Volume 16, Issue 30 Friday, August 10, 2018Optional Link
Harris County releases $2.5B bond project list
On Monday, Harris County Flood Control District released the final list of bond projects for the $2.5 billion flood prevention bond election that will go before voters Aug. 25. Early voting runs from Aug. 8-21. If voters approve the bond it would provide county funds for voluntary home buyouts, infrastructure projects like widening and deepening channels and modifying stormwater-detention basins; improving stormwater drainage in subdivisions and more. The bond includes funding for 237 projects, $1.2 billion for channel improvements, $12.5 million for new floodplain mapping, and $1.25 million for an improved early flood warning system. 

A portion of the funds would also go toward updating the flood plain maps. The maps could be completed in a year or 18 months after the Federal Emergency Management Agency analyzes and confirms the updated information. To help fund the bond, homeowners and businesses can expect a gradual increase in property tax. County officials estimate the bond will increase property taxes for homeowners by 2 to 3 cents per $100 of assessed home value. The voting begins as Harris County officials wrapped up a two-month tour visiting residents living along the 23 watersheds within the county. The goal is to improve infrastructure in every watershed in the county during a 10- to 15-year period.
Round Rock ISD analyzes three options for November bond election
The Round Rock Independent School District Board members were presented with three options for bond packages by the Citizens Bond Committee, a group comprised of parents, district staff and other stakeholders. The school board has until Aug. 20 to decide if one of the packages should be presented to voters in November. 

The first package totals $521.7 million and would fund a new high school and elementary school and the rebuild of CD Fulkes Middle School. The second package totals $586.7 million and would fund the same projects listed in Package No. 1. The second option would also include an expansion of Westwood High School and a remodel of McNeil High School. The third package totals $429.5 million. This amount is low enough not to warrant a tax increase. The projects mirror those in Package No. 2, with the exception that a new high school would only be taken to the phase of being "shovel ready," which means design and site work. All three bond packages would provide $125.4 million for district-wide projects and $143.2 million for capital renewal and replacement projects.
UT football stadium approved for $175M revamp
The University of Texas (UT) System Board of Regents gave approval Thursday to a $175 million project at the Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial football stadium in Austin. The project will be paid for through donors and ticket sales and would add new suites, clubs, loge boxes, sponsor amenities, modified fan seating and new coaches' offices to the south end zone of the stadium. This project is similar to the North End Zone Expansion that was completed in 2008. The system's governing board has authorized the school to borrow an additional $50 million in revenue bonds that will be paid off with proceeds from tickets and premium seating. 

Of the project's total planned cost, $85 million is slated to be spent on the south end zone addition, $15 million on architectural and design services, and $20 million on renovating an athletic center with the latest technology in sports medicine and rehabilitation services. A completion date is set for July 2021, with construction starting around the summer of 2019. The authorization of expenditures and approval of the design development plans still need to be approved.
San Antonio presents $2.8B proposed budget for FY 2019
San Antonio City Manager Sheryl Sculley Thursday presented to city council members a proposal on how to allocate the city's $2.8 billion budget for the 2019 fiscal year (FY). The budget, which is nearly 6 percent bigger than the FY 2018 budget, contains no property tax increase. The budget consists of a general fund of $1.26 billion, $898 million for restricted funds and $690 million for the capital improvement program. The budget allocates $25 million for housing, some of which would be used for housing preservation, repairs and neighborhood improvements. 

For road projects, $35 million will be allocated for streets in Council Districts 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10, and $11 million will fund streets in the oldest areas within Loop 410 and the oldest neighborhoods in Council Districts 8 and 9 that fall outside Loop 410. An additional $19 million would fund sidewalks that are close to schools and are affected by pedestrian safety and transit access. The Advanced Transportation District would fund $9 million. The remaining $10 million would come from the 2017 Bond. View the FY 2019 Proposed Annual Operating and Capital Budget. City Council is slated to vote on the budget on Sept. 13. The fiscal year starts on Oct. 1.
TCEQ releases Draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has released a Draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan of the state's $209 million Volkswagen settlement money. The plan specifies how to spend the money, which was allocated to Texas in January from the multibillion-dollar settlement of Volkswagen's diesel emissions cheating scandal. Computer software on hundreds of thousands of Volkswagen diesel vehicles made it appear that they were emitting less nitrogen oxide than claimed. The national settlement with Volkswagen specifies the ways the money could be used to reduce air pollution but allows states to distribute the cash within that framework. 

Less than 4 percent is expected to go toward administering the Texas fund, according to the state's plan. And up to 15 percent would be allocated to electric car charging or hydrogen fuel cell fueling infrastructure. The other 81 percent - $169.5 million - would be allocated to densely populated regions with high ozone concentrations. The goal of the settlement fund is to reduce nitrogen oxide, one of the components of ground-level ozone or smog. Comments may be submitted by email to VWsettle@tceq.texas.gov. Comments will be accepted through Oct. 8.
Lubbock focusing on city budget deadline
The Lubbock City Council has until Oct. 1 to finalize the Fiscal Year 2019 budget. The proposed budget calls for increasing the property tax rate by 1 cent. The city is projected to receive $5.5 million more from property taxes in 2018 than in it did in 2017, which will assist in funding new construction. The 1-cent increase would fund the city's Public Safety Improvements Project approved earlier this year, which includes the construction of three police substations, a new police headquarters, a police storage facility and a new municipal court facility. The total project is estimated to cost $60 million. The city already issued $10 million worth of bonds for early work such as engineering and design services, as well as acquiring land. 

The city's airport is budgeting for a $35 million project to update the terminal building. The project could start in spring 2019. It will include modernizing the building, modifying screening and exit points, improving plumbing and the public announcement system, and updating security and operational needs. Other projects under consideration include building a car wash for city vehicles, building one main library instead of having four across the city, parks and recreation improvements, and road projects.
Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars
Nicole Fontayne-Bardowell , Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Dallas Area Rapid Transit
Nicole Fontayne-Bardowell

Career highlights and education: Nicole Fontayne-Bardowell joined DART in June 2014 with more than 17 years of experience as a Chief Information Officer and Director of IT with large jurisdictions such as Broward County, Fla., and the city of Detroit, Mich. She is an accomplished and results-driven senior IT and business transformation executive with over twenty years of diversified, industry experience. In addition, she provided consulting services to Fortune 500 organizations. Prior to DART, Fontayne-Bardowell was an Engagement Manager with Everest Group, a boutique, global management consulting firm based in Dallas, focusing on strategy and transformation on highly complex projects with leading companies. She has an undergraduate degree from Roosevelt University of Chicago and a master's degree from Nova Southeastern University of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. She has attended Harvard University Executive Education Programs for IT.

What I like best about my job is: Developing high performing teams and delivering leading edge solutions to improve transit operations and rider experience.

The best advice I've received for my current roll is: Stay focused on the big picture.

Advice you would give a new hire in your office: It's a great time to be in transit and at DART. Determine to make a contribution that helps us grow.

If I ever left work early, I could probably be found: Buying fabulous fabrics.

People would be surprised to know that I: Hiked eight miles down the Grand Canyon.

One thing I wish more people knew about DART: We are changing the way people think about transit by creating new ways for them to use our services. DART is moving beyond traditional bus and rail operations to engage ride and car-sharing companies to help people complete their trips. We are also adopting new approaches to regular bus service to create a personalized experience consistent with the on-demand lifestyle of our customers.
City of Hutto discusses November bond proposals
The city of Hutto last week decided to move forward with a general obligation (GO) bond to be placed on the election ballot in November. The city is having discussions on three GO proposals that would total $125 million. One of the proposals would focus on improvements to the Farm-to-Market (FM) 1660 N. and Limmer Loop intersection, the FM 1660 N. and Hwy 79 intersection, and the intersection at FM 1660 S. and Front Street. 

Another proposition proposed for the election is for a communications facility for the Hutto Police Department. The third proposition is to fund the construction, renovations and equipping of city parks. City council members will hear a second reading of the GO bond propositions on Aug. 16, Hutto's next city council meeting, before voting on whether to formally put them on the ballot.
Multi-phase I-14 widening to cost $81M
Adding a new lane in both directions of Interstate 14/U.S. Highway 190 from Harker Heights to Belton is estimated to cost more than $81 million and the project will continue for the next few years. Widening the interstate from four to six lanes will be divided into three phases. Phase 1 began in April with a cost of $7.2 million. The project covers a two-mile section I-14 from Farm-to-Market (FM) 2410 in Harker Heights to FM 3423. 

Phase 2 will begin letting around April 2019 at an estimated cost of $39 million. Construction will begin in summer 2019 from FM 3423 in Harker Heights to FM 2410/Simmons Road in Belton. Phase 3 of the I-14 expansion project will take place from Simmons Road to I-35. Construction could take place within the next five years, once it is funded. The estimated cost is $35 million.
TWU issues RFP for $52M research facility
The Texas Woman's University (TWU) has issued a request for proposals for a general contractor to build the Science and Technology Learning Center. Proposals are due by Oct. 3. The new building will include Biology, Chemistry, Nutrition and Food Sciences, Vivarium, Psychology and functions to run a graduate research facility. Landscape, irrigation and site utilities supporting this project are also included. The new building will be located on the Denton campus, near the intersection of Bell Avenue and Texas Street. The total project budget is estimated at $52.5 million and will include approximately 81,000 square feet of building space. The estimated completion date of this project is expected to be early summer 2020. 

The center is needed because TWU's laboratories and clinics for student participation are spread among various buildings on the Denton campus. Most of the research and clinical spaces reside in the Graduate Research Building constructed in 1967. This type of research is also performed in the Old Main Building, constructed in 1901, and the Human Development Building, constructed in 1956, neither of which were designed for laboratories.
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Construction to begin in 2020 on 12,000-acre lake in Fannin County
Ralph Hall Lake is being proposed for construction in Fannin County to help stop the problem of major erosion in the North Sulphur River bed and to supply upwards of 30 million gallons of water per day to residents in Fannin and Denton counties. The Upper Trinity Regional Water District (UTRWD) plans 50 years into the future for the people it serves. Building the lake will help keep Denton County from experiencing a water shortage in 25 years. 

The lake, located just north of Ladonia, will encompass 12,000 acres. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will be stocking the lake with fish and the Texas Water Development Board has agreed to fund up to 80 percent of the project. The UTRWD has purchased 8,000 of the necessary 12,000 acres for the lake, as well as 22 of the 23 homes in the area. The lake should have all necessary state and federal permits by 2019. Construction is expected to begin by 2020 and the lake is expected to be filled and operational by the year 2025.
Victoria County considers P3 for disaster response facility
Victoria County has begun demolishing buildings damaged by Hurricane Harvey at the Victoria Regional Airport. Of the 70 buildings that were damaged, eight are slated for full demolition including a historic hangar used during World War II and the Korean War. In its place, along U.S. 59, the county has considered building a multipurpose facility that would act as a staging area for disaster response efforts. 

Officials are in the preliminary planning stage at this time, but have released their potential funding sources. The project will be funded by a mix of insurance funds and Federal Emergency Management Agency grants, yet the grants have not yet been awarded. Without the grant money the county would consider forming public-private partnerships to see the project to fruition.
Frisco one of first cities in country to get 5G
A 240-acre mixed-use development north of Dallas has been set up to receive 5G services in the near future. Dallas based-AT&T announced it was laying the foundation for fast, reliable internet at Frisco Station, one of the first communities in the country to be built from the ground up for 5G. This $1.8 billion development near the Dallas Cowboys headquarters will include office space, apartment buildings, hotels and retail, restaurant and entertainment space. The site will also include a 30-acre park with public Wi-Fi. 

AT&T first announced in February its plan to roll out 5G to 12 cities, and already has identified Dallas among those getting the services. The technology platform being integrated at Frisco Station enables stronger, faster, more reliable connections between devices and application. This next-generation mobile network will help support the insatiable demand for video streaming, growing number of connected devices from digital assistants to refrigerators and emergence of new technologies, like autonomous cars and trucks. Smartphones and tablets that are compatible with 5G are expected to hit store shelves in 2019 and 2020.
Calendar of Events

Aug. 21-24
The LBJ School at The University of Texas at Austin presents: Government Quality and Improvement, Aug. 21-24. This intensive four-day course is focused on revolutionizing the efficiency of your office. Participants will learn to effectively:

* Identify processes that can be streamlined, optimized or eliminated.  
* Utilize advanced organizational problem-solving techniques based on constraints management.  
* Re-engineer an organization's processes into efficient and effective systems to create wins for the customers, organization/agency, and for the employees. 

Some of the early application results of the government improvement processes provided by the course instructors are impressive. Typical yield improvement result of 25% improvement or more. Some specific improvements include: 

* Tax Credit Program Applications: Eliminated 91,696 backlogged applications and reduced application determination time from 194 days to 40 days.  
* IT procurement: Reduced IT procurement process from 439 days to 240 days.  
* Service school applications: Reduced application decision times from 137 days to 84 days. 
* Discrimination investigations: Reduced average time to close a case from 207 days to 56 days.  
* Subrecipient contract awards: Reduced time to award contracts from 170 days to 96 days. 

Transform your agency into the operational excellence team you know it can be. Set your managers, leaders, and "go to employees" up for success by sending them to the Government Quality and Improvement course in August 2018. Register here.
Sept. 13 and 14
The Texas Desalination Association is hosting the 6th Annual Texas Desal 2018 Conference on Sept. 13 and 14 at the Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol, 701 E. 11th St., Austin. Register by July 16 to receive a discount. 

Join around 300 attendees from a variety of business and government sectors, including water planners and developers, municipalities and water districts, industry engineers and consultants, water and environmental law practitioners, product and service companies, and state and local policy makers. 

Session topics will cover Texas' expanding water portfolio, cost of water development, funding and financing options, innovative technologies and research, brackish groundwater rules, and the scramble for seawater desalination facilities on the Texas coast. Don't miss it. TexasDesal2018.com
October 19
The 35th North Texas Association of Energy Engineers (NTAEE) Energy Conference will take place from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on Oct. 19 at Lone Star Park, Grand Prairie. NTAEE has announced a great lineup of industry leading speakers including keynote speaker, Bill Magness, president of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). 

The conference will include great networking opportunities, a tour of the park and an evening social event to watch the horse races. For more information, including registration, visit here.

By Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc.

Digital platforms are changing every sector of business as well as lifestyles for all Americans. Digitization is also changing almost every aspect of government. 

Digital data makes it possible for citizens to handle transactions with government in a quick and convenient way. Citizen and taxpayer demands for online, real time access to data and the ability to transact business with public entities conveniently at any time without leaving home are being served. Those demands, however, have forced governmental entities into the ever-evolving world of digital transformation - a costly and resource-intensive environment for most. 

Americans today can use a smartphone, computer or tablet to access hundreds of user-friendly, interactive government web sites. There's no longer any need to make a trip to a government building or stand in line for service. Citizens appreciate the convenience and taxpayers appreciate the cost savings. But, the resources required to make a digital transformation are significant. 

Technology has created an entitlement to instant gratification and that expectation has resulted in many changes at every jurisdictional level of government. To say that people have been spoiled by technology and high-tech gadgets is perhaps overstated...but not by much. Individuals can get instant information about news, the weather, driving directions and their calorie intake. They can also check bank balances, pay bills and send photographs on a moment's notice. That kind of convenience has pushed government to be just as responsive. But, it is important to remember that there are large hurdles that public officials must navigate. 

It's difficult for government to compete in this space. There are no public employees with the skills of a Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg or Michael Dell. Budgets are constrained, existing technology is old and outdated and there is little free time for CIOs and innovation officers to be visionary. 

Check out this article from our Pipeline newsletter!

Buche named deputy executive commissioner for IT and CIO for HHS
Steve Buche
Steve Buche has been named deputy executive commissioner for information technology (IT) and chief information officer for Texas Health and Human Services (HHS). He starts Sept. 4. 

His IT career spans 19 years in the public and private sectors. Buche is currently the chief information officer (CIO) with the Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology. He has held this position since September 2017. As CIO for the public safety cluster agencies Buche serves as the principal policy strategist and administrator for IT management of public safety agencies.
Milliken named sole finalist for UT System chancellor
James Milliken
The University of Texas System's governing board has selected James B. Milliken as the sole finalist for the position of chancellor of The University of Texas System. Milliken most recently served as chancellor of The City University of New York (CUNY) from 2014 until 2018. Milliken spent a decade as president of the University of Nebraska and six years as a senior administrator in the University of North Carolina System. 

Under state law, university governing boards must name finalists for chancellor at least 21 days before making an appointment. The Board of Regents must meet again to make the final selection official. If appointed chancellor, Milliken will succeed William H. McRaven, who became chancellor in 2015 and stepped down at the end of May. Larry Faulkner, the former president of UT Austin, has been serving as chancellor ad interim since then.

TTI to study autonomous vehicle safety
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has selected the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) to lead a team of researchers on a recently announced, $7-million contract designed to improve the safety of autonomous vehicles. The five-year NHTSA Crash Avoidance Human Factors Research project is an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract. It means TTI and four other research teams selected by NHTSA will compete only amongst themselves for $35 million in planned research expenditures through 2023. 

Joining TTI's team are researchers from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), the University of Houston, and Touchstone Evaluations, an independent product evaluation and research laboratory located in Detroit, Mich. It is anticipated that initial projects may be awarded before Sept. 1, with future projects funded throughout the duration of the five-year contract. Research topics will likely include driver reaction and interaction with their autonomous vehicles and how that impacts safety.
Trump to nominate McNamee to FERC
Bernard McNamee
The Trump Administration is planning to nominate Department of Energy official Bernard McNamee to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in order to fill the seat of resigning commissioner Robert Powelson. 

McNamee is currently the head of the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Policy, a position he has held since May. Before that, he headed the Tenth Amendment center at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Prior to the Texas foundation, McNamee was a deputy general counsel at the DOE, chief of staff to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, and an aide to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. If nominated to FERC by the White House, McNamee would need to be confirmed by the full Senate after hearings and votes at the Natural Resources Committee.
Garza chosen as Bee Cave city manager
Bee Cave City Council members approved hiring James "Clint" Garza as the next Bee Cave city manager to replace incumbent Travis Askey on Sept. 4. 

Garza was with Hays County for over 10 years and was executive director of countywide operations and chief of staff to the Hays County judge.

Widening of Loop 494 to begin in 2019
A project that will expand Loop 494 in Kingwood is estimated to cost about $15 million and will take 2 years to complete. The Texas Department of Transportation will begin the bidding process in the fall with construction to kick off in in early 2019.  

Around 1.4 miles of Loop 494 from North of Kingwood Drive to North of Sorters-McClellan Road will be widened from its existing 2 lanes into a 4-lane divided roadway. Construction on the roadway will include a raised median in Harris County and a continuous left turn lane and a curb and gutter drainage system in Montgomery County.

Dallas issues RFQ for coliseum improvements
The city of Dallas, represented by the Park and Recreation Department (PARD) - Facility Development Division, is proceeding with the first step, a request for qualifications (RFQ), of the selection process to choose an architectural firm to provide professional services for improvements to the Fair Park Livestock Coliseum, located at 1438 Coliseum Drive. 

The coliseum was built in 1955 and seats 3,500 spectators on each side of the arena floor. The estimated construction budget is $6.3 million. Submittals are due by Aug. 31. There will be a pre-submittal conference on Aug. 16, at the Fair Park Livestock Coliseum's North Concourse. The full scope of work and priorities are listed here.

Gov. Greg Abbott has announced the following appointments/reappointments from Aug. 3-Aug. 9:

Jeffrey D. "Jeff" Jacobs- Kaufman, Sabine River Authority Board of Directors
The Senate of Texas- Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools and School Security

Texas State Auditor's Office- Audit Report on the Department of Family and Protective Services' Adult Protective Services Investigations

Texas Health and Human Services- Presentation to the House Select Committee on Opioids and Substance Abuse: Impact of Substance Use Disorders on Texans in Criminal Justice System and Child Protective Services

Texas Health and Human Services- Presentation to the Joint Hearing of the House Human Services and Public Health Committees: Access to Behavioral Health Services in STAR Health
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: 
  • Office of the Texas Governor- Budget Data Analyst/Research Specialist I
  • Texas Water Development Board- Financial Analyst II
  • Texas Workforce Commission- Contract Specialist IV-V
  • Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts- Statewide Procurement Systems Analyst
  • Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs- Customer Service Representative in the Manufactured Housing, Customer Service Division
  • Railroad Commission of Texas- Assistant District Director in San Antonio
  • Texas Department of Information Resources- Contract Specialist III
  • Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board- Program Director
  • Texas Department of Motor Vehicles- Manager IV
  • Texas Commission on Environmental Quality- Computer Operations Specialist IV
  • Alamo Area Council of Governments- Academy Training Coordinator
  • City of Austin- Administrative Specialist Austin Resource Recovery
  • City of Brady- Director of Community Services
  • City of Abilene- Division Manager Media Relations
  • City of McKinney- Desktop Records Technician
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: Kristin Gordon 
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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