Volume 10, Issue 43- Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
Last week, 14 packages containing pipe bombs were delivered to individuals who were either public officials or connected to government in some way. Another similar package carrying a bomb was intercepted before it reached its target this week. While the devices were detected before they could detonate, and a suspect has been apprehended, the incident has left many lingering questions.  

The targeted individuals were high profile and they all had security around them. That would not have been the case if the packages had been sent to a local official, a state agency or a school. Security at the lower levels of government is not as rigid as it is at the federal level. 

 Mailrooms in cities, counties and state agencies are not equipped to detect suspicious packages. The same is true for universities, public schools, community colleges, public hospitals, etc. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and private carriers do preliminary screenings and they check for anything obvious, such as leaking hazardous materials, but most packages would make it through preliminary screening undetected. 

Public officials at every jurisdictional level of government are now concerned about mailroom security. Private-sector businesses are as well. Many are calling for more protection for mailroom operations. Mail remains the #1 method for anonymously targeting individuals in government and in private-sector corporations. Last year, postal inspectors responded to 2,282 suspicious package incidents in the United States. 

Another source of concern related to mail and packages is interoffice mail. It would be rather easy for someone to introduce a dangerous package directly into the normal internal mail sorting and delivery process. That would allow a package to bypass screening technology and procedures that have been established for USPS and express courier deliveries.

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Courtesy photo: Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation
Hawaii- Cost-cutting continues to help make the completion of the Honolulu Rail Project a reality. After years of delays and cost over-runs, the troubled 20-mile light-rail line has a new plan in place. According to a new draft recovery plan, an array of cost-cutting measures will be put in place to help avoid another funding shortfall. Measures include: eliminating lighting in-between stations along the rail line, deferring construction of the $315 million Pearl Highlands Center, modifying sound barriers and re-designing overhead canopies. This coupled with a $188 million increase in tax revenues might be just enough to get the project across the finish line by the new target date of 2026. 

The project stands as the largest public works project in state history. At its inception in 2012, the 20-mile span was originally billed at $5.26 billion with a 2020 completion date. The project is now forecasted to total nearly $9 billion and be completed by 2026. The city violated its agreement with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) when construction and cost overruns lead to delays. This in turn has caused the FTA to freeze $744 million of the total project funds until the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit comes up with a recovery plan. The city hopes to partner with a private developer and acquire alternative funding to unfreeze federal funds and finish the remaining 4.1 miles of the rail line. A new contractor for this public-private partnership (P3) is set to be selected in September.
Missouri- Jefferson City officials have voted to seek a developer to transform a 31.28-acre site on Chestnut Street by issuing a request for qualifications. Formerly the Missouri State Penitentiary facility, the land was transferred from the state to the city in August with the intention of economic development in the area. 

A board of community stakeholders, dubbed the Missouri State Penitentiary Community Partners, has agreed that soliciting a proposal for the site is in the best interest of all. Primary proposals for the site include hotels, entertainment venues, museums or a convention center. Secondary uses also are under consideration for bars, cafes and small retail establishments. Big box retail, fast food franchises and mixed-use residential units have all been ruled out as possibilities.
Otero County Courthouse
New Mexico- New Mexico's attorney general has filed a suit against the Otero County Board of Commissioners on behalf of the 12th Judicial District Court. The attorney general alleges that the board is currently in violation of its state mandated duty to provide adequate district courthouse facilities in Otero County. The facilities in question have been considered a danger to employees and the general public alike, yet progress on their replacement has stalled for the past three years. In 2015, the county instituted a Hold Harmless bond for the construction of a new courthouse and detention center. The bond has brought in $10.5 million to date, yet construction costs are predicted to swell to as much as $54 million for the new building. 

The attorney general cites that a feasibility study was completed in 2017 and no movement on the project has been achieved since then. Officials have excused the pace of the project by making a case that the Otero County Detention Center (OCDC) should be completed first. The county is in the final design phase for the OCDC's renovation then the request for qualifications and request for proposals will get underway. Commissioners are hopeful to break ground on the renovations to the jail in the spring, with movement on the new courthouse to follow.
Courtesy photo: SunsetZoo.com
Kansas- The Manhattan City Commission approved a new master plan to improve the Sunset Zoo. The plan will unfold in three phases of renovations and improvements to different exhibits throughout the zoo with an expected total cost of $47 million. The commission last week approved proceeding with a request for qualifications (RFQ) for constructing Expedition Asia. The project, which is included in the master plan's first phase, would expand the leopard exhibit, relocate the tiger and sloth bear habitats and provide an Americans with Disabilities Act circulation path. With the expansion, officials hope to bring sloth bears back to the zoo and add to the zoo's Amur leopard exhibit. 

Future renovations include improvements to the giraffe, lemur, and lion exhibits, a nature theater, a children's zoo and several other attractions meant to drive attendance. Half of funding is expected to come from public sources with the other half coming from philanthropy, low-interest financing and from partnerships. The project will be implemented over a 30-year period.
Indiana- Center Grove Schools, located in Greenwood, has a high school in need of a renovation and expansion. Upgrades to the 2,500-student high school would include updating existing classrooms, constructing a 50-meter pool, renovating the pool deck area and improving safety through new security barriers and video surveillance. 

Current proposals for the project place the estimated costs at $45 million. The school board could vote on the plan as early as its November meeting.
Washington State- The city of Seattle-Tacoma has developed and approved an action plan for deploying autonomous cars, trucks and buses. By partnering with the Seattle-based Center for Advanced Transportation and Energy Resources, the city was able to explore the feasibility of employing self-driving cars on its roads. Officials are adamant that they are not interested in being a testing facility for this technology. 

The goal is to be ready to implement a permanent system when the time arises. One option is to launch an autonomous shuttle service that will not exceed 30 mph and links ferry commuters to bus and rail stations. The service could be a public-private partnership, to help offset costs to taxpayers. Work groups continue to meet at the state and local levels to hammer out a long-term vision for this emerging technology.
Michigan- The Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority has partnered with the city of Muskegon Heights to develop a new urban housing development where a vacant school is located. The site of the former Glendale School is 2.5 acres and is expected to yield 20 single-family homes priced between $80,000 and $90,000. 

The development is part of a larger effort to develop 100 new housing units at the site as well as the sites of two other former schools, Lindbergh and Dr. Martin Luther King. The other larger sites could include multi-unit housing, senior housing and single-family homes. A request for proposals (RFP) for the Glendale site will be released this winter and construction is expected to begin next spring. The other two sites will likely have RFPs released in winter of 2019.
Colorado- The state is considering handing over control of a school district to an outside manager. The move would put the Adams 14 school district under the control of an external manager, an action that is completely unprecedented in the history of the state's public education system. A state panel has put the proposal before the State Board of Education, which is expected to approve the transition based on the district's recent lack of leaderships and low performance. Adams 14 has spent eight years on the state's watch list of low-performing schools. 

The school district has been preparing a request for qualifications for the 13 schools in case the plan is adopted. Other options include turning select campuses over to charters or taking control of the management of only the lowest performing campuses. The State Board of Education's decision is expected by mid-November.
Indianapolis- Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) plan to sell its downtown headquarters where roughly 200 employees work. The school board is expected to declare the downtown building as surplus as it searches for a place to relocate central services currently housed at the property. IPS officials state that they want to move their offices in 2020 to a leased building in the central area where more parking is available for staff and parents. 

Once the building has been declared surplus, IPS can issue a request for proposals to sell the facility. Additionally, the district would like to sell or redevelop other buildings such as a recently closed high school and middle school.
Virginia- The town of Christiansburg will be privatizing its trash collection services. The town will pursue potential partners in the coming weeks with hopes that more favorable options than the longtime city-owned and operated system are available. Garbage collection in the city has been a municipal venture for the past five decades, and the city budgets nearly $1.7 million annually for trash collection. 

Reasons for the departure from public services include hopes that the private provider can reduce daily operating costs and purchase and maintain its own dumpster trucks. Officials hope that the private partner will pass those savings on to residents that have seen a nearly 30 percent cost spike in solid waste collection fees in the past year.
Mississippi- The city of Natchez is developing a request for proposals (RFP) to lease its old train depot. The depot building underwent an exterior renovation in 2016 but the facility remains unused. City officials waited to further discuss a request for proposals for the vacant building until a downtown revitalization plan was completed to rezone and redesign the area around the former depot. 

An RFP could be issued as soon as the Natchez Board of Aldermen's next meeting on Nov. 13 and a final decision on the lease could be made between December and January.
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North Carolina- Durham wants to redevelop the former police headquarters downtown and has solicited a request for qualifications (RFQ). The city has requested the following conditions for the 4-acre parcel located at 505 W. Chapel Hill St.: 
- affordable housing: provide a significant component of housing affordable to residents making 60 percent of the area's median income; 
- financial performance: generate significant revenue to the city from the sale of land and future local tax revenues from on-site development; 
- mixed-use development: deliver a complement of office and retail uses supportive of a dynamic downtown environment; and 
- historic preservation: redevelop but preserve the existing building to be repurposed. 

The development team selection will take place in two phases. In the first phase, which is now currently underway, the city is asking developers responding to the RFQ to submit a description of their approach to the project. In the second phase of the process, the city will invite selected teams from the first phase to respond to a request for proposals.
Ohio- The Dayton International Airport and city want a new hotel that offers accommodations, conference space and dining or restaurant options to serve travelers, airlines staff and workers at some of the large new developments around the aviation facility. The city permanently closed the Dayton Airport Hotel in 2010 after 40 years in operation. The facility was later demolished. A request for qualifications (RFQ) has been issued by the city from firms that want to develop, construct and operate a nationally-branded hotel. 

The hotel will be built on the airport property, possibly at a site near the intersection of Terminal Drive and Boeing Drive. The hotel would have 110 to 120 rooms and offer a significant amount of conference space because there's a lot of opportunities for training and events for the airlines and other local companies.
New Jersey- Burlington County Freeholders have decided to keep the indoor pool at Rowan College's Pemberton campus open and accessible to the public. Freeholders promised that the county would work to keep the college pool open and obtain the physical education building. If that's not feasible, officials said the county would partner to build another one elsewhere. The pool and 45,000-square-foot physical education building have been part of the college campus off Pemberton-Browns Mills Road since it opened in 1970. Questions about the pool's future started three years ago, when the college announced it was phasing out use of the over 40-year-old campus in favor of making its Mount Laurel campus on Route 38 the college's new main campus. 

Earlier this year, the college sent out a request for proposals to acquire and develop the 225-acre campus, including the pool and physical education building. Those interested in submitting proposals have until Nov. 27. The county would be willing to take ownership of the physical education building and invest in needed repairs if the building is not part of any campus sale. If the building is included in a sale, the county will try to work with the new owners to keep the pool open until a new one can be constructed elsewhere so there is no interruption in aquatics or competitive swim programs.
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New Mexico- The city of Albuquerque has issued a request for proposals (RFP) to partner with a developer on a mixed-use project on a 2-acre parking lot at 400 4th St. NW. The land is near the Albuquerque Convention Center, the City-County Building and Civic Plaza. This mixed-use project is for an entertainment venue that will be catalyst for future redevelopment. From now until the end of April, interested parties can submit inquiries to the city planning department. 

 A selection committee will review the proposals from April until June 19 and make recommendations to the Albuquerque Development Commission for the final selection of a private developer on June 20. The city will commit to funding as needed as well as offer a property incentive. The master developer will be responsible for the visioning, planning, budgeting, construction as well as the management and oversight of the project.
Tennessee- The Tennessee Department of Education (DoEd) will make changes to the TNReady testing system for public schools in time for the 2019-20 school year. A request for proposals will be issued later this year to select a testing vendor. New vendors are expected to move more tests online, particularly in older grades, and provide faster results to teachers and families through an online login once scores are available. 

The DoEd also will give additional credit to vendors that partner with Tennessee companies and universities as part of the test development and administration. Changes to the TNReady system come this school year as the state plans to provide educators with fewer paper materials, earlier access to test administration materials and a more responsive help desk.

Nov. 27 and 28
The Public-Private Partnership (P3) Federal Conference takes place Nov. 27 and 28 at the Marriott Marquis, 901 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. Over 80 leading practitioners will present their firsthand observations of P3 projects of all sizes from around the country, and detail the P3 arrangements employed by agencies to develop, maintain, and repair critical infrastructure systems. With keynotes, case studies, panels, workshops, and diverse networking opportunities, conference attendees will deepen their understanding on the key principles behind P3s and other alternative delivery methods, and the role they can play in delivering essential transportation, health, defense, social and water infrastructure projects. 

A comprehensive list of best practices and lessons learned will be presented through a series of seminars, panels and workshops. A few of the sessions include: 

- To P3 or Not to P3: How to Determine the Appropriate Project Delivery Model; 
- P3s for Rural Areas and Small Cities; 
- Winning Formulas for Water Infrastructure Projects; 
- Using P3 to Transform Energy Management; 
- How States and Cities can Expand their Infrastructure Delivery in Light of a Reduced Federal Role; and,
- Financing Solutions Offered in P3s 

Check out this packed, two-day agenda and join more than 800 attendees for this national conversation on P3 project delivery. Register for the event here
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- Tom Everett will step into the role of executive director of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on Oct. 22. He replaces Cheryl Walker, FHWA's acting executive director since June 1, who took that role following the retirement of Walter "Butch" Waidelich Jr., FHWA's executive director since March 2016. Everett spent 10 years as a structural engineer team leader in FHWA's Office of Bridges and Structures and has held other key leadership agency positions including bridge management/inspection engineer, technical programs team leader, and director of the agency's Office of Program Administration, overseeing the administration and implementation the Federal-aid highway program in that role. 
- The Housing Authority of Racine County Board of Commissioners (HARC) announced the appointment of Larissa Seward as HARC's new executive director, effective Nov. 1. Seward will take over leadership of the agency, replacing Linda Ring-Weber who retired on Sept. 30. In October 2011, she was promoted to deputy director in charge of all programs and staff at the Housing Authority. 
- Chairman Neil Chatterjee was nominated to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by President Donald J. Trump in May 2017 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in August 2017. Outgoing Chairman Kevin McIntyre will step down from his post but remain on FERC as a commissioner. Chatterjee served as chairman from August 2017 to December 2017 and was again named chairman on Oct. 24, 2018. Prior to joining the commission, he was energy policy advisor to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. 
- Kent State University president Beverly Warren has announced she will step down from her post on July 1, 2019. Warren became KSU's president in 2014 after serving as provost and senior vice president of Virginia Commonwealth University. Search plans for Warren's successor will be revealed in the coming weeks. 
- Webb Scott Brown, the president and CEO of the Montana Chamber of Commerce, announced he will retire Dec. 31. Brown, who has served in this position for 20 years, was the former membership and government relations director at the Billings Area Chamber of Commerce and the executive director at the Lewistown Area Chamber of Commerce. 
- The University System of New Hampshire Board of Trustees announced that Melinda Treadwell has been selected to serve as its eleventh president. Treadwell began serving as interim president of Keene State on July 31, 2017. Treadwell originally joined Keene State as a faculty member in 2000. Later, she also served as interim provost. Prior to returning to Keene, Treadwell served as CEO and provost of Antioch University New England. 
- The Corsicana City Council recently confirmed the appointment of John Boswell to the position of economic development director. Boswell brings 25 years of development experience to Corsicana, including 18 years in local economic development in Texas. He was employed by the city of Pittsburgh, the Greater San Marcos Economic Development Council and the Sherman Economic Development Corporation, where he was president. For the last seven years Boswell was senior director in development for a private equity firm that develops, owns, operates and manages investments in clean energy. 
- The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA) has named Steven Abrams executive director. He will succeed Jack Stephens, who will retire when his contract expires Dec. 31. Abrams served on SFRTA's board from 2010 until he resigned in May to enter the search process for the executive director position. He was chairman from July 2012 to June 2014, and again from July 2017 to June 2018. 
- San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White has announced she is retiring next year. She has agreed to stay on the job until spring to allow time to find her replacement. Her retirement date is May 5, 2019. Hayes-White, who joined the department in 1990, served as the department's director of training from 2000 until her appointment as chief of department. She has led the department for 15 years. 
- Mike Roberts, who has been serving as the interim police chief since August, was appointed on a permanent basis. The chief position became open when former Fire Chief Mike Smith was elected to the position of Utah County sheriff. Roberts has worked for the Pleasant Grove Police Department for more than 24 years, serving in a variety of positions. These include patrol officer, detective, sergeant, lieutenant and has been captain since 2012. He has also worked with the Utah County Major Crimes Task Force. 
- The Sisters City Council selected Cory Misley to serve as Sisters' next city manager. Misley currently works as the city manager of La Pine, a position he has held since 2015. Misley will begin work in Sisters on Nov. 26. He replaces the former Sisters City Manager Brant Kucera who resigned Aug. 18 to accept a new position as the city administrator of Ashland, Wis. 
- Jessica Moy is the first executive director of the Michigan Infrastructure Council, tasked with creating a 30-year strategy for investing in Michigan's roads and water. Moy comes from previous positions at business and IT consulting companies, Michigan State University and the state Department of Technology, Management and Budget. Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill July 2 creating the 27-member commission to provide recommendations on how to revamp transportation, drinking water, communication networks and other infrastructure.
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