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Volume 1, Issue 49 April 7, 2010
It's all about competing well!  Can't compete? Get help...get better...or don't waste the time! 
 
Mary Scott NabersCompetition has never been keener in public sector marketplaces. Large firms that never considered selling to government in the past have moved quickly to "learn the ropes"...and many are quick learners. Others are not...and can be found wondering what is wrong and why they are not winning.
 
Cities, school districts and state agencies with millions in stimulus money to spend are finding that hundreds of vendors are clamoring to get their attention.  Proposals flooding into cities, state agencies and school districts are good, competitive and filled with extremely attractive benefits. 
 

IN THIS ISSUE
Funds to create Regional Extension Centers
Training will prepare for health IT jobs
Entities save a bundle with BABs
Stimulus news briefs
Education projects mean contracts
What the states are doing
Other national news
Calendar of events
Don't miss another issue
Strategic Partnerships, Inc. provides opportunity identification for all 50 states. Click here for more information.
Funding provided for Regional Extension Centers
 
More than $267 million pledged to get health IT adoption off ground
Establishment of Health Information Regional Extension Centers (RECs) is a step closer for 28 nonprofit entities nationwide. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently announced that more than $267 in Recovery Act funding will be awarded to these entities. The goal of the funding is to help the fledgling health information technology (health IT) industry as it prepares to support a multitude of jobs nationwide.
 
The grants will be used to provide hands-on, community-based support to providers in an effort to speed the adoption of health IT. The regional centers allow health care workers to use local resources for technical assistance, guidance and information on best practices. The funds will help maximize the use of health IT in communities to provide needed health care that may be unique to a community.
 
This marks the second round of funding awards, and brings the total number of RECs funded to 60. Another $375 million was awarded earlier this year. Those centers are expected to support some 100,000 primary care providers and hospitals within two years. Additionally, the RECs funded in both rounds are now eligible to apply for a supplemental two-year expansion award. The supplemental awards - totaling $25 million - are designed to ensure that health IT support services are available to more than 2,000 critical access hospitals and rural hospitals (each with 50 beds or fewer) throughout the country. These awards are part of the $2 billion made available in Recovery Act funds to increase the use of health IT so that an electronic health record is available for every person in the country by 2014. To see the complete list of award recipients, click here and look under "Recent Reports."  
 
University-based programs to provide training
 
As country moving toward adoption of health IT systems
Prominent educational standouts such as Johns Hopkins University and Duke University are among nine university-based programs that will share $32 million in Recovery Act funding to train professionals for highly specialized health IT roles. Texas State University at San Marcos garnered the largest funding award at $5,421,205, followed by the University of Minnesota with $5,145,705.
 
The training funds are administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and spread among leading universities, community colleges and major research centers. Awards totaling $84 million went to 16 universities and junior colleges to help train what is expected to be 50,000 new health IT professionals. Another $60 million in Strategic Health IT Advanced Research Projects (SHARP) went to four advanced research institutions to study any problems that stand in the way of the adoption and use of health IT. Each of those entities received awards of $15 million. To see the complete list of award recipients, click here and look under "Recent Reports."
 
Five regional recipients in the Community College Consortia Program shared $36 million. Together the five include 70 community colleges that will create non-degree training programs that can be completed in six months or less.
 
In addition to the $36 million for the community college consortia, another $10 million was allocated for Curriculum Development Centers to develop educational materials that will be available to institutions of higher education nationwide. The Competency Examination Program will award $6 million for development and administration of a set of health IT competency exams. That one award went to Northern Virginia Community College.

For information about these and other funding opportunities,
contact Reagan Weil or Richard Hartmann at 512-531-3900.

 
Bond funds lead to variety of government projects
 
Vendors should keep eye on bond proceeds for contracting opportunities
State and local governments across the country have saved more than $12 billion in borrowing costs thanks to the federal Recovery Act's Build America Bond (BAB) program. The U.S. Department of the Treasury reports that $900 billion in BABs have been issued through March 31.
 
In California, there were 86 issuances of the bonds, totaling $21.378 billion. The largest chunk of that was $5 billion issued by the State of California for highway, recreational facility, schools and water utility improvements. The University of California issued $1.022 billion for campus improvements and the Los Angeles Unified School District issued $1.370 billion for school improvements.
 
There were 36 of the bond issuances in Florida, totaling $3.564 billion. The lion's share of that was $275 million issued for correctional facility improvements by the Florida State Department of Management Services. The State of Florida Turnpike Authority issued $255 million in the bonds for highway improvements. Elsewhere, Minnesota had 60 issuances for $662 million, Illinois had 119 issues for $5.663 billion, New York had 30 for $9.918 billion, Texas had 45 for $8.022 billion and Wisconsin issued 78 for $1.185 billion.
 
Many of the entities used the bonding funds for hospital and nursing home improvements, recreational facility improvements, utility improvements and higher education improvements.
 
The Build America Bonds program allows state and local governments to obtain financing at a lower borrowing cost compared to issuing tax-exempt debt. Under the program, the U.S. Treasury Department makes a direct payment to the government issuer in an amount equal to 35 percent of the interest payment on the bonds. Since the program began in April of last year, there have been more than 1,000 BAB issuances nationwide through the end of March of this year. Those issuances were in 48 states for a total of more than $90 billion. The net savings to those entities totals $12.3 billion in borrowing costs compared to issuing tax-exempt bonds. To view the complete list of bonds issued by state and what they are being used for, click here and look under "Recent Reports." 
 
For information about these and other funding opportunities,
contact Reagan Weil or Richard Hartmann at 512-531-3900.
 
MultiState logo
Stimulus news briefs
 
Grant will allow for increase of video conferencing computers
A $1.4 million influx of federal Recovery Act funds will allow the Betty and Leonard Phillips Deaf Action Center in Shreveport, Louisiana, to expand its video interpreting program. The expansion is a result of a broadband expansion grant. The Louisiana center was one of more than 300 competing for the grant and one of only 23 recipients to share a total of $160 million. The center will expand its 19 video conferencing computers to 100 at locations in Louisiana, Alabama, Texas and California.
 
Ohio homes being revitalized with stimulus funds
Cities in Ohio are taking advantage of stimulus funds to remove or remodel older homes as part of neighborhood revitalization. The City of Columbus got $22.8 million that it will use to remove 64 homes this year. The City of Newark plans to renovate homes and then sell them at market value to stabilize values in the neighborhood. 
 
North Dakota to use funds to bridge broadband in rural areas
More than $17 million in Recovery Act broadband grants will help bridge the digital divide in rural areas of North Dakota. A $10.95 million grant and matching loan will allow a Parshall phone cooperative to extend service to rural areas of the Fort Berthold Reservation and western portions of the state outside the reservation. A $2 million grant and matching loan to another cooperative in Steele will add more than 500 homes that do not have connections. A Carrington phone company will receive a $2.25 million grant for service around Streeter and Gackle, and a Minnesota phone company was awarded a $2 million grant and matching loan for services in Traill County. 
 
Short-term vocational classes set in California
The Fresno County Workforce Investment Board has provided $200,000 for job training courses on the Reedley College, California, campus. The short-term vocational class funding is part of $2.6 million being distributed to several California colleges in the area. The courses will be for auto technicians, health care interpreters and nursing assistants.
 
Upcoming education opportunities
 
Elevator renovation project planned in Wisconsin
A bid has been released for multi-building elevator renovation at the University of Wisconsin Madison campus. The project is estimated to cost $2.32 million.
 
Upgrades planned to UCLA Pauley Pavilion
A $185 million upgrade to Pauley Pavilion on the University of California Los Angeles campus will be paid for in part by student fees. The upgrade includes better seating, a high-definition scoreboard and expanded locker rooms. When fundraising efforts to finance the changes fell short, administrators put $25 million in student fees into the kitty.
 
Delaware school district approves $58.7 million bond issue

Voters in the Capital School District in Dover, Delaware, have approved a $58.7 million bond issue that will pay the local share for a new school and to finance other improvements. The bond issue called for construction of a 1,800-pupil, $114 million replacement for Dover High School. The state will pay $73.4 million toward the total. The funds also will pay for renovation of playgrounds at an elementary school and athletic fields, parking lots and other site work at two middle schools. Those issues account for $29.8 million of the bond issue. A second ballot also passed, as voters said yes to $15 million to enhance the high school and $12.26 million for a new professional development center district office and a new maintenance garage and receiving facility.
 
Chicago schools to install wind farms
Three suburban Chicago school districts are planning a cooperative venture that will result in wind farms that they hope will help solve their financial problems.  The schools - in Carpentersville School District, Prospect Heights School District and Keeneyville School District - will build and operate a 10-turbine, 20-megawatt wind farm some 150 miles southwest of Chicago. But instead of using the electricity generated, they plan to sell it to defray the costs of their own electricity.  The wind farm is expected to generate approximately $3 million in revenue each year. They plan to use Build America Bonds to raise half of the estimated $45 million cost of the project. A private investor will be sought for the other half, which is attractive because of the generous tax credits that could double the investment.
 
Massachusetts town approves bonds for school, community-senior center

A successful bond issue in Natick, Massachusetts, will provide for a new $89 million high school and a $10 million community-senior center. The high school construction will be paid for in part through an increase in property taxes. The remaining $43 million will come from the Massachusetts School Building Authority.
 
Utah voters to be asked to approve $250 million school bond
Voters in the state's newest school district will now be asked to approve a $250 million bond issue to build new schools and update old ones. The Canyons School District needs $650 million in building replacements and repairs, some to bring them up to an acceptable rating for their ability to withstand an earthquake. If approved, the bond money would also build a new high school in Draper and would also rebuild or renovate 12 other schools.
 
Sales tax is an option to pay for school necessities

School officials in Charleston County, South Carolina, are considering seeking a short-term sales tax increase to generate $300 million needed for school building repairs. The sales tax would end in five years and officials feel it is more palatable than a property tax increase. Some of the projects needed are repairing or replacing six school buildings with seismic problems. Four elementary schools would be rebuilt or repaired. Another would have a partial rebuild to address its seismic problems and an existing campus would be made suitable for a charter school. Other small construction projects would also be included.
 
Oregon university funds to address health IT
Some $5.8 million in federal stimulus funds have been awarded to Oregon Health and Science University to help expand health information and health record technology. A $3.1 million grant will put 160 students through the university's informatics graduate program over three years. The second grant of $2.7 million will help develop curriculum for use by community colleges across the state.
 
UNC will build new buildings with NIH funding
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been awarded $14.5 million from the National Institutes of Health to build 30,000 square feet of new buildings at its Bingham animal research facility in Orange County. Two of the buildings will house animals and provide infrastructure support for researchers. UNC also will fund and construct a building for veterinary services, labs and offices.  
 
For information about these and other funding opportunities,
contact Reagan Weil or Richard Hartmann at 512-531-3900.
 
What the states are doing with stimulus funds
 
Eighty-two Wisconsin communities will share $9.5 million in Recovery Act funds to make government facilities more efficient. The Kenosha County Public Safety Building got the lion's share of the funds with a grant of $225,000 for retrofits to improve heating, air conditioning and ventilation.
 
Downtown developments in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, will benefit from stimulus funds when an engineering audit is prepared. One of the main expectations of the study is to show how utility costs at the Hennepin County Medical Center can be cut up to $1 million per year. Energy efficient lighting is expected to be installed in other facilities. St. Paul will use more than $1 million of stimulus funds to install energy-efficient lighting and make other energy improvements at recreation centers, libraries and other publicly owned buildings.
 
The airport in Palm Springs, California, is the recipient of an additional $14 million in funds that will allow for construction of a new air traffic control tower. The new tower will be twice as tall as the old one, giving air traffic controllers a better view of the airfield. The Palm Springs International Airport's 127-foot-tall tower designs were approved in September.
 
Eight arts-related organizations in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will share $500,000 in recovery funds for capital projects. The grants range from $20,000 to $500,000. Among the projects is $100,000 toward a $1.7 million conversion of an historic school into a commercial arts space that includes a theater school, $100,000 for industrial building renovation and expansion for a new artist workspace, $20,000 for office renovations for a cultural programming initiative and $100,000 for rehabilitation to create an art gallery and sculpture garden.
 
The city of Flint, Michigan, is moving toward its own recycling program after receiving a $900,000 energy efficiency stimulus grant. The money will fund a feasibility study on a citywide recycling program, energy upgrades at City Hall and revolving loan funds for energy efficiency improvements for residents and businesses. The City Hall projects may include automated lighting or heating and cooling upgrades as well as traffic and street light efficiencies.
 
A visitor's center at Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge on Maui, Hawaii, will be built with $4.9 million in federal stimulus funds. It will feature an exhibit hall, reception area and bookstore.
 
The new Billings, Montana, courthouse has been awarded a $260,000 grant to be used for artwork. The project is part of the General Services Administration's
 
In Oshkosh, Wisconsin, a $634,000 Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant will be used to reduce energy use and improve energy efficiency in city buildings. The city was also awarded $400,000 in grant funds that will be used to clean up contamination in the Marion Road Redevelopment Area.
Recovery Act funds totaling $1.8 million will be used to repair one of Sebastian, Florida's, most used streets - Barber Street. More than two miles of the street will be under construction as parts of the street are rebuilt and a third lane added so the street includes a left and right hand turn lane.
 
Orange County, Florida, has had nine transportation projects funded with stimulus funds. They range from $2.3 million for resurfacing of Lake Underhill Road to $1.1 million for resurfacing part of Dean Road. Another resurfacing project is set for Kaley Road while General Rees Avenue will be reconstructed. A streetscape project totaling $366,000 is slated for Silver Star Road and the Taylor Creek Road Bridge project will get $2.75 million for replacing a wooden bridge with a concrete one. Another $378,000 will go toward replacing the bridge over the Little Wekiva River. 
 
Missouri entities are celebrating the award in their state of stimulus funds. Some $2.3 million has been awarded to Poplar Bluff School District to fund junior high renovations that include asbestos removal and lighting, electrical and air conditioning upgrades. Cape Girardeau County was awarded $319,000 to replace 7,500 light fixtures with high efficiency lighting at public buildings with three partnering counties. The City of Jackson will install variable frequency drive motor controls and replace digestion blowers at the wastewater treatment plant with $466,000 in stimulus funds and $10,000 going to the City of Parma will be used to retrofit heating and cooling systems at the community center. In Perry County, $30,000 will be used to install a photovoltaic system and replace building exterior lighting at the sheriff's office.
 
Other national contracting opportunities
 
Greenville to use funds for Emergency Operations Center
The City of Greenville, North Carolina, will use $600,000 in federal funds to partially fund construction of an Emergency Operations Center. The funds are allocated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for a center that may be located on city land near a fire station. The current operations center is too small and does not have adequate technology. 
 
O'Hare Airport gets funding for new runways
The federal government is boosting major construction projects at O'Hare International Airport. It has awarded $410 million for building two new runways and extending a third at O'Hare Airport.
 
Funding available for high-speed intercity passenger rail
The Federal Railroad Administration has begun accepting applications for $115 million in planning and construction project funds for high-speed intercity passenger rail. Applications and proposals for the funds will be due back to FRA by May 19, with selection announcements made sometime this summer. From the applications, funding will be awarded to help states lay the foundation for their proposed high-speed rail programs. Some states also will be eligible for specific projects expected to begin quickly and create jobs. 
 
Creek Nation plans toll bridge, $1 billion property development
The Muscogee (Creek) Nation is planning a major commercial development around a toll bridge it hopes will be built across the Arkansas River. Development of the bridge has been spearheaded by the Creek Nation's Trade and Commerce Authority. Officials hope the bridge will lead to a $1 billion investment when it is completed. The tribe has purchased 42.5 acres for the bridge project and has already submitted an application to the Bureau of Indian Affairs to put the land in a trust with the federal government. The project includes a town square, retail stores, a hotel, offices, multifamily and single-family facilities, an outdoor theater, a park, trails and a large water feature. Officials expect that if the project comes to fruition, they will be working on the bridge construction at the same time ground is broken on the property development. 
 
UCSFA's proposed new hospital gets $100 million pledge
Plans for the University of California, San Francisco to build a 289-bed women's, children's and cancer specialty hospital at Mission Bay by 2014 got a $100 million boost in a pledge from an anonymous donor. The medical specialty campus was on course for raising $450 to $475 million by mid-November. This donation brings pledges to the new hospital campus to approximately $325 million. The latest pledge, which goes toward the Children's Hospital portion of the new complex, means officials now only need to raise $400 million by September and another $600 million overall. Pledges currently total $325 million. The hospital's projected cost is now $1.486 billion.
 
Berkeley Lab looking at space for new campus

The Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in California is exploring several sites for a second campus. With $260 million in federal Recovery Act funds in hand, the lab expects the number of scientists and staff to increase and outgrow current facilities. Among the possible sites are more than 150-acre plot owned by the University of California regents and managed by UC Berkeley. Another site is located in Emeryville near the Joint BioEnergy Institute and a third site is a property along Bolivar Avenue. 
 
Washington bill paves way for transportation projects
Passage of an $8.5 billion state transportation budget in Washington State promises thousands of construction jobs in the state. The supplemental budget bill includes approximately $1 billion more than the state's budget last year. Much of the increase is from federal funds, including $590 million that will be used to increase speed of trains on the rail corridor between Oregon and British Columbia. An additional $30 million more is set aside for fuel costs, mostly for ferries. Three million will go toward storm water treatment. 
 
Schools to purchase kitchen equipment with funds
The Texas Department of Agriculture will award almost $4 million in funding to 122 Texas schools to be used to purchase new kitchen equipment. The funding is from the federal Recovery Act and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2010 School Food Equipment grants. These funds were made available when equipment costs from the first round of funding - a total of $11.5 million - came in lower than expected. Schools will use the funds to purchase more energy-efficient appliances to help save school districts on energy costs and appliances that will provide equipment to better allow schools to increase the nutritional value of the meals that are served. Equipment expected to be bought from the funds includes new ovens, freezers, steam tables, tilt skillet and other kitchen equipment. Funds must be used to improve the quality, safety and efficiency of delivering school meals and can be used to either replace or upgrade food service equipment. To view a complete list of the recipients and the equipment to be purchased, click here and look under "Recent Reports."
 
Milwaukee program to train builders
The City of Milwaukee is planning a $1 million program to train people to be builders. The Milwaukee Builds Partnership will recruit unemployed city residents with few job skills and teach them through classroom and on-the-job training. The program is particularly targeted to those who cannot afford to pay for technical college training or who have lack of work experience and education.
 
For information about these and other funding opportunities,

contact Reagan Weil or Richard Hartmann at 512-531-3900. 
 
Calendar of events
 
Webinar on Texas bond elections slated April 8 
"Selling to Local Government - a Bond Election Special," a webinar hosted by Strategic Partnerships, Inc. (SPI), is slated for 12 to 1:30 p.m. (CST) on Thursday, April 8. Those attending will hear current and former government decision-makers talk about how to become adept at selling to local government entities.  SPI is an Austin-based government procurement and national research firm that has successfully partnered public and private entities for the last 15 years. Hear from a sitting city administrator, veteran procurement experts and sales, marketing and research experts. Each attendee will get a list of upcoming bond opportunities related to the May bond elections as part of the package. For more information and to register, click here.
 
Government Health IT Conference planned in June 
The 2010 Government Health IT (GHIT) Conference and Exhibition, sponsored by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS),is slated for June 15-16 at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C. Featured educational tracks include: Blueprints for Nationwide Health Information Exchange and Connecting the Health Community. For more information, click here.   
 
Small business briefing conference slated in Texas 
The last session of the Texas Department of Transportation's (TxDOT) Business Outreach and Program (BOP) Services Small Business Briefing conferences has been announced for June 15 in Texarkana. The conference goal is to provide small and minority-owned business communities an opportunity to learn more about contracting opportunities with TxDOT. Information will be available to help them do business with the agency and the State of Texas. The sessions not only allow small businesses to be introduced to TxDOT and other state agencies, but also allows them to learn more about the economic development opportunities in their regions. It also allows the agencies to show the myriad of opportunities available for small and minority businesses in the state. For more information, click here or call 1.866.480.2518, Option 2. 

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