served as the Commissioner of Workers’ Compensation since June 2018. Previously, she served as deputy commissioner for regulatory policy at the Texas Department of Insurance. In addition, she was a policy adviser to then-Gov. Rick Perry. 
The city of Weatherford named Aaron Russell as one of its two assistant city managers. 

Most recently, Russell worked for the city of Burleson where he served as the public works director. Before that, he was an assistant public works director and a civil engineer.
The Port of Brownsville selected Arturo Gomez as deputy port director of operations and Melinda Rodriguez as deputy port director of administration. 
Gomez will be responsible for the port’s engineering, cargo services, foreign trade zone, police and security, and facilities maintenance departments as well as the Harbor Master’s Office. Prior to joining the port, he served as the Port of Matamoros’s director of business development and marketing, and secretary of economic development for the city of Matamoros.
Rodriguez will oversee the port’s human resources, real estate services, finance, communications, and administrative services departments. She has worked in a variety of leadership positions with multiple education and nonprofit organizations.
Austin Energy hired Richard Génecé as vice president of customer energy solutions. 

Prior to joining Austin Energy, Génecé was vice president of energy efficiency at Bonneville Power Administration in Portland, Oregon, and held an executive position at Southern California Edison. 
The city of El Paso appointed David Coronado as managing director of international bridges and economic development and Elizabeth Triggs as interim director of the Economic and International Development Department. 
Coronado has led the International Bridges Department since 2018. Prior to joining the city, he worked at the Institute for Policy and Economic Development at the University of Texas at El Paso. 
Triggs will replace former Director Jessica Herrera, who is stepping down to take a position in the private sector. Triggs currently serves as the strategic partnerships officer.
Serving as its outside counsel for the past decade, Ken Smith joined the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) as the chief due diligence and patent officer on September 1. 

Smith has more than 30 years of experience in the life science industry, including cofounding biotech companies and working as patent counsel for pharmaceutical companies. More recently, he has advised life science companies. 
The city of Houston appointed Thomas Munoz as deputy director for the Office of Emergency Management. 

Before assuming his current role, Munoz was the emergency manager and homeland security director for the city of Texas City for five years. Prior to that, he served 24 years with the Houston Fire Department in which he rose to the rank of assistant chief of homeland security and planning. 
Gov. Greg Abbott announced these appointments and reappointments from September 3-9:

Texas Commission on
Environmental Quality (TCEQ) 
Jon Niermann - Austin (reappointed)

Fourth Administrative Judicial Region – Presiding Judge
Sid Harle - San Antonio (reappointed)

Texas Board of
Architectural Examiners 
Robert Wetmore - Austin (reappointed)

Advisory Council on
Emergency Medical Services 
Ruben Martinez - Premont

State Board for
Educator Certification 
Bena Glasscock - Adrian
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas – Eleventh District Beige Book

U.S. Department of Energy – Solar Futures Study
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 Education Agency - Director of Forecasting and Fiscal Analysis (Director IV)

  • Texas Water Development Board - Deputy Chief Financial Officer (Director IV)

  • Texas Ethics Commission - Attorney II

  • Office of the Texas Governor - Communications Specialist

  • Texas Department of Information Resources - Accountant III
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