|Volume 7, Issue 13||July 1, 2015|
Technology spending tops out for schools this year
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
As summer days wind to a close, families with students begin to anticipate the start of another school year. For most, it's an exciting time. School officials spent most of the summer months working on budgets, curriculum, planning, building repair and technology upgrades, but they, too, are anticipating opening day.
Many students will find new technology waiting for them. Others may benefit from upgraded classrooms, libraries and labs. Spending decisions made by executives continue to be difficult and usually painful. School officials are increasingly faced with critical needs and reduced funding. There is never enough money to meet all needs.
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|Mayors urge passage of long-term transportation bill|
After 33 previous short-term patches, local officials seek federal funding stability Five high-profile mayors of major cities in the United States are calling on Congress to support a long-term transportation bill instead of more stop-gap measures that have marred transportation funding progress 34 times since 2008.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (top left), Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (top center), Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (top right), Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker (bottom right) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (bottom left) this week in a U.S. Department of Transportation blog agreed with Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx that, "Mayors work at the ground level, where the rubber literally meets the road." That, they said, means that they are acutely aware of transportation problems that plague not only their cities, but the entire country.
According to the mayors, the metropolitan areas of this country generate 90 percent of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP), house nearly 85 percent of the population and more than 70 percent of freight value traded nationwide. Cities, they wrote, are expected to continue to grow, with an anticipated 66 million more residents over the next three decades.
The mayors' chiding of Congress over its inability to reach a consensus on a long-term transportation bill to continue funding for the federal Highway Transportation Fund was a subject of discussion at the recent U.S. Conference of Mayors annual meeting. Because so many short-term bills have been passed, local and state government officials are reluctant to begin large, badly needed infrastructure projects because the funding source is short-term and they are fearful they will not be able to complete a project because of lack of funding.
"When the residents of our cities can't get where they need to go without crossing a structurally deficient bridge, that's a problem mayors need to solve. When businesses can't get access to the deliveries, markets, customers, or employees they need to grow, that's a problem mayors need to solve.
"But, when city planners and departments of transportation work to solve those problems and can't see beyond the next two-month extension of federal transportation funding, that's a problem Congress needs to solve."
The mayors said that because federal funding has remained "essentially stagnant" since 2009, many local governments are finding it difficult to even keep up with minimum maintenance needs. Congress, thanks to yet another stop-gap measure before what was a March 31 deadline for funding the Highway Trust Fund, has now until July 31 to pass some kind of bill related to funding the program. The mayors are urging Congress to pass a long-term bill and are supporting the GROW AMERICA Act, which is a long-term bill that would increase transit funding by 76 percent. It would also establish an $18 million national freight rail program, double the TIGER Grant program, make Private Activity Bonds (PABs) more available and strengthen the TIFIA loan program.
The mayors have admonished members of Congress, noting that they are at a crossroads again with transportation funding. "And after 34 previous patches, the clock is really ticking this time," they wrote. "All we need from Congress is a bill that allows our transportation system to run on more than just fumes."
|Rutgers master plan to rely heavily on partnerships|
Public-private collaboration will be key to many of university's future projects
The Dana Library will get a new look.
Public-private partnerships (P3s) are expected to play a major role in future plans at Rutgers University. The university's Board of Governors recently approved the Physical Master Plan Rutgers 2030, which includes upgrades to academic facilities, improved technology and transportation infrastructures, new construction and upgrades of athletic and recreational facilities and projects designed to enhance the student experience both in the classroom and on campus.
In addition to using existing resources, university officials say public-private partnerships will be key to support some of the projects, as will foundation and government grants and private gifts.
The plan was two years in the making. "The development of this plan was a tremendous undertaking," said President Robert Barchi (pictured). He credited much of the success of putting the plan together to leadership of the university chancellors and the Rutgers community. "Rutgers 2030 provides vision and guidance as Rutgers moves forward to create an environment equal to our prominence in teaching, research and service to New Jersey and the nation," he said.
Some key components of the plan are already under way or in the planning stages or are part of the 2015 Capital Projects list. Future projects include renovation of Kilmer Library to provide additional study and meeting space; renovation of existing research, lab and classroom spaces; a new Student Center with dining and events space; a new Cultural Center to bring together the three existing cultural centers; and reorganization of existing inventory of student housing such as at Busch and Cook/Douglass. The Information Commons in front of the Dana Library will also get a new look (as seen in accompanying artist's rendering). There will be soccer, golf and tennis facility upgrades, student center underground parking and work on the Busch Field House.
|Other upcoming opportunities|
Madison issues RFP for pilot project for low-cost Internet service
The digital divide in Madison, Wisconsin, could get a little smaller. City officials have issued a request for proposals for a pilot project to provide low-cost or free Internet service in low-income neighborhoods. The proposals are due Aug. 17. The pilot project would be for two years and depending on the costs and benefits derived from the program, could expand to other areas of the city. "Potential outcomes of the trial could be that this is fantastic and we should roll it out to a wider audience, or it could be, nobody's that interested in this and it's not a great idea, or it could be the technology was wrong," said Alderman Mark Clear (pictured). "There's lots of possible outcomes." There are four low-income neighborhoods that are being targeted for the pilot program RFP. Each response must also include a proposal on how the service could be further expanded if such service is sought. With its $150,000 budget for the pilot, another $100,000 has been allocated to fund a planning and feasibility study on a cooperative municipal Internet utility. An additional $250,000 is allocated for capital requirements in 2016. The city also will offer its fiber-optic backbone as well as city facilities and buildings for mounting technology. The two-year pilot would start in November and end in November 2017.
Mart to use $22M in grant funds, low-interest loans for infrastructure
Funding in the form of a $5 million grant and a $17 million low-interest loan will help the city of Mart, Texas, update city infrastructure. The funding is from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Mayor Pro Tem Henry Witt III said the city will be able to take on that financial obligation now without raising taxes and without raising water rates. The project includes building a new water treatment facility, installing new water transmission and distribution lines and repairing the current water well and water towers. Some of the funding will also be used to repair roads in the city. In addition to the grant and loan, the city will also receive a $250,000 Community Development Block Grant to update the sewer system and sewer treatment plant.
NYPD seeking bids for body-camera manufacturer to add to current supply
The New York Police Department has begun soliciting bids for a manufacturer to add to the current 60 cameras being tested by police officers in precincts where crime is high. The department wants to buy another 5,000 devices. The contract would be for five years, from 2016 to 2020, with a three-year renewal option. The firm must also be able to outfit the entire department if necessary. The expanded program will also need a solution for storing the tremendous amount of video the department gathers. NYPD officials are not sure what the estimated cost might be, but the current 60 cameras they are using cost $50,000.
Illinois school district issues bonds for $9.9 million for expansion projects
Building expansion projects at two schools in the Arlington Heights School District in Illinois will benefit from $9.9 million in bond funds approved by the school. The funding is necessary to help expand due to increasing enrollment. Officials say they could end up borrowing an additional $8 million. The funding is part of an $18 million construction plan that will include the addition of five classrooms and a new gym at the Olive-Mary Stitt Elementary School and 10 new classrooms at Ivy Hill Elementary School. A second bond issue is expected in January 2016. The district will seek bids on the two projects in August and September, with construction expected at Olive-Mary Stitt and Ivy Hill during the coming school year. Superintendent Lori Bein (pictured) said weekly construction meetings have already begun.
New Jersey township allocates funding for its 2015 road program
Road improvements and new trucks and equipment will be paid for as the result of a $4.69 million bond ordinance in Montgomery Township, New Jersey. The funding will be for the 2015 road program, which not only provides for road projects, but also will fund purchase of trucks and equipment for the Department of Public Works. On the list of purchases are several dump trucks with snowplow attachments and a snow blower, a mower and pickup trucks with snowplow attachments. The mobile data terminals will be purchased for police patrol cars as well as in-car video cameras for cars, body armor and a new sport utility vehicle. Among the road projects that will benefit from the funds is the reconstruction of about 2,000 feet of Cherry Valley Road. Other streets will get overlays. Finally, the bond ordinance sets aside funds for various improvements to township-owned buildings, from parking lot repairs to window replacements and other renovations.
Additional solar projects being sought around city of Portland
Portland officials are looking to trade rooftops in the city for public bids for projects that generate solar-powered electricity. Among the sites under consideration for use of rooftops for solar power systems are the Portland International Jetport, a library storage facility, two schools and a fire station. Officials are hoping for cost-neutral projects and the city is expecting to be able to purchase the power generated from the providers at a price close to market price. Solar installations are not new to Portland. Some are incorporated already for educational purposes on school buildings in the city. Proposals will be accepted through Aug. 6.
New bids being sought for city water filtration plant upgrades in Kingston
Bids are being sought for upgrades to the city's water filtration plant in Kingston, New York. It marks the second time bids are being sought, as the first bid came in well above what the Common Council was expecting. The bidding process is likely to begin in about a month, according to Judy Hansen (pictured), Water Department superintendent. The bid specifications are likely to be reworked. The first round of bidding resulted in only one bid being submitted. "We only had one bidder, which is never ideal, and that bid was way above the money we had allotted for the project," she said. "It was way over budget." The more than $2.49 million bid was more than $767,000 over what was authorized by the Board of Water Commissioners and the Common Council. Only $1.73 million had been authorized for spending on the project. To help defray the costs, the city was awarded a no-interest loan and grant totaling more than $2.7 million for upgrades to the treatment plant and other projects.
Feds propose building prison facility in return for up to 270 beds for detainees
A maximum security prison could be in the offing in Ector County, Texas, with the federal government offering to pick up the $7.5 million cost. In return, the feds would insist that the county keep 270 beds available for federal detainees. There are several possibilities regarding where the facility might be built and how. One option is to add on to the current detention center or to build a new one at a new location. The provision of the beds for federal government use would leave only 30 beds for the county to use for inmates from the county jail. The agreement would be for 15 to 20 years. There is also a possibility that a larger facility could be built, but the feds would give 10 percent of the total number of beds to the county for county inmates. If the proposal is approved, it would allow housing of more federal inmates in the county than the almost 230 inmates in the county correctional center at the courthouse.
City of West Milford, New Jersey, to get new library near town hall
The town of West Milford, New Jersey, is about to get a new library. The town council recently adopted a $2.7 million bond ordinance to fund the construction of the facility. The new library will include 17,000 square feet and will be located south of town hall. The township will borrow $2.7 million toward the projected $4.2 million project. The governing board will fund and occupy one-fourth of the facility and the library board will fund the rest. The board has already contributed $1.5 million as down payment.
|Who's winning government contracts?|
Check out these recent awards:
- Trimaxx Construction, Inc. won a $3,548,832 contract from the city of Monroe City, Washington, for the Tjerne Place S.E. Extension Project, which includes construction of a new segment of roadway that extends Tjerne Place from Chain Lake Road to Woods Creek Road.
- Crossland Construction Company, Inc. was awarded a $4.7 million contract from the city of Allen, Texas, to reconstruct Fire Station No. 2, the city's oldest fire station.
- J & N Contracting won a contract for $839,419 from the city of Gaylord, Michigan, for the Dickerson Road construction projects.
- Utility Contractors Inc. won a $17,277,375 contract with the city of Claremore, Oklahoma, for construction of a water treatment plant.
- Tec-Con was awarded a $1.22 million construction contract from Essex County, New Jersey, for a project to replace the Brookdale Park playground with a state-of-the-art equipment and a rubberized safety surface.
- R. DeVincentis Construction, Inc. was awarded a $2.6 million contract from the village of Johnson City, New York, for rehabilitation of the Arch Street bridge.
- Explosive Service International was awarded a $19.3 million contract from the city of New Orleans to remove about 7,800 tons of potentially explosive artillery propellant at Camp Minden.
- AIR Alliance, a joint venture comprising AECOM and PGAL won a multi-year contract not to exceed $75 million from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority for the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport Terminal B/C Long-Term Redevelopment Program.
- Kirk Bros. Co. Inc. won a $1.16 million contract from the city of Zanesville, Ohio, to install an additional water filtration tank to the Muskingum Water Treatment Plant. The company will also install equipment necessary for the proper operation of the tank.
- Maynard C. Construction Co. was awarded a $7.6 million construction contract from the state of West Virginia to renovate the lottery's headquarters building.
|News about public-private partnerships (P3)|
Wisconsin county landfill expansion will include C&D recycling facility
Expansion of the Dane County, Wisconsin, landfill was marked by a groundbreaking ceremony recently, celebrating the upcoming building of a Construction and Demolition Recycling facility. The $5.2 million project is expected to be completed by Jan. 1, 2016. The project is a public-private partnership, with the county owning the facility and a private firm operating it and marketing recycled products. The facility is expected to process some 40,000 tons of construction and demolition waste (C&D) material each year. After the initial year, that amount is expected to increase to 75,000 tons per year, recycling 70 percent of all materials received. In addition, the expansion will save airspace at the landfill, extending the life of the current landfill. "This will save taxpayer resources while creating jobs and improving efficiencies," said County Executive Joe Parisi (pictured). "It continues our work to shift away from waste management to resources management through reuse and recycling of the materials we receive." The project is expected to create nearly 20 new permanent jobs at first and will then grow to 38 jobs as it grows. The county stands to save $60,000 per year. The county currently trucks its C&D waste to a recycling plant in another city at a rate of eight loads per day. Not only will truck traffic be reduced, but emissions will also be lowered by 550 tons per year. The new facility will include LED lighting, daylighting and minimal new paved areas, all green features.
Five submit statements of qualifications for Interstate 70 project in Denver
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), High Performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE) and the Colorado Bridge Enterprise (CBE) will have to choose from five entities that have submitted their statements of qualifications showing interest in a possible public-private partnership for a project on Interstate 70 East in the Denver area. As a public-private partnership, the project will be design/build/finance/operate/maintain for completing and financing. Officials were pleased with the caliber of teams that responded to the request for qualifications. Transportation officials note that I-70 East is a critical segment of highway in the state and thus the best partner will be determined to partner with CDOT. The submissions are currently being reviewed and executive summaries will be posted on the CDOT Web site. Firms will then be selected to respond to a request for proposals and the private-sector partner will be chosen by the end of next year. The five groups submitting SOQs include: 528 Connectors, Denver Mobility Partners, Front Range Mobility Group, I-70 Mile High Partners and Kiewit / Meridiam Partners.
San Antonio considering P3 to replace vetoed state dollars for local project
When Texas Gov. Greg Abbott vetoed state funding from the state budget for renovation of an historic building in San Antonio, city officials began looking at the possibility of a public-private partnership to help replace the state funding. In addition to rehabilitation, the 1912 G.J. Sutton Building was to have had new office space built around it. "The city is committed to working with the governor and the Texas Facilities Commission (TFC) to find the best solution for the property, including the use of a public-private partnership or other innovative solutions," said San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor (pictured). After more than 200 state workers were moved from the facility in 2013 because of its deterioration, plans were drawn up that included rehabilitation of parts of the historic facility and adding office space. The option chosen by state lawmakers called for putting 700 state employees from more than a dozen state agencies into the building. The governor said no with his veto pen to the state taking on the entire cost of the proposal. His office suggested to San Antonio city staff that perhaps a P3 should be studied as an option.
Sealy secures agreement to move forward on I-10 frontage project
A new westbound frontage road on Interstate 10 in Sealy, Texas, will at long last become a reality. The city inked an agreement that will create the frontage road and open an area for development of a new retail center. The agreement is a public-private partnership that includes the city, the developer of the retail center and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). Not only will the roadway open up the retail center access, but it will also provide easier access to the local high school and an elementary school and enhance response times of emergency vehicles. A resolution by the city approved proceeding with bidding out the project. TxDOT will begin moving the project forward soon. A construction start date could be sometime in September.
Bill filed in Louisiana to create infrastructure bank could mean more P3s
Louisiana could join a number of other states with infrastructure banks if Rep. Karen St. Germain (pictured) can get enough support for her bill that would create such a bank. And passage of that bill (HB 767) could lead to more public-private partnerships for major infrastructure projects. An infrastructure bank would provide low-interest loans that could motivate local officials toward seeking private investment in those projects. Although there have not been many P3 projects in Louisiana, an infrastructure bank could provide the impetus for getting projects financed. Low-interest financing for projects would come from the state infrastructure bank. If the bill were passed and signed by the governor, it would still require voter approval of a constitutional amendment for the state to loan the money. St. Germain opted for the infrastructure bank legislation as two other bills she filed to increase sales tax by one cent and to increase the gas tax - both aimed at creating more infrastructure funding - never saw the light of day in the legislature. That is happening more and more in other states as well, and public-private partnerships have become a new financial tool to leverage private-sector investments.
|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 Jill Hruby.
Jill Hruby (pictured) has worked at Sandia Labs at its sites in California and New Mexico for 32 years. She has held management positions since 1989 and has been a member of senior management since 1997. Hruby was recently named to become president and director of Sandia National Laboratories. She becomes the first woman to run the lab's operations. Since 2010, Hruby has served as vice president of the Energy, Nonproliferation and High-Consequence Security Division, overseeing more than 1,300 employees and contractors and managing a diverse portfolio that includes projects in global security, energy technologies, weapon and force protection, critical asset protection, the nuclear fuel cycle and geoscience and climate. She also serves as leader of Sandia's International, Homeland and National Security Program Management. Hruby succeeds Paul Hommert, who has led the lab since 2010. A mechanical engineer, Hruby holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University and a master's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley.
|Opportunity of the week...|
Two Maryland counties have been awarded a total of $4.739 million in grants and loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development for water and waste-disposal projects and pre-development planning purposes. Want to know more? Contact our Sales Team at 512-531-3900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cami Anderson (top left), superintendent of the Newark public school system who was appointed by Gov. Chris Christie, has resigned, eight months before her contract was to expire, and Chris Cerf, the former state education commissioner who helped recruit Anderson, is likely to be nominated to replace her. Highland Park, Texas, has appointed a new police chief about a month after the death of Chief Chris Vinson, with Rick Pyle (top center), who served as interim chief, named director of public safety by town council, effective July 15. Jim Dunegan (top right), city manager in Durant, Oklahoma, and a former state representative, has announced that after nine years on the job, he is stepping down, effective Sept. 18. Larry Krantz, a special operations major with the Orange County Sheriff's Office, will become the city of Casselberry, Florida's, new police chief, succeeding Chief William McNeils, who resigned last October. Corri Spiegel, assistant to the city administrator for the city of Davenport, Iowa, and former economic development manager in Centennial, Colorado, has been named Davenport's interim city administrator. Fort Smith, Arkansas, finance director Kara Bushkuhl, who also serves as the city's treasurer and chief accountant, has announced her retirement on Oct. 6, 35 years to the day that she was hired. Emmanuel "Manny" Caulk (bottom right), former superintendent of the Portland, Maine, public schools, has been named the new superintendent of the Fayette County Public Schools in Kentucky. Stuart Bell (bottom center), executive vice president and provost at Louisiana State University, has been tapped as the next president of the University of Alabama, according to Chancellor Robert Witt. Mike Miles (bottom left), who has served as superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District of the last three years, has announced his resignation, and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Ann Smisko has been named to serve as acting superintendent while the DISD trustees search for a new leader. Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke has named Chris Adams, who has been serving as interim fire chief for the city since former Chief Lamar Flint retired in April and who has been with the Chatanooga Fire Department since 1990, as the department's new fire chief. Trustees with the Peralta Community College District have appointed Jowel Laguerre, currently the superintendent of the Solano Community College District, as the district's chancellor, replacing Jose Ortiz, who is retiring after three years in the position. Mason Bellamy, who recently served as Director of Services for Exceptional Children and as interim principal at Kenwood Middle School in Clarksville, Tennessee, has been named Director of Elementary Schools, replacing Ann Griffin, who retired.
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|Calendar of events|
NASTD plans August annual conference, technology showcase
The National Association of State Technology Directors (NASTD) will host its Annual Conference and Technology Showcase on Aug. 23-27, in Cincinnati. Theme for the event is "Collaboration Through Partnerships: Leveraging Core Competencies in State Government." Among the issues to be discussed is cybersecurity, which will feature a panel moderated by Jim Edman, deputy commissioner, Bureau of Information & Telecommunications, State of South Dakota. Panelists will include several private-sector representatives. Leslie Scott, executive director, National Association of State Personnel Executives (NASPE), and James A. Honchar, Deputy Secretary for Human Resources, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, will address state IT workforce challenges. There will be a number of other speakers and panels. The agenda is now available.
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