Volume 11, Issue 7- Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.

Public utilities are under extreme pressure and their needs, which fall into the critical category, are common. 

Almost every public system that supplies citizens with electricity, gas, water and sewage services is old. They suffer from decline that comes with age, deferred maintenance and the failure to upgrade as technology and needs evolve. Utilities officials, like most other government leaders, are being asked to do more with less. That makes it extremely difficult to perform and terribly frustrating to endure. 

But, there's more! Utilities must also contend with shifting regulatory mandates, find ways to ensure maximum uptime and support sustainability goals tied to lower carbon footprints. Then, there are cybersecurity threats and an ever-growing demand for grid modernization. 

In Puerto Rico, the government is pursuing a public-private partnership (P3) to mend its ailing utility systems. As tragic as the wreckage left by Hurricane Maria is, the government will likely have updated and efficient systems that will possibly surpass many in the mainland in the not-too-distant future. Four major contracting companies are competing to be selected as the private-sector partner for Puerto Rico. Public-private partnerships with utilities are becoming extremely common because of the need for funding and modernization. 

Moody's Investor Service has recently projected that university-initiated P3s related to campus utility projects will see significant growth in the next few years as universities begin to address their aging utility infrastructure. Colleges and universities are already accustomed to finding ways to attract alternative funding for large projects and their utility systems are of high interest to investors. 

A recent survey summary made it clear that utility network officials have long wish lists. Responders to the survey want better monitoring control, automation capabilities and the capability of adapting to disruptive technologies. They also need to be able to capture data about customer habits and analyze system outages and other anomalies.     

West Virginia- The West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH) plans to replace or rehabilitate 26 bridges in Ohio County from the Ohio state line to Elm Grove. The project will include work on abutments and approaches. The bridge rehabilitation project is scheduled to begin later this year on Interstate 70 and the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) is holding meetings with area residents impacted by the construction. 

The work is scheduled to take place between the Ohio state line and the Elm Grove section of Wheeling. The WVDOH is currently in the design phase and plans to solicit for the project sometime in the coming months after reducing the original scope of it. In 2017 West Virginia voters approved a $1.6 billion "Roads to Prosperity" bond issue to improve roads throughout the state, with the largest of the projects to be the I-70 project in Ohio County.
Indiana- Fort Wayne plans to release a new request for proposals (RFP) for riverfront development after the original developer pulled out of the project. A property group was unable to meet the financial approvals specified by its development agreement with the city. The $61.7 million mixed-use project was to include residential units and retail space surrounding a 1,000-space parking garage to be used by residents, shoppers, government workers and the public. 

The project, known as the HIVE, is on the northeast corner of Harrison and Superior streets. The six-level project, which would include 228 residences and stores with a view of the St. Mary's River, was lauded by city officials as being a key to riverfront development. The city's next steps are to issue a new RFP in the next few weeks and then review submissions. A new plan might be ready by next construction season.
Photo courtesy: City of Portland Tryon Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant
Oregon- The city of Lake Oswego wants to replace the existing Tryon Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant (TCWTP) and has issued a request for qualifications (RFQ). The TCWTP is owned by the city of Portland and operated by the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services. The city wants a public-private partnership (P3) where the vendor can design, build, finance, operate and maintain the new wastewater treatment plant. 

Statements of qualifications are due by April 2. A shortlist is expected around April 25 with the request for proposals to be issued in May. The city of Portland constructed the (TCWTP) in 1965 within Lake Oswego city limits next to the Willamette River. The plant treats sewage collected from parts of southwest Portland, unincorporated areas of Multnomah and Clackamas counties and the city of Lake Oswego.
Washington State- A special election was held Feb. 12 and Bethel's $443 million school construction bond was passed by voters. The school district will build a new Bethel High School and two new elementary schools. The district will renovate or expand Challenger High School, Graham-Kapowsin High School, Cedarcrest Middle School, Evergreen and Naches Trail elementary schools and the Elk Plain School of Choice K-8. 

While construction takes place at the current schools, the old Bethel High School will be renovated and used temporarily by students and staff until upgrades are completed. This is the first bond passed by the Bethel School District since 2006. The Bethel School District will begin meeting to discuss project plans and putting together a timeline.

Photo courtesy: Bay City Independence Bridge
Michigan- The Bay City Commission has voted unanimously to move forward on a resolution that will pave the way for the demolition and reconstruction of the Independence Bridge and the rehabilitation of Liberty Bridge. The resolution directs the city manager to issue a request for proposals for both bridge projects. 

The city acknowledges that funding is scarce to undertake these bridge projects and will take part in a public-private partnership as a way to accomplish the infrastructure improvements without increasing taxes. Officials have affirmed that they will be accepting proposals, with a tentative timeline of the request being released in March and a response deadline in April.
California- Santa Clara County issued a request for proposals (RFP) on Thursday to provide affordable housing for teachers. The plan is to build no less than 60, but up to 120 units at 231 Grant Ave. in Palo Alto, currently home to county courthouse facilities. The units would be exclusively available to five local school districts for teacher housing. The mix of living spaces will range from lofts and studios to one- and two-bedroom units. 

Since August 2018, a total of five districts agreed to partner with the county and tentatively agreed to pitch in $600,000 each for an equal stake in the units built. Partner districts include the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, the Mountain View Whisman School District, the Palo Alto Unified School District, the Los Altos School District and the Mountain View-Los Altos High School District. The estimated $36 million in required funding to build the project will come from other sources, including the county's affordable housing fund and the city of Palo Alto. The RFP will accept submissions from developers through May 13, with a date to award the contract tentatively set for Aug. 13.
Nebraska- Sarpy County has taken the first step toward the development of a mental health crisis center. County commissioners have approved the purchase of 7 acres of land for $1 million. The parcel is located near Offutt Air Force Base, on the south end of Bellevue. The center would serve two purposes, providing short term emergency services for people seeking mental health assessments and providing law enforcement with a place to house people who might not belong in a traditional jail setting. 

A recent report suggests that the center would be available for use by all Sarpy County law enforcement agencies, as well as Cass, Dodge, Douglas and Washington counties. Administrators have expressed interest in establishing a public-private partnership to construct the $10 million to $13 million facility and operate it at a cost of $2.5 million.
Connecticut- GOP leaders in the state of Connecticut have unveiled a list of proposals that would expand public-private partnerships (P3) and increase tax incentives. Lawmakers have proposed multiple pieces of legislation that aim to lower government costs by establishing health and human service agency P3s. Leaders are confident that private providers can meet consumer demands with cutting-edge technological solutions. 

The legislative package would create those partnerships for the delivery of services to low-income residents, the elderly or people with disabilities. Fraud investigations would be formed to detect those wrongfully using public assistance. Two other proposals would involve forming a P3 council with multiple state commissioners to contract the delivery of human services, and privatizing certain Department of Motor Vehicle services.  
Illinois- The city of Naperville has issued a request for information (RFI) to bring more smart technologies to its city. The RFI asks for ideas regarding how data, design and technology can contribute to what officials are calling the next generation streetscape. The request is an attempt to see what vendors are able to bring forward to implement in Naperville through a public-private partnership (P3). 

The city is interested in parking space availability sensors, accessing ride-share data to better understand travel patterns, storm sewer and water system sensors and Wi-Fi coverage. Interest in autonomous vehicle field testing has also been expressed. The request for smart cities technology was issued in early February and responses are required to be submitted by March 8. The RFI comes from a study completed in 2018.  
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Massachusetts- The Salem Redevelopment Authority, which already owns the Superior Court and attached County Commissioner buildings on Federal Street, has purchased a municipal parking lot from the city. The crescent lot contains 95 parking spaces mostly used as commuter parking alongside the city's commuter rail station garage. The plan is to bundle the three properties to entice developers and release a request for qualifications. 

Depending on how the RFQ process goes, a couple of developers could be invited back to submit proposals and push their visions one step closer to construction. If the city declines submitted qualifications, the sale of the property has an 18-month timer on it that would kick ownership of the crescent lot back to the city if no deal is in place by then.  
Pennsylvania- The Erie School District will release a solicitation on Friday for new roofs at Wilson Middle School and Harding Elementary School. This solicitation is part of the district's $80.8 million building renovation project. The solicitation will go out largely under the school district's current bidding procedures, which require all qualified bidders to operate apprenticeship programs - programs that are standard for unionized contractors. 

The district's state-appointed financial administrator, who is monitoring the district in light of its receipt of $14 million in additional state aid to stay solvent, has recommended eliminating the apprenticeship programs. This change would allow more contractors to bid on district projects thus potentially lowering the dollar amounts on bids submitted during the solicitation process. The district has rejected the recommendation. 
Ohio- The city of Willoughby wants to build apartments and public parking space on city-owned property in the downtown area. The city will publish a request for qualifications to seek out developers to build a parking deck with stairs and an elevator on the two acres of land. 

The parking deck might require an open design, due to Environmental Protection Agency standards, since it is on the former site of a dump and could contain methane concerns. The parking structure would likely be bi-level, with room for residential space above. The apartment and parking deck complex will be next to Todd Field in downtown Willoughby.  
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Michigan- The city of Houghton wants to change the look of its waterfront. Parking decks along the water that were built 40 years ago have become an eyesore. A marketing plan put together in 2009 for the downtown area suggested that the parking decks be consolidated to free up space for other residential or community development projects. 

The Houghton City Council approved having city staff prepare a request for proposals (RFP) to redevelop one or more of the decks into more efficient, mixed-use properties. The plan is to release the RFP by March with reviews of the submissions taking place during the summer months.
Maryland- City property currently being used as storage of equipment for the Department of Public Works (DPW) may get another use as Frederick officials approve the solicitation of a request for proposals (RFP). The property was recently appraised at $2.66 million and has a base zone of light industrial, with a floating zone establishing it as a park. The property on Highland Street, known as Husky Park, has never been used as an official park and would be marketed with the base zone of light industrial. 

The RFP would gauge buyer interest in the 23.3-acre city-owned land. City officials said that using the land as a storage for the DPW is longer compatible with development of the area, which is quickly converting to residential mixed use, technology businesses and public park land.
Illinois- Metra, a commuter railroad in the Chicago metropolitan area, has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for onboard camera digital video recorder systems. Questions surrounding the RFP must be submitted by Feb. 26 and proposals are due March 26. Metra is requesting up to 700 interior passenger seating area camera systems for Metra's cab, trailer and electric multiple unit cars, with associated software, hardware, materials, equipment, spare parts and training. 

The full payment for the work shall not exceed $15.5 million and the contract will last for 5 years. The commuter rail system consists of nearly 500 route miles and over 1,150 track miles serving 241 stations. Metra's railcars currently have no major provisions dedicated to an interior passenger camera system.
Photo courtesy:  Nebraska Administrative Services 
Grand Island Veterans' Home
Nebraska- The state of Nebraska is ready to get rid of its burden of paying an estimated $1 million required annually to maintain vacant veteran facilities in Grand Island. About 640 acres were transferred to the city in 2015 after the decision was made to build the new Central Nebraska Veterans' Home in Kearney. The buildings and the remaining 40 acres of land in Grand Island became surplus state property when veterans began moving into their new Kearney home on Jan. 16. 

The city wants to issue a request for proposals (RFP) to find a developer for the former Grand Island Veterans' Home before the 280,000 square feet of buildings becomes a problem to maintain. The state's Department of Administrative Services has agreed the plan should include something for veterans, such as housing or social services. The city wants to have potential developers lined up by October. Until then, the ownership and responsibility for maintaining the property will remain with the state.
Connecticut- A transit service contracted by the state gave a 72-hour notice that it would cease operations around the beginning of February. To continue the commuter bus service, the state is temporarily providing two express bus routes from Torrington and Winsted to Hartford on weekdays. A request for proposals will be issued to find a new contractor. 

The transit contractor had provided service to Litchfield County and throughout Connecticut for over 150 years. Once notice was given, state workers went to the contractor's bus yard to retrieve five commuter buses with a total value of about $2.4 million, based on replacement costs listed by the state.  
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March 4-6 / Dallas, Texas
The 7th Annual Public-Private Partnership Conference & Expo will be held March 4-6 at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel. Government Contracting Pipeline readers can use promo code 100GCP to receive $100 off their registration. Register for the event here

Join over 1,250 senior representatives from governments, higher education institutions and leading firms in the global construction and financial markets. The conference attracts professionals from all corners of the industry and provides a valuable opportunity to facilitate new partnerships with industry peers and public sector partners. Attendees will discover new alternative project delivery methods, strategies for implementing successful P3 projects, the nuts and bolts of how deals work, and how to manage risks associated with legal and financial frameworks. Attendees will participate in interactive panels, workshops, and conversations specifically tailored to the needs of public agencies evaluating P3s. The conference is designed for all levels in the market including those beginning to explore P3s and seeking to better understand where alternative and accelerated project delivery methods can be applicable.

Attendees will participate in interactive panels, workshops, and conversations specifically tailored to the needs of public agencies evaluating P3s. The conference is designed for all levels in the market including those beginning to explore P3s and seeking to better understand where alternative and accelerated project delivery methods can be applicable.

Minnesota- The city of Victoria has hired Dana Hardie as city manager. The city has been without a full-time city manager since Dec. 22, 2017, when Laurie Hokkanen resigned. Since then, Doug Reeder has served as interim city manager. Hardie officially starts on March 4. Hardie comes to Victoria from the city of Burnsville, where she most recently served as director of administrative services and interim city manager. 
California- Simi Valley City Manager Eric Levitt is leaving after nearly six years to become the new city manager of Alameda. Levitt, who has been Simi Valley city manager since May 2013, is expected to succeed former Alameda City Manager Jill Keimach effective April 12. Before taking the job in Simi Valley, Levitt was previously serving as city manager of Janesville, Wis., for more than four years. 
Texas- The Southside First Economic Development Council has appointed Judith Canales as its executive director. Canales, who succeeds Andrew Anguiano, has held the job of acting associate administrator for the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business and Cooperative Service in Washington, D.C. She has served as a legislative representative for the Department of Housing and Urban Development and an executive director of the Maverick County Development Corp. in Eagle Pass. 
Oklahoma- The Oklahoma Transportation Commission named Tim Gatz as the next executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT). Gatz, who is also executive director of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, will succeed ODOT Executive Director Mike Patterson on April 1, the day Patterson's retirement from the agency goes into effect. Gatz previously served as the ODOT deputy director. 
California- Chris Cruz, a longtime information technology (IT) leader in California state government, is resigning from his position as deputy chief information officer (CIO) and chief deputy director of the California Department of Technology (CDT). Cruz is taking the position of CIO and IT director for San Joaquin County. He'll leave the state at the end of March. Before his appointment to his current CDT position in June 2015, Cruz held top IT leadership positions with the state Department of Public Health, the Department of Food and Agriculture and the Department of Health Care Services. New York- Queens College President Félix Matos Rodríguez is set to become the next chancellor of the City University of New York (CUNY), bringing to a close a search process that began after former chancellor James B. Milliken announced in November 2017 plans to step down. Rodriguez will begin his new post May 1. He has led Queens College since 2014 and before that was president of CUNY's Eugenio María de Hostos Community College. 
California- Lisa Plowman was appointed Santa Barbara County's next Planning and Development Department director. Plowman has more than 19 years of experience assisting private and nonprofit developers with land use entitlement and planning processes and previously worked for the Planning and Development Department. She will assume the job from Dianne Black, who has served as interim planning director since March 2018 following the retirement of Glenn Russell. Tennessee- Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority (WWTA) Executive Director Mark Harrison has stepped down from his position. Harrison first served as the WWTA's chief engineer for about two years and, most recently, served as executive director for more than two and a half years. WWTA's chief engineer, Mike Patrick, has been named in the interim as acting executive director as the authority seeks a replacement for Harrison. Patrick came to WWTA last year. Prior to that, he worked as director of Chattanooga's Waste Resources Division, where he was responsible for the overall operation of the city's Regional Wastewater Collection and Treatment system. 
Illinois- State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia was appointed director of the state's Veterans Affairs department. The former Army officer was named in place of Army Lt. Col. Jaime Martinez. Chapa LaVia joined the House of Representatives in 2003. Since 2009 she has been House Veterans Affairs Committee chairwoman. LaVia's appointment must be confirmed by the Senate. 
Washington, D.C.- Brock Long is stepping down after two years serving as director at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Peter Gaynor will serve as acting FEMA administrator in his place. Prior to his work on the national level, Long from 2008-11, served as the Alabama's Emergency Management Agency director. President Donald Trump will nominate Jeffrey Byard as the new FEMA administrator. Byard currently serves as an associate administrator at the agency, overseeing disaster response, recovery, logistics and field operations. 
Oklahoma- James Wagner will serve as the chief financial officer for the city of Tulsa and oversee the finance department, effective immediately. Wagner currently leads the Office of Performance Strategy and Innovation for the city of Tulsa. Wagner fills a vacancy left by the passing of longtime City Finance Director Mike Kier in December. Prior to his role with the city of Tulsa, Wagner worked for the Indian Nations Council of Governments (INCOG) as a principal planner and was responsible for multi-million-dollar grants and programs. 
Texas- Austin police Assistant Chief Ely Reyes has been named the new chief of the Cedar Hill Police Department. Reyes is heading to Cedar Hill after more than 20 years with Austin's police force. Reyes worked for Austin police in patrol, internal affairs, training, highway enforcement, public information, executive protection, special investigations and the homicide unit, among others. He will begin working in Cedar Hill on April 1.
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