By Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
Many new contracting opportunities are moving quickly to the launch stage throughout the country. Planning documents and feasibility studies provide early insight into details contractors will want to know when making pursuit decisions. This year promises to be a great time for collaborative initiatives in every jurisdictional level of government.
Here are just a few examples of the types of diverse opportunities that are nearing ‘shovel ready’ stages.
Salisbury city leaders have discussed construction of a new port facility along the Wicomico River. The contract for a feasibility study was awarded in October 2020 that will include recommendations for a location and an analysis of what will be required to develop a multi-user facility. The port intakes about $200 million in imported goods and produce annually, and the region hopes to increase U.S. exports, thereby stimulating the regional economy. The ongoing study will be finalized in early summer and interested contractors should begin monitoring the project soon.
As the direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic the state’s revenue is forecast to drop by $1 billion from funds available from the previous biennium, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said on January 11.
Hegar released the Biennial Revenue Estimate (BRE) that projects Texas will have $112.5 billion in revenue available for general-purpose spending during the Legislature’s 2022-23 biennium.
Those estimated funds available for general-purpose spending includes collections of $119.6 billion in general revenue funds during the 2022-23 biennium. These collections will be offset by an expected 2020-21 ending general revenue fund balance of negative $946 million.
In addition, $5.8 billion must be reserved from oil and natural gas taxes for 2022-23 transfers to the State Highway Fund and the Economic Stabilization Fund, also known as the Rainy Day Fund. The state must set aside another $271 million to cover a shortfall in a prepaid college tuition plan, the Texas Tomorrow Fund.
The Rainy Day Fund contains about $10.5 billion, not counting currently outstanding spending authority. Barring legislative appropriations, the fund balance is expected to total $11.6 billion at the end of 2022-23.
State revenue from all sources and for all purposes is expected to reach $270.5 billion for the 2022-23 biennium, including about $98.2 billion in federal receipts, along with other income and revenues dedicated for specific purposes and therefore unavailable for general-purpose spending.
A bond advisory steering committee recommended a $750 million bond package for a May 2021 election to Richardson ISD (RISD) trustees at their January 11 meeting.
The proposed bond package would comprise a $637 million main proposition and a $113 million technology proposition without the need for a property tax rate increase to fund the projects.
Main proposition components include:
- Facilities, safety and security, and transportation - $286.11 million.
- Construction - $269 million.
- Teaching and learning - $52.71 million.
- Fine arts and visual arts - $11.82 million.
- Athletics - $11.41 million.
- Special education, health services, and student performance - $5.96 million.
Phase 1 of RISD’s plans for a sixth-grade transformation are incorporated into the potential 2021 bond package with Lake Highlands Junior High School being rebuilt and Forest Meadow Junior High School being renovated. The projects would allow the Lake Highlands Learning Community to be the first to transition to a 6-8 middle school model. The first sixth-grade classes would start at the new Lake Highlands and Forest Meadow middle schools by 2024-25.
Remaining RISD junior high schools would be transformed no later than 2030-31 with future sixth-grade conversion projects likely to be included in a 2026 bond. The transformation will allow the district to move to a universal pre-K with about 3,100 full-day seats.
Other campuses that would undergo renovations are Richardson J.J. Pearce High School, and RISD elementary schools of Brentfield Intermediate and Brentfield Primary, Hamilton Park, and Mohawk.
The bond steering committee formed in spring 2020 and began meeting in September 2020 to prepare its recommendations for a May 2021 election.
The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) is planning several forthcoming engineering and construction procurements for early 2021.
Two requests for qualifications (RFQs) are scheduled for March to advertise for construction engineering and inspection (CE&I) and Integrated Environmental Control Model (IECM) services on CTRMA’s 183 North Mobility Project. Estimated construction cost is $650 million.
The 183 North project includes construction of two express lanes in each direction along a 9-mile stretch of US 183 between State Highway 45/Ranch-to-Market Road 620 and MoPac and the addition of a fourth general purpose lane to bring the number of non-tolled lanes to four in each direction.
Express lane direct connectors will be constructed with MoPac to the south. The project includes operational improvements to MoPac, new shared use path connections, new sidewalks, and cross-street connections for bicycles/pedestrians. Construction is scheduled to start in early 2021 with an opening date in early 2025.
CTRMA is preparing to issue a RFQ in February for plan, specification, and estimate (PS&E) services on the Barton Skyway Ramp Relief Project. Estimated construction cost is $5.6 million.
Letting is anticipated for mid-March for a design-bid-build contract for CTRMA’s 183A Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Retrofit Maintenance Project. This project is in the final design stage. A virtual pre-bid meeting for this project is scheduled for 11 a.m. on February 10.
Brynn Myers, City Manager, City of Temple
Career highlights and education: I was appointed by the City Council to the city manager position in January 2018. In this role I serve as the chief executive officer of the city and manage an annual budget of over $150 million and a staff of over 900 full- and part-time employees. I have 17 years of experience in city government and started my local government career in Huntsville, Texas. I then joined the city of Temple in 2008 serving as assistant to the city manager, director of administrative services, and assistant city manager before being appointed city manager. I have a graduate degree in management and leadership and an undergraduate degree in political science. I am a member of the International City/County Management Association and the Texas City Management Association.
What I like best about my public service is: Working in local government is my passion because I truly love being involved in the level of government that is closest to the people. Our local governments are responsible for providing important basic and emergency services that our residents and our businesses depend on. The water you drink, the roads you drive on, the first responders that keep you safe, the parks and libraries that your family enjoys, these are all services provided by cities. I love the fact that in local government, you can truly make a difference in the community you serve.
The best advice I’ve received is: Either you run your day, or the day runs you. You either proactively and intentionally decide how you are going to spend your time in alignment with your goals and your values or someone else is going to decide how you spend your time. As a leader, you have to be able to take the goals you set for yourself and for your team and then turn those goals into actual results. Being busy doing things does not mean we are achieving results. To increase productivity, we have to be strategic about what we do and be efficient in how we do it.
My favorite way to destress is: I absolutely adore a long hot soak to melt away stress and clear my mind. It’s also where I do my best thinking. Some of my very best ideas have come from a good long soak!
People might be surprised to know that I: I am a sixth generation Texan. My great-great-great grandfather, William McCoy, fought in the Battle of San Jacinto as part of the 2nd Regiment 6th Infantry Company under Colonel Sherman. The Battle of San Jacinto was an 18-minute battle which established Texas as a free republic. Not so surprising — my Texas pride runs deep!
One thing I wished more people knew about the city of Temple is: Temple offers the perfect compromise between welcoming small-town living and the hustle of a big city. For residents looking to leave behind the frustrations, traffic congestion, and higher costs of major metros, Temple offers more “bang for your buck” — with lower costs on everything from housing to groceries combined with excellent schools, parks and perks for residents.
Several transportation systems in Texas are set to receive millions of dollars in federal funding from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) of 2021.
The announcement came from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) which will allocate $13.26 billion to large and small urban areas, $678.2 million to rural areas and tribes, and $50 million for the enhanced mobility of seniors and individuals with disabilities. The supplemental funding will be provided at 100 percent federal share, with no local match required.
Of the urban areas of populations greater than 1 million, Houston will receive more than $153.49 million, Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington will get $128.51 million, Austin will accept $67.23 million, and San Antonio will get $61.8 million.
Texas cities and metropolitan areas with populations of 200,000 to 999,999 receiving CRRSAA funds are:
- Corpus Christi - $6.86 million.
- El Paso - $6.85 million.
- Laredo - $1.53 million.
The act directs recipients to prioritize payroll and operational needs as well as expenses traditionally eligible under the relevant program.
The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) authorized $400 million in financial assistance to Houston and Pearland for wastewater system projects at its January 14 meeting.
The city of Houston plans to use $325 million from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund to annually renew approximately 800,000 linear feet of sanitary sewer mains to reduce sewer overflows and optimize system performance.
Houston's project includes using pipe bursting and cured-in-place pipe rehabilitation methods at various locations throughout the city. Pipe sizes range from 6 inches to 72 inches in diameter. Point repairs will be performed in addition to these rehabilitation methods. Houston anticipates starting construction in August and completing the project in 2028.
Work is planned to be performed continuously based on the completion of investigations and analysis of the deteriorated sewer system to meet the requirements of a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Houston reached the agreement after the DOJ filed a lawsuit in 2018 against the city for unpermitted sanitary sewer overflows and wastewater treatment plant permit limit exceedances.
The city of Pearland will receive $75 million from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund for the expansion of the John Hargrove Water Reclamation Facility (WRF). Pearland will use the funds for planning, design, and construction of the facility from 4 million gallons per day (MGD) average daily flow to 6 MGD.
Pearland will direct flows from portions of the Southdown WRF and Longwood WRF service areas to the John Hargrove WRF.
The San Antonio Water System (SAWS) has several large capital projects planned for bidding in early 2021.
SAWS expected to advertise the second phase of $28.1 million in electrical system improvements to the Steven M. Clouse WRC Headworks for bidding in the first quarter of 2021.
The existing grit removal system at the center is ineffective in removing grit from the raw wastewater. An in-depth investigation of the grit chambers, grit pumps, and grit washer/classifier units will be performed to determine the cause and, depending on the outcome of this investigation, a remedial design will be implemented.
SAWS will complete the last project of Leon Creek Water Recycling Center (WRC) improvements and upgrades projects over the last few years with the second phase of upgrades to the facility. Advertising for bids is anticipated in the first quarter of 2021.
Estimated construction cost is $18.1 million to completely upgrade the 40-year-old plant. Construction duration is planned for 540 calendar days.
SAWS construction work on the W‐2 Huebner Creek: Eckhert to Bandera Project will replace approximately 8,500 linear feet of 21- and 24‐inch sewer mains along Huebner Creek between Eckhert Road and Bandera Road with larger sized sewer mains up to 42‐inch diameter as well as installation of approximately 3,300 linear feet of smaller branch mains.
Construction is estimated to cost $12.1 million and last 15 months. This project is part of the work required by San Antonio’s agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency to address capacity constrained sewer infrastructure across the city.
Additional procurements scheduled for the first quarter of 2021 include work on the Turtle Creek No. 3 Well Field and other well infrastructure for $17.8 million and the third phase of water production facilities disinfection system upgrades for $16.4 million.
The Transportation Policy Board of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) reviewed a draft list of projects on January 11 that the board deferred in 2020 to free funding for the state’s plan to improve Interstate 35 in Austin.
More than $72.37 million in road and highway projects could be added to the 2022-31 Unified Transportation Program (UTP) developed by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) as they compete statewide for funding. The Austin District focused its draft project selection on:
- Funded projects currently showing a funding gap.
- Formerly fully funded projects that were deferred for IH 35 Capital Express.
- Projects with committed local funding.
- Project readiness.
At an estimated construction cost of $49.54 million, the proposed grade-separated intersection at Loop 360 and Courtyard Drive is CAMPO’s most expensive project on the TxDOT Austin District’s draft list. Austin’s 2016 Mobility Bond allocated $11 million for the project, and an additional $38.54 million is being requested.
Other projects include several Intelligent Transportation System deployments on State Highway 71 from SH 130 to Norwood Lane for $993,445, Ranch-to-Market Road 620 from Pecan Park Boulevard to SH 71 for $9.16 million, and Farm-to-Market Road from East U.S. 290 to North SH 45 for $7.44 million.
An existing two-lane section of RM 2243 will be upgraded to a four-lane divided highway with traffic signals and pedestrian improvements from the SW Bypass to Norwood Drive for an estimated $4.52 million.
The addition of a right turn lane at the intersection of U.S. 281 and RM 1431 is estimated to cost $1.95 million, and the widening of SH 29 with a continuous left turn lane and shoulders from RM 243 North to the Williamson County Line is expected to cost $6.23 million.
Intersection improvements at U.S. 290 and Trautwein Road are on the draft list for an estimated $1.26 million.
TxDOT’s Austin District is scheduled to finalize its list of proposed projects in January, according to the department’s 2022 UTP development timeline. The final UTP will be presented to the Texas Transportation Commission for adoption in August.
Texas, California, Illinois, Florida, and North Carolina were the top five destination states for corporate moves in 2020, according to the annual Magnet States Report released by a moving and specialized transportation services company. These five states continue to be the highest volume destination states in line with trends from 2019.
The top corporate move destination city is Houston for two years in a row. Most moves to Houston came from Chicago, Baton Rouge, Atlanta, Los Angeles-Long Beach, and Denver.
For consumer moves, the top destination state was Florida followed by Texas, California, Arizona, and North Carolina.
Austin remains the top destination city for consumers for the second year in a row with most moves coming from California cities of San Jose, Los-Angeles-Long Beach, San Diego, and San Francisco as well as from Chicago.
Denver moved up from its No. 3 spot in 2019 to the No. 2 spot in 2020, switching places with Chicago that fell to the No. 3 position.
The Magnet States Report data align with Census Bureau estimates reported in April 2020 that counties in the South and West lead the country in population growth.
The city of Celina issued a request for information (RFI) on innovations commercially available in the utility meter marketplace. Specifically, the city is seeking information on any innovations in technologies on advanced metering infrastructure (AMI).
These innovations should be applicable to water utility meter services.
Some desired capabilities are the ability to:
- Integrate with or retrofit existing meters.
- Scale up at the city’s anticipated growth rate.
- Provide full meter solution from installation to training to maintenance and repair.
Celina has approximately 8,045 water meters with Sensus SR II meters, and it has 1,000-plus brass body meters in the ground. All new meter installs will be brass body. For new development, the city installs approximately 100 to 150 meters each month. The city utilizes a 1-inch standard meter size for all residential homes.
The deadline for RFI responses is 3 p.m. CST on February 18. City officials expect to begin installation of any chosen product by October or November.
CrowdStrike invites you to join a "Tech-Talk" Discussion on January 20! The conversation will be about Identity Protection in a Zero Trust World.
Zero Trust is a significant departure from traditional network security, and it is followed by a “trust but verify” method. Join in a discussion about how traditional approaches within many organizations' perimeters create high risk.
The session is designed to provide the absolute latest on security news and updates. We hope you can join!
San Antonio advanced through several elimination rounds in the competition among cities and states to be the new site of the U.S. Space Command headquarters, but Huntsville, Alabama prevailed in the bidding war.
Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett selected Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville as the preferred location for the headquarters on January 13 for factors related to mission, infrastructure capacity, community support, and costs to the Department of Defense.
Air Force officials said Huntsville — which is home to several Air Force, Army, and space centers and industries — compared favorably across more of these factors than any other community. Additionally, Redstone Arsenal offered a facility to support the headquarters, at no cost, while the permanent facility is being constructed.
Joint Base San Antonio; Kirtland Air Force Base (AFB) in Albuquerque; Offutt AFB in Bellevue, Nebraska; Patrick AFB in Cape Canaveral, Florida; and Peterson AFB Colorado Springs will remain reasonable alternative locations for the U.S. Space Command headquarters. The preferred and reasonable alternative locations were chosen from among 24 states that were evaluated as potential locations for hosting the headquarters.
The Department of the Air Force anticipates making a final decision for the location of U.S. Space Command Headquarters in spring 2023, pending the results from the required environmental impact analysis.
Peterson AFB remains the provisional headquarters until the permanent location is ready to support the mission.
The Hillsboro City Council selected Megan Henderson as the new city manager on January 9. She will succeed Frank Johnson who is retiring from the city.
Henderson most recently served as executive director of City Center Waco. Before that, she was project manager for Marlin’s Main Street program, city manager of Rosebud, and director of regional services for the Heart of Texas Council of Governments.
The native of Hillsboro anticipates starting her new role in mid-February.
The San Antonio Airport System appointed Jennifer Mills Pysher as chief commercial officer and Michael Garnier as chief budget and administration officer on January 8.
Pysher brings more than 27 years of aviation industry experience to her new role. Most recently, she served on a technology business development team in the private sector. Her experience includes management of portfolios for over 24 airports, including San Antonio International Airport while on a major carrier’s corporate real estate and airport affairs team.
Garnier recently retired from a Texas airline where he served as the senior regional leader of airport affairs. Prior to that, he was a senior manager in the business development department. He has nearly 15 years of operation leadership experience at various airports within the United States.
The Midland ISD board of trustees on January 14 named Dr. Angelica Ramsey as the lone finalist to be the district’s next superintendent. She will take over for Interim Superintendent Dr. Ann Dixon who filled the position after the board terminated the contract of Orlando Riddick.
Ramsey is the superintendent of schools for Pleasant Valley School District in Camarillo, California. Before that, she spent a decade with Socorro ISD in El Paso.
The board will wait a period of 21 days before voting on the hire. A date has not been set for the vote.
The McKinney City Council appointed Claire Petty as presiding municipal court judge of the McKinney Municipal Court on January 12.
Before being appointed to the municipal court, Petty practiced civil litigation in Dallas, worked for the Collin County District Attorney’s office as the second assistant district attorney, chief of the misdemeanor trial division, and chief felony prosecutor for the special prosecution division. She opened her own law practice in 2016.
The University of Texas at Austin (UT) named Dr. Arthur Markman as the interim executive director of the Texas Extended Campus to oversee the newly created Committee for Strategic Planning in Continuing, Extended, and Online Education.
Markman currently serves as a professor of psychology and marketing as well as the executive director of the university’s IC2 Institute which explores rural and small city economic development in Texas, the U.S., and around the world.
The new university-wide committee will focus on all aspects of extended and online educational offerings at UT Austin, including the existing programs and units across campus. The committee will include faculty, students and staff, as well as leaders from Texas Extended Campus and other key units across campus.
The Athens City Council approved the hiring of John Densmore as the new police chief on January 11. He will take over from Interim Police Chief Rodney Williams who filled the position after Buddy Hill retired in August 2020.
Densmore comes to Athens from the Cedar Hill Police Department where he is a patrol lieutenant.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced these appointments and reappointments from January 8-14:
Texas Medical Board District Three Review Committee
Celeste Caballero - Lubbock
Mindi McLain - Amarillo
Ogechika Alozie - El Paso
Taylor Gillig - Arlington
Gabrielle Rich - Big Spring
Michael Burley - Southlake
Sharmila Dissanaike - Lubbock
Texas Medical Board District Four Review Committee
Ada Booth - Corpus Christi
Walton Bush - Bee Cave
Leanne Burnett - Missouri City
Phillip Worley - Hebbronville
Ruth Villarreal - Mission
Andrew Widmer - Belton
Fourth Court Of Appeals Judge
Lori Valenzuela - San Antonio
72nd Judicial District Court Judge
Ann-Marie Carruth - Lubbock
Real Estate Research
Vicki Fullerton - The Woodlands
Rebecca Vajdak - Temple
Walter Nelson - The Woodlands (reappointed)
Board for Lease of
Texas Department of
Criminal Justice Lands
Erin Lunceford - Houston
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 – Information Security Analyst II
Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs – Rental Assistance Funds Manager
Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs – CDBG CARES Director
Texas Water Development Board – Project Manager II
Texas Water Development Board – Executive Assistant I
City of Austin – Procurement Specialist IV (Capital Contracting Office)