Volume 20, Issue 19 - Friday, May 13, 2022
By Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships Inc.
Technology has altered the way individuals participate in work, travel, entertainment, and health care. It also has changed the way government provides services. Technology purchases of upgrades and enhancements are required, and that will not change. The value of the benefits that result far outweigh the cost.

A study of new statewide budgets confirms that spending will be heavy in the next several years. The budgets are filled with funding allocations for technology of all types. The modernization of old legacy systems in government has begun. It will continue throughout the decade because there is no other option, and it will take that long to handle the modernization effort.

Technology networks are precious public assets, and like roads and buildings and other public assets, the networks must be upgraded, expanded, protected, and maintained. The networks are connected to myriad software, equipment, protective services, and storage options, to name a few components.

Corpus Christi councilmembers on May 10 authorized the preparation of final contract documents to purchase property for a seawater desalination plant with the goal of adding a drought-proof source of water to its supply.

The contract documents to be completed include the purchase of 12.5 acres for more than $5.45 million.

The property and 11 acres of easements are in the vicinity of Nueces Bay Boulevard, Broadway Street, and the Inner Harbor.

Funding will come from a low-interest State Water Implementation Fund for Texas loan approved for the city by the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB).

In its application to TWDB, the city stated the plant will have an initial capacity of 20 million gallons per day (MGD), but intake and discharge facilities will be designed to accommodate a future expansion to 30 MGD. The plant will be designed to produce potable water, and it will be fully integrated into the city’s regional water system.

Corpus Christi will procure the post-planning phases as a design-build-operate project. The design phase is set to begin in June 2023, and construction is scheduled for February 2023 through December 2025.

Construction costs are estimated at $158.75 million, and $23.51 million is budgeted for engineering services.

As the regional water planner, producer, and distributor for the Coastal Bend, the city of Corpus Christi provides water to 500,000 people in seven counties across the region daily.

The final contract for land purchase will be voted on by the mayor and City Council in the coming weeks.
Voters in San Antonio have approved an historic $1.2 billion bond program that will invest in infrastructure and affordable housing in the city programmed over the next five years. This is the largest approved bond program in city history and does not require a city property tax increase.

More than half of the 2022-2027 bond is devoted to street and drainage infrastructure projects. The bond program includes 21 planned miles of new linear greenway trails, $15.7 million dedicated to public art, and improvements to city parks, including the addition of nine new park properties.

Voters approved $68 million for renovations to city libraries, community centers, and cultural facilities and $65 million in new construction of city facilities, including new public safety facilities.

A $150 million investment of bond funds will go toward preserving and constructing new affordable housing. This is the first housing affordability bond approved by voters.
The University of North Texas (UNT) System will host a virtual pre-solicitation meeting at noon May 18 for programming and design services for a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) building on its Dallas campus.

Planned as an approximately 115,000-square-foot facility, this new building will feature flexible teaching and collaborative research laboratories, and active learning classrooms.

The project may include necessary renovations to existing facilities impacted by the construction of this new building such as accommodating for backfill or modifications to other research spaces to support anticipated activities in the new facility.

Programming for this project is anticipated to be completed no later than December. The design of the STEM building is anticipated to begin in January 2023.
Ken Fulk
Mayor
City of Allen
Public career highlights and education: I graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering and from Central Michigan University with a Master of Arts in business management. I also attended the Air Force Institute of Technology. I am the majority owner and president of a Dallas consulting engineering firm that performs mechanical and electrical engineering building systems design. Regarding my city of Allen service, I served for nine years on the Planning and Zoning Commission and six years on the Allen Economic Development Corporation Board. I have served on City Council for more than 10 years including four years as mayor pro tem and 18 months as mayor, in addition to participating in many council and citizen-led committees in the community.

What I like best about my public service is: Meeting and talking to people, with the ultimate level of enjoyment coming from being able to help them. My personal goals also include helping make our community a better place for all our residents and to help enhance our local quality of life. The city of Allen is a premier community today because of the vision of our previous civic leaders and their perseverance in keeping on target. I am grateful to our past City Council and school district leaders who did the early work to make a solid foundation for the future.  

The best advice I’ve received is: Listen, listen, listen; pray, and then do what you believe is the best thing for the community as a whole, based on what your heart tells you is the right thing to do. Be respectful to all of those you encounter regardless of their ability to do the same. Be intentional in your methods.

My favorite ways to de-stress are: Head to the wilderness! That is what I loved so much about Boy Scout adventures, going camping, hiking, and especially backpacking. I get away from computers and phones and large groups of people where I have time to mentally decompress, reflect, and figure out what I need to do next in life, change, and how to improve myself.

People might be surprised to know that I: Was the All-University Wrestling Champion at Texas A&M University in the 157-pound weight class! I have visited all 50 states of the United States! I have been to over 35 National Parks of the U.S. including several in Alaska and Hawaii.

One thing I wish more people knew about the city of Allen is: That we are a very diverse community of people from all over the world who are well educated and willing to help our community be a better place to live, work and play. Allen has an extensive hike and bike trail system and a nationally recognized Parks and Recreation system that includes great parks and recreation centers. Allen has the largest convention center north of Dallas and much more. We have many unique and diverse restaurants, retail and entertainment venues, but we are adding to that list all the time. Our last significant undeveloped land along State Highway 121 includes plans for multiple mixed-use developments which will include many unique one-of-a-kind restaurants and entertainment hubs. 
Voters in Klein Independent School District (KISD) approved two propositions that encompass record levels of bond funding for projects that will benefit the entire district. Results of that May 7 bond election now commit more than $895 million in funding for a wide range of enhancement projects.

Proposition A includes an $843.8 million slate of larger-scale measures to serve the district’s rapidly expanding student population.

Approval for this proposition will now fund improvements to safety and security at all schools, construction of a new intermediate school, solutions to growth and capacity challenges, modernization and restoration of schools built over 50 years ago, renovations to all schools, and upgraded resources for academic, artistic, and athletic development of students.

Proposition B authorizes $51.5 million to improve technology resources across KISD. Funding enables the district to provide technology devices for classroom instruction as well as for individual use by each student, teacher, and staff member. This measure is designed to ensure that KISD students have day-to-day familiarity with the technology used in college studies and many career fields.

The specific measures in the propositions were recommended by KISD’s Bond Steering Committee after an intensive, community-wide planning process. The KISD Board of Trustees then voted unanimously to include those propositions on the May ballot. Two additional measures, Propositions C and D, failed to secure voter approval for an additional $200 million for facilities that would have supported extracurricular activities.
San Antonio Water Supply (SAWS) is planning a $57.3 million flow management project at the former site of one of San Antonio’s first wastewater treatment facilities in south-central San Antonio.

No facilities exist there now, but SAWS anticipates opening a procurement in the third quarter of this year for construction.

The new site will feature basins and a pump station to hold peak wastewater flows for less than 24 hours and then direct them to the Steve Clouse Water Recycling Center 6 miles away.

Work on this project will include a 5 million‐gallon concrete basin, a 10 million-gallon concrete basin, and a pump station returning flows to the collection system at the Rilling Road facility, near the intersection of Rilling Road and Espada Road. The scope includes necessary site civil, yard piping, flow diversion, electrical, instrumentation and controls, site lighting, access, and site security improvements.

This project is part of the work required by San Antonio’s agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency to rehabilitate poor‐quality sewer infrastructure across the city and reduce sanitary sewer overflows.

SAWS reached 30 percent design on this project and is on schedule to complete the design phase by fall 2022. Project construction is scheduled to begin in 2023 with an estimated duration of 24 months.
The Teacher Retirement System (TRS) of Texas will host a non-mandatory pre-proposal conference at 11 a.m. May 19 as it seeks energy sector research services.

TRS will solicit a qualified vendor to provide a subscription service capable of meeting the system’s goals for reliable data, insights and analytics for investing, and operating and servicing in the energy sector. Access to this subscription is designed to maximize investment returns.

The selected contractor will provide research and analytics for oil, gas, and renewables investing, operating, or servicing. The contractor must provide this research and analytics with a pre-established library, in the form of vendor website access or vendor portal.

An initial term of two years will be followed by two one-year optional renewal terms.
Fort Worth Sports Authority members voted on May 10 to fund the conceptual design and cost estimates for the proposed Basswood Soccer Complex off Interstate 35W.

The authority and its consulting partner completed a market and financial feasibility study in March that recommended a 10,000-seat stadium including, 900 premium seats, a synthetic turf field, 2,900 parking spaces, concessions, box office, locker rooms, and loading docks.

Tenants of the multi-purpose facility would include a USL Championship men’s soccer team, USL Super League women’s soccer team, and Keller ISD. The study determined the venue could host up to 176 total events per year estimated to attract 628,000 attendees.

Based on a possible 2024 opening, this stadium concept is projected to generate $64.69 million in revenues in its first five years of operations while accruing expenses of more than $47.94 million for a net income of over $16.74 million.

In addition to design and costs, the authority will seek approvals from Tarrant County, Tarrant County College, Tarrant County Hospital District, Tarrant Regional Water District, and Keller ISD in the proposed Tax Increment Financing (TIF) model.

It also will develop a Project and Financing Plan for creation of the proposed TIF District and seek final approval from the public entities on participation in the proposed TIF District would be required as would development of a refined financing model for the project.

Negotiations would then begin on an agreement between the city and NelTex, the owner of the USL franchises considering Fort Worth and proposed operator of the stadium complex.

These initiatives are expected to take approximately three to six months to complete, with an update for the Fort Worth City Council to follow. Design and cost estimates are anticipated by October.
The Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA) will spend $53 million connecting existing hiking, cycling, and running trails and building new ones using surplus revenues under a Tolls to Trailways plan.

HCTRA’s plan envisions a network of 236 miles of trails, mostly adjacent to the county toll road system, accessible to runners, cyclists, and others. The network would be made up of longer “network spine” projects of 5 miles or more, smaller “Community Connectors,” and “Partnership Projects.”

The latter group of partnership projects already are part of another agency’s plans or may be more appropriate for another entity to lead. The total cost of all links could reach $600 million or more and take years to build.

Sixty-three possible projects have been identified. Some projects include:
  • The Hardy Trail with an estimated budget of $56,852.
  • Houston to Galveston Trail (Southeast Harris County Segment) with an estimated budget of $45,299.
  • Irvington Boulevard Bikeway with an estimated budget of $37,281.

Surplus HCTRA revenues also may be used for transportation, highway, or air quality projects.
Missouri City will start preliminary design work soon on improvements to the Sta-Mo Sports Park.

It is envisioned that the new facility will provide space for pickleball courts, basketball and volleyball courts, a bike course, batting cages, and cricket field.

In addition, the improvements could add a soccer field, baseball and softball fields, and open field play area expansion.

Other desired amenities include parking, playground and restroom facilities, a covered pavilion, maintenance building, concession area, and benched seating.

City officials anticipate the overall project budget could potentially be in the range of $13 million to $15 million, including all soft costs.

Voters approved $10 million in a November 2021 bond election to revitalize the baseball-softball only park into a destination facility.
The city of Socorro will receive financial assistance from the state to design and construct additional flood control structures and channel improvements to prevent flooding from the Sparks Arroyo Watershed.

Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) members approved $10.1 million in financial assistance for the city’s drainage improvement project on May 11 to build new strategically placed drainage culverts, add concrete lining to the Sparks Arroyo drainage channel, construct a Stockyard Detention Basin, and expand the Onion Field Retention Basin.

The proposed improvements will decrease flooding by more effectively channeling and holding run-off, help prevent erosion, and prevent the buildup of silt banks which also contributes to localized flooding in the city.

One portion of the watershed contributes to the flooding and is outside the city. The area is approximately 2,288 acres to the northeast in unincorporated El Paso County and Horizon City.

New residential and commercial developments in the drainage area have caused increased flooding downstream in the city limits in the area between the Mesa Drain Spur and Interstate 10.

The design phase is scheduled for completion in December. Construction is expected to begin in January 2023 and conclude by March 2024.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) opened the application period on May 12 for a total of $12 million in grant funding from the Alternative Fueling Facilities Program (AFFP).

Funding is available to construct or reconstruct fueling facilities that provide natural gas, electric charging, and alternative fuels.

Of the available grant funding for projects in the Clean Transportation Zone, $4 million is reserved for small businesses.

AFFP projects are awarded on a competitive basis and prioritize facilities that will be open to the public. If a business was awarded two or more grants under the Texas Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Program Direct Current Fast Chargers and Hydrogen Dispensing Equipment solicitation, it will not be considered for a grant under this AFFP grant round.

Detailed eligibility requirements and guidance for how to apply for an AFFP grant may be found on TCEQ's webpage. Applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. July 12.
The Dallas City Council on May 11 approved the donation of 110 acres of undeveloped land from a private company to the city for the development of a future park on Parkdale Lake.

City staff is working with potential donors to fund a master plan for the park. Developing the vision for the new park will require community input and engagement.

Estimated at $30 million to $100 million, the donation of this land is the largest to the Dallas park system since 1938, and the park, when completed, will be one of the largest urban parks in the country, according to officials. The park will allow many existing city trails to be connected. The Trinity Forest Spine Trail, which runs from the Great Trinity Forest to White Rock Lake, will run through the new park and link to other significant sites such as Samuel Grand Park.

Preliminary ideas for park features include boardwalks and trails along with opportunities for picnicking, fishing, birdwatching, and canoeing. Officials also hope that the park will help connect Dallas and increase access to economic resources for all residents.
Momentum is building for the city of Southlake’s plans for a new library with the formation of a task force and a town hall May 11 where an update was provided to the community on progress to achieve the vision..

Three to four months ago, Mayor John Huffman appointed two councilmembers to the task force charged with looking closely at the future of the library and working with the community to envision a new space.

The city has studied the community’s library needs, and there have been many concepts considered by the City Council over the years, including the idea to build a library in the proposed Carillon commercial development.

Southlake’s existing 12,080-square-foot library opened in 2001 as a temporary location on the first floor of City Hall. The library also makes use of 1,800 square feet of shared space on the third floor of City Hall.

The Southlake 2030 Parks, Recreation & Open Space / Community Facilities Master Plan includes provisions for a public library. In addition, two specific library studies have been completed. The first was prepared in 2016 and recommended a 27,000-square-foot facility. It was later updated in 2021. It is possible that an expanded library would include performing arts offerings or be located close to a park.

Early task force efforts include researching location options and developing a recommendation on the ultimate site for the Library Board and City Council to consider. The goal is to complete final recommendations for the City Council by early summer.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is piloting a new kind of project delivery with upcoming improvements to the Brazos Island Harbor (BIH) Channel at the Port of Brownsville. The BIH Channel Improvement project is one of three that USACE plans to deliver through a pilot program to test its new public-private partnership (P3) method of delivery. 

Through its P3 pilot program, USACE aims to partner with public organizations and industry specialists to deliver projects quicker, more efficiently, and with greater cost effectiveness. In the case of the BIH Channel project, USACE access to additional public and private resources affords more timely delivery and offsets much of the financial risk associated with the project’s $315 million total price tag. In fact, the project’s P3 delivery is expected to generate federal savings of $72 million. 

As USACE proceeds with the first of three phases for BIH Channel improvements, it will partner with the Brownsville Navigation District and private sector entities to develop more sustainable community-based improvements for a region that is considered economically disadvantaged. This initially entails deepening the ship channel by 10 feet (from 42 feet to 52 feet) between late 2022 and 2024.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas appointed Lorie Logan as president and CEO, effective August 22. She will replace Robert Kaplan, who retired from the Bank in October 2021. 

Logan currently serves as manager of the System Open Market Account for the Federal Open Market Committee. Logan also is executive vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. 
The city of Pharr appointed Andy Harvey as its new city manager. He succeeded former City Manager Ed Wylie who stepped down in April. 

Harvey had been serving as the city’s police chief since July 2020. Before that, he was police chief for the cities of Palestine and Ennis. Prior to those tenures, he served 21 years at the Dallas Police Department. 
Lone Star College (LSC) selected Dr. Valerie Jones as the new president of Lone Star College-CyFair, effective June 1. 

Jones has served as LSC’s associate vice chancellor of academic affairs since 2019. Before that, she was vice president for instruction and chief academic officer at Odessa College. 
The city of El Paso promoted Fire Chief Mario D’Agostino to deputy city manager. 

In his new role, D’Agostino will oversee the El Paso fire and police departments, Office of Emergency management, 911/311 Communications, Department of Public Health, municipal courts, and Animal Services. He also served the city as assistant chief of capital assets and support services. 
The city of Fort Worth selected Leann Guzman as city attorney. She succeeded Sarah Fullenwider, who served as city attorney from 2011 through 2021. 

Guzman moved into the city’s Transactional Division in June 2005. She also served as section chief of the Real Estate and City Facilities Section of the City Attorney’s Office from 2013 until becoming deputy city attorney of the Transactional Division in August 2020.  

She serves as general counsel to the Fort Worth Local Development Corporation and the Central City Local Government Corporation. 
The Longview City Council confirmed Anthony Boone as chief of police of the Longview Police Department on April 28. He had served as acting police chief since February and was recommended for the post by City Manager Rolin McPhee. 

Boone has served the Longview Police Department since 2001. During his tenure he has held positions in divisions across the department including Bicycle Patrol, Field Training, Honor Guard, SWAT, Criminal Investigations, Special Operations, and Support Services. 
Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs) are invited to attend the 20th Annual Purchasing and HUB Connection hosted by the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) of Texas.

The free event is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. June 7 at TRS Cafeteria, 1000 Red River St., in Austin.

It is open to all HUBs and the agencies who partner with them. To register or get more information, email HUB@trs.texas.gov.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced these appointments and reappointments from May 6-12:

Housing And Health Services Coordination Council 
Joycesarah McCabe - Purmela 
Diana Delaunay - Arroyo City (reappointed) 
Jennifer Gonzalez - Dallas (reappointed) 
Kenneth Darden - Livingston (reappointed) 
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 Water Development Board – Human Resources Special Projects Coordinator

  • City of Santa Fe – City Manager
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