Volume 19, Issue 38 - Friday, September 17, 2021
By Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships Inc.
Federal funding and community supported bond packages will provide funding for new public safety projects in the very near future. It appears that almost every state in the U.S. will launch projects similar to the ones that follow.

The city of Henderson plans to upgrade older fire stations and build several new ones beginning in 2022. City officials have other public safety projects planned as well. The first new fire station has a projected cost of $11 million and will be an 11,000-square-foot facility with three bays. The second new fire station has a projected cost of $13 million since it will include training facilities.

The city of Picayune has announced a $6 million bond that, if approved in November, will provide funding for public safety projects including a new police station. Another current facility, the Picayune Criminal Justice Center, will receive upgrades and renovations that include roof work, removal of asbestos and other contaminants, and construction projects.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and Texas General Land Office (GLO) released a final study on September 10 that recommends a $28.87 billion system to buffer the Texas coast against storms.

Known as the Coastal Texas Protection and Restoration Feasibility Study (Coastal Texas Study), the recommended plan includes a combination of coastal storm risk management (CSRM) and ecosystem restoration (ER) features.

The proposed network functions as a system to reduce the risk of coastal storm damages to natural and man-made infrastructure and to restore degraded coastal ecosystems through a comprehensive approach employing multiple lines of defense.

The system can be broken into three groupings:
  • A Coastwide ER Plan to restore degraded ecosystems that buffer communities and industry on the Texas coast from erosion, subsidence, and storm losses. The lowest-cost comprehensive ER plan includes a combination of approximately 114 miles of breakwaters, 15 miles of bird rookery islands, 2,000 acres of marsh, 12 miles of oyster reef, and almost 20 miles of beach and dune. 
  • On the lower Texas coast, a CSRM beach restoration measure on South Padre Island includes 2.9 miles of beach nourishment and sediment management. The plan proposes beach nourishment on a 10-year cycle for the authorized project life of 50 years. 
  • On the upper Texas coast, the Galveston Bay Storm Surge Barrier System was formulated as a system with multiple-lines-of-defense to reduce damage to communities, critical petrochemical and refinery complexes, federal navigation channels, and other existing infrastructure in and around Galveston Bay from storm surge. 

Focused on redundancy and robustness, the proposed system provides increased resiliency along the Texas coast and is adaptable to future conditions, including relative sea level change.

At the completion of the Coastal Texas Study, and upon approval by the USACE chief, a plan will be recommended to Congress for authorization and funding. If authorized and funded by Congress, later phases of the project would include preconstruction engineering and design, construction, and operations and maintenance.

The revised recommended plan identified in the final report would be built over a period of 12 to 20 years, depending on congressional authorization and partnerships. The project would be maintained after construction by a local sponsor.
Comal ISD voters will determine the future of several school and athletic facility construction projects as well as technology upgrades in a $527.71 million bond election on November 2.

The district has placed five propositions on the ballot, the first of which is a Voter Approved Tax Ratification Election asking voters to approve a modified tax rate to increase revenue for teachers and staff and address continued school growth.

Proposition B will provide more than $411.28 million for construction of two elementary schools, a new middle school, and a replacement site for the Hill Country College Preparatory High School Campus.

Elementary schools Nos. 19 and 20, estimated at $70 million total, are scheduled to open in August 2023 each with a capacity of 850 students. Elementary No. 19 will provide relief for both Clear Spring and Freiheit elementaries on land south of Interstate 35 on Highway 46. Elementary No. 20 will provide relief for both Morningside and Garden Ridge Elementary on a site across from Danville Middle School on Hubertus Road.

The estimated $65 million Middle School No. 8 will address growth and relieve Pieper Ranch Middle School with a capacity of 1,150 students. The proposed location is near U.S. 281 and FM 1863.

A proposed $46 million Hill Country College Preparatory High School Campus will serve grades nine through 12 with a capacity of 500 students. Its location is to be determined.

Proposition C would fund $61.48 million in athletic improvements, such as new fieldhouses and tennis facilities, at Canyon, Davenport, and Smithson Valley high schools and Davenport High School.

Almost $20.4 million in stadium expansions at Canyon Lake and Davenport high schools would be financed with the passage of Proposition D, and approval of Proposition E would provide $34.54 million for teacher and student instructional technology including laptops and computers.
Strategic Partnerships Inc. (SPI) Consultant Chris Kelley is a native Texan. He was born in Houston, raised in Tyler, and is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin. 

Chris brings a wealth of experience in public service to the SPI Team. He served as legislative director and deputy chief of staff on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. And, he worked in federal relations for U.S. trade associations focusing on trade and international issues for the U.S. natural gas and oil industry and was a legislative manager for a trade association representing industry sectors. 

With over 17 years of experience in the public and private sectors, Chris also gained great insight as he served as a regional director for a Congressional District, a political campaign adviser, and a travel aide for several Congressional campaigns. Chris is passionate about helping SPI clients achieve their goals and ensure success.

He holds a degree in government with a minor in economics along with a business certification from The University of Texas’ McCombs School of Business.
Matthew Mazer joins the SPI Team as a Marketing Development Coordinator and will help lead the company’s content marketing outreach efforts. 

Not only will Matthew help produce research and content for the firm’s two weekly newsletters, Texas Government Insider and Government Contracting Pipeline, but he also will be working to help deliver content to numerous industry blogs. 

Matthew spent three years working for a private sector firm where his responsibilities covered a broad range of professional disciplines including business development, strategic communications, and Open-Source Intelligence (“OSINT”) research. Matthew’s experience also stems from years of work in support of several nonprofit organizations. 

The earliest segment of Matthew’s professional trajectory included positions in writing, education, and law. He graduated from the University of Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in classics. He was born in Alabama, but is quick to point out that his dog Squanto is a native Texan. 
The Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) will host a series of pre-solicitation meetings in anticipation of the upcoming solicitation for STAR CHIP.

Managed care organizations are invited to attend that would be eligible to receive the State of Texas Access Reform Children’s Health Insurance Program contract award (potential respondents) to participate in a meeting with Medicaid program, legal, and procurement staff.

Time slots will be reserved on a first come, first served basis. Meetings are limited to 30 minutes and will allow potential respondents the opportunity to:
  • Introduce their company’s capabilities and service delivery benefits. 
  • Provide thoughts and recommendations on the HHSC procurement process. 
  • Provide input and recommendations on a future contract. 

The virtual meetings will be scheduled September 27 to October 7, after which HHSC will no longer discuss the procurement for STAR CHIP with potential respondents.
Tom Hart
City Manager
City of Grand Prairie
Public career highlights and education: During my 43-year career, I managed four Texas cities. Armed with a degree from the University of North Texas, I was one of the youngest city managers in Texas history when at age 23 I became city manager of The Colony (1978-1981). I was manager in Denison for a few years, then in Euless for 16 years. I have served as Grand Prairie city manager since 1999 and plan to retire in December. I worked to ingrain a culture of "creating Raving Fans by delivering World Class Service," and instill the values of service, people, and integrity.  I was honored to serve on multiple boards and receive numerous professional and community awards. 

What I like best about public service is: It is a job that makes a difference, allows us to help people and make a city better. Operating a city is like operating a complex company, with a wide variety of services. Every day is different.   

The best advice I’ve received is: “Respect people. Respect everyone.” 

My favorite way to de-stress: Used to be riding a dirt bike. Then, it was a great cigar. Now, it is relaxing with family. 

People might be surprised to know that I: Was a gymnast in college.

One thing I wish more people knew about the city of Grand Prairie is: It is an exciting market in the middle of the Dallas-Fort Worth area full of friendly people, affordable to affluent housing, and family fun. During my tenure, Grand Prairie grew in population from 118,000 to more than 200,000 and has been ranked nationally as a happiest city, best place to live, best place to retire, best place for a staycation, best city for jobs, best city for living the American dream, best city in which to raise a family, and safest city. 
Construction bidding is set for spring 2022 on two major projects at Jack Brooks Regional Airport that will help mitigate flooding and provide space for first responders during disasters.

Improvements totaling about $11 million will focus on grading the airfield, repairing underground drainage, removing trees, and restoring ditches to their original design condition all to increase operational efficiency during inclement weather and avoid runoff to surrounding neighborhoods.

A terminal renovation project will transform the second floor of the terminal built in 1954 into an area to house first responders and the airport response team and serve as a forward operating base during major events. Jack Brooks served as the site of several civilian airlifts during hurricanes Rita, Ike, and Gustav. In the days after Hurricane Harvey, the airport airlifted 3,500 evacuees.

Other upgrades could include updates to the airport’s HVAC system, chiller, and air handlers.

Airport officials plan to host an open house for contractors before advertising for bids.
The Bryan City Council authorized the sale of more than $95 million in revenue bonds by Bryan Texas Utilities (BTU) to finance multiple capital improvement projects.

At their September 14 meeting, councilmembers approved the sale of $73.6 million in city revenue bonds for the construction of a $20 million BTU administration building, a $10 million RELLIS substation, and various system improvements such as new and expanded substations, line upgrades, transmission switch replacements, and transformer relay upgrades.

Bid packages are being prepared for spring 2022 for different portions of the administration building project. The facility will feature office space and additional drive-through lanes for customers at the site of the former Bryan Army Reserve buildings, which have been demolished.

More than $21.76 million in rural revenue bonds will be sold to finance BTU capacity and reliability upgrades, distribution replacements, and construction to serve new customers.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) continues to evaluate options for the eastern end of the $1.3 billion D2 Subway project as the agency prepares a staff recommendation for October to present to the Dallas City Council.

On March 24, 2021, the Council directed the city to work in cooperation with DART, the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG), and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to define and evaluate potential refinements, enhancements, and modifications within the eastern end of the D2 Subway corridor to address and mitigate technical, environmental, and alignment concerns.

Seventeen alignment alternatives were developed, in three “families”:
  • Family 1 - Enhancements/refinements/modifications keep the wye triangular junction in the Swiss/Good Latimer area. 
  • Family 2 - Moves the wye junction to a new location or underground along Good Latimer. 
  • Family 3 - Moves the wye junction and alignment to a new location along I-345 and underground. 

Of the 17 alternatives, eight will be advanced to the second level screening with the goal of forming a shortlist of two to three alternatives after getting stakeholder feedback.

The overall vision will be based on looking at the D2 Subway, Interstate 345, local street network, and other related infrastructure projects to minimize right-of-way needs and maximize economic development potential.

DART anticipates briefing the Dallas City Council by November followed by drafting an interlocal agreement between the city, DART, NCTCOG, and TxDOT by January 2022. A City Council resolution is scheduled for March 2022.
Houston METRO is preparing to advertise construction contracts in October for two improvement projects that are part of the METRONext Moving Forward Plan that includes enhancements to 17 high-ridership bus routes.

Upgrades to 56 Airline/Montrose will place 200 shelters along the 23-mile corridor that connects the Texas Medical Center Transit Center to the Greenspoint Transit Center.

Work will include new sidewalks connecting bus stops to Hogg Middle School, Proctor Plaza Park and Community Center, and Heights High School. Other upgrades will be made to sidewalks, ramps, and pedestrian crossings.

The 54 Scott route will gain 100 BOOST bus stops, sidewalks, ramps, safe crossings, and bikeways on the 11-mile stretch that serves the Downtown Transit Center and the MLK Health Center.

Construction is expected to start on both projects in February 2022 with shelter placement set for fall 2022.
As part of the city of Fort Worth’s plans to install enhanced neighborhood family aquatic centers in five regions of the city, it will renovate Forest Park Pool.

Elements of the proposed new facility include a bathhouse, zero-depth entry, a large slide, four 25-yard lap lanes, and a leisure pool area with a large interactive play feature. The total water surface area is 6,875 square feet.

Reconstructed in 1967, Forest Park Pool is the city’s oldest aquatics facility, making the current pool shell, bathhouse, utilities, pumps, and other infrastructure over 54 years old.

A 2007 engineering audit outlined $3 million in necessary renovations, which included a new bathhouse, mechanical system (pumps, filtration, etc.), chemical feed and storage, and patching the existing shell.

Beyond the deteriorated infrastructure and operational support systems that had exceeded their useful life, a significant part of these proposed renovations was an effort to address the inability of the facility to meet current regulatory requirements.

Design work is scheduled to begin in November and be completed in July 2022. Construction is set to start in October 2022 and be completed by January 2024.
Voters in Schertz will cast their ballots in a $15.45 million bond election on November 2 to fund the construction of a fourth city fire station.

A 2017 study identified a need for a new fire station in Schertz’ industrial area. In addition, the new facility is expected to increase the city’s Insurance Service Offering (ISO), which will lower fire insurance for businesses and residents.

In a memo to councilmembers, city staff stated the new station would increase firefighting response to the industrial sector that can help secure jobs and support businesses in the city.
As the economic climate returns to normalcy, the city of Denton is revisiting potential uses for the City Hall West building.

The city of Denton recently issued a request for information (RFI) to gauge interest from organizations in occupying the building.

Originally built in 1927, the facility served as the original Denton City Hall. The building has been renovated multiple times since then and was home to multiple city departments after the current City Hall was built. The city departments moved out of the City Hall West building in 2016.

In the RFI, the city is asking for input to gauge the interest organizations may have in occupying the building, the uses they may have, and the additional benefits to the Denton community brought forward by these uses.

RFI submissions are due by 11 a.m. September 30. From this information, the city may develop requirements for a future request for qualifications.
Contracting opportunities remain for the proposed $25 million Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC), Cleveland Square & Main Library Renovation Project in El Paso after the City Council approved the final project design and concept on September 14.

The MACC will be co-located at the El Paso Main Library in the heart of the El Paso Downtown Arts District. When completed, the venue will include:
  • Exhibition spaces. 
  • Performance spaces, including an auditorium and black box theater. 
  • Classrooms and a dance studio. 
  • Broadcast and recording studios. 
  • Archival facilities. 
  • Culinary programs and a rooftop lounge. 
  • Artist-in-residence studio. 
  • Indoor and outdoor programmable spaces. 

El Paso amended the project scope to include the renovation of Cleveland Square into a public open amphitheater space, specialty equipment for programming, as well an enhanced entrance and new staircase for the Main Library, and a new connecting breezeway from the new Children’s Area to Teen Town.

Construction is scheduled to be completed in summer 2023.
Charles “Tink” Jackson has an impressive background of experience at the highest levels of state and local government. He is well suited to join the Procurement Consulting Team at Strategic Partnerships, Inc. (SPI). 

Charles most recently served as the city manager for La Marque in Galveston County. During his tenure there, the city was awarded over $58 million in grants to address stormwater removal, wastewater protection, and wastewater system improvements. The funding was used to provide significant protections for the city’s water system from the potential effects of storms. 

Prior to his service in La Marque, Charles was the city manager of Pearsall, Texas. During his tenure there, he helped the Pearsall City Council receive recognition as the Texas City Management Association’s (TCMA’s) City Council of the Year for Texas in 2018. 

Charles also previously served as a county manager in New Mexico, a regional director of a state agency in New Mexico, and a manager in the private sector. 

He holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Public Administration from New Mexico State University. He is a member of TCMA and the International City/County Management Association. In addition, he serves on the Texas City Management Association Ethics Committee. 

Charles will be invaluable in assisting SPI’s client firms. 
Corpus Christi City Manager Peter Zanoni appointed Andrea Gardner as assistant city manager on September 14. 

Gardner will oversee several city departments, including Parks and Recreation, Neighborhood Services, Planning and Environmental Services, Libraries, and the newly created Office of Economic Development.  

She has over 19 years of public service experience and previously served as the city manager and economic development director for the city of Watauga. Before that, she was city manager and assistant city manager for the city of Copperas Cove. 
The Donna ISD board of trustees unanimously voted to name Angela Dominguez as the sole finalist for superintendent of schools on September 14. 

Dominguez has served as a teacher, principal, and district administrator including as a director of San Antonio ISD’s Dual Language Academy. She also was chief of schools and an assistant superintendent at Edgewood ISD. 
The city of Palestine selected Kevin Olson as its new public works director. 

Olson currently serves as utilities superintendent in public works for the city of Kilgore. Prior to that, he was an operations manager for the city of Tyler, a flood plain manager for the city of San Antonio, and an engineering specialsit for the U.S. Air Force. 
Round Rock ISD named Dennis Covington as the district’s chief financial officer (CFO). He is expected to begin his new role by early October. 

Covington currently serves as CFO for Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools. Before that, he served Union Public School as CFO, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools in multiple leadership positions in the finance department, and the U.S. Air Force as a director of programs and budget. 
Tarleton State University named Jennifer Colley interim vice president for the Division of Institutional Advancement, pending approval by The Texas A&M University System board of regents.  

Colley joined Tarleton in June after eight years as executive director and associate athletics director of the Frog Club at Texas Christian University. Prior to that, she spent 22 years at The University of Texas at Austin where she was responsible for Longhorn Foundation gift solicitation, donor relations, annual campaigns, and special events. 
The Pflugerville City Council appointed Jason O’Malley as the city’s new police chief on September 14. He succeeds former Police Chief Jessica Robledo who resigned in February. 

O’Malley most recently served as a commander with the Pflugerville Police Department. Before that, he served the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and U.S. Marshals Service. 
Gov. Greg Abbott announced these appointments and reappointments from September 3-16:

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board 
Robert Gauntt - Austin
Richard Clemmer - Austin

Texas State Technical College System Board of Regents 
Lizzy de la Garza Putegnat - Harlingen
Tony Abad - San Antonio (reappointed)
Curtis Cleveland - Waco (reappointed)

Texas Commission on
Community College Finance 
Woody Hunt - El Paso (chair)
Mark Escamilla - Corpus Christi
Brian Jones - Odessa
Todd Williams - Dallas

Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome Advisory Council 
(All reappointed)
Brandon Brock - Sunnyvale
Kara Chasteen - Bertram
Anne Esquivel - New Braunfels
Lisa Formby - Hereford
Dan Freeland - Lakeway
Sarah Garrett - Spicewood
Suzanne Gazda - San Antonio
Qazi Javed - Austin
Paula Kruppstadt - The Woodlands
Sharon Lemons - Saginaw
Amy Offutt - Marble Falls
Nathan Pullen - Austin

Lower Neches Valley Authority Board of Directors 
(All reappointed)
Lonnie Grissom Jr. - Woodville
Ivy Pate - Beaumont
Jeanie Turk - Sour Lake

State Board of Veterinary
Medical Examiners
(All reappointed)
Sandra Criner - Needville
Keith Pardue - Austin
Jessica Quillivan - Magnolia

Council on Cardiovascular
Disease and Stroke 
Lourdes Cuellar - Houston

Texas Racing Commission 
Rebecca Contreras - Hutto
Constance McNabb - Montgomery (reappointed)
Arvel Waight Jr. - Willow City (reappointed)

Texas Health Services Authority Board of Directors
Cynthia Stinson - Lumberton
(All reappointed)
Paula Anthony-McMann - Tyler
Victoria Ai Linh Bryant - Houston
Shannon Calhoun - Goliad
Salil Deshpande - Houston
Emily Hartmann - El Paso
Kenneth James - Volente
Jerome Lisk - Tyler
Leticia Rodriguez - Monahans
Jonathan Sandstrom Hill - Lakeway
Siobhan Shahan - Lubbock
Carlos Vital - Friendswood
Jeffrey Hoogheem - Austin
Calvin Green - Elgin

Texas Legislative Budget Board Quality Assurance Team – Statewide Major Information System Projects
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 Information Resources – IT Security Analyst III

  • Texas Department of State Health Services – Research Specialist V

  • Texas Water Development Board – Credit Manager V

  • Texas Legislative Council – Legislative Delivery Assistant
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