|Volume 6, Issue 4||April 30, 2014|
What's America going to do about drones?
Soon, every American will likely have strong feelings one way or another about the use of drones. The use of unmanned aircraft, or drones, is an issue crying out for clarification.
Some argue that the use of drones offers significant benefit to the world. For instance, drones can quickly and efficiently provide online access to areas of the world that are currently devoid of telephone wires or cell towers. And, others like the idea of having hot food delivery to any location courtesy of friendly and efficient drones. But, others will argue that without strict regulations, there is a potential for drones to become an evil force in the world. Tom Cruise's new movie, Top Gun II, is all about a drone war and Cruise is the good guy trying to outsmart robot pilots operating out-of-control drones.
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|Foxx sends Grow America transportation bill to Congress|
As highway fund grows slim, plan would create jobs, shore up infrastructure
As the nation's Highway Trust Fund inches toward running out of money sometime this summer, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx (pictured) yesterday sent the GROW AMERICA transportation bill to Congress. Supporters say the bill will not only rebuild aging roads and bridges, but will also create jobs.
"Failing to act before the Highway Trust Fund runs out is unacceptable - and unaffordable," said Foxx. "This proposal offers the kind of job creation and certainty that the American people want and deserve."
The new transportation bill seeks a four-year, $302-billion surface transportation reauthorization. Foxx said the plan will invest in the nation's national infrastructure network and increase safety and efficiency without adding to the deficit - thanks to proposed business tax reforms.
Many of the proposals in the plan are akin to ones in the past that have drawn bipartisan support, including provisions such as addressing the shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund and providing an additional $87 billion to help reduce the backlog of deficient bridges and aging transit systems; creating millions of new jobs nationwide; ensuring safety among all modes of surface transportation; ensuring long-term planning among state and local government; investing in freight networks to support trade and economic growth; and ensuring funding so states and local governments can begin making long-term plans.
Several weeks ago, Foxx ventured across the country and visited with manufacturers and examined bridges and freight facilities and highway projects. His goal was to ensure that Americans are aware of the transportation infrastructure needs and how much it can cost business if these needs are not met. Many government entities have put off much-needed transportation projects because of lack of funding and fear of the transportation fund running out of money. Officials hope this transportation bill can change that.
More than 100 water, wastewater projects awarded funds
Some $387 million in loans, grants to be made available in 40 states, Puerto Rico
More than 100 projects nationwide will be receiving funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to support water and wastewater service for rural areas of the country. The Department is providing $150 million in grants through the 2014 Farm Bill plus $237 million in loans and grants from USDA's Water and Environmental Program.
"Having reliable, clean and safe water is essential for any community to thrive and grow," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (pictured). The USDA head said many of the awards will go to communities that are struggling financially and have health and safety needs due to failing water systems.
More than a dozen of the projects are in poverty areas while close to 30 others are served by the USDA StrikeForce Initiative for Rural Growth and Opportunity, which seeks to reduce poverty through investments in rural areas.
Among the allocations are:
- $2.1 million to McCrory, Arkansas, for a water treatment facility and two water supply wells and rehabilitation of its two water storage tanks;
- $1 million to San Joaquin, California, in the form of a combination loan and grant to replace a contaminated well;
- $2.573 million to the Five Point Sewer District in Washington County, Alabama, for a new sewage system;
- $13.456 million to the South Wayne County Water and Sewer Authority in Wayne County, Pennsylvania, to replace a sewer collection system;
- $2 million to Walden's Ridge Utility District in Hamilton County, Tennessee, for new tank and water line replacement;
- $7 million in loans and grants to the city of Paintsville, Kentucky, to rehabilitate its sanitary and storm water sewer systems;
- $20.948 million to the city of Morgan, Minnesota, for utility improvements; and
- $2.086 million to the Cannonsburg Water District in Boyd County, Kentucky, to upgrade the water distribution system.
|Upcoming education opportunities|
New high school at stake with Mississippi city's May 27 election
Gulfport, Mississippi, is hoping residents will support an upcoming bond election to help build a new Gulfport High School. The Gulfport City Council has approved a special election for May 27 to decide the fate of a $41.2 million bond issue. School district officials say the bond will be used to update the campus so that it better meets the needs of an increasing student population, provides additional and better security and provides for technology upgrades such as wireless Internet access. New classrooms also could be added to existing schools.
West Virginia school system seeking successful $42.2 million bond vote
The future of a new elementary school, a combined PK-8 school and classroom additions and renovations to a high school are at stake in the May 13 bond election in Wayne County, West Virginia. Voters will decide on that date if the school district can sell $18 million in bonds supported by property taxes. If the bond issue passes, the West Virginia School Building Authority (SBA) will match the $18 million. The school system would put in another $4.2 million and the final $2 million would come from local funding and Qualified Zone Academy Bond funding. "When we go to voters and ask for something, we need to be cognizant of what we're doing," said Superintendent Lynn Hurt (pictured). "There's a big difference between wants and needs. I truly believe people see these projects as needs." The SBA will make the final vote on whether the plan goes forward and the financing made available. A facilities review showed that the school system could save $800,000 per year in maintenance costs if the projects are carried out, and more than 1,600 students would have access to better school facilities.
Budget deal will mean $250 million for Florida universities
Florida universities could share more than $250 million in state funding for construction projects under a recently announced budget deal. The funding, which will have to pass both houses of the Legislature and then get the signature of Gov. Rick Scott, would mean an increase of close to $83 million over last year's allocation, $41 million of which would come from student fees. The funding includes $58 million for maintenance and renovation of current facilities and $156 million for new construction. The state's community colleges would garner $108 million, including $92 million for new construction. Some of the projects would include:
- $15 million for an expanded college of engineering shared by Florida State University and Florida A&M;
- $8 million for a business school at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg;
- $30 million for the University of Florida for a chemistry and chemical biology building and its engineering innovation building;
- $5 million for Florida International University toward completion of its student academic center and $10 million to begin the process of relocating the Miami-Dade County Fair and acquiring land near the Modesto Maidique Campus in Miami;
- $20 million for Florida State for its Earth Ocean Atmospheric Sciences building;
- $10 million for Florida A&M to expand its pharmacy college;
- $87 million for the State College of Florida for a new library complex on its Bradenton campus; and
- $5 million for New College of Florida for construction and maintenance.
Kansas State stadium's third phase of expansion will cost nearly $65 million
The third phase of the expansion of Kansas State University's Bill Snyder Family Stadium expansion, which carries a price tag of $65 million, has been announced. The plan calls for tearing down the current Vanier Football Complex and building a new one. K-State Athletics Director John Currie (pictured) called the expansion project "a huge step forward" that represents the university's and K-State Athletics "commitment to be among the top echelon of intercollegiate athletics." The new Vanier Football Complex will be 106 percent larger than the current facility at 132,000 square feet. It will include an Academic Learning Center, an Olympic-quality strength and conditioning center and state-of-the-art sports medicine and recovery space. All of the funds for this phase of the project come from donations. Officials say not only will the new and expanded facilities add to the ambiance of the stadium, but the will also help with recruiting athletes to the various sports at the university.
Oklahoma school district calls for $120M bond election for school, shelters
An August vote has been set in the Putnam, Oklahoma, City School District that would provide for construction of a new middle school and tornado shelters on some campuses. The $120 million bond election would pay for 160 improvements throughout the district. A large portion of the proposed bond would go toward building tornado safe rooms at nine schools. They would be constructed inside the schools or by adding new rooms to schools that could be both classrooms and shelters. The bond vote also would help fund technology upgrades, including new computer servers and school security system cameras. The big-ticket item in the vote calls for the complete replacement of Capps Middle School at a cost of $29 million. Other projects include everything from an early childhood center to new bleachers at the football fields.
|Other upcoming contracting opportunities|
Town in Rhode Island will borrow funds for variety of local projects
The town of Warwick, Rhode Island, will borrow up to $4 million for a variety of items, from school facilities to public safety. Among the project are a proposed new athletic complex for the Johnston High School, a new ladder truck for the fire department and numerous school safety upgrades. Mayor Joseph Polisena (pictured) said the community seems to be getting behind the new athletic complex. It has been put at the top of the priority list since the announcement of a $3 million settlement with the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corp. (RIRRC) and a gas service company last year. The settlement is being split into an initial $1.5 million payment and additional installments over 14 years. Polisena said that the interest rate on the bond will be 4.25 percent over 15 years, and that the settlement payments would more than cover the annual bond payments. Regarding the new fire truck, officials say the current truck has outlived its life expectancy and maintenance and repair cost would eventually be more expensive than buying a new truck. Other projects planned include work on the Town Hall, including exterior repairs and a new roof for the Department of Public Works building.
Town in Massachusetts approves money for funding improvements
From a dump truck with plow and sander to new school security cameras, the town of Douglas, Massachusetts, has approved a capital improvement plan that totals $1.3 million. Other projects that will share the funding include a new HVAC system, gym roof and windows at the municipal center and repair of a water heater at the high school.
North Carolina city in line for water, sewer projects from bond proceeds
Up to $42 million in bonds for water and sewer projects has been approved for the city of High Point, North Carolina. Included is $24.9 million for the Westside Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion and construction of new water and sewer lines as part of infrastructure to serve a new corporate park planed northwest of the city. The bonds will be repaid through charges made to water and wastewater ratepayers. Residents also could face a 3 percent increase in water and sewer rates.
Feasibility study authorized for proposed bike path in town in North Carolina
A feasibility study will soon be under way to explore the possibility of building a bike path in Mills River, North Carolina, along Highway 280 through Henderson County. The study is a joint effort of the town, the French Broad Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy. The path would run from Westfeldt Park to the Transylvania County line and into Pisgah Forest, where there is an existing greenway connection. Town Manager Jaime Laughter (pictured) said the study is just that - and not a guarantee the project will be built, since there is currently no funding available. Officials see the proposed bike path as a means of exercise and sport for area biking enthusiasts. Laughter said residents are encouraged to go to the town's Web site and view the presentation and offer feedback, which would also show state officials and other possible funding sources that the need exists for the bike path.
New Jersey Lottery issues RFP for creative, media business
The New Jersey Lottery has issued a request for proposals regarding its marketing budget. The lottery's advertising budget is approximately $22 million for the state's fiscal year that starts July 1. There will be two contracts - one for creative assignments and one for media assignments. Each contract will be for three years with two one-year options for renewal. Officials hope to complete their search by June. The RFP, nearing 75 pages, lists the state's marketing needs, baseline requirements for participating in the review, how the contract winner will be chosen and how the process unfolds.
|Who's winning government contracts?|
Check out these recent awards:
- Savi Technology, partner of ORBCOMM Inc., has been awarded a five-year U.S. Department of Defense contract as the sole provider to the $204 million Radio Frequency Identification program (RFID-IV), which currently has a $102 million ceiling.
- Johnson Roofing won a $1.437 million contract from the Belton (Texas) Independent School District for roof repairs at Sparta Elementary.
- GE Water and Process Technologies won a contract from the city of Woodstock, Georgia, to provide a new membrane system for the city's Rubes Creek Water Reclamation Facility wastewater treatment plant that is worth $1.37 million, plus up to $10,000 five-year warranty on the system.
- KUE Contractors was awarded a $2.2 million contract by the city of Montevideo, Minnesota, to construct a new fire hall.
- N & T Construction Company Inc. won a $2.78 million contract from the Beaumont (Texas) City Council to construct a new Fire Station Number 11.
- Veolia Transportation was awarded a 10-year contract worth $409 million from the Las Vegas Regional Transportation Commission for its Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) Paratransit Service.
- Atlas Asphalt Inc. won a $134,189 contract from the Arkansas Highway Commission to resurface 4.2 miles of County Roads 57 and 279 in Baxter County.
- Regional Connector Construction, a joint venture of Skanska USA Civil West California District Inc. and Traylor Bros. Inc., won a $927.2 million contract from the Los Angeles Metro board to build a downtown subway for linking rain lines.
- I-4 Mobility Partners, led by Swedish construction company Skansak, won a contract from the Florida Department of Transportation for the 21-mile redesign of the roadway from State Road 434 in Longwood to Kirkman Road - "Ultimate I-4 Project" - a $2.3 billion project.
- Arkansas Power Electronics International Inc. was awarded a $3.5 million contract from the U.S. Air Force to to develop a high-temperature silicon carbide power module for an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
|News about public-private partnerships (P3)|
Public-private partnership will help finance road upgrades in Virginia
A draft plan for the $52 million proposed upgrade of Odd Fellows Road and Greenview Drive in Lynchburg, Virginia, includes a public-private partnership. The project is part of a six-year state road improvement plan. The multi-part project would be completed over five years. Officials are looking into using a P3 financing method after an unsolicited proposal for the project was received last year.
The proposal was for the financing and building of this and two other projects. Now, the state will seek proposals from other interested parties in an effort to increase competition and lower costs. Raymond Partridge (pictured), program manager for the state Office of Transportation Public-Private Partnerships, said that if the projects are combined under one contract, it will reduce administrative costs, allow the project to proceed quicker and use private-sector capital.
When proposals are sought in the spring, the state investment will be capped at $52 million, with the private sector making up any difference.
California city seeks P3 to work deal on land swap with developer
Interested in creating 500,000 square feet of research and technology space for companies in Davis, California, city officials are seeking a public-private partnership that could lead to such a project. The partnership would result in the city gaining 15 acres that could be used for research and technology space. That would come in exchange for working with a developer seeking to bring a 45-acre property into the city.
The land in question is between the University of California Davis and Interstate 80. The remainder of the land after 15 acres is given to the city would be used for high-density residential housing. The land would first have to be annexed, and that would require a vote by residents of the city.
City of Houston seeking bids for one-bin waste collection partnership
Houston recently requested a short-list of companies to submit proposals to enter into a public-private partnership to operate a one-bin waste management and recycling program, according to Mayor Annise Parker (pictured).
City officials selected the companies asked to submit proposals from a list of companies responding to an earlier request for qualifications. Companies were sought that were interested in joining the proposed public-private partnership to manage the waste and recycling program.
The new one-bin proposal is designed to achieve high-volume recycling and waste diversion, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create new jobs and lower operating costs, Parker said. Deadline for submitting the proposals is July 12 and city officials have scheduled a pre-proposal conference on April 29. City officials used the one-bin proposal when selected as one of five winners of the Bloomberg Philanthropies' Mayors Challenge. That program recognizes cities that generate innovative ideas that can be used by other cities to improve life and solve major problems.
Redevelopment of Dallas hotel draws infusion of public money in project
The $175 million redevelopment plans for the old Statler Hilton hotel in Dallas recently got a $46.5 million commitment from the city. City officials committed the money from future tax growth that will result from the redevelopment.
The project is expected to begin next year and will include apartments, hotel rooms, offices, restaurants and a movie theater. The project also includes the adjacent old library. Plans in the past to rehabilitate the two structures never came to fruition. The developer for the project, Mehrdad Moayedi of Centurion American, has been pushing the project, aided by tax increment financing funds that the city will reimburse to the developer.
Partnership could lead to short-term, long-term housing for veterans
In Missouri, the Columbia Housing Authority is working a partnership that could lead to a campus for veterans that would result in the addition of short- and long-term housing. The Housing Authority is teaming up with the Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital and Welcome Home Inc., a nonprofit community-based transitional living program, to build the 4.2-acre campus.
"We'll be aiming to provide a seamless system to get veterans off the street," said Phil Steinhaus (pictured), housing authority CEO. The campus would include 29 temporary beds for veterans seeking services from Welcome Home and 25 one-bedroom, 576-square-foot apartments for veterans who participate in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program.
The project is expected to cost $6 million. The housing authority would own and manage the campus. The project is expected to be financed with loans, grants, tax credits and private donations.
| 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 David Sweeney.
David Sweeney (pictured) was recently named chief financial officer (CFO) and Collector-Treasurer for the city of Boston. He will replace Meredith Weenick, CFO for Boston since 2011. Sweeney's experience in government finance covers nearly 10 years. Before accepting Mayor Martin J. Walsh's appointment, Sweeney served for nearly three years, beginning in September 2011, as assistant executive director and CFO of the Massachusetts State Lottery. He began his government career in December 2005, serving until November 2007 as a budget analyst for the Massachusetts House of Representatives and from November 2007 to September 2009 was budget director for the Massachusetts House. From September 2009 to September 2011, Sweeney was the chief adviser for Budget and Fiscal Policy in the Office of the Speaker of the Massachusetts House. As CFO for the city of Boston, he will serve as Cabinet Chief of Finance and Budget with oversight of the Assessing, Auditing, Budget, Purchasing, Treasury and Registry departments. He will be responsible for debt and investment management, financial reporting, budget development and oversight, tax administration, risk management, city-wide performance management and the administration of enterprise-wide financial systems. The Collector-Treasurer portion of his job will include being the custodian of more than 300 city trust funds and serving as an ex-officio member of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority Board. Sweeney holds a bachelor's degree from Providence College.
|Opportunity of the week...|
Two towns in Virginia have issued a request for proposals (RFP) in anticipation of drawing interest of professional firms and academic institutions for conducting a public safety study. The study is expected to analyze and make recommendations regarding governance, management and administration of police, fire and emergency medical services as well as emergency management. The study will make recommendations regarding the possible consolidation and collaboration between the two towns. Want to know more? Contact our Sales Team at 512-531-3900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phoebe A. Haddon (top left), a former Temple University Law School professor and current dean of the University of Maryland law school, has been chosen the chancellor of Rutgers-Camden, replacing Wendell Pritchett, who is stepping down in June. Cesar Maldonado (top center), a chemical engineer, businessman and current president of Texas State Technical College (TSTC)-Harlingen and vice chancellor of the TSTC System, has been named the next chancellor of the Houston Community College. Beth Schiavino-Narvaez (top right), one of three deputy superintendents in Montgomery County, Maryland, since 2011, has been chosen as the new superintendent of schools in Hartford, Connecticut. Donna Barron, who has served as an assistant city manager in Lewisville, Texas, as well as human resources director, will become the city's seventh city manager and the first female city manager in the city's history, replacing City Manager Claude King, who is retiring. Three recent appointments of top level executives in the Mississippi Department of Education include: Kim Benton, who had been chief deputy state superintendent for instructional enhancement and internal operations since 2012, and is now chief academic officer; Todd Ivey, who was head of educational accountability and a former head of financial operations, has been named chief operations officer; and Pat
Ross, who was director of accountability services, is now chief school improvement officer. Jeffrey Rutzky (bottom right), current superintendent of the Roseland School District, has been chosen by the West Orange, New Jersey, Board of Education as the new superintendent of the West Orange Public Schools, effective July 1. Robert Bostic (bottom center), who has served as the assistant superintendent for academic programs in the Denton (Texas) Independent School District since 2009, will take over as superintendent of the Stafford Municipal School District, replacing Lance Hindt, who is moving to the Allen ISD. Michelle Bailey-Hedgepeth (bottom left), the town administrator of Capitol Heights in Prince George's County, will become the first woman to head Baltimore's liquor board in its 80-year history, in the position known as executive secretary, replacing Samuel T. Daniels, Jr., who is retiring. Cmdr. Fred Fletcher, a 20-year veteran of the Austin (Texas) Police Department who served in divisions such as internal affairs, sex crimes and cadet training, has been chosen chief of the Chattanooga, Tennessee, Police Department. Michael McCarthy, who has been serving as interim city manager for the city of Monterey, California, since last December's retirement of City Manager Fred Meurer and who is the city's former human resources director and assistant city manager, has won the job of city manager full-time. John Fullenwider, who retired in 2006 as fire chief for the city of Anchorage and has been a firefighter for more than 50 years, is coming out of retirement to take that job again at the request of Mayor Dan Sullivan.
|Let us help advertise your event on our calendar|
Does your organization or agency have an upcoming event that would be of interest to either vendors who do business with government or officials and workers in state and local government, higher education, public education or health care? Are you planning a webinar? A conference or seminar? The Government Contracting Pipeline invites government and nonprofits to send information regarding your events for consideration to be included in our FREE Calendar of Events section below. In addition to providing contact information, the day, date, time and a synopsis of the event, you may also include a link to additional information on your Web page and/or a link to online registration that we'll include. Please submit your event information to email@example.com.
|Calendar of events|
NASCIO plans 2014 Midyear Conference for May 6-9 in Baltimore
"Bringing It All Together: Mapping the Journey" is the theme of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) 2014 Midyear Conference. This year's conference is set for May 6-9 at the Hilton Baltimore in Baltimore, Maryland. The event will feature educational sessions and numerous opportunities for networking and relationship-building. There will be a networking roundtable to discuss CIO priorities and a session on how to improve the privacy, security and convenience of sensitive online transactions. Leveraging cloud procurement will be the topic for another session along with a session on innovations for creating the state IT workforce for today and the future. Registration is now open and the agenda is available.
NASPO's Eastern Region Meeting planned for Atlantic City May 4-6
The National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO) has scheduled its 2014 Eastern Region Meeting for May 4-6 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Among the topics for the event are contract negotiations, RFP writing and more. The draft agenda is available.
AGC Federal Contractors Conference set in June in Washington, D.C.
The Associated General Contractors of America Federal Contractors Conference is planned for June 10-12 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. The event is billed as the only national event where AGC contractors and federal agency personnel can meet in a collaborate forum to review federal construction contracting issues from around the United States. Top decision-makers from federal agencies with large construction programs will be in attendance. The event is designed for anyone engaged in any aspect of constructing, designing or planning a federal project and who is a general contractor, specialty contractor, service/supplier, attorney or any other stakeholder already engaged in the federal market. The conference will serve as a venue for discussion of federal agency construction budgets, public-private partnerships, source selection, safety, BIM, and sustainable building trends. Registration is now open.
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