Government Contracting Pipeline
Volume 7, Issue 17July 29, 2015

K-12 achievement tied to technology, not controversy 

Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.

Mary Scott Nabers

Americans are passionate about education, but global educational rankings for the United States are dismal. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) tested math and science accomplishments of 15-year-old students in 76 countries and the United States did not fare well. Singapore ranked "best in the world" and Hong Kong placed second. South Korea, Japan and Taiwan followed in rather close order. The United States came in 28th...not even in the top one-third.


Education is a hot topic throughout the country as everyone is aware that the United States has slipped significantly in global rankings. Educators, administrators, parents and elected officials are all involved in re-evaluating how K-12 school has traditionally worked and how it should be changed.




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Water projects to be funded by $98.3M from PENNVEST

Twelve Pennsylvania wastewater, non-point source projects get grants, loans

Tom Wolf A dozen counties in Pennsylvania will share $98.3 million in funds through the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) for 12 wastewater and non-point source projects. In making the funding announcement, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (pictured) said the projects will help "secure the economic and natural wellbeing of the commonweath."


The funding will be split between $90.8 million in low-interest loans and $7.5 million in grants.


Among the wastewater projects funded are a $37.2 million loan to Reading City to upgrade its sewage treatment plant and related facilities to eliminate the threat of wet weather discharges of untreated sewage into the Schyulkill River. 


Johnstown City will receive a $10.9 million loan for sanitary sewer construction and lateral lines to nearly 2,000 homes. A 1.2 million gallon retention basin will be built in Lackawanna County. The Scranton City Authority was awarded more than $9 million for the project. Farmers Pride Inc. will be able 

PENNVEST to expand its poultry processing and distribution facility thanks to a $1.9 million loan for improvements to its current wastewater treatment plant that will reduce nutrient discharges into the Chesapeake Bay watershed.


Lancaster Township is one of the entities that will receive funding for non-point source water quality improvement projects. The township received $565,000 in grant funds to build a half mile of storm sewers to eliminate hazardous road conditions and nutrient contamination of Scholars Run during wet weather.


The Berwick Area Joint Sewer Authority will use its $2.9 million allocation to eliminate combined sewer overflows during wet weather by constructing two miles of storm sewers and related facilities. 


Norwood Borough was awarded a grant of $1.35 million to construct a storm water collection system, using both traditional and green technologies, to reduce the erosion and sedimentation of Darby Creek that occur during wet weather.


The funding allocated by PENNVEST includes voter-approved state funding, federal grants from the Environmental Protection Agency to PENNVEST and loan repayment money from previous PENNVEST funding awards.


Water projects in Texas to benefit from $3.9B in funding


State's SWIFT program will provide money for 21 projects throughout state

Bech Bruun Texas' first-ever round of water project funding from the legislatively created State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) was approved last week by the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB). The funding was allocated to 21 projects and totaled $3.9 billion. The allocations ranged from $705,000 to $953 million.


"We look forward to round two," said TWDB Chair Bech Bruun (pictured) after the allocations were all approved. He pointed to the fact that since 1957, the TWDB has provided $15 billion in financial assistance for water-related projects. "Being able to finance projects through SWIFT is a major step toward achieving the goal of securing Texas' long-term water supplies. The projects selected to receive SWIFT financing will help ensure that Texans have sustainable and reliable water sources for decades to come."


Of the $3.9 billion approved for the 21 project applications, $1 billion will be distributed during the first year and the remaining $3.9 billion will be spread out over the next decade.


There will be contracting opportunities for State Water Plan projects that include transmission pipelines, canal SWIFT logo linings, capacity expansions, seawater desalination, leak detection systems, water meter replacements and reservoirs. (Strategic Partnerships, Inc. has compiled detailed information on each project approved by the TWDB.)


The $2 billion in rainy day funds, a one-time appropriation to SWIFT, will be leveraged with revenue bonds over the next 50 years. The result will be the financing of about $27 billion in water supply projects.


The process began last November when rules were adopted, policy issues were discussed and 14 financial assistance workshops were held statewide in a two-month timeframe. When requests for funding were solicited, financial assistance requests totaled $5.5 billion. After all the qualifications were met, 21 projects were approved, from metro to rural projects, from seawater desalination to water conservation.


The next milestone for the program will be the actual issuance and delivery of the revenue bonds. The applicants will then proceed to loan closings by December. Once the funding is secured, the applicants can begin implementation of their projects.


Some of the projects approved for SWIFT funding include:

  • $41.63 million to the Central Harris County Regional Water Authority for a water supply project;
  • $555.845 million to the North Fort Bend Water Authority for a water supply project;
  • $50 million to the El Paso Water Utilities Public Service Board for a land acquisition project;
  • $953.405 million to the North Harris County Regional Water Authority for a water supply project; and
  • $28.3 million to the Brazosport Water Authority (Brazoria County) for a brackish groundwater project.


May 2015 Texas Bond Results

Upcoming contracting opportunities

Jal gets $11.3 million USDA grant to address city water line problems

An $11.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be used by the city of Jal, New Mexico, to help resolve water issues it has been having for years. The grant is the largest ever given to a New Mexico community from the USDA program. With the money, crews will be replacing every water line in the city with a goal of improving the production, transmission and delivery of the water system. The lines are in such bad shape that in 2013, the city was four days without water after a break and there was no backup. The problems rest with water lines that are deteriorating and some of which are asbestos. Others are steel and most are 50-60 years old. Because the lines are so old, the city is experiencing an 18 percent loss of its water from leaks. Construction on the project is expected to begin next July and will be completed in about three years. 


Saratoga Springs issues RFP for multi-purpose, multi-use parking facility

Joanne Yepsen Proposals are being accepted by the city of Saratoga Springs, New York, for a multi-level, multi-purposed parking structure on a 2.6-acre parking lot. A request for proposals (RFP) was issued by Mayor Joanne Yepsen (pictured), and the facility represents efforts to sell or lease one of the last vacant parcels of land in the downtown area. The High Rock property, as it is called, has two city lots with the capacity to park 279 vehicles. The Saratoga Springs City Center has indicated it is seeking to partner with the city to build a parking structure that would charge fees and then lease the property from the city for 20 years. City officials say they want the facility to include a combination of retail, office, residential and other possible uses. The first floor would likely feature eating and drinking establishments, retail areas and civic-use areas. The proposals are to include proposed purchase or lease prices from the developers, how much land their proposal would require, the approximate square footage of the building and total value of the completed project. Bids will be accepted through Sept. 29. The RFP also asks for information on how many spaces a developer would provide and if they would be free or if it would be paid parking. The city council also would like the project to include a covered pedestrian connection to the city center. 


Wastewater treatment plant will result from sale of $10M in bonds in Ohio

A bond sale of $10 million is planned by the city of Columbus, Ohio, the proceeds of which will be used to construct a wastewater treatment plant. The project is expected to expand the plant's capacity and result in the moving of more pieces of the facility to the protected side of a river levee. While the original construction costs were estimated at $10 million, city officials expect that amount can be reduced during the design phase of the project. The project calls for the replacement of the headworks building and two primary clarifiers and is part three of a four-part plant expansion. Once the plant expansion is completed, it is expected to be able to handle more industrial and residential development in the city and protect against potential flooding by moving the facilities north of the levee.  


Feasibility study projected for passenger rail from Grand Rapids to Detroit

A feasibility study is likely by the Michigan Environmental Council, a group that supports increasing public transportation options. Depending on the results of the study, passenger service between Detroit and Grand Rapids could be reinstated within the next 10 years. It will be up to transportation experts to determine if the public shows enough interest for a new line and if a way to pay for the line can be found. With the economy growing on both sides of the state, passenger service between the two cities is becoming more attractive to business travelers as well as tourists. In addition to the feasibility study, public hearings will be held along the route to determine public interest. In addition to this line, preliminary discussions are under way to make a rail connection from Ann Arbor to Traverse City. Existing freight rails could be used. Currently, three possible routes are under examination, from Holland through Grand Rapids and Lansing and to Detroit. Two of the routes would go through Ann Arbor, one would route through Jackson and Ann Arbor and one through Plymouth and Brighton. The feasibility study will determine cost, time, ridership and funding options.  


RIA awards $14.2 million in grants to assist 28 counties in South Carolina 

Bobby Hitt Twenty-eight counties in South Carolina will benefit from $14.2 million in grant funds from the South Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA). The funds will help pay for 44 water and sewer projects. This funding is expected to leverage an additional $38.5 million in rural infrastructure improvement investments. "The ability to provide essentials such as water, wastewater, drainage systems and other public facilities is critical to the economic success of our rural communities," said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt (pictured), who also chairs RIA's Board of Directors.  The funds will go toward community water and sewer improvements and economic infrastructure needs. While most of the funds will be used to upgrade current facilities, the remaining funds will support existing business and new economic opportunities. Among the projects to be funded are replacement of water and sewer lines, tanks and pump stations that have outlived their usefulness. The projects will ensure a safe drinking water supply for residents while protecting the environment from sewer overflows. The grants are competitively awarded and prioritized according to their ability to improve public health, environmental protection, community sustainability and economic development.


Part of Yuma City bond package will help pay for two new projects

The Yuma City Council has approved an excise tax bond package of up to $52 million. Although half of the bond package is refinancing old debt, the remainder of the funds will be for two projects. Those projects include the $14.2 million Pacific Avenue Athletic Complex and a new $10 million maintenance facility for the city's fleet. Officials say the athletic complex not only will serve the needs of the community, but also bring tournaments to the city that will mean new dollars spent in the community. The athletic complex construction is expected to begin during the current fiscal year and be finished in 2016. The bonds will be repaid through the city's hospitality tax, part of which is dedicated to parks and recreation. The fleet facility will be paid for by road tax bonds plus a levy on city department budgets based on how many fleet vehicles that department uses. 

Maintenance, safety improvements in line for Oregon's Highway 126

Lawmakers in Oregon have approved $7 million in funding for highway safety projects on Highway 126. The improvements will be made over the next three years. With more than 100 crashes and three deaths per year over the last six years, the stretch of highway between Eugene and Florence, officials hope the improvement will curb those numbers. Where the funds will be used will be announced next fall. The addition of passing lanes, realignment of a bad curve and widening of shoulders from six miles west of Walton east to the section of highway that borders Fern Ridge Lake is one possibility. The state Department of Transportation has been awarded $4.5 million that will provide safety improvements along the Fern Ridge Corridor of Highway 126. That work will include new turn lanes at some intersections, new street lighting and new sidewalks and pedestrian crosswalks. A $10 million repaving project will begin next year that will be between Noti and West 11th Avenue in Eugene. 

Construction projects represent $70 million of school district's $327 million budget

Paula Reid A total of $74 million of the Natrona County (Wyoming) School District's recently approved $327 million budget for fiscal year 2015-16 will be used for construction projects. School Trustee Paula Reid (pictured) said that the new budget represents about a 7 percent increase over the previous year. A major portion of the construction budget includes the current rebuilding of the district's three high schools. "These dollars are specific to the new construction of schools, and are not available for any other use, including 'enhancements' to those schools," Reid said. Overspending means the school district would have to come up with its own funding to make up the difference. On the other hand, if the projects are under-funded, the amount of difference would go back to the state. Reid also pointed out that any construction will not only enhance the school district and its campuses, but it will also provide jobs for members of the local community. 


County in Tennessee likely to bid out extensive road repair project

What is turning out to be a huge road repair project in Putnam County, Tennessee, is so big that it will soon be put out for bids. Officials there say the damage from last winter's ice storm, recent flooding and another recent storm may cause the county to have to involve the U.S. Corps of Engineers and the Tennessee Department of Environmental and Conservation for engineering work for repairs to the Mill Creek Road. "It looks like a project we can't handle," said County Road Supervisor Randy Jones of the project that could cost upwards of $700,000 to repair. Because there is not enough funding in the road department budget to cover the repairs, the county will likely seek some type of grant funding. Because there was no disaster area declared, the project does not qualify for state or federal disaster funding. However, the Soil Conservation Service is looking into the issue to see if USDA funding might be available. 


Contracting Opportunities

Who's winning government contracts?


Check out these recent awards:  

  • BLS Construction won a $10.1 million contract from the city of El Paso for construction of a new police, fire and EMS building.
  • ADB Companies Inc. was awarded a contract for $902,360.25 from the Kansas Department of Transportation for a 3.7-mile intelligent transportation system.
  • Nan Inc. was awarded a $56,088,470 contract from the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation to build three stations - Hoopili, East Kapolei and UH West Oahu - in West Oahu for the island's elevated-rail mass transit system.
  • Leone & Keeble Inc. won a $20 million contract from North Idaho College to build a 110,960-square-foot North Idaho College Career and Technical Education Facility in Rathdrum.
  • Prater Equipment was awarded a $97,889 contract from the city of Brownwood, Texas, for placement of asphalt and pavement markings on the three roads - Indian Creek Drive from Austin to Stephen F. Austin, Stephen F. Austin Drive to city limits to the west and Calvert Road from Stephen F. Austin Drive to near Horseshoe Trail.
  • Underground Utilities Inc. was awarded a $1 million contract from Franklin Lakes borough in New Jersey for the construction of a sanitary sewer line to the municipal complex on DeKorte Drive.
  • Barrett Paving Materials won a contract valued at $1,811,830 from the city of Rome, New York, for a street resurfacing project that includes 40 sections of streets across all seven wards.
  • E.V. Williams Inc. was awarded a $6.3 million contract from the Commonwealth Transportation Board in Virginia to widen Route 709 (Horntown Road) in Accomack County for a distance of about 3.99 miles.
  • D'Ambra Construction won a $5.9 million contract from the Rhode Island Department of Transportation for the resurfacing of Route 37 between Natick Avenue in Cranston and Post Road in Warwick.
  • Crescent Constructors won a contract award from the Greater Texoma Utility Authority in Texas for $4.77 million for construction and electrical improvements at the Sherman Headworks Lift Station


SPI Training Services

News about public-private partnerships (P3)


UCF downtown campus on hold, but partnership still under study for completion

Dale Whittaker A $200 million project to build a downtown Orlando campus of the University of Central Florida (UCF) has been put on hold - at least temporarily. Supporters went back to the drawing board when Gov. Rick Scott last month vetoed $15 million in funding that would have gotten the project off the ground, but UCF officials did not just throw up their hands and walk away. They are looking for ways to continue the project. UCF Provost Dale Whittaker (pictured) did not have any details on an alternative financing plan, but did indicate the project will be a public-private partnership (P3). The P3 might include state funds, university funds and private donations. As UCF officials regroup, Whittaker points out that the timeline for the project is getting tight if it is to open in 2017. The proposed new campus would mean that students could live downtown in the 300 beds UCF plans and an additional 400 expected to come from a relationship with a private developer. Another partnership would likely be used to build a 1,000-space parking lot. The first phase of the proposed project would include construction of two new academic buildings and renovation of the current UCF Center for Emerging Media. The new campus is projected to bring in about 10,000 students. 


New toll lanes coming for North Carolina I-77 Express project as result of P3

The deal  has been finalized by the I-77 Mobility Partners on a $648 million project for construction and operations of the North Carolina I-77 Express Lanes project. The project includes 26 miles from the I-77 connection with I-277 in Charlotte to just north of Exit 36 in Mooresville. Motorists will be able to use the express lanes or the general-purpose lanes. They may also choose to combine using both types of lanes to make their drive faster. The project, a public-private partnership, is one way that states are dealing with a lack of funding because no long-term funding mechanism is in place for the federal Highway Trust Fund that funds state and local infrastructure projects. Toll rates for the project have not yet been determined. An anticipated completion date of 2018 is forecast. Project funding includes $189 million from a Federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan, $100 million in Private Activity Bonds (PABS), $248 million in private equity from investment partners and $95 million in public funds from the North Carolina Department of Transportation. 


Partnership means hotel, resort in Douglas County, Georgia, takes step forward

Chris Pumphrey Approval of a public-private partnership by the Douglas County (Georgia) Commission means Foxhall Resort and Sporting Club has moved a step closer to development of a hotel and resort. Groundbreaking could be as early as the end of the year. "We see the Westin Hotel and conference center components as beginning construction next year, possibly before the summer," said Development Authority Executive Director Chris Pumphrey (pictured). He said he expects the first guests to be able to use the facility in 2017. The commission recently approved $40 million in industrial development bonds for the developer. Under the terms of the P3, the development authority will own the project and lease it to Foxhall. The county has agreed not to collect property taxes on the development for 30 years. The project includes a five-story, 210,000-square-foot conference center with a 20,000-square-foot spa. 


City approves issuing bonds toward payment for major shopping center project

Up to $675 million in bonds will be issued by the East Rutherford, New Jersey, City Council to  help defray the costs of a $2.5 billion shopping center project. The American Dream Meadowlands project is expected to create jobs for many local service and trade workers. The developer must now secure up to $390 million in state tax breaks from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. The developer and the borough have entered into an agreement for payment in lieu of taxes, where money from those payments will be used to pay off the bonds. The borough will receive $20 million from the developer to build a new public safety building that will house the police department headquarters and municipal court. The bonds being issued are non-recourse bonds, meaning that the borough will not be responsible for any debt or liability if the project they are financing fails.  


Kansas City to build 800-room hotel in downtown area of city

Sly James A $311 million project that will result in construction of an 800-room downtown convention headquarters hotel in Kansas City, Missouri, was recently approved by the City Council. Addressing the timing and circumstances for the partnership, Mayor Sly James (pictured) said, "There is never going to be in my opinion another opportunity." City officials say the addition of another hotel in the downtown area will bring more conventions to the city, and that will positively affect the economy by providing construction jobs and jobs once the facility is built. Additionally, those attending conferences will spend money with local businesses. "It is something that we need," James said, "and something that will help complete the overall plan for downtown." Officials say the hotel is a key piece of the city's economic future, and will pair with the expansion of Bartle Hall, the downtown Power and Light entertainment district and amenities such as the new streetcar.


Collaboration Nation

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 Phil Wittmer. 


Phil Wittmer Phil Wittmer (pictured), who has more than two decades of experience in the private sector relating to information technology, has been named by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback as the state's new chief information officer. Wittmer will head up the Governor's Office of Information Technology Services next month, succeeding Anthony Schlinsog, who resigned in October and Secretary of Administration Jim Clark, who has been filling in during the interim. For the last 13 years, Wittmer has served as president of Lead-IT, LC that focuses on IT strategy and investment for its clients. Some of his other previous work experience includes having served as chief information officer for a  major law firm, as CIO and vice president for TV Guide Magazine and as vice president for IT for food service giant Aramark. His IT management career includes experience in such areas as process improvement, organizational design and restructuring, vendor and contract negotiations, IT assessment and benchmarks and IT strategy and execution. Wittmer holds both bachelor's and master's degrees from Kansas State University. 


Opportunity of the week...

A state in the Midwest has issued a request for proposals for administration of a program designed to help people with disabilities in the state. Financial service companies are being sought to provide customer, marketing, investment and administrative services. Want to know more? Contact our Sales Team at 512-531-3900 or


Kathryn Dominguez Eric Algoe Mary Isenhour Kathryn Dominguez (top left), an economics and public-policy professor at the University of Michigan and a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research since 2000, has been nominated by President Barack Obama to join the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Eric Algoe (top center), a Florida State University finance administrator, has been named vice president for Finance and Support Services at Texas State University in San Marcos, where he will advise the president and the President's Cabinet on matters related to finance, business operations, facilities management, campus construction and human resources. Mary Isenhour (top right), a former Democratic Party leader and political strategist and director of legislative affairs for Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, has been picked by Wolf to serve as his chief of staff. Washington (Indiana) Community Schools has picked Kevin Frank of Eastern Greene as its new assistant superintendent/curriculum director. Mike Passarelli, former deputy chief of the Tallmadge, Ohio, Fire Department, was recently named as the department's chief, replacing Patrick J. Gaffney, who retired as chief on July 18. The city of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, has hired Michael Spurgeon, director of administration for the city of St. Charles, Missouri, and former city manager in Miami, Oklahoma, and former township Heidi Anderson Johnny Yates Tammy Hooper manager for Eastampton, New Jersey, as its new city manager. Dr. Heidi M. Anderson (bottom right), provost and vice president for academic affairs at University of the Sciences, a private institution in Philadelphia, and who held several positions at the University of Kentucky, has been selected as the sole finalist for provost and vice president for academic affairs at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Johnny Yates (bottom center), who has served several years in the Lawrence County school system, most recently as interim superintendent, has been chosen as the system's new school superintendent, replacing former Superintendent Heath Grimes, who resigned to become superintendent of Russellville City Schools. Tammy Hooper (bottom left), former deputy police chief in Alexandria, Virginia, where she started as a patrol officer and later became commander of the vice narcotics division,  commander of Internal Investigations and Support Services Division commander, has been chosen as the new police chief in Asheville, North Carolina. Ann Toney-Deal, director of administration and communications for the Florida Veterinary Medical Association who served as assistant city manager and then city manager for Haines City, has been chosen as the new city manager in Seminole, Florida. Rebecca Wyke, University of Maine treasurer and vice chancellor of finance and administration, will serve as interim president of the University of Maine at Augusta until a new leader is selected, replacing Glenn Cummings, who has left to fill the role of president of the University of Southern Maine. The Ithaca (New York) City School District recently promoted Liddy Coyle to chief academic officer, where she will oversee curriculum, instruction, the annual professional performance review plan and professional development.


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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

Calendar of events

NGIP announces plans for Annual Forum in Missouri for Aug. 1-5

The National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NGIP) will host its Annual Forum on Aug 1-5 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Forum is NIGP's educational event that provides networking opportunities with colleagues and suppliers. Workshops will be available that are led by subject matter experts in the respective fields. Professional speakers will be on hand during general sessions. There will be approximately 200 suppliers attending the products exposition on Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 3 and 4, which provides the opportunity for one-on-one interaction and networking with suppliers. More than 60 specialized educational workshops and formal networking opportunities will be available to help you attendees refine their skills, learn best practices or provide a platform to gain support from colleagues on issues faced every day. Registration is now open and more information is available here


NASTD Annual Conference, Technology Showcase set for Cincinnati
The National Association of State Technology Directors (NASTD) 2015 Annual Conference and Technology Showcase is planned for Aug. 23-27 in Cincinnati, Ohio, at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza Hotel. The theme of the event is "Collaboration Through Partnerships: Leveraging Core Competencies in State Government." The annual conference will feature presentations, panel discussions and roundtable discussions. Event topics will be across the spectrum of IT strategy and operations. Current challenges, management strategies, best practices, and state and federal initiatives will be included. There will be a panel discussion on cybersecurity, a session on State IT Workforce Challenges and Opportunities, a panel discussion on hybrid cloud services and a panel discussion on mobile device management. Registration is now open and the agenda is available.

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