Volume 18, Issue 4 - Friday, January 24, 2020
Committee recommends $319M project to renovate Amarillo Civic Center venue
Rendering of Amarillo Civic Center Complex
The city of Amarillo's plans to renovate the Amarillo Civic Center Complex earned the support of a citizen executive committee that recommended a $319 million project to be funded by voter-approved debt.

At a City Council work session on January 21, the committee recommended several amenities including a new 75,600-square-foot exhibit space, a 10,100-seat arena, a new ballroom, pre-convention gathering areas, a commercial-grade kitchen, a renovated Santa Fe Depot, and a new expanded central plaza.
Councilmembers are scheduled to vote on the committee's recommendation at their February 11 meeting. If voters approve the measure, the city would initiate a 10- to 12-month design phase.

City officials said construction would occur in phases. Completion is targeted for 2024.
TxDOT drafting 2050 transportation plan
Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) staff members are developing a draft of the Texas Transportation Plan (TTP) 2050.

The document will implement the goals of the 2019-2023 Strategic Plan and use the Statewide Long-Range Transportation Plan 2040 as a platform for planning the next 30 years of the state's multimodal transportation system.

TTP 2050 will include road and highway projects as well as initiatives that benefit other modes of transportation. Because a project is included in the plan does not mean that it is funded. TxDOT's strategic plans are the source of funding commitments.

Sixty percent of the state's transportation funds will be directed toward projects that reduce congestion and improve connectivity. Twenty percent will be used for infrastructure maintenance. The remaining 20 percent will fund the energy sector.

TTP 2050 goals and objectives are to:
  • Enhance safety;
  • Maintain infrastructure;
  • Optimize movement;
  • Protect and preserve human and natural environment;
  • Efficiently deliver the right projects; and,
  • Invest in people.
A draft of the plan is being prepared for presentation at a Texas Transportation Commission public hearing on January 30. TxDOT is aiming for commission action on the plan by March or April.
Seabrook wastewater treatment plant
The city of Seabrook secured funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for design and engineering of a new Pine Gulley Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Hurricane Ike flooding damaged the city's current Main Street plant, which is at sea level, and left residents without sewage service for five days. Repairs took months to complete.

FEMA awarded the city $2.96 million through its Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) to design a new facility at a higher elevation. The city will match the grant with $988,678 of its own money.

Per conditions of the grant, the city must complete the design phase and gain FEMA approval by November. Upon completion, FEMA will review the engineering and design phase of the $31.35 million project for approval to allow the city to move into phase two of the project, which will include bidding and construction of the 2.5 million-gallon per day wastewater system. The city also plans to build a new lift station and demolish the Main Street plant.

City officials are optimistic that FEMA will fund $23.5 million of the construction that would take three years with the support of federal financing. If not, the city is prepared to issue certificates of obligation to ensure the project moves forward under a longer timeline of 10 to 12 years.
Midtown Area Plan targets development guidelines to revitalize downtown Bryan 
Bryan's Midtown
The city of Bryan has set a timeline for its City Council to review the Midtown Area Plan at a March 17 workshop and take action on the plan at its April 14 regular meeting.
City staff plan to release the draft plan in early February and collect public input at meetings and in an online survey before they present it to the Bryan Planning and Zoning Commission for a recommendation to City Council.

The city's goal is to create a plan that will link a revitalized downtown Bryan to a dynamic Midtown and develop the area into an economic catalyst for surrounding neighborhoods.

Approximately 2-square miles comprise the area that surrounds the proposed Travis B. Bryan Municipal Park property from historic downtown Bryan to the city limits shared with the city of College Station and adjacent to the Texas A&M University. City planners have divided the area into five "experience" districts: Gateway, Railyard, Park, Union Hill, and North of Northgate, with the regional park at the heart.
Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars
Angela Olige, Assistant Commissioner for Food and Nutrition, Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA)

Angela Olige
Career Highlights and Education: I am part of Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller's executive team at TDA. I oversee the Food and Nutrition Division and the operations, policy development, strategic planning, and financial management of 12 federal nutrition programs with an annual budget of about $2.5 billion in Texas.

I received my Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. I first ventured into the public sector in the accounting offices of school districts in La Marque and Houston and added food and nutrition to the mix while working in Las Vegas, Nevada for the Clark County School District. I started my state of Texas service in 2005 with TDA.

What I like best about my public service is: This position affords me the opportunity to make various people connections. My core desire is to serve others and help people pursue excellence in all they do. As assistant commissioner for food and nutrition, I am afforded the opportunity to maximize many efforts, collaborate widely, and enhance people's potential for success. I am blessed to be able to contribute. 

The best advice I've received for my current job is: Remember that in all that you obtain, obtain an understanding and do everything as unto the Lord. This job requires patience, endurance, dedication, diligence, and desire. Desire to lift people, diligence to push pass limits, dedication to a true and righteous cause, endurance to overcome hardship, and patience to allow time to do what only time can do.

Advice you would give a new hire in your office: I continue to tell each new team member that to succeed in your job you must always provide customer service excellence and aspire to consistently meet and maintain the highest professional standards.

If I had the opportunity to leave work early, I could probably be found: Helping my family. I love supporting my children and caring from my grandchildren. It is my deepest desire to see them come into their best selves and be just and righteous people who desire to make a positive difference.

People would be surprised to know that IWould love to become an expert ballroom dancer.

One thing I wish more people knew about TDA is: I wish everyone could see the dedication and commitment demonstrated by the staff every day and how hard they work to carry out their duties to administer 12 federal programs. Food and Nutrition staff believe that anything worth doing is worth doing well. Staff believe that they set the standard that others should look to as an example of excellence and the expression "that will do" simply will not do.
Kyle City Council authorized city staff to pursue designs for a new police station and two parks that will be in a new billion-dollar Uptown Kyle development.

The estimated $30 million police station would house the entire Kyle Police Department. The two-story standalone building is expected to be 64,000 square feet and built in a 'T' shape modeled after the concept of College Station's Police Headquarters.

City documents state the preliminary design phase will last about eight weeks. Schematic design through construction documents will take about nine months. Construction is scheduled to be about 18 months.

The city may choose to utilize a Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) approach for this project or use the design-bid-build process or competitive sealed proposals.

City planners expect to determine a firmer project cost before August in preparation for a potential November bond election.

Plans for the Uptown Kyle development also include a hotel convention center, office spaces, a soccer complex, and retail and restaurant space. Land donations have provided the city with sites for the police headquarters and all other facilities with the exception of the soccer complex.

One of the parks is planned to feature a Heroes Memorial set to open on September 11, 2021. The city's mayor estimates that project will cost $4 million to $5 million to build.
Interstate 35 in Waco
The Waco Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is expediting two $38 million road projects for Interstate 35 work.

On January 17, the MPO policy board authorized the two Connections 2045 projects. One will add ramps, frontage roads, and overpasses at Valley Mills Drive and New Road to ease traffic congestion in southern Waco. The other would construct a frontage road section to connect Irving Lee Street and Valley Mills Drive. A wider overpass at Valley Mills Drive also would be built.
Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) engineers convinced the MPO to fund the two projects and postpone the more expensive $260 million reconstruction of the I-35 section known as 4C after 2030.

TxDOT staff members said the strategy would allow planners to complete design and obtain Texas Transportation Commission funding support for the two projects by the end of 2020 and award a contract in early 2021. Project completion could be achieved by early 2023.
Huntington ISD preparing $19.3M bond
Huntington ISD board of trustees
Huntington ISD board members will ask for voter approval of a $19.3 million bond election on May 2 to build several new facilities and make infrastructure improvements at others.

The district's bond package features construction of an 18,000-square foot career tech facility and a 1,000-seat competition gym, and a multipurpose facility with space for a band hall and dance studio.

Other bond items include:
  • Security upgrades at several campuses including new cameras, entrances, and doors;
  • Auditorium upgrades for theater arts;
  • New turf playgrounds at elementary and intermediate school campuses; and,
  • Locker room renovations.
Board members had considered a bond referendum that would finance installation of turf football fields and repair of roofs at the intermediate school and high school campuses. They removed the field improvements in order to call an election with only one proposition. Athletic improvements require a separate bond proposition.

The district will pay for $1 million in roof repairs out of its fund balance rather than encumber taxpayers with that debt.
Beaumont seeks larger museum space
Beaumont Children's Museum
Beaumont City Council recently authorized an architectural study to determine if one of its city-owned buildings is suitable for an expanded Beaumont Children's Museum.

Officials are considering the former Sears warehouse on Magnolia Street as a potential home for the museum. The city uses a portion of the 32,000-square-foot building, the remainder of which would be larger than the museum's current space inside of the Beaumont Civic Center.

Due to space constraints, the museum is limited in its ability to host temporary exhibits and groups larger than 75 in its on-site classroom.

Representatives of the city's architectural firm estimate the study will take four to six weeks to complete. The study will assess the museum's needs, code requirements, and existing utilities. It also will determine if it would be more cost efficient to build a new facility than to move into an existing location.
The Woodlands to issue RFP for new fire station, training center construction plan
The Woodlands Emergency Training Center
The board of directors at the township of The Woodlands authorized staff to release a request for proposals (RFP) for a comprehensive construction plan of three of its fire stations and its Emergency Training Center (ETC). 

Stations Nos. 3, 4, and 5 and the township's Emergency Training Center will require major upgrades over the next few years. 

Fire department officials told directors at their January 15 meeting that they have concerns about the structural integrity of Fire Station No. 5 and space constraints at stations No. 3 and 4 and at the ETC. 

The proposed plan would look to refresh the Station No. 3 building, provide additional storage and living space, address radio equipment room limitations, and add one apparatus bay. 

The Montgomery County Hospital District has expressed interest in placing a dedicated medic unit and district chief at Station No. 4, but the fire department cannot accommodate the district's request due to available space constraints. Station No. 4 also experiences radio equipment room constraints. 

A 2019 study concluded that several of the issues with Station No. 5's structure identified in 2009 have worsened and new structural issues have been identified. Additional analysis is needed as major repairs are required. Staff members also are recommending additional space to house a second company at Station No. 5 as well as additional room for offices, dorms, and living spaces. 

Fire officials are requesting that the study assess the ETC's facility needs including additional bathroom and shower facilities and more space for classrooms and storage. They also are seeking an evaluation of other structural components of the center for replacement. 

Proposals must be received no later than 2 p.m. February 14.
West Lake Hills weighing new city hall, police facility for May bond election
Rendering of West Lake Hills municipal facility
West Lake Hills bond advisory council members recommended the city pursue a bond election on May 2 for $10.7 million to construct a new city hall and police building.

After reviewing architectural studies and renderings, advisory council members encouraged the City Council at its January 22 meeting to opt for new construction instead of renovating the existing facility.

The advisory council also recommended the city finance four road improvements projects and one drainage project at a cost of $8.71 million.

City Council has until February 14 to call a May 2 bond election.
Carthage council reviews trio of options for new police, fire department facilities
Carthage police and fire department building
The Carthage City Commission is mulling several options for new police and fire buildings after a presentation at its January 13 meeting.

Architects presented three alternatives for the commission's consideration to alleviate overcrowding, limited storage and training space, and issues with security and accessibility at the city's current location that houses both departments.

One option would be to combine police and fire operations in a 32,345-square-foot single-story building with an estimated construction cost of $10.08 million to $11.35 million.

Another choice would be a 32,829-square-foot two-story combined-use building estimated at $10.26 million to $11.54 million to build.

The commission also considered an idea to split the departments into two different buildings with the police moving to a new 15,447-square-foot facility at the site of their former station. Fire personnel would move into a new 16,613-square-foot central station. Total estimated cost of that plan is $9.45 million to $10.87 million.

City architects recommended building a combined station that also could include space for a municipal court.

Commissioners are scheduled to select one of the options at a February meeting which will allow architects to develop preliminary floor and site plans and conceptual renderings.
Patton Village to receive HUD funds for flood recovery, mitigation infrastructure
The Texas General Land Office (GLO) recently approved $19 million in reallocated Community Development Block Grants for Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the city of Patton Village.

Federal funds will provide for the deepening of five detention lakes and ponds to promote sustainable long-term recovery and responsible flood-plain management.

Patton community members were overwhelmed by flooding events in 2016 as heavy rainfall caused flooding of streets and homes, threatening public health, safety, and welfare. Montgomery County was deemed by HUD to be a most-impacted and distressed area for both the 2016 floods and Hurricane Harvey. It was deemed a state most-impacted area following the 2015 floods.

The city developed the project to align with the goals of the regional Hazard Mitigation Plan.
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Calendar of Events
Mass timber professionals to gather for annual conference at San Jacinto College
February 11-12, 2020 / Pasadena, Texas
The city of Pasadena Mayor Jeff Wagner and San Jacinto College Chancellor Brenda Hellyer will present the Texas Gulf Coast Mass Timber Conference on February 11-12, 2020, at San Jacinto College, 8060 Spencer Highway, in Pasadena, Texas.

Learn about mass timber projects currently in design, contractor experiences with this technology, unique safety concerns with timber construction, mass timber under International Building Code (IBC) 2012 and 2015, design of timber connections, and design for fire, wind, and seismic resistance.

Attendees will receive up to 12.5 hours of instruction and qualify for up to 12.5 AIA/CES HSW LUs, 12.5 PDH credits, .13 ICC credits, or .13 CEUs. Professional Development Certificates will be e-mailed to attendees following the event.

The presenter lineup will feature leaders in the mass timber industry including Rob Dodd, Steve Durham, Joseph Gentile, Kimberly Hickson, Michelle Kam-Biron, Sherry Mundell, Susan Phillips, John Strack, and David Tyree.

Registration is available for either day of the two-day conference or for both days. Sign up today!
Procurement leaders to convene at Public-Private Conference & Expo
March 2-4, 2020 / Dallas, Texas
The Public-Private Partnership (P3) Conference & Expo unites leaders from states and localities, higher education institutions, and public agencies, with industry to discuss infrastructure challenges faced nationwide; and how innovations in project delivery, procurement, life cycle asset management, and technology can help solve critical issues.

Join us at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, 400 N. Olive St., for the year's biggest P3 event as we explore the future of public infrastructure and advancements in the P3 model. Over 150 presenters will discuss active and upcoming projects, sharing key insights for leveraging private sector resources for public infrastructure.

Our 2020 program will present a series of keynotes, case studies, panels, workshops, and diverse networking opportunities designed for attendees to deepen their understanding on the value proposition of P3s, and the role they can play in the delivery of essential public infrastructure.

Connect with over 1,350 participating delegates from around the world for in-depth learning, business development, and networking opportunities with an elite mix of owners, developers, contractors, and service providers engaged in public-private partnerships.

The P3 Conference is designed for all levels in the market including those beginning to explore P3s and seeking to better understand where alternative and accelerated project delivery methods can be applicable.

Advance registration is available now. Sign up today!
SPI adds Loya to consulting team
Sergio Loya
Strategic Partnerships, Inc. (SPI) is pleased to announce Sergio Loya as a new external consultant with the firm.

Loya is an established public administrator and veteran with 25 years of public, private, and nonprofit experience. Well-traveled, multi-cultural, and multi-lingual with international experience, he is a recognized subject matter expert with expertise in government marketplaces. His 19-plus years working with public officials give him a unique perspective at every jurisdictional level of government.

At the federal level, Loya worked as a consultant for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and departments of Homeland Security (DHS), Energy (DOE), Interior (INT), Defense (DoD), and several others.

He has experience in responding to bid solicitations, contract oversight, project management, strategy development and financial operations. His areas of expertise are broad, and the SPI Team welcomes the significant value he can help them bring to clients.
Lt. Gov appoints 4 to Sunset positions
Pat Fallon
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced four appointees to the Sunset Advisory Commission on January 21 
Eddie Lucio
including state Sens. Pat Fallon of Prosper, Eddie Lucio of Brownsville, and Angela Paxton of McKinney.

Ralph Duggins of Fort Worth is the 
Angela Paxton
new public member appointee. Duggins is a partner at a law firm, fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation, director of two 
Ralph Duggins
nonprofits, and 
former chairman of two children's hospitals.

State Sens. Dawn Buckingham of Lakeway and Bob Hall of Edgewood will continue to serve on the Sunset Advisory Commission. Buckingham will serve as the vice-chair for the 2019-2021 Review Cycle.

Commissioner fills executive team at Higher Ed Board 
Texas Commissioner of Higher Education Harrison Keller announced the appointment of a new senior leadership team at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board on January 23.

Rey Rodriguez
Keller named Rey Rodriguez as Deputy Commissioner and Chief of Staff. Rodriguez previously served as associate vice chancellor for government relations and chief policy operations officer for the University of North Texas System.

Lori Fey
Lori Fey was selected to be the board's new deputy commissioner for data analytics and innovation. Fey has worked as director of the Rebuild Texas Fund with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.

Ray Martinez
Ray Martinez is the board's new deputy commissioner for academic affairs and workforce education. Martinez most recently served as president and chief executive officer of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas (ICUT).

Other new appointments include Melissa Henderson as associate commissioner for development, Elizabeth Bolin as deputy chief of staff, Leslie Hall as senior director of the project management office, and Amy Peterson as senior director of strategic finance policy.

Keller also announced that Dr. Stacey Silverman's interim role as assistant commissioner for academic quality and workforce has been made permanent.

Edinburg EDC picks Hinojosa as interim executive director
Richard Hinojosa
The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation (EDC) board of directors approved the nomination of Edinburg interim city manager Richard Hinojosa as the EDC's interim executive director.

Hinojosa previously served as Edinburg's city manager for three years, and he was brought back as interim city manager in November 2019.

The board also decided to start the hiring process to fill the positions of executive director, assistant executive director, and director of business operations and marketing.
Canyon taps Wright as finance director
Joel Wright
The Canyon City Commission confirmed Joel Wright as the city's finance director on January 6. He succeeds former Finance Director Chris Sharp who accepted a position with Amarillo College.

Wright has more than 27 years of experience in public accounting, including six years of assisting the city of Canyon with its annual audit.
He will begin his duties with the city on February 6.

Orangefield names McAlpin finalist for superintendent post
Shaun McAlpin
The Orangefield ISD board of trustees named Shaun McAlpin as the district's lone finalist for superintendent on January 21. He succeeds Dr. Stephen Patterson who resigned in November 2019.

McAlpin, assistant superintendent and director of finance, was serving as the district's acting superintendent. He previously was director of curriculum and instruction and a high school principal within the district.
Leander selects Ellison as director of public works
Gina Ellison
The city of Leander recently named Gina Ellison as the city's public works director. She succeeds former Public Works Director Pat Womack.

Ellison had been serving as interim public works director since August 2019. Previously, she held positions as a project manager and graduate engineer with private firms.

Nacogdoches selects Chafin as planner
Alaina Chafin
Nacogdoches City Council recently named Alaina Chafin as its city planner. She succeeds Leo Mantey who accepted a position in Fort Worth.

Chafin previously served as land development planning administrator for the city of College Station and wage project specialist-economic development at the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service.
Rockwall names Geron police chief
Max Geron
Rockwall City Manager Rick Crowley has selected Max Geron to serve as the city's new chief of police.

Geron currently serves as acting deputy chief in the Dallas Police Department where he has held multiple leadership positions including police major of several divisions.

He is scheduled to begin work in Rockwall on February 17.

Gov. Greg Abbott has announced these appointments/reappointments from January 10-23:

Juli Blanda - Aransas Pass, Governor's Broadband Development Council

Frank Moreno - Crystal City, Governor's Broadband Development Council

Lindsey Lee - Edna, Governor's Broadband Development Council

Marshall Harrison - Sunray, Governor's Broadband Development Council

Marty Lucke - Floydada, Governor's Broadband Development Council

Kirk Petty - Vernon, Governor's Broadband Development Council

Thomas Kim - Austin, Governor's Broadband Development Council

William Sproull - Richardson, Governor's Broadband Development Council

Saurin Patel - Austin, Governor's Broadband Development Council

Greg Pittman - Sherman, Governor's Broadband Development Council

Jennifer Harris - Austin, Governor's Broadband Development Council

Kenny Scudder - Odessa, Governor's Broadband Development Council

Mike Easley - Austin, Governor's Broadband Development Council

Edward Smith - Abilene, Governor's Broadband Development Council

Steven Johnson - Austin, Governor's Broadband Development Council
Texas Demographic Center - Texas Population Projections 2010 to 2050

Texas Demographic Center - 2018 Estimated Population of Texas, Its Counties, and Places

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts - Fiscal Notes - The 2020 Census: Why It's Important
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 Medical Board - Texas Physician Health Program Executive Medical Director
  • Office of the Texas Governor - Sexual Assault Survivors' Task Force (SASTF) Administrative Assistant IV
  • Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts - Investigator V - Texas Bullion Depository
  • Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts - Senior Counsel for Audit
  • Texas Legislative Council - Redistricting Support Specialist
  • Texas Real Estate Commission - Standards & Enforcement Director
  • Treasury Safekeeping Trust Company - Private Markets Portfolio Manager
  • City of Austin - Procurement Supervisor
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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