|Volume 2, Issue 42||February 23, 2011|
Financial crisis making P3s more attractive
Public-private partnerships (P3s) are being announced every day somewhere in the United States. In spite of this, Europe, Canada and Mexico are light years ahead of America when it comes to P3s. The current financial crisis has made such initiatives attractive in the United States, but many other countries have perfected the model.
P3s are structured in a number of ways, but true public-private partnerships usually shift funding, along with risk, to the private sector partner. In most instances, funding repayment is stretched over 20- 40 years and the private partner usually operates, maintains or oversees the project through the payout period.
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|Florida's Scott refuses $2.4 billion for high-speed rail|
Word comes now that interlocal group seeking to possibly privatize project
The on-again, off-again high-speed rail project in Florida apparently is "off" again.
Although Florida Gov. Rick Scott (pictured) recently rejected $2.4 billion in funding for a proposed Tampa to Orlando high-speed rail line last week, over the weekend it was reported that he would give in a little, saying he would at least be willing to look at a plan that ensures no financial risk to the state. Not so, Scott said Monday. If there is going to be some kind of alternative that Scott will accept, someone better come up with it pretty quickly, as the deadline for acceptance of the funding and any strings that go with it is Friday.
Now comes word that there is a push on to privatize the project. The Tampa city attorney is working with federal transportation attorneys to put together a consortium of cities and counties to form an independent regional authority to oversee the project instead of the state. This interlocal agency would seek bids from private entities that would build and operate the rail service.
Scott opposes the current plan because he said he feels like it could result in the state being encumbered by billions of dollars in unforeseen costs if ridership does not meet projections. There have been suggestions of routing the funds to other entities than the state - such as cities or regional planning organizations. If no alternate plan is approved by Friday, the funds will head to other areas of the country.
And those folks are waiting with open arms. New York and California both have their eyes on the $2.4 billion. A Congresswoman from New York has written U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood asking that the money be redirected to her home state. Last year, two other governors - from Wisconsin and Ohio - had the same reservations that Scott did and refused the funding. That $1.2 billion was sent to other states for their projects. Just last week, the president sought $53 billion more from Congress, hoping to realize his goal of giving 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail. Florida would have been the poster child for the plan throughout the country, especially since environmental and right-of-way studies had already been completed.
California has garnered most of the $4.5 billion in federal funds committed so far, with $3 billion headed to the Left Coast for its proposed train from San Diego to San Francisco. The total project cost is expected to be between $40-$50 billion. The Chicago-St. Louis route has received $1.1 billion to speed up the existing Amtrak service. The Orlando-Tampa line has already received $66 million.
Legislation would revive Build America Bonds program
Previous rebates equal to 35 percent of interest would drop to 28 percent
Federal legislation has been filed that would reinstate the Build America Bonds (BABs) program for two years. Congressman Adam Schiff filed the bill to revive the program that ended last December and keep it viable until the end of 2012. The bonds have in the past paid federal rebates to issuers in an amount equal to 35 percent of the interest costs. The bill that has been filed would reduce that amount to 28 percent.
Proponents say that bringing BABs back would provide a shot in the arm for the construction industry throughout the country. It would also expand the number of organizations eligible to participate in the program.
States, cities and other municipal bond issuers sold nearly $180 billion of the BABs since the program started in 2009. The funds have been used for everything from highways to bridge reconstruction to rail upgrades and new construction of buildings on college campuses. The University of California used the bonds to continue construction of an engineering building at its San Diego campus and to expand its management school there. New Jersey's mass transit system also has benefited from BABs. Texas used $1.2 billion in BABs for highway improvements and BABs were used for $600 million in sewer upgrades in Chicago.
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|Upcoming education opportunities|
University of Florida to build new conference center
A $1.5 million gift to the University of Florida will help build a conference center at its research site in Citra. The center will include a 5,380-square-foot multi-purpose building with a 7,000-square-foot open pavilion. Daniel Colvin (pictured), director of research programs at the Cintra unit, said the site - which includes 22 buildings on nearly 1,100 acres - serves as an outdoor lab for UF ag classes. The center will allow those classes to have places to meet and discuss what is learned there. It will also facilitate field days which are currently being held under tents. Construction should start in the spring and be completed by the fall. There will be three meeting rooms in the center with a combined seating of 300.
Minnesota school district approves $33 million bond issue
A $33.175 million bond election was approved recently in the Pequot Lakes (Minnesota) School District. The bond proceeds will pay for replacing the boiler, repairing the roof and track and making additions to the elementary and high school as both are dealing with overcrowding issues. Construction is likely to begin in the spring of next year, with hopes of completion by the end of the 2014-15 school year.
Ten school construction projects approved by New Jersey Gov. Christie
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (pictured) has approved 10 school construction projects in some of the poorest districts in the state. More than $584 million will be assigned from the Schools Development Authority. Christie said each project was reviewed to determine need and efficiency. "We're going to move carefully and deliberately in the expenditure of the people's money in this state," Christie said. The new school construction projects, which include nine elementary and one high school, will be in Bridgeton, Elizabeth, Long Branch, Jersey City, New Brunswick, Newark, Paterson and West New York. The plan calls for building one high school and nine elementary schools. Efforts will be made to standardize design for the schools, thus saving money. Two sites are expected to be under construction this year - a magnet high school in Elizabeth and an elementary school in Long Branch. The remaining schools will be in the development phase this year.
Tennessee district planning new $10.5 million elementary school
Plans to build a new elementary school from $10.5 million in previously approved Qualified School Construction Bonds were approved recently by the Jefferson County (Tennessee) Commission. Details regarding the new school will be announced at a later date. Because the terms of the bonds, contracts for the initial $1 million of the bond funding must be in place by April 7. Although approving the new elementary spending, a motion was tabled that would have allowed a $15.7 million Recovery Zone Economic Development bond to be used for renovations at the high school. Commissioners said they would address the issue again when a proposal for the renovations is presented.
New College of Medicine building expected to be built on Michigan campus
Central Michigan University President George Ross (pictured) says he expects a new building will be built on the campus to host medical students and faculty. The university's medical school is scheduled to accept its first class in 2013, and Ross said he thinks a new building will be built rather than opting to use an existing building. University students will train in Saginaw hospitals after the summer of 2013. University officials are negotiating with possible donors to assist with the new medical school. The College of Medicine has more than $1 million toward its $25 million capital campaign.
Plans call for remodeling four schools, building three new ones in Arkansas
Construction plans that call for building three new schools and remodeling four more in Jacksonville, Arkansas, were recently approved by the Pulaski County Special School District. A total of $1.5 million has been set aside to begin hiring architects to design proposed changes to old buildings and to design the new schools. The school district is hoping to be able to issue more than $100 million in bonds for the construction. Most of the construction will be in Jacksonville. Officials laid out a timeline that includes budget approval in April, state approval in June and purchasing the bonds by July. Demolition of some facilities would start by August, with a fall groundbreaking. Completion is expected by summer 2013.
Oakland University to get $30 million toward new building
A $30 million grant from the state will be applied to a $74.6 million project at Oakland University in Michigan. The project is construction of a new School of Engineering and Computer Science building. The facility will be 127,000 square feet and feature state-of-the-art classrooms and research space. Oakland University President Gary Russi (pictured) said the new building will "help expand our highly skilled work force, advance research and foster technological innovation that will fuel the development of a 21st century economy in Michigan." The new building will also help the university deal with a growing student population.
Residence hall at Kansas University to get $13.1 million overhaul
The Board of Regents of Kansas University recently authorized issuing $13.1 million in revenue bonds for renovations to Gertrude Sellards Pearson Hall, a women's residence hall. The renovation, expected to begin this summer and be completed in time for the opening of the 2012-13 academic year, will see the structure become a co-ed facility. The project will be paid for using revenues generated from housing system revenue and other funds at the university.
IUPUI fundraising drive will help build additional residential facilities on campus
Charles Bantz (pictured), chancellor of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, reports that part of the university's $1.25 billion fundraising drive will be used to add living space on the campus. The drive has already had 75 percent of its goal pledged. Bantz called housing at the campus "our next challenge." The campus has in the past served more non-traditional students who did not need on-campus housing. However, younger students now attending are seeking a more traditional campus setting. The university currently has a 300-bed freshman dorm and 60 townhomes. A $40 million apartment complex was opened four years ago for 750 students. This year's population seeking on-campus housing prompted the university to lease seven floors at an apartment complex to house an additional 260 students. "This is a real challenge for us," said Bantz, "and we need to get our own housing facility constructed."
Oregon school planning $10.5 million bond for spring ballot
A twice-failed bond vote will go back before Banks (Oregon) School District voters for a third time in May. The $10.5 million bond issue has been scaled back significantly from the previous measures that failed. The new bond issue removes plans from the previous election for renovating the high school. It instead allocated $6.6 million to rebuild much of the junior high, with the remaining funds spread throughout the district for other projects.
Louisiana school purchases property for its first 'green' school construction
Officials with the Rapides Parish (Louisiana) School District recently purchased a more than 30-acre site on which to build their first "green" school in Woodworth. The school will be for pre-K through eighth-grade students and officials are hoping for an opening in August 2012. "That school will have a green theme," said Superintendent Gary Jones (pictured). This step now allows the architectural firm for the project to begin working on the bidding process and to secure necessary regulatory permits. The school will be built from proceeds from a 2009 voter-approved $8 million bond vote. The project will seek LEED certification, which sets the standard for designs to make the building environmentally friendly throughout the building.
Michigan school district voters to face $22.78 million bond issue in May
The Board of Education of the Port Huron (Michigan) Area School District voted recently to put a $22.78 million bond vote before residents of the district. If passed, the bond proceeds would pay for upgrades at many of the district's schools. Some of the project funding would be for technology, secure entries and lighting and heating.
Other upcoming contracting opportunities
Ohio governor seeks $3 billion lease for state's turnpike
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (pictured) is looking to privatize the Ohio Turnpike as a new source of revenue for the state. He recently put a sale sticker on the roadway - $3 billion. Kasich said if he got the $3 billion price, he could turn around and put $1 billion into state infrastructure. "Wouldn't that be fantastic instead of having an asset that is under-utilized in the state at a time when we are in a crisis?" he asked. The state could net close to $2.5 billion from the lease once the remaining $600 million in debt is paid off. Toll prices were increased in 2009, netting the turnpike a record for collections last year at $236 million. The governor is also seeking to privatize more prisons, state liquor sales and the state lottery.
Variety of contracting opportunities available in El Paso area
A number of contracting opportunities are available in the El Paso area. They include:
- Workforce Solutions Upper Rio Grande is seeking bids for management and operations of Workforce Solutions Upper Rio Grande Career Centers in El Paso County;
- The El Paso Housing Authority is seeking bids for Cramer Apartments roof modernization;
- Education Service Center Region 19 is seeking bids for food service equipment, coolers, freezers, hot water and cold water repair and maintenance;
- The Texas Department of Transportation is seeking bids for state-let maintenance contracts, El Paso County, total rest area maintenance, operation and repair; and
- The Texas Department of Transportation is seeking bids for state-let construction contracts, El Paso County, construction of pond.
Counties in Ohio considering benefits of possible consolidation
Four counties in Ohio are considering consolidating some of their services, in particular those offered through the Offices of Job and Family Services. The department has in recent years continued to have its funding cut while the caseload keeps increasing. Officials believe if services are consolidated, that will eliminate the need to cut positions and free up more funding in administrative costs, saving $2 million in its first year. Regional consolidation is not a new concept, say officials. The counties involved are Hocking, Jackson, Ross and Vinton. Three of the four counties have given their approval. It is estimated that the consolidation could begin as soon as July 1 if the final county agrees to the plan, and implementation would likely take up to two years. Officials are hopeful the change would not reduce services, especially with the latest technology available.
New downtown transportation center in works for city in New York
Ground is expected to be broken this summer on a new $7.7 million transportation center in downtown Corning (New York). The center (as seen in accompanying artist's rendering) will house both small and large buses and taxis. Officials are hoping to buy six parcels of land near the site of the center, which will be used mostly for parking. If those purchases are made in the spring, construction could begin the following summer. The center will be a small, one-story building that will include a ticket office, restrooms, storage space and a small rest area. Plans for the center have been ongoing since about 1980. The project will be funded by a $6.2 million federal earmark, a more than $770,000 Department of Transportation grant and more than $770,000 in local funding. Its goal is to centralize bus and taxi service and accommodate tourists.
Contracting opportunities open up in New Mexico entities
A number of contracting opportunities are available in New Mexico. They include:
- The city of Alamogordo is seeking bids for Hamilton Road reconstruction;
- The city of Alamogordo is seeking bids for Center of Protective Environment, bathroom addition;
- The Las Cruces Public School District is seeking bids for Vista Middle School additions and renovations; and
- The village of Hatch is seeking bids for construction of Hatch Wastewater Treatment Improvements Phase 1.
Two-phase wastewater treatment plant project moving forward in Iowa
A two-phase facility plan has been approved for Iowa City, Iowa for a new wastewater treatment plant. This steps up the design portion of the $91 million project. The new plant will replace one that was flooded in 2008. The first phase of the project is expected to be completed by April 2014 and the second phase will begin 15 years later. The price tag for the first phase is $46.7 million, with $32.5 million of the costs to be paid for with federal and state funding. Local option sales tax money and wastewater revenues will make up the rest of the cost.
Million-dollar facelift approved for Santa Barbara Central Library
A project that is expected to cost between $1 million and $1.5 million will provide for a number of improvement to the courtyard of the Santa Barbara (California) Central Library. Officials are hopeful the changes will make the area more attractive and improve community use in the area. City Commissioner Randy Rowse (pictured) called the project a "mini-stimulus" for the area. Funds for the project will come from the city's Redevelopment Agency fund, which can only be used for capital improvement projects within the city's redevelopment area. The library is in an historic building and was last renovated in the late 1970s.
Ohio village seeks loan to pay for design of new wastewater treatment plan
Officials in the village of Elmore, Ohio, have approved applying for a loan to pay for the design of a new wastewater treatment plant. The funding will come from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's Water Pollution Control Loan Fund Agreement. The design is expected to be completed by the end of March. Water flow will be monitored for nine months and construction should take a year. Construction costs are expected to be approximately $5 million.
Money available for feasibility studies for biomass industry in Oregon
A half dozen companies in Oregon will share $200,000 in grant funds being made available to help light a fire under the state's biomass industry. The studies will be on the possibility of building or expanding plants that burn forest thinnings to produce energy or turn woody biomass into fuel. Deadline for applications to the Oregon Department of Energy is April 15.
Low construction costs could mean third fire station for Coweta County, Georgia
When a $20 million bond issuance was approved in 2008 in Coweta County, Georgia, $8 million of that was intended for new fire stations. One station budgeted at $3 million came in at $1.5 million and the headquarters station budgeted at $5 million ended up costing only $2.5 million. Fire Chief Johnny Teeters (pictured) told the Board of Commissioners recently that leaves enough money for a third new station, a training facility and a maintenance facility. "With the savings we received from these other projects, we would like to go ahead and move forward with a new station," Teeters said. The new station will be built the same as one of the previous stations, so the cost is expected to be the same - $1.5 million. The maintenance facility is likely to cost between $700,000 and $800,000. The new training facility will likely carry a $2 million price tag.
Sports facility being planned for Anderson, Indiana
Anderson (Indiana) officials have paved the way for the construction of a new state-of-the-art baseball and softball training facility. The facility will be built along Interstate 69 and is expected to be completed in time for its first tournaments later this fall. The city approved issuance of $6 million in bonds to pay for the construction. The bonds will be issued and repaid with taxes collected on the improvements on the property.
Illinois city analyzing benefits of outsourcing some services
Officials in Rockford, Illinois, are studying the pros and cons of outsourcing some of their city services. The city is currently accepting proposals for outsourcing the central supply operation at City Yards and is also about to move forward on discussions of outsourcing ideas that include leasing of vehicles, street sweeping and the city's central supply of parts used for repair of most city equipment. Ambulance service is another issue that could eventually be outsourced.
|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 email@example.com and let us know about your previous job and where you are now. This week we feature Roy W. Minter, Jr.
Roy W. Minter, Jr. began his law enforcement career with the Houston Police Department, serving 10 years as an officer in the Special Operations Division/Tactical Services Bureau. He joined the police force in Aurora, Colorado, in 1992 and had a 15-year career there in a variety of positions - patrol officer, field training officer, vice and narcotics investigator, Narcotics Unit sergeant and Training Section commander. He was also Operations Support Section commander, where he was in charge of the SWAT team, the K-9 Unit, Gang Intervention Unit and the Pattern Crimes Unit. When he left the department, he had attained the rank of District Commander. In 2007, Minter was named chief of police for the city of Denton, Texas. While in Denton, he was in charge of a police department with 220 employees and a $21 million budget. Minter will now take his 28-year law enforcement career to Peoria, Arizona, after recently having been named chief of police there. He will begin his new job there next month.
|Opportunity of the week...|
A city in Maryland has been approved by the State Board of Public Works for $13 million in funding for pollution control upgrades at the city's sewage plant. Want to know more? Contact Reagan Weil at 512-531-3900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Charles M. Payne (top left), a University of Chicago professor, has been chosen as the interim chief education officer of the Chicago public school system, a position that has been open since June when Barbara Eason-Watkins resigned to become superintendent of the Michigan City, Indiana, public schools. Twenty-six year veteran of the Georgia Department of Transportation, David Bernhardt (top center), who was picked by Gov. Paul LePage to head the State DOT, has been approved by a panel of lawmakers for the position. Stewart Fairburn (top right), city administrator in Gardner, Kansas, since 2000, has resigned his post and will be moving to Chickasha, Oklahoma, to take over there as city manager. Two appointees of the Georgia governor have been approved by the state's Senate - Mary Mahew as head of the Department of Health and Human Services and Walt Whitcomb to lead the Department of Agriculture. Dennis Wiener, police chief in Juno Beach, Florida, has been appointed the new chief of the Coral Gables Police Department. The town of Medley, Florida, has chosen Jeanette Said-Jinete as its first female police chief, to replace Chief Tom Hughes, who is retiring after 33 years. Dr. Michael S. Helmick (middle right), vice president for academic affairs at Western Piedmont Community College since 2007, will be the next president of the Rockingham Community College in North Carolina, effective March 1. David Rausch (middle center), who was a police recruit in Knoxville in 1993, has been named chief of the department, replacing Police Chief Sterling P. Owen IV, who is retiring after six years as chief. William Shepherd (middle left), who served seven years in the Office of the Attorney General of Florida and was appointed as Florida's Statewide Prosecutor and also served as an assistant state attorney, has left the public sector to join a law firm's national white collar defense team. The City of Plano, Texas, has named deputy city manager and former police chief Bruce Glasscock as the new city manager. Dale Fessler, former city manager in Fort Worth, Texas, is expected to be offered the assistant city manager's job in Waco. E. Patrick Gilbert, who has worked as code enforcement officer for the town of Manchester, Maine, for the last four years, has been selected as the new town manager. Kansas City, Kansas, Community College President Thomas Burke, who has led the college since 1992 and is the longest-serving president of the institution, has announced that he will retire next summer. Thomas J. Kinton, Jr. (bottom left), who worked his way up from part-time soil-testing engineer to executive director of the Massachusetts Port Authority over a 35-year career there, has announced he is retiring. Brian R. Chapman (bottom center), a professor of biology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington with more than three decades of higher education experience including provost and vice president for academic affairs at West Texas A&M and dean at Sam Houston State University, has been named provost and senior vice president of the University of Houston-Downtown. Dr. Carole M. Berotte Joseph (bottom right), president of Massachusetts Bay Community College since 2005, has been appointed president of Bronx Community College. Benton, Arkansas, Mayor David Mattingly has announced that District Chief Bill Ford has been chosen as Benton's new fire chief. Elizabeth Miller, director of investments for the State of Kansas Pooled Money Investment Board, has been appointed CIO of the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, replacing Robert Smith, who left to become deputy investment officer of the New Mexico State Investment Council. J. K. Campbell, who has spent the last five years as an assistant superintendent in Arkansas City, Kansas, has been named the Winfield (Kansas) School District superintendent, replacing longtime superintendent Marvin Estes, effective July 1.
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|Calendar of events|
NASSP planning conference later this month in San Francisco
The National Association of Secondary School Principals is scheduled for Thursday through Sunday, Feb. 24-27, in San Francisco. Among the speakers are Diane Ravitch, historian, author and professor of education at New York University; Willard R. Daggett, CEO of the International Center for Leadership in Education; and Linda Darling-Hammond, professor of education at Stanford University. Among the concepts to be discussed throughout the conference are Collaborative Leadership and Professional Learning Communities, Personalizing the School Environment and Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment (CIA). For more information and to register, click here.
NASCIO planning 2011 Midyear Conference in D.C. in May
The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) will hold its 2011 Midyear Conference May 3-6 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C. Among the topics will be the evolving role of the state CIO and IT's impact in state government transformation. The annual conference provides an opportunity for state government and corporate members to discuss issues facing the IT field in both the public and private sectors. For more information and to register, click here.
TxDOT announces three Small Business Briefing conferences
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Business Outreach and Program (BOP) Services has announced three upcoming FY 2011 Small Business Briefing conferences. A Nov. 10 conference is set this year in Beaumont, an April 20, 2011, conference is slated in Fort Worth and a July 20, 2011, conference is planned for San Antonio. 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 allow them to learn more about the economic development opportunities in their regions. It also gives agencies a chance to show the myriad of prospects available for small and minority businesses in the state. For more information and to register, click here or call 1.866.480.2519, Option 2.
Transportation, infrastructure convention slated in D.C. in March
The 4th Annual Transportation & Infrastructure Convention in Washington, D.C. has been slated for March 9-11. Hear the most up-to-date information on federal policy developments from the Executive and Congressional branches and national trade associations. Local, state and federal elected and appointed officials will be representing more than 26 states. For more information click here. To register, click here.
AGC planning annual convention in Las Vegas in March
The Associated General Contractors of America will host their 92nd Annual Convention in Las Vegas on March 12-15. General and specialty contractors will hear from experts on the latest impact of state and federal regulations on the construction industry as well as best practices for BIM and contract negotiations and advice on labor management and green building. Those attending the AGC Annual Convention will receive free admittance to the CONEXPO-CON/AGG international exposition that showcases the latest equipment, services, products and technologies, featuring more than 2,000 exhibitors. To register, click here.
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