Volume 17, Issue 40 - Friday, October 18, 2019tional Link
Regulatory delays push back timeline for Permian Highway Pipeline construction
Executives at the company planning to build a $2 billion Permian Highway Pipeline across Central Texas say regulatory delays have forced them to push back plans to start construction from late 2020 to early 2021.

In a conference call with investors, the company's CEO said 85 percent of right of way is secured for the pipeline route, but the regulatory process is taking longer than expected.

The city of Austin recently joined the cities of San Marcos and Kyle, conservation districts, and coalitions in opposition to the pipeline by filing a Notice of Intent to sue the company. Austin officials say the pipeline project could hurt or kill the endangered Austin blind salamander and the Barton Springs salamander.

Austin is alleging that the company is not following U.S. Endangered Species Act regulations. According to the city, the company must apply for a federal permit in order to construct the pipeline over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone, which is home to the salamanders.

The natural gas line would span 430 miles and transport about 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas daily from the Permian Basin to the Gulf Coast. The company started construction of its Gulf Coast Express Pipeline in September, but plans to build its third pipeline, the Permian Pass Project, will start later than expected.
Houston awarded $134M in FEMA funds for downtown channel, bridge projects
View of Houston skyline from Buffalo Bayou
The city of Houston will receive $134 million in initial funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to cut a new channel downtown and improve White Oak Bayou bridges to aid in water flow.

Known as the North Canal Bypass, the new 1,300-foot waterway would reroute water upstream of the White Oak and Buffalo bayous confluence to avoid water massing there during storms. It also would reduce the water level of White Oak Bayou by 4 feet in downtown Houston. 

FEMA is expected to contribute $46 million to the project set for completion in 2022 with the Memorial Heights Redevelopment Authority adding $25 million. The city of Houston, Harris County Flood Control District, and Texas Department of Transportation each will fund $20 million. Recent legislation will allow the state to help finance part of the local match.
Mission mulls $84M in capital projects
Mission councilmembers and staff are reviewing city projects totaling $84 million for possible inclusion in a bond election in 2020.
 
One of the potential projects is construction of a new city hall for an estimated $15 million.

Other projects under consideration are a new library for $10 million, drainage improvements for $10 million, and a Boys & Girls club facility for $5 million.

If approved in a future bond, the city would build a second police station, public safety training center, and two satellite libraries. The city also would fund technology improvements, relocate Fire Station No. 2 and the new animal center, and make park and street improvements.

Councilmembers are set to consider a list of projects presented by staff at a future workshop.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently awarded the state of Texas $61.2 million in Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) funding to bolster local counterterrorism initiatives and other preventative measures.

Two HSGP programs - the State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) and the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) - will distribute funds primarily to cities and counties. SHSP will fund 264 projects, and UASI will support 136 projects.

More than $24 million will assist special response teams and first responder capabilities by providing equipment, training, and exercise support for SWAT, bomb, HAZMAT, search and rescue, and other law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services personnel.

State, regional, and local planning efforts will receive $13.4 million in grant funds for state-wide planning and preparedness efforts. More than $8 million will help sustain and enhance interoperable emergency communications that facilitate information sharing and effective coordination. Fusion centers will receive $3.2 million to promote intelligence and information sharing capabilities and analysis, production, and exchange of critical threat data among federal, state, and local agencies.
Corps updates plans for $32B sand dune system to protect Houston-Galveston
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is proposing to build a $32 billion system of 14-foot high natural sand dunes to safeguard the Houston and Galveston areas from storm surges.

The project would rank among the largest dune-building efforts in Corps' history.

Dunes and floodgates would stretch 44 miles from High Island to San Luis Pass with plans for an ecosystem restoration continuing to the south. The dunes would reduce erosion, absorb surge, and provide wildlife habitat.

The Corps previously developed a plan to build levees parallel on Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula that it aborted amid opposition from residents. It also has increased the height of the proposed sand dunes from 10 to 14 feet above sea level.

To buffer the Houston Ship Channel from storms, the Corps' most recent proposal features a gate across Galveston Bay's mouth. The plan allows for one-way boat traffic in both directions and would reduce the impact of new infrastructure on water flow.

Officials anticipate the project also would involve a major dredging operation and annual replenishment of the natural dunes.
Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars
Dr. Michael Novotny, Superintendent, Salado ISD

Dr. Michael Novotny
Career Highlights and Education
  • Salado ISD - superintendent;
  • Moulton ISD - superintendent;
  • Plano ISD - high school principal, assistant principal, special education coordinator, and teacher; and,
  • Minnesota - teacher assistant
Doctor of Education and Master of Education in educational administration from the University of North Texas, Master of Education in special education and Bachelor of Arts in physical education from Bethel University 

What I like best about my public service is: The opportunity to provide an excellent education for our students by leading and supporting our teachers and other employees.

The best advice I've received for my current job is: To make decisions based on what is best for students.

Advice you would give a new hire in your office: Would be to build relationships, work collaboratively, and be willing to work long hours. 

If I had the opportunity to leave work early, I could probably be found: Attending a Salado ISD athletic event.

People would be surprised to know that I: Served as an infantryman in the Army National Guard for six years, I drove motorcycles when I was in college, and I completed an Ironman triathlon in 2004. 

One thing I wish more people knew about Salado ISD is: Our students are very successful in academics, athletics, and fine arts.  We have won the UIL Academic Regional Championship 20 years in a row, the UIL Academic State Championship nine times, and the UIL Lone Star Cup three times.
Voters may start casting their ballots as early as Monday in the November 5 Texas constitutional amendment election.

Early voting to determine 10 constitutional amendments, special elections, and local elections will be from October 21 to November 1.

The amendments will appear as propositions on the ballot. In brief, they are:
  • Proposition 1 - Permitting a person to hold more than one office as a municipal judge at the same time;
  • Proposition 2 - Enabling the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) to issue up to $200 million in general obligation bonds for water and wastewater infrastructure projects in flood-damaged areas that are economically distressed;
  • Proposition 3 - Authorizing the Texas Legislature to provide for temporary property tax exemptions on properties damaged in disasters;
  • Proposition 4 - Prohibiting the imposition of a personal state income tax;
  • Proposition 5 - Dedicating revenue from existing state sales taxes on sporting goods to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas Historical Commission to protect Texas' natural areas, water quality, and history;
  • Proposition 6 - Authorizing the Legislature to increase the bonding authority of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) from $3 billion to $6 billion;
  • Proposition 7 - Allowing increased distributions by state agencies and boards to the Available School Fund, which provides classroom materials and funding for Texas schools;
  • Proposition 8 - Providing for the creation of a flood infrastructure fund that the TWDB could use to finance drainage, flood mitigation, and flood control projects in areas impacted by disasters;
  • Proposition 9 - Authorizing the Legislature to exempt precious metals held in an official depository from property taxes; and,
  • Proposition 10 - Allowing former handlers or qualified caretakers to adopt retired law enforcement animals without being assessed a fee.
For more information on the November 5 constitutional amendments, view the House Research Organization's report.
Arlington receptive to hyperloop facility
The city of Arlington is discussing the impact of a private hyperloop company locating a certification facility in the city after the Regional Transportation Council reported North Texas is under consideration.

At a recent City Council meeting, the city's director of transportation presented an evaluation of the region's qualities compared to other areas around the U.S. 

City officials said that the company is seeking an immense space to construct a mile of tube from February 2020 to August 2021 and build up to 9 miles before November 2023.

At speeds of up to 670 mph, passengers could travel from the DFW Metroplex to Laredo in about 45 minutes and from North Texas to Austin in less than 20 minutes.
Big Sandy Creek at White Oak Road Station
The city of White Oak is exploring options for future water sources after it commissioned an engineering report on October 15.

White Oak currently purchases raw water from the city of Longview that it obtains from the Big Sandy Creek via a water line purchased in the 1960s from Longview.

Maintaining the current raw water contract would likely necessitate repairing or replacing the water line. White Oak has incurred significant repair costs because of multiple breaches in the deteriorating line. The city's water system also includes three connections to Longview that it can use to transport treated water in emergencies.

Another option under consideration is to transport raw water from the Sabine River, which would shorten the transport distance from 16 miles to 3 miles. Consultants also will research the feasibility of purchasing treated water from Longview.

White Oak leaders said completion of the report would be a prerequisite if they were to apply for a loan or grant from the Texas Water Development Board for a water project.
Department of Commerce awards $48M in disaster recovery funding to Texas
The U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) recently announced $48 million in disaster relief and resiliency grants for Texas.

More than $13 million will be matched in local funds to help create 7,487 jobs, retain 225 jobs, and generate $6 billion in private investment.

Among the grant recipients are:
  • City of West Orange - $5 million, design and construction of a new wastewater treatment plant;
  • Urban Partnerships Community Development Corporation - $5 million, renovation of a facility to serve as a community fabrication space and incubator hub in Houston;
  • Lamar State College Port Arthur - $4.8 million, renovation of industrial training center to meet industry demand for trained commercial drivers;
  • City of Dayton - Gulf Inland Logistics Park - $4.8 million to support infrastructure improvement, including construction of a utility extension, road expansion, and signal installation;
  • Kleberg County - $4.3 million, construction of a regional public safety training facility and emergency operations and command center;
  • Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation - $3.7 million, creation of a technology center that will provide co-working and office space in Houston for entrepreneurs and startups;
  • City of Seadrift - $3.45 million, construction of new bulkhead, rock riprap, and jetty, and aiding of channel dredging at Seadrift Municipal Harbor;
  • City of Corpus Christi - $3 million, support of roadway improvements to expand industrial development;
  • The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston - $2 million, design and construction of a business technology and development center;
  • Bastrop County - $2 million - formation of Bastrop County Emergency Shelter and Community Center;
  • City of La Grange - $1.8 million, addition of sanitary sewer line and lift station; and,
  • San Jacinto County - $1.6 million, construction of an Innovation and Emergency Command Center.
Sherman reinstates airport board to support redevelopment opportunities
Sherman Municipal Airport
The city of Sherman is taking steps to revitalize its municipal airport with the reinstatement of a seven-member advisory board to assist with the next phase of the airport's master plan.

Defunct for 16 years, the board will now help the city take advantage of an upsurge in aviation industry activity and residential development at and near the airport.

City officials recently applied for a Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) matching grant for funds to build a seven-unit hangar building to keep up with demand.

The board's first meeting is set for October 30 following an open house at the airport where the second phase of its master plan will be on view.
Rollingwood discusses flood mitigation
Rollingwood leaders are focusing on 23 areas that routinely pond or flood for potential infrastructure improvements estimated to total $15.4 million.

Consultants provided the city with that cost estimate based on engineering, surveying and building the improvements but did not incorporate permitting fees and rights of way costs. 

At the Rollingwood City Council meeting on October 16, the consulting firm presented new areas of interest, project concepts, cost estimates, priority projects, and concepts. City officials and consultants prioritized five drainage improvement projects at Bee Caves Road, Edgegrove Drive, Nixon Drive and Pleasant Roadway, Pleasant Drive, and Timberline and South Crest drives.
Coastal Bend EDCs considering merger
Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi and San Patricio economic development leaders are discussing a possible merger of the two cities' economic development corporations.

At a board meeting this week, Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation discussed joining the two EDCs.

The two largest EDCs in the Coastal Bend region have experience working together in attracting two corporations to locate billion-dollar facilities in the area.
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Calendar of Events
Universities lining up to attend upcoming P3 Higher Ed Conference in San Diego
October 24-25 / San Diego, California
The P3 Higher Education Summit program presents a series of keynotes, case studies, panels, workshops, and diverse networking opportunities designed for attendees to deepen their understanding on alternative project models, innovations in project delivery, the value proposition of public-private partnerships (P3s), and the role they can play in the delivery of essential campus infrastructure.

This year's Summit will be from October 24-25 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, 1 Market Place, in San Diego, California. Early check-in is available October 23.

The two-day agenda has been programmed to help you plan and procure successful projects, understand best practices in selecting and negotiating with prospective partners, and take steps to ensure project success.

Over 125 leading practitioners will present their firsthand observations of higher education P3 projects of all sizes in different markets around the country.

Project leaders to convene for P3 Government Conference in D.C.
December 3-4 / Washington, D.C.
Join more than 850 public representatives, design-build leaders, and P3 experts at the P3 Government Conference for two days of transportation, water, energy, and social infrastructure project delivery.

The conference is scheduled from December 3-4 at the Marriott Marquis Washington, D.C.

The P3 Government Conference invites local, state, and federal project representatives evaluating upgrades and new developments for two days of P3 education and networking.

This year's program provides the essential tools and know-how to successfully plan, deliver, and operate P3 projects of all sizes.

Connect with owners who want to better understand how alternative project delivery can be used for their next project, identify partners and procurement opportunities, and meet with other communities and agencies using P3s for their critical infrastructure challenges.

Join other delegates to discover new projects and new partners! To be included in future event updates, receive presentations, and connect with the over 800 delegates who attended last year's conference, please visit the conference website and register today!

DART board elects Wageman as chair
Paul Wageman
The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) board of directors elected Paul Wageman of Plano as their chair for a two-year term.

Wageman was appointed in 2012 by the Plano City Council to represent the city on the DART board of directors. He is a past chairman of the North Texas Tollway Authority and is a shareholder at a Dallas law firm.

Dallas representative Michele Wong Krause was elected vice chair. Wong Krause is a Dallas attorney. She was appointed to the DART board in 2014.

Garland representative Jonathan Kelly was elected secretary. He is a senior portfolio manager and was appointed to the DART board in 2016.

Dallas representative Ray Jackson was elected assistant secretary. Jackson is a managing partner at a law firm and was appointed to the DART board in 2017.
AISD names Bullock as district's acting superintendent 
Robin Bullock
The Allen ISD (AISD) board of trustees named Deputy Superintendent Robin Bullock as the district's acting superintendent on October 12, following the announced retirement of Dr. Scott Niven.

Bullock has served as AISD deputy superintendent and assistant superintendent since 2013. She previously served as the deputy superintendent for Midlothian ISD as well as the interim superintendent.

The AISD board soon will begin its search for a new superintendent.
Frisco taps Shilson as new police chief
David Shilson
Frisco City Manager George Purefoy named David Shilson as the city's new police chief on October 17.

Shilson will be promoted from deputy chief to police chief on November 1.

He has 20 years of law enforcement experience, 17 of which have been with the Frisco Police Department.

Interim Police Chief Greg Ward has been serving since June following the retirement of Chief John Bruce, who served the city for 23 years. Ward will return to his previous role as assistant chief. Shilson's promotion leaves a deputy chief position vacant.
Leander names finalist for city manager post
Rick Beverlin III
Leander councilmembers named Rick Beverlin III as the finalist for the city manager position on October 17.

Beverlin is currently an assistant city manager for the city of Galveston. He previously served as director of economic development for the city of League City and city administrator for the city of Kemah, Texas.

He succeeds interim City Manager Gordon Pierce who took over when former Leander City Manager Kent Cagle left the city in May.


Bobbitt nominated by Trump for HUD assistant secretary 
John 'Jack' Bobbitt
John "Jack" Bobbitt of Texas has been nominated by President Trump to be the next assistant secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Bobbitt is currently serving as deputy assistant secretary of HUD. He has 16 years of experience as a White House lead advance representative managing a team responsible for trip logistics for the U.S. president.

He takes over for Suzanne Tufts who resigned as assistant secretary in October 2018.
Borger selects new asst. city manager
Garrett Spradling
The city of Borger promoted Garrett Spradling to assistant city manager on October 14.

Spradling most recently served as assistant to the city manager. He also served on the Borger City Council and as mayor pro tem and worked in various positions in the city's police department.

He succeeds Assistant City Manager Joe Price who accepted a position as city manager of Canyon, Texas.
  
Palestine appoints interim police chief
Mark Harcrow
Mark Harcrow has been appointed as the city of Palestine's interim police chief.

Harcrow most recently served as the city's assistant police chief and has been with the department for 11 years.

He succeeds former Police Chief Andy Harvey who announced his resignation in September.
Red Oak ISD taps Sanford as finalist for superintendent 
Brenda Sanford
Red Oak ISD trustees named Brenda Sanford as the lone finalist for its superintendent position.

Sanford is the director of curriculum and assessment for Canton ISD.

She will succeed interim superintendent Dr. Ann Dixon who filled the position after Dr. Michael Goddard departed to lead Lovejoy ISD as its superintendent.

Sanford's contract with Red Oak ISD will go into effect October 21.


Gainesville names new city secretary 
Diana Alcala
The city of Gainesville appointed Diana Alcala as its next city secretary.

Alcala previously served as a logistics leader and in human resources for a national retailer.

Her first day as city secretary was October 14. She succeeds former City Secretary Caitlyn Huddleston.
Snipes recognized for public service
Anthony Snipes
Anthony Snipes, city manager of Missouri City, has been selected by the National Academy of Public Administration for its 2019 Class of Academy Fellows for his years of public administration service.

Snipes is a veteran municipal administrator whose 20-year career in public service includes oversight in strategic initiatives that involve budgeting and performance management, public-private partnerships and organizational development. He joined Missouri City in December 2015.

Induction of the 51 new fellows will occur during the academy's annual fall meeting November 7-8 in Arlington, Virginia.


RECENT REPORTS and DATA
Gov. Greg Abbott has announced these appointments/reappointments from October 11-17:
  • Jeffrey Jacobs - Kaufman, Sabine River Authority Board of Directors (reappointed)
  • Joshua McAdams - Center, Sabine River Authority Board of Directors
  • Kevin Williams - Orange, Sabine River Authority Board of Directors
  • Ashley Hunter - Austin, Motor Vehicle Crime Prevention Authority (reappointed)
  • Katherine "Kit" Whitehill - Coppell, Motor Vehicle Crime Prevention Authority
RECENT REPORTS and DATA
Legislative Budget Board - FY 2020 Operating Budget Instructions for Executive and Administrative Agencies, Appellate Courts, and Judicial Branch Agencies

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas - Eleventh District Beige Book

TexNet Seismic Monitoring Program - Improving absolute earthquake location in west Texas

U.S. Department of Transportation - Air Travel Consumer Report
JOB BOARD
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 Comptroller of Public Accounts - CPA - CAPPS Project Manager IV
  • Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts - Fiscal Documentation Technical Writer
  • Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts - CPA - Expenditure Audit Data Analyst
     
  • Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs - Network and Technical Support Manager
  • Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs - Staff Accountant
  • Cooke County - IT Technician - part-time


View our Texas Government Insider and Government Contracting Pipeline newsletter archives

Texas Government Insider is a free weekly newsletter detailing important happenings throughout the state and summarizing current political issues relevant to individuals interested in government.   
Publisher: Mary Scott Nabers
Editor: Devin Monk 
TGI is published by Strategic Partnerships, Inc. (SPI), a research and consulting firm. Founded in Texas in 1995 by former government executives and public sector experts, the SPI Team has developed a national reputation for partnering public and private sector entities.   
To learn more about SPI services, click here or contact our sales department at 512-531-3900. 
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