|Volume 1, Issue 50||April 14, 2010 |
The large and lucrative public sector marketplace is attractive to companies of all sizes and types...but changes are occurring and wise contractors should pay close attention to what is happening. Everything changes...especially government contracting!
Contracting with government is usually difficult in the beginning but any firm that performs well can become an entrenched vendor or service provider. When that happens, the contractor has an advantage and can be hard to unseat.
|Strategic Partnerships, Inc. provides opportunity identification for all 50 states. Click here for more information. |
|'PaperFree Florida' initiative urges use of electronic Rx|
USF awarded $6 million for program to increase use of health IT
Florida could get the jump on other states as far as health IT is concerned, with $6 million from the federal Recovery Act recently announced to fund its PaperFree Florida initiative. Spearheaded by the University of South Florida (USF), the proposal's goal is to introduce and facilitate the use of electronic prescriptions in the Tampa Bay area.
Dr. Stephen Klasko (pictured), dean of the USF College of Medicine and CEO of USF Health, called the initiative "an electronic revolution in health care that will start here and echo across the nation." He said PaperFree Florida will assist doctors in adopting and using electronic health records. It provides technology better suited to those doctors, is more convenient for everyone involved and safer for patients. One of the goals of the program is to provide doctors with the tools necessary to reduce medical errors and reduce paperwork.
As part of the program, USF will hire, train and deploy "ambassadors" to visit with physicians and help convince them to give up their use of paper prescriptions for new electronic prescribing. Officials hope it will be the first step toward a statewide and then nationwide transition to a complete system of electronic medical records. For more information on the PaperFree Florida initiative, click here.
The Congressional Budget office estimates that $12 billion in health care costs to the federal government could be saved over the next 10 years through the improvement of health information technology. The Recovery Act includes $19 billion for acceleration of the adoption and use of health information technology.
|Minnesota plans record number of highway projects|
Lower costs, $555 million in recovery funds contribute to construction program
The 2010 construction program for the State of Minnesota has been approved by state officials, with more than 200 state highway projects and more than 60 non-highway projects (such as those addressing safety issues and transit facilities) on tap. Many of the projects are made possible thanks to $555 million in federal stimulus bill funds. Those dollars, and the 10-year, $6 million allocated by the legislature are going further than first anticipated thanks to lower construction and materials costs and more competitive bids. Officials estimate they are able to get 20-30 percent more done today with the same dollars of just a few years ago.
The record number of projects for the state is based on "improving our highways and maximizing the capacity of the system," said Tom Sorel (pictured), commissioner with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).
Among the statewide projects is the $3.6 million project to resurface pavement and repair drainage on Highway 2 - St. Louis CR 845 to St. Louis CR 875, a $67 million project to replace and repair bridges and pavement on I-35 and a new $1.6 million building and parking lot for the Grand Portage State Park office and highway rest area on Highway 61.
A $2.1 million project on Highway 61 will provide for reconstructing a road, replacing a bridge and improving pedestrian and bike trails north of Tofte. Another $1.6 million will be spent to replace a bridge on Highway 75 north of Shelly. Eighteen miles of roadway will be resurfaced, four culverts will be replaced and street lights will be installed in a $3.8 million project on Highway 220 north of East Grand Forks. To view the complete list of MnDOT statewide projects, click here
In the Twin Cities metro area, $20 million will be spent to construct a new interchange Highway 101 at Savage. On Highway 10 in Blaine and Mounds View, a $2.96 million project will call for resurfacing of roads and replacing bridge joints. Another $4.5 million will be spent to replace a bridge and reconstruct an interchange on Highway 95 in North Branch. To view the complete list of Twin Cities metro area projects, click here
For information about these and other funding opportunities,
contact Reagan Weil or Richard Hartmann at 512-531-3900.
|Where Are They Now?|
Are you a government official who has moved into a new position or to a new agency? Did you recently retire? Were you recently named to an executive-level position at a state-supported college, university or community college? Have you secured a new job as superintendent of a public school? If so, we'd like to hear from you - and so would your friends and colleagues - for our "Where Are They Now" column. Just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know about your previous job and where you are now. This week we feature Karen Bell. Karen Bell
(pictured) is a former executive in the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health IT. She was recently named chair of the Certification Commission for Health IT. She most recently served as senior vice president of health IT services with a Massachusetts organization that studies and develops health care quality improvement methods. She is also a former director of ONC's Office of Health Information Technology Adoption and ONC's acting deputy. Bell is also a former division director for the quality improvement group in the office of standards and quality for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid and is a former medical director for a major insurance carrier in Rhode Island. She has also served as an associate professor at the University of Rochester and as a clinical instructor at Harvard University School of Medicine.
|Upcoming education opportunities|
|Maintenance projects to be paid for with bond funds|
Deferred maintenance projects will finally be completed, thanks to a successful $40 million school bond election in the Cape Girardeau (Missouri) School District. The bonds will also be used to replace an elementary school and build an event complex.
District approves funding for roof, window projects
Officials of the South Shore Regional School District in Abington, Massachusetts, recently authorized contracting for roof replacement and a window project.
Illinois school awarded technology funding
The Pontiac Township High School in Illinois has been awarded $480,000 to pay for new technology for its students. The new technology - mostly in the form of laptops and notebook computers, iPod Touches, etc. - will be used to help students improve in literacy and math.
"This will help students who might not otherwise have access to laptops and other technology keep up with their peers across the state and the nation," said Chris Koch (pictured), state school superintendent. The grant program is designed to increase student achievement and help students become technologically literate by the time they finish the eighth grade.
Students deciding fate of $60 million addition at college
Students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will close out voting today on a $60 million addition to one of the main campus gyms. The expansion would nearly double the size of the natatorium. The proposed addition would add about 250,000 square feet of space to the east side of the building, where sand volleyball courts are located. It likely would include indoor turf for club sports, a running track, more cardio- and weight-training space and some multi-purpose rooms.
Missouri school's $120 million bond issue passes
Voters in the Columbia, Missouri, school district approved one of the district's largest ever bond issues - $120 million - that includes the building of a new $75 million high school. Other projects from the bond issue include a new $15 million elementary school. Bond funds and money left over from a previous bond will help finance additional gyms at two high schools and a long list of building repairs and upgrades at other facilities.
Kansas district prepares for new elementary school
The design for the new Apache Elementary School in Kansas' Shawnee Mission School District has been presented to the board of education. The new two-story building will include 75,000 square feet and will be built next to the current building. Officials hope to have a groundbreaking sometime this summer. The new building should be completed and ready for use in 2012. It will include more green features than any school in the district. Included will be fuel-efficient parking spots, photovoltaic panels and sensor control lights. Many of the materials for the building will be made from recycled materials and demolition debris will be diverted from landfills. No bond funds are being used for the $13.9 million project.
Four Missouri school districts successful with bond issues
Two St. Louis (Missouri) area school districts won voter approval for bond issues recently. Maplewood Richmond Heights District passed a $9 million referendum to refinance $3.3 million in lease-purchase arrangements. The district will also make a property purchase, and spend $5.7 million on technology and repairs and upgrades.
Voters in Webster Grove School District approved a $36 million bond issue that will finance the first phase of an $80 million renovation of its high school, while Ladue School District's successful $32 million bond issue will be used to purchase a local Christian academy to build an early childhood center. In the Clayton School District, a $39.4 million referendum was successful. The proceeds will be used to build a new middle school.
Marymount College wants bond passage for rehab, housing
Officials of Marymount College are seeking approval of a bond election that would provide for a campus remodel and the addition of student housing. They are hoping to get the more than $50 million issue on a November ballot. The remodel would include a new library and gym and add housing.
Officials are prepared to play hardball in getting the issue passed. Marymouth President Michael Brophy (pictured) said the college "will resource this initiative campaign so we'll win." A petition is required to put the initiative on the ballot and the school has hired a political consultant and lobbyist, designed a Web site and mailed out pamphlets and DVDs in support of the proposal.
University of Iowa could convert hotel to residence hall
Overcrowding is catching up to the University of Iowa, where officials are considering converting a campus hotel into a residential facility. The other alternative, demolishing an older residence hall and building a new one, would likely carry a $60 million price tag. Instead, officials are taking a hard look at converting the 112-room Iowa House Hotel into a dorm.
Hazelwood schools considering multi-million dollar bond
The Hazelwood (Missouri) School District is considering a bond issue in November that would pay for upgrades to science labs in two high schools, renovations of libraries at two high schools, adding or replacing heating and cooling systems throughout the district and replacing elevators in some buildings. A $120 bond issues is the highest the district can go without a tax rate increase.
For information about these and other funding opportunities,
contact Reagan Weil or Richard Hartmann at 512-531-3900.
|Stimulus news briefs|
SBA small business loan programs extended
Legislation was signed recently extending the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) enhancements to two of its small business loan programs. The program enhancements began as part of the federal Recovery Act and include a higher guarantee on some SBA-backed loans as well as relief on some fees. The extension of $40 million will support approximately $1.4 billion in small business lending.
SBA Administrator Karen Mills (pictured) said thousands of American small businesses have used the loans to obtain needed capital. "The increased guarantee and reduced fees on SBA loans helped put more than $23 billion into the hands of small business owners and brought more than 1,100 lenders back to SBA loan programs," she said. SBA received $730 million as part of the initial funding from the Recovery Act. That included $375 million to increase the SBA guarantee on 7(a) loans to 90 percent and to waive borrower funds on most 7(a) and 504 loans. The SBA quickly went through these funds and $125 million more was added in December of last year. Those funds ran out in February of this year and the additional $60 million that was then added ran a little over a week ago.
Interest high in second round of broadband Recovery Act funding requestsHow high is the interest in the broadband funding available through the federal Recovery Act? High enough that funding sought is nearly five times more than is available. Some 867 applications requesting $11 billion have been proposed to the U.S. Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). These funds will come from the second round of NTIA's funding, which includes a total of $2.6 billion. The funds are to be used to help bridge the technological divide and ensure high-speed Internet access to un-served and underserved areas.
The applicants this round include state, local and tribal governments, nonprofits, industry, public safety organizations and anchor institutions such as libraries, universities, community colleges and hospitals. "We sharpened our program focus and encouraged applicants to create comprehensive proposals to meet the needs of their communities," said Lawrence E. Strickling (pictured), Assistant Secretary for Communications and Administrator for NTIA, regarding the second round of funding." He added that most applicants met those priorities. Strickling said the agency expects to move quickly in determining the best projects for funding.
Of the applications, 355 were for comprehensive community infrastructure projects that total $8.4 billion. Most of these are for middle-mile projects to connect communities to anchor institutions. A total of $1.7 billion was requested to fund 251 applications for sustainable broadband adoption to provide broadband education, training and equipment, particularly for vulnerable population groups. More than $922 million was requested in 261 applications for public computer centers to enhance broadband capacity at public libraries, community colleges and other institutions that serve the public. Ohio buildings could benefit from energy upgrade grantsBuilding owners in Ohio can apply for up to $1 million each from the Ohio Department of Development for projects that will make their properties more energy efficient. The funds are from the federal Recovery Act and the $8 million available is administered by the Making Efficiency Work program. Funds can be used for LED lighting upgrades, weatherization, energy-efficient doors and windows, energy-efficient appliances and geothermal heat pumps. Property owners must match at least half the cost of the project, with a minimum of $125,000. The work must be completed within 12 months of the award.
Broward County, other entities to use funds for energy projects
Broward County, Florida, has been awarded $1.24 million in stimulus funds as part of the Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Program of the U.S. Department of Energy. Broward County Mayor Ken Keechl (pictured) called the funding good for the county's economy and its environment. "This money will finance programs that will reduce carbon emissions, develop green programs and partnerships and at the same time create jobs," he said.
Among the projects planned by the county are implementing a countywide urban reforestation program, establishing a program that offers financial incentives for purchase of energy-efficient residential and commercial devices, developing a public outreach program and increasing transit ridership. Other funding in the area included $250,000 to the City of Dania Beach for a solar street lighting project. The Town of Pembroke Park received funding for a photovoltaic system for its Town Hall and the City of Lighthouse Point's green technology sport field lighting retrofit also was funded.
Recovery funds to help expand VA services
Expansion of Veterans Administration services at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center will be paid for with more than $6.9 million in stimulus funds. The expansion will be in facilities for mental health, surgery recovery and other improvements.
Some $2 million will restore the façade of the hospital's main building in Corryille. The cardiac care unit will double in size at a cost of $731,000. The post-surgery anesthesia care unit will be expanded at a cost of $2.7 million, allowing for more rooms with privacy. Syracuse will use stimulus funds for programs to train workers for smart grid
Another $1.7 million in grant funds will help expand the VA's Fort Mitchell, Kentucky. The clinic will expand from 22 to 32 beds. Private bathrooms and a wing for women veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder will be added.
A grant of $2.5 million from stimulus funds is going to Syracuse University to develop programs for utility workers and engineers who will be working on smart grid technology. The National Grid received close to $2.2 million to train its own employees on the new technology. Syracuse is part of a consortium that includes colleges in Central and Western New York to establish courses in cyber-security, power system load analysis, monitoring diagnostics, etc., according to Laura Steinberg (pictured), dean of Syracuse's L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science. She said the programs will be developed for community college, undergraduate and graduate programs.
Other participants in the consortium are Onondaga Community College, Clarkson University, University of Rochester, Buffalo State College and the University at Buffalo. National Grid is collaborating with the schools. The members of the consortium will offer programs geared toward utility jobs and smart grid concentrations in their engineering programs.
|Other national contracting opportunities|
Program funds public transportation in parks, federal lands
National parks, forests and wildlife refuges in 20 states will share $24.8 million in federal funding administered by the Federal Transit Administration. The funds will be used to implement public transportation within the facilities. Forty-six projects spread among the U.S. National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will receive funding."By reducing traffic, Transit in Parks will help preserve the splendor of the national parks experience and protect our country's natural resources," said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff (pictured). "The program also improves visitor mobility and ensures access to all, including persons with disabilities."
Among the projects are ferry improvements, visitor shuttle buses and new diesel budgets for various parks. The purpose of the Transit in Parks Program is to both protect the parks and federal lands through the use of alternative transportation systems like buses and bicycle trails. The long-range goal is to conserve nature while reducing congestion and pollution.
Florida community plans commuter parking facility
A vacant "big box" store has been purchased for $45 million by Fairfax County (Florida) and will be burned down to make room for a planned commuter parking facility. The property, nearly 120,000 square feet, would serve several Metrobus and Fairfax Connector routes. The parking facility will hold 270 spaces and is hoped to be completed by late this year or early 2011.
Louisiana park construction financed with federal funding
St. Charles Parish in Louisiana has been awarded a $150,000 federal Land and Water Conservation Fund grant to help fund a major construction program at Luling's Rathborne Park. Included in phase one of the project are a parking lot, bicycle racks bleachers, a baseball field, playground equipment, a basketball court, a sand volleyball court, two pavilions with picnic tables and barbecue grills, fitness stations and park benches. Matching funds of $150,000 will be provided after collection from developers of area subdivisions. Massachusetts senior housing communities plans improvements
The Jack Satter House, a subsidized senior housing community in Revere, Massachusetts, has been awarded $4 million in stimulus funds that it will use to reduce energy and water consumption. The funds are from the Green Retrofit Program for Multifamily Housing of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Revere Beach Boulevard facility also will receive upgrades of installation of high-efficiency gas-fired boilers and low-flow toilets, faucet aerators and shower heads. Some of the retrofits planned for the facilities include replacing existing refrigerators and air conditioners with more energy-efficient ones, installing a gas-fueled cogeneration unit, painting with nontoxic paints and installing new carpet in hallways using nontoxic adhesives. Florida community plans public library expansion
The more than $450,000 in unallocated impact fees are being directed by the Charlotte County (Florida) Commission to expand the Englewood Charlotte Public Library. The funds will be used toward a planned $1.5 million expansion to the West County Library. "We all know libraries are becoming more and more important," said Commissioner Robert Skidmore (pictured). "They're cheap, family-friendly entertainment and provide a great resource in job seeking."
An additional 5,775 square feet will be added to the current 7,049-square-foot library. It also includes some repairs to damaged structures. The project is in the design stages and construction is planned by the end of the year.
Environmental study first step toward wastewater plant
A preliminary engineering report and environmental study has been authorized by the town of Bronson, Florida, on the wastewater treatment plant. The town is planning to seek federal stimulus dollars for the project. Town officials are hoping for extensions to the sewer system and a possible expansion of the treatment facility. A successful grant award could pay for up to 40 percent of the project. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has offered to fund the entire project, with the 40 percent in grant money, and the remainder through a low interest loan over 38 years.
New Jersey-Manhattan tunnel project nets $200 million from FTA
The proposed mass transit tunnel that will link New Jersey to Manhattan got a $200 million boost recently from the Federal Transit Administration. This round of funding is part of the $3 billion in federal funds committed to the project, the largest transit public works project in the country.
With this funding construction will be able to begin this summer on a mile-long segment of the tunnel under the Palisades Mountain from North Bergen to Hoboken, New Jersey. It is one of three tunnel segments. The $8 billion tunnel is expected to be completed in late 2018, allowing for 90,000 passengers during the peak morning hours, nearly doubling the current figure of 46,000.
Alabama bill would add $10B to road, bridge projects
Members of the Alabama Legislature are considering a bill that would add $10 billion to the state's road and bridge construction program over 10 years. The bill has passed the Senate and a House committee and is headed to floor debate in the House. It is in the form of a constitutional amendment that would have to be approved by Alabama voters. The plan provides that $100 million per year would be taken from the oil and gas revenue from the state coffer and divided by formula among every Congressional district and every county in the state. Legislators already are lining up with recommendations on where funding should be spent. One amendment in committee would spend some of the money on the U.S. 280 and Interstate 459 interchange south of Birmingham.
Pittsburg seeks funding for wireless video security plan
The City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has submitted a broadband stimulus application seeking funding for Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's (pictured) video security initiative. The city is partnering with Carnegie Mellon University and Community College of Allegheny County on the initiative. Ravenstahl said the initiative will "enhance the city's public safety and homeland security capabilities."
The initiative features a state-of-the-art interactive search engine application that allows high-level, interactive, content-based search of data that has been input. The $16.5 million project includes the installation of 200 cameras connected to a network that will cover the entire city and be used by the city's public safety agencies. Massachusetts city planning fire station renovation
The Duxbury, Massachusetts, Public Safety Building Committee has approved hiring an architect to draw plans and contract documents for the planned $4.5 million renovation and expansion of its fire station. The current facility, which dates back to 1967, will be expanded to include paramedic services and an expanded crew. Officials expect the facility to be a two-story building with administrative offices on the first floor and crew quarters upstairs. An apparatus bay would also be extended.
Road projects in Iowa include highways, bridges
Upcoming state highway and bridge work in Iowa will carry a $450 million price tag, as approved by the Iowa Department of Transportation. Some of the projects include I-29 in Sioux City and Council Bluffs, bypass loops on U.S. Highway 30 and U.S. Highway 61. Bridge repairs are expected on Highway 80 over the Mississippi River and the project to widen I-80 to six lanes in the Iowa City area will be continued. A baker's dozen road projects are planned for major streets in Des Moines.
For information about these and other funding opportunities,
contact Reagan Weil or Richard Hartmann at 512-531-3900.
|Bonnie Potter (pictured), city clerk in Cape Coral, Florida, has announced her retirement after 35 years of service to the city. She will be succeeded by Rebecca van Deutekom, effective upon Potter's retirement at the end of this month. Van Deutekom has served as executive assistant to the city manager since May 2007 and previously served as the former town clerk in Estes Park, Colorado, for more than five years.
Jeffrey Granatino, former deputy school superintendent and former interim superintendent in Norwood, Massachusetts, has been named Canton, Massachusetts, school superintendent, effective July 1. He replaces John D'Auria, who is leaving after three years with the school.
Two finalists have been named for the position of superintendent of the Bloomfield Hills (Michigan) Public Schools - Robert Glass and Michael Simeck. Glass is currently superintendent of the Dexter Community Schools and Simeck is superintendent of the Berkley School District.
Jeffrey Hernandez, embattled chief academic officer in the Palm Beach County school system, has applied for the superintendent's job in the Polk County Public School District in central Florida. He also has applied for the top job in Charlotte County on the Florida Gulf Coast.
South Daytona, Florida, Mayor Blaine O'Neal died this week after suffering a heart attack. He was elected mayor in 2005 and had served on the Commission for five years.
Oscar Santos, current headmaster at Boston International High School, is set to become superintendent of the Randolph (Massachusetts) public schools, pending contract negotiations. He has been at Boston International for the last six years.
|What the states are doing with stimulus funds|
Ottawa County, Michigan, has distributed all of its private and public bonds from the federal stimulus bill. Some $21 million in public projects includes $6.2 million for the Park West Drain in Park Township and $2.5 million for a new water treatment facility in Holland Township.
Ten solar projects in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, have been awarded $364,000 in funding from the stimulus bill. Five of the projects are in Hyannis, one is in Orleans, one is in West Yarmouth and two are in South Dennis. The state is seeking to broaden its portfolio to 250 megawatts by 2017.
Kansas residents will be able to take advantage of a statewide Cash for Appliances rebate beginning April 22. Those homeowners who purchase new "Energy Star" energy-efficient appliances to replace existing appliances will qualify for rebates from a state program.
Low-achieving schools in Colorado will benefit from $40 million in stimulus funds - part of a total of $3.5 billion being distributed nationwide. To qualify for the funds, districts must use the money in one of four ways - to close under-achieving schools and send students elsewhere, to reopen existing schools as charter schools, to replace the principal and rehire no more than half the existing teachers or replace the principal and make other changes at the school to address academic success.
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|Calendar of events|
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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