Volume 2, Issue 46March 23, 2011
Providers rushing to get involved in electronic health records system nationwide

Mary Scott NabersMost taxpayers are aware that the federal government plans to spend as much as $27.4 billion to implement an electronic health records (EHR) system nationwide. But, not everyone realizes the magnitude of the initiative or what all is involved in such a far-reaching mandate.


As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Congress authorized funding to provide billions in incentives to Medicare and Medicaid health care providers who would move quickly to implement electronic health care records. Lawmakers felt that was the only way to ensure a universal system that could be accessed by all providers.




New infrastructure funding mechanism?
City, county could share system
'We've got an app for that'
Other upcoming opportunities
Where are they now?
Opportunity of the week
Follow the money
Strategic Partnerships, Inc. provides opportunity identification for all 50 states. Click here for more information.

New infrastructure funding mechanism could be in the works


Group of lawmakers studying replacement programs for Build America Bonds

Ron WydenInfrastructure funding could switch from BABs to TRIPs. The Build America Bonds (BAB) program, which was part of the federal Recovery Act, has expired. The BAB program, although praised by local governments, was not a big success with smaller entities. An Oregon lawmaker, Sen. Ron Wyden (pictured), is now trying to modify the program, but with a new name - Transportation and Regional Infrastructure Project (TRIP) bonds.


Another group of lawmakers are seeking to create a national infrastructure bank, the American Infrastructure Financing Authority (AIFA). It would provide loans and guarantees for major construction projects.


Both programs provide for public project financing from such sources as investments and bond underwriting. And they also seek to encourage investors to fill in the budget gaps that the public sector cannot. Private money would be sought to help finance large projects such as highway construction and improvement, waterways, bridges, rail and energy-grid upgrades. 

Finding the money for these projects presents the problem. While the President is pushing for a $556 billion infrastructure and highway plan, the Republican-dominated House is seeking about half what the President seeks. Should the public financing not materialize, the next possibility is public-private partnerships. That could bring the AIFA into the spotlight, since it could provide loans and guarantees for large energy, transportation and water projects. The lawmakers backing the AIFA say an initial infusion of $10 billion in public funding could lead to the infrastructure bank becoming self-sustaining and lead to $320 billion to $640 billion in investment over 10 years. 

Wyden's proposal bears a close resemblance to the BAB program. It would allow municipalities to issues bonds that pay off part of the investor's interest payments as a tax credit. These bonds are taxable, which makes them more appealing. Wyden would also seek to put more stringent management authorities and limits on what kinds of projects could be funded through TRIP bonds, which was a concern of the BAB program.


City, county may share financial management system


Intergovernmental agreement approved, sharing of program not set in stone

Michael LambThe Pittsburgh City Council has given preliminary approval for a plan to allow the city to piggyback with Allegheny County in the use of the county's financial management system. The goal of partnering on the system is, according to city officials, to ensure how much money the city has for operations and for paying for capital projects. 

Controller Michael Lamb (pictured) called the system "a management tool that will help us better manage every department in this city."

An intergovernmental agreement was approved between the city and the county, although some members of the Council said they reserved the right to explore cheaper alternatives when necessary. They were told that the signing of the agreement did not mean the city would have to follow through on the project. 

Startup costs are estimated at $9 million, including $3.8 million the first year and $5 million over five years. The partnership resulted from a disagreement over whether $25 million for capital projects this year exists. The new system is expected to provide a real-time look at city finances. The city has, for a number of years, been looking into the possibility of sharing a financial system with the county.


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SPI is currently working throughout the country on P3 initiatives and is available for conversations with any public entity interested in asking questions, discussing national trends or obtaining advice about how to reach out to private sector firms.


Interested parties click here or call Reagan Weil at 512-531-3900 to schedule a conversation.


Florida: 'We've got an app for that'

The first mobile application created by a state agency comes from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. The agency has created an "app" that allows individuals with smart phones to check the business and professional licenses of individuals. The application provides fast, easy access to information regarding licensing, which can be accessed by searching a name or business.  


While the federal government has more than a dozen mobile applications for citizens, local and state governments have been a little slower to jump into that pool. Among the federal applications available are ones for the Transportation Safety Administration, IRS refunds and the FBI's 10 Most Wanted.


May 2011 Texas Bond Elections

Upcoming education opportunities


Grant will allow for installation of 300,000-watt solar farm on campus

William ThomasA $2.65 million grant from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has been awarded to the New Jersey School of Conservation (NJSOC). The funds are provided for innovative energy efficiency and renewable energy projects at state facilities. The school will use the funds to install a 300,000-watt solar farm that will not only meet all of the school's electricity needs, but also generate excess power for use by local utilities. The solar farm is expected to be operational later this year and will include 1,300 200-watt modules on a tract within the NJSOC. "We anticipate that the proposed installation of the 'solar farm' will serve as a sustainability showcase and generate high interest in solar energy," said Dr. William Thomas (pictured), director of the school. He said it will also be used for training undergraduate and graduate students. The grant was awarded from the utilities board with federal stimulus money that went to New Jersey's State Energy Program.


Oklahoma school district hopes to pass $4.8 million bond issue

Officials of the Okmulgee, Oklahoma, school district are hoping for passage of a $4.8 million upcoming bond issue that will help the district take care of much-needed repairs and renovations. School officials say sidewalks are splitting, part of the roof on the middle school is crumbling, a leaky roof above a phone system causes the phones often not to work and a grassy, muddy parking lot needs to be paved.


Oklahoma school district planning $19.7 million bond election in April

Raymond ColeWynnewood School (Oklahoma) Superintendent Raymond Cole (pictured) says passage of a $19.7 million bond vote in April will be a first step toward building a whole new school system with all schools on one campus. Passage of the bond issue would mean the start of new buildings for three local schools and new athletic facilities and a new football stadium. "We're going to start by building a new elementary school and a new middle school," Cole said. The two schools, some 80,000 square feet total, would include 37 classrooms, a new kitchen and cafeteria, middle school gym and physical education building for elementary school students. The new football field would have synthetic turf and there would be new baseball and softball fields and a new field house.


New gym to be built if Missouri city residents pass $1.9 million bond vote

A new gymnasium will be built if a $1.9 million bond vote in Jefferson C-123 School District passes in April. In addition to a new gym, the funding would also be used to make renovations to locker rooms and to address heating and cooling problems in school facilities. The new gym would include additional seating, seating for persons with handicaps and extend the floor space around the court. 


Washington school district to put $59 million bond issue before voters in April

The Pasco (Washington) School Board has voted to put a $59 million bond issue before voters in April. If the bond issue is approved, the district expects an additional $50 million in matching state funds. The bond proceeds would be used to purchase land for future schools, to build a new elementary and middle school and a new early learning center. Some of the funds also would be used for repairs at middle, elementary and high schools. Upgrades are planned as well for heating and air conditioning, mechanical and electrical systems and parking lots at a high school, middle school and three elementary schools and the Support Services Facility. Other health, safety and infrastructure improvements would be addressed as necessary.


San Jose Unified School District mulling $500 million bond issue

Vincent Matthews

Calling it a "No Tax Rate Increase Bond Measure," officials with the San Jose (California) Unified School District are considering putting a $500 million bond issue before voters. This as the district is facing a major funding crisis that could cut deeply into employee numbers and programs. However, officials are hopeful that because the bond vote would not increase taxes, that voters will approve. Property owners would continue paying the same rate they've been paying for previous bond debt. Among the project that would be funded by a successful bond issue are roof repairs, energy efficiency projects, emergency safety systems such as sprinkler and smoke detectors, campus and building remodels and upgrades in technology, said Superintendent Vincent Matthews (pictured). He noted that some of the schools have science labs that are 50 years old. "We need to upgrade classrooms and facilities to 21st century standards," he said. 


Bond sale planned for energy efficiency projects at Indiana schools 

The Union County schools in Liberty, Indiana, are planning a bond sale for $1.48 million to be used to increase energy efficiency at its Liberty campus. Under the current plans, 20 classrooms, kitchen and offices in Liberty Elementary and the high school auditorium and kitchen will be connected with a water-cooled heat pump system installed in 1999. The bond issue is expected by April 30 and construction bids would then be considered at the board's April 11 meeting.


Budget proposal would give UW-Whitewater up to $35 million in funding

Mary Pinkerton

Capital projects totaling $35 million over the next two years would be funded under the current budget proposal of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Half of the funds would be used to renovate the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater's former business building that has been vacant nearly two years. Another $17 million would be used to renovate Carlson Hall. Mary Pinkerton (pictured), dean of the UW-W College of Letters and Sciences, said she was surprised but delighted that the Carlson Hall project was moved to the top of the list for funding. Among the other projects at UW-W that Doyle would fund include $4.6 million to remodel Drumlin Hall; $12.2 million to renovate Bigelow and Benson residence halls; $940,000 for an addition to the Young Auditorium; and $5 million to upgrade and improve technology. Construction could take from 12-18 months.


Michigan school district approves $1 million in renovations, upgrades

The Midland (Michigan) Public School District recently approved approximately $1 million in renovations and upgrades to Midland H.H. Dow High School, Siebert Elementary and the Midland Public Schools Administration Center. Projects included upgrading electrical panels, lights and ceilings in two schools and replacing the roof on the administration center.


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Public subsidies needed for hotel next to Boston convention center

James RooneyA $200 million public sector infusion would be necessary if the state's plan to construct a 1,000-room hotel comes to fruition. The hotel would be located next to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and is part of a larger expansion being considered by the state. The hotel would cost approximately $640 million, said officials, and would help the city become one of the nation's top destinations for meetings and conventions. Massachusetts Convention Center Authority Executive Director James Rooney (pictured) said many events are not being held in the city because "we don't have enough hotel inventory." The expansion program under study would double the exhibition space and meeting space at the Boston facility, but carry a price tag of $2 billion. The $200 million sought is for the hotel alone. No estimate has been given regarding public funds for expanding the convention center. Expansions, plus the public money to help pay for it, would have to have city and state governments' approval.


Anaheim considering bond issue for renovations at Honda Center 

It could be like the robin arriving to announce spring. The City of Anaheim is considering issuing bonds for improvements to the Honda Center arena, some predicting that means the Sacramento Kings could be moving to Orange County. Officials aren't talking about whether the upgrades are linked to the Kings, who are thought to be in negotiations with Honda Center officials to move there next season. Owners of the Kings recently met with Anaheim City Manager Tom Wood, which fueled speculation. Although the city owns the Honda Center, a private firm operates the arena and negotiations would have to be handled by that firm.


El Paso County toll roads could be bid next month

The first toll roads in El Paso County are expected to be bid out next month. The $80 million project is planned for the Cesar Chavez Border Highway. The highway work will include adding toll lanes and reconstruction of the current four lanes. The project includes nearly nine miles. The project will benefit from $6 million in federal funds. An electronic system for the tolls will be in place, rather than toll booths or toll coin baskets, and no price has been estimated for that system yet.


Interior Secretary announces major boating grants for 11 states

Ken SalazarMore than $13.5 million in competitive grants have been awarded to 11 states for 16 boating infrastructure projects, according to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar (pictured). The grants, awarded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will be used to help pay for docks, boat slips and other facilities used in recreational boating. Salazar said the Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) program helps "spur major construction projects." All of the grants require some financial match from the recipients.

The grant winners include: 

  • Alabama - $520,993 to help pay for a 1,170-foot dock for transient recreational boats;
  • California - $882,728 to reconstruct a new facility with a transient berthing area, modernized fuel station, new pumpout, oil recycling center and ADA restrooms;
  • CA Department of Boating and Waterways - $1.5 million to demolish an old facility and replace it with a new marina with a 52 slip addition and $1.3 million to convert 35 existing transient slips into 45, replace pumpout, update services;
  • Ohio - $1.45 million to build a new floating dock for 53 transient boat slips with three ADA slips and ramp, new shower, restrooms, laundry building and amenities;
  • Illinois - $1.5 million for floating dock system;
  • Maine - $242,766 to construct a pier, ramp and float system and create new docking space;
  • Mississippi - $470,149 to build a marina in an area hard hit by Hurricane Katrina;
  • New York - $1.45 million to add 64 transient slips with dockside utilities, deep-draft safe harbor, boater services and education;
  • New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation - $669,286 to renovate a marina on the Hudson River with space for 80 transient vessels, showers, dock and pumpout; $106,963 to add pedestals and improve electric service on a marina; and $501, 311 to add new fueling station and berthing for 32-45 transient recreational boats;
  • Tennessee - $357,050 to add 21 tie-up facilities to slip marina and catwalks, utilities, restrooms and showers;
  • Texas - $511,210 to refurbish an old industrial marina to include dockage for 21 transient boats, restroom/shower facility, other amenities;
  • Virginia - $570,043 to redevelop a vacant marina on the Mattaponi River to include 41 transient slips, fuel dock and restrooms; and
  • Washington - $1.476 million to replace two docks with state-of-the-art floats and upgraded amenities.

Hawaii to create information technology office; looking to save millions

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie has announced that his state will create a state information technology office to ensure Hawaii residents have access to better online services and make the government run faster and save millions. The new Office of Information Management and Technology would be responsible for upgrading government computer and technology systems. Nearly $3 million in start-up funds have been received from grants, but to receive the grant, the government must commit to paying the salary and operating costs of $1.2 million. Officials say upgrades will make the government run more efficiently and improve constituent services. A new CIO is expected to be hired by July. Officials hope to implement a new IT plan by 2013. Officials say other states have saved millions by consolidating email and data centers alone. 


Feasibility study on tap for two Michigan cities for possible joint district court

Darwin McClaryTwo Michigan cities - Dearborn Heights and Garden City - have agreed to share the costs for a joint district court feasibility study. Officials are waiting to see if the city of Westland will also support the endeavor. Garden City Manager Darwin McClary (pictured) said the costs will not be known until Westland decides if it will participate. If only Dearborn Heights and Garden City share the costs, the price would be approximately $9,000, 50 percent of which would be paid by a grant.  The cost would be higher if three cities participate. Dearborn Heights has its courthouse at Michigan Avenue and Beech Daly. The Garden City District Court operates in city hall during the day. 


Maryland county planning to build two new police stations

Two new police stations on tap for Prince George's County in Maryland. One will service the eastern portion of central county and two others will be relocated to provide better service to other areas. The projects are part of the county's proposed Capital Improvement Program budget. The budget includes $9.2 million for a 25,000-square-foot police station in the new District 8 area. Another $8.2 million was budgeted for a District 7 station to be completed in March 2013. There are also plans to move the District 5 station further south and the District 6 station further north. Some $9.2 million will be spent on the accompanying new buildings.


Hartsville proposes seven-year, $7 million CIP plan for airport

Officials in Hartsville, South Carolina, are studying a proposed seven-year, $7 million capital improvement plan for its airport. Among the proposed projects are acquiring land, removal of runway obstruction, a new terminal building, runway and taxiway improvements, apron rehabilitation and a new hangar. Airport officials are hoping for $6.1 million from the Federal Aviation Administration to help pay for the cost of the projects. The city would fund $263,000 and the state $634,000.


Missouri city public safety building still in the works

Sandra SchiessIt may be several years before the dirt is turned, but officials in Independence, Missouri, are still counting on construction of a new public safety building in the city. The facility would be a 20,000-square-foot structure to house fire, police and dispatch and has been included in the city's proposed capital improvement program covering the next six years. Funds allocated for Fiscal Year 2012-13 total $730,000. The following fiscal year, funding would come from TIF money and existing fire and police public safety taxes. Fire Chief Sandra Schiess (pictured) said if funds are found sooner, "We may propose it a year earlier just because of the need for 911." FY 2011-12 has allocation of $86,400 for architectural and construction expenses.


Two sites being considered for new California criminal courthouse

Two sites are being considered for a new $439 million courthouse in Sacramento. The new courthouse will feature 44 courtrooms, making it one of the state's largest new courthouse projects. It ranks second only to San Diego's new 71-courtroom, $633.9 million new criminal courthouse being built. Some are encouraging that the site be considered with both regional and neighborhood contexts, with access to public transit and if the new building would promote development in the area. Other say courthouses should be in areas that are convenient to visitors and services. Construction is expected to begin in early 2013, with a 2015 completion date.


Lubbock planning improvements to water treatment plant

The City of Lubbock (Texas) is planning to spend nearly $6 million to improve its water treatment plant, with up to $1 million spent on a computer automation system. Another $4.85 million for a flocculation and sedimentation system will follow. The first project is expected to take less than a year while the second will take a year and a half.


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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 and let us know about your previous job and where you are now. This week we feature Roger E. Nutt.


Roger NuttA longtime transportation veteran has been named as the Pennsylvania Turnpike's new chief executive officer. Roger E. Nutt (pictured) of Vero Beach, Florida, who earned his bachelor's degree in commerce from Rider University and his master's degree in public administration from Rider University, will replace Joe Brimmeier of Ross, who left the position recently after eight years as CEO. Nutt has worked for 28 years in several New Jersey transportation agencies. He is a former executive director of the New Jersey Highway Authority, serving in that capacity from April 1994 to September 1994. From October 1994 to September 1995, he was executive director of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and was project director of the $300 million tunnel project built to link the Atlantic City Expressway to the city's Marina District and the bridge to Brigantine Island. He also is a former executive director of the New Jersey Transportation Fund Authority and head of the New Jersey Transit. He is coming out of seven years of retirement in Florida to take the new post. 


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Opportunity of the week...
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Sumerlin provides positive, encouraging keynote messages

Terry SumerlinTerry Sumerlin is a motivational speaker and trainer who provides positive, encouraging and empowering messages for those in a variety of leadership positions. His keynote addresses work in humor for entertaining presentations that cultivate leadership and teamwork in organizations. They are customized to each audience, but are appropriate for all levels of employees - from administrative and sales to C-level management. Sumerlin has delivered these motivational messages for more than 15 years to customer contact and sales personnel, managers and executives. Among the principles he invokes are the importance of a positive attitude and enthusiasm, how to improve customer satisfaction and earn trust, effective communication and teamwork, emotional maturity and the importance of a sense of humor in the workplace. For a complete portfolio of SPI Special Services experts and the services they offer, to inquire about specific services or to inquire about becoming a part of SPI's Special Services division, contact Reagan Weil at 512-531-3917or For information on other individuals in our Special Services division and their areas of expertise, click here.


Kip BergstromSean KeeferDavid WilliamsChristopher "Kip" Bergstrom (top left), executive director of the Stamford Urban Redevelopment Commission, has been named by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy as executive director of Connecticut's Commission on Culture and Tourism, which the governor plans to make part of the state Department of Economic and Community Development. Sean Keefer (top middle), who has held both the titles of deputy secretary of state and chief of staff in the office of Indiana Gov. Charlie White, has turned in his resignation just two months after White took office. David B. Williams (top right), president of the University of Alabama at Huntsville since 2007, has announced that he will step down on April 1 and will be leaving the area. Mary Susan Fishbaugh, who has been serving as interim dean of the Montana State University Billings College of Education for more than five years, has had the "interim" removed from her title and will be permanent dean of the college. Lt. Colonel Doug Middleton, who has spent 38 years with the Henrico County (Virginia) police department and has been second in command for the last 14 years, will be installed as chief of police on April 9. Belmont (Massachusetts) Superintendent George Entwistle for the last two years and a former superintendent in Falmouth, Maine, will leave his post to take a new job as head of schools in Scarborough, Maine. Douglas Willmore (middle right), Doug WillmoreEric SmithDean Hubbardcounty administrator in Salt Lake County, Utah, for the last six years, has been chosen as city manager for El Segundo, California, replacing interim City Manager Jack Wayt. Florida State Commissioner of Education, Eric J. Smith (middle center) has announced he will leave his position June 10, adding another chapter to his education background that includes teaching at Union Park Junior High in Orange County 30 years ago and then working in Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland before returning to Florida. Dean L. Hubbard (middle left), former president of Northwest Missouri State University and interim president of St. Luke's College since October of last year, has been named the new president of St. Luke's College of Health Sciences. Charlie Kyte has announced his retirement as executive director of the Minnesota Association of School Administrators and will be replaced by Gary Amoroso, who has served as superintendent of the Lakeville school district for the last 10 years and was president of MASA during the 2009-2010 school year. Dover, New Hampshire, Police Chief Perry Plummer has been nominated by Gov. John Lynch to serve as director of the Division of Fire Standards and Training and Emergency Medical Services. Ohio Gov. John Kasich has named Mark Kyamme, his director of development, into a position he created for him within the governor's Don KirkegaardPaul FergusonSheldon Bermanoffice - director of job creation. Don Kirkegaard (bottom left), superintendent of the Britton-Hecla School District in northeastern South Dakota for the last 17 years, has been hired as superintendent of the Meade school district. The trustees of the University of Maine System have selected Paul Ferguson (bottom center) of Southern Illinois University as president of the University of Maine in Orono, replacing President Robert Kennedy, who will step down in June. Jefferson (Kentucky) County Public Schools Superintendent Sheldon Berman (bottom right), whose contract was not renewed, has been chosen the new school superintendent in Eugene, Oregon. Blue Ridge Community College has selected Bob Young, Associate Vice President of Learning at Frederick Community College in Maryland for eight years as Vice President of Instruction and Student Services. Fenwich Gardiner, Jr., a firefighter in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, has been named to replace former Chief Patrick Campion, who retired in December. Memphis Police Department Deputy Director Toney Armstrong, who has been a member of the police force for 22 years and who had served as deputy director for the last six years, has been named the new director, replacing Larry Godwin


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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 Fort Worth Small Business Briefing conference 

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Business Outreach and Program (BOP) Services reaches across Texas to provide small and minority-owned business communities an opportunity to learn more about contracting opportunities with state entities. The Fort Worth Small Business Briefing conference is set for April 20. Information will be available to help small business owners better understand how to 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. The final conference is planned for San Antonio on July 20, 2011. For more information and to register, click here or call 1.866.480.2519, Option 2.


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