Volume 11, Issue 32 - Wednesday, August 14, 2019
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.

Municipal leaders have stressful and difficult jobs. Elected officials and tenured public servants struggle to provide more citizen services with less funding and fewer municipal resources.

Public leaders at the local levels of government are guided by mandates that could easily be categorized as 'stretch goals'. And, they provide services to a diverse group of citizens and taxpayers who are demanding, often impatient, and focused on reducing taxes but increasing quality-of-life amenities. This situation exists because, throughout the country, the public at large is extremely busy and few have time to ponder the plight of municipal leaders. Their lives are also stressful, and the demands on them are just as significant.

However, in spite of funding restraints and stressful times for all parties, progress is being made. Municipal leaders throughout the U.S. are launching new quality-of-life enhancements for the regions they serve.

Crystal Township in Michigan has hired a firm to evaluate options to either launch a major renovation and expansion project of their current community center or the construction of a new facility. Cost estimates currently associated with the renovation and expansion option are $2.38 million. Construction costs for a project that would salvage half of the current facility and add an extension would be approximately $2.63 million. The last option, which would be to sell the current building to a private owner and build a new community center in another location, has an estimated cost of $2.88 million without a new gymnasium or $3.97 million with a new gymnasium. Once a decision is made about which option to pursue, plans will be announced about a timeline and solicitation documents will be issued to potential contractors.

Friendswood's City Council in Texas has authorized a November bond election to ask voters to approve $76 million for a number of projects - one of which is a $9 million construction project of a new activities center. An advisory committee appointed by city leaders has recommended the project. The current 49-year-old building is in poor condition, and remodeling the facility would cost as much as building a new one. The new facility would likely be designed to serve as a community civic center, an emergency shelter, and also as home for senior adult programs.

Courtesy of Ralf Broskvar
Washington, D.C. - U.S. Rep. John Larson introduced the America Wins Act to the House, a bill that would establish a levy on carbon pollution and invest $1.2 trillion into infrastructure.

The bill's key feature calls for a carbon tax on businesses, which would start at $52 per ton. This rate would increase 6 percent annually above inflation and ultimately raise an estimated $2.3 trillion in revenue.

Of the tax revenue, the bill calls to invest $610 billion into federal highway programs, $71 billion into sewer systems and drinking water, $66 billion into railway infrastructure, and $40 billion into broadband deployment. Another $5 billion would go to fund airports and aviation, and billions more of the $1.2 trillion total would fund other infrastructure projects.

Beyond infrastructure, the bill would invest $44 billion into clean energy and climate research, and $70 billion into climate justice initiatives.
California - Officials at the Santa Clara Valley Water District are planning the construction of a $1 billion dam and reservoir near Pacheco Pass to serve their 1.9 million Silicon Valley residents and avoid water shortages during future droughts.

A new study from the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation recommends several improvement projects including developing an expanded Pacheco Reservoir and new earthen dam and spillway on the north fork of Pacheco Creek as part of the San Luis Low Point Improvement Project. The dam, which would be 319 feet tall, would replace an existing dam and reservoir on the site, allowing the district to transfer water it stores in the San Luis Reservoir into the new reservoir.

The study suggests alternatives to using the San Luis Reservoir due to algae growth caused by high temperatures and declining water levels. The algal blooms render the water quality there unsuitable for municipal and industrial users.

District officials are working toward a 2024 construction start. The state awarded the district $485 million last year, but officials said they will need an additional $600 million to fund the project that would construct the first new large dam in the Bay Area since 1998.

The project is part of a 5-Year Capital Improvement Program adopted by the district's board of directors in May. The plan contains 67 capital projects for an estimated cost of $4.4 billion to provide water supply, maintain and improve flood protection infrastructure, and support environmental stewardship.
Arlington ISD bond steering committee
Texas - Trustees at Arlington ISD (AISD) recently reviewed $965.9 million in potential bond items for a possible November election.

A citizen steering committee unanimously recommended all proposed projects to the board with $846.37 million allocated for facilities, $97.12 million directed to safety, security, and technology upgrades, $15.49 million dedicated to transportation needs, and $6.96 million focused on fine arts.

More than 70 percent of the bond package total would go toward making districtwide condition renovations and rebuilding aging facilities to address significant condition needs, according to the committee's presentation.

Webb, Thorton, and Berry elementary schools would be rebuilt to replace Roark and Knox elementary campuses for $100.3 million. Carter Junior High School, which opened in 1958, would be rebuilt for $61.88 million. The district would "right-size" one of its high schools to house a fine arts-dual language academy for $52.05 million. Another similar academy would be built at Gunn Junior High School for $34.98 million. Districtwide pre-kindergarten improvements would constitute $45.74 million. A new $12.57 million building addition would be constructed at Bailey Junior High School.

The committee recommended renovations for an additional high school competition field for $19 million. Elementary school playgrounds would be replaced districtwide for $20.19 million. More than $31 million would be appropriated for furniture, fixtures, and equipment, including technology infrastructure. Administrators said the proposed bond would allow for entry-level career technology classes at AISD's career and technical center.

Safety, security, and technology upgrades would comprise $97.12 million of the bond package with district officials considering razing and rebuilding security and transportation facilities for $11.7 million. Other bond items could include funds for buying new school buses and acquiring property.

The deadline is August 19 to call a bond referendum for November. If passed, the bond would not increase the district's property tax rate, administrators said.
Connecticut - The Connecticut Port Authority plans to reveal details of the $93 million redevelopment of State Pier. The unveiling will likely be held in mid-September.

The port authority, operator, and several private firms plan to transform State Pier into an offshore wind hub and capitalize on growing offshore wind energy.

State Pier's heavy-lift capacity will be upgraded as part of the project, with the intent to promote long-term growth by boosting its ability to accommodate heavier cargo. Construction is expected to begin in January 2020 with completion in March 2022, according to Gov. Ned Lamont's office.

The state of Connecticut will commit to $35.5 million for State Pier infrastructure improvements, including $25.5 million from the Connecticut Port Authority, which the governor's office said was previously announced, and $10 million in new funding from the Department of Economic and Community Development through the Manufacturing Assistance Act.
Historic Rainbow Arch Bridge
Kansas - The state's transportation department is reinstating the Kansas Local Bridge Improvement Program, a plan that helps cities and counties repair and replace structurally deficient bridges.

Gov. Laura Kelly authorized $216 million in tax revenue to remain in the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) highway fund, which led to restoring the program. The program aims to reduce the number of deficient bridges in a cost-effective way.

Cities and counties can acquire up to $150,000 to repair or replace a local bridge. To be considered, structures need to be on low-volume routes and span 20 to 50 feet. Additionally, bridges need to be classified as deficient and maintain a daily traffic count of less than 100 vehicles. Agencies awarded funds must provide a 10 percent match.

About 3,800 of the state's bridges are in poor condition and are insufficient for modern weight requirements. KDOT is accepting applications for the program through mid-September and will begin selecting projects in October.
LOTT wastewater treatment plant
Washington - The State Public Works Board has awarded $85 million in loans for infrastructure projects across the state.

Initially, 74 projects were rated and ranked. The board exhausted all funds after approving 30 projects in more than a dozen counties. Most projects involve water and sewer work while others focus on waste recycling or road work.

The Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater, and Thurston County (LOTT) partnership is set to receive $10 million for sanitary sewer improvements that involve biological processes. Seattle Public Utilities will receive $10 million for Pearl Street drainage and wastewater improvements. 

Other notable projects include one in Camas, which will receive $7 million for its SR 500 and Lake Road intersection, and another in Richland, which will receive $4 million for improvements to the Horn Rapids landfill.
Oklahoma - Support for a new $37 million to $72 million soccer stadium in Oklahoma City is gaining momentum. Councilmembers reviewed two options for a new stadium at their special meeting August 6 as one of several projects under consideration for the city's Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPS) 4 program.

The presentation was delivered during a City Council special meeting that is one in a series of summer sessions to discuss potential capital improvement projects funded by the city. Voters previously approved three MAPS programs that totaled almost $1.87 billion to support quality-of-life initiatives by adding a temporary penny to the city's sales tax rate.

Presenters outlined two options for the venue. Option 1 is a $37 million to $42 million 8,000-seat facility capable of hosting 66 events each year with an estimated $60.76 million annual economic impact.

Option 2 is a $67 million to $72 million 10,000-seat stadium that could schedule 81 events each year with an anticipated economic impact of $79.45 million annually. The second option would feature a larger stage, a secondary stage, additional restrooms, shade structures, and air-conditioned suites and be able to attract national touring entertainment productions.

The venue would not only serve as a permanent home for a professional soccer team but also host high school football, rugby, lacrosse and non-sporting events such as concerts and festivals. Organizers suggested the possibility of locating the facility in one of several Opportunity Zones previously identified by the state in the city's downtown. They also envision a dense mixed-use development with connections to public transportation. In this concept, the city would build and own the stadium. Any MAPS 4 project list will be subject to voter approval, requiring the City Council to call an election.
Missouri - The Missouri General Assembly established a new $50 million cost share program to support the state's transportation and economic development departments. The funding will go toward road and bridge projects and foster partnerships with local governments and private entities.

Under the Governor's Transportation Cost Share Program, public and private applicants will be eligible for a state match up to 50 percent of the construction contract costs for road and bridge projects that meet a transportation need.

A Cost Share Committee will work with the Missouri Department of Economic Development to select projects with the greatest economic benefit to the state to recommend for approval by the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, according to the program's website.
Applications are due by October 1.
Natick Center station
Massachusetts - Reconstruction of the Natick Center is expected to begin early next year on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) commuter rail station. The $40 million project will go out to bid this month, and a contractor will be selected after a 90-day period.

State and federal money will fund the reconstruction, which is part of the state's $18.3 billion plan to fund numerous transportation initiatives. The project includes a full update of the station with construction lasting for an estimated 30 months. Commuters will still be able to board the train during that time.

Upgrades include elevators, ramps, two sets of stairs on each platform, improved lighting, and high-level platforms to accommodate wheelchair access. Tactile paving will be installed along the edge of the platform to assist commuters with vision impairments.

The existing pedestrian bridge will be replaced with a partially covered bridge. Tracks will also be realigned to accommodate a future express track currently in planning.
Minnesota - Rochester officials plan to better serve downtown commuters by creating two transit hubs. City leaders and planning consultants are evaluating preferred routes and also are discussing whether to create a dedicated bus or rail line. Their aim is to reduce stress on downtown traffic and parking.

This week, city officials will receive updates reporting comparative research related to the routes. Preliminary planning for the hubs has already been partially created. Plans include parking structures and room for future development of housing and retail space. Both hubs could be connected by a railed streetcar or dedicated bus line.

Though the process is still in the early stages, the Rochester City Council will have some oversight regarding approvals for development.

A proposed city-county agreement indicates the city would likely pay fair-market value for any county land. Development of retail or housing space could involve private developers. After collecting data, officials plan to present their findings on September 26. A final council vote is expected October 7.
National Coast Guard Museum rendering
Connecticut - The National Coast Guard Museum Association's board announced it is bidding out initial site preparation for their project, an 80,000-square-foot, $100 million museum. The museum will be built in New London on waterfront property, with construction expected to start early next year.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified the final design, which features five stories of glass facade overlooking the Thames River. The board has already selected a firm to serve as construction manager and administer the bid process. A request for proposals (RFP) is expected to be issued on September 1.

So far, $48 million has been raised from state, federal, and private sources. The state's $20-million portion will be used to build a pedestrian bridge during the second phase of construction.

The board will also pay for upgrades needed to City Pier, which will enable the U.S. Coast Guard's Barque Eagle to dock long-term at the site. More focus will be placed on these upgrades later in the process.
Colorado - Centennial South, the maximum security prison in Canon City, could reopen to ease the burden on over-capacity prisons. The $208 million campus opened in 2010 with space for up to 948 prisoners, but was shut down after two years when Colorado's Department of Corrections (DOC) phased out prolonged solitary confinement.

This year, Colorado passed a law that could reopen Centennial South if prisons holding male inmates reach 99 percent capacity for two consecutive months. The law allows the use of 126 beds should the prison reopen.

No plan is in place to reopen the prison, but it could happen soon as Denver's City Council recently severed ties with companies that run halfway houses. Hundreds of Denverites could soon be reincarcerated.

Last year, officials approved $1.1 million to fund retrofitting of the prison for future use. The money has been used for construction of recreation yards, updates to electrical and cable infrastructure, improvements to common areas, and some modifications inside cells.

If the prison reopens, more retrofitting will be necessary. Inmates will be allowed TV and radio in their cells, and 2-by-4-foot spaces for decorations on their cell walls.
Wayne State University College of Engineering
Michigan - Wayne State University and the nonprofit Michigan Mobility Institute announced on August 5 that they will partner to launch the Center for Advanced Mobility at the campus this fall.

Within the College of Engineering, the program will focus on autonomous driving, connectivity, smart infrastructure, and electrification. Students may enroll in courses administered by Wayne State in autonomous driving and mobility fundamentals for engineers. A new master of science in robotics will be offered in fall 2020.

The center will be in the university's Industry Innovation Center, a 45,000-square-foot facility it purchased last year in the heart of the Detroit Urban Solutions Innovation District. The university will use the space for laboratory work, demonstration areas, and a speaker series that will start this fall.

The Mobility Institute is an initiative of the Detroit Mobility Lab, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to the creation of a mobility ecosystem in Detroit.
   View our Government Contracting Pipeline and Texas Government Insider newsletter archives
Gov. Jim Justice announces funding support
West Virginia - The North Central West Virginia (NCWV) Airport is receiving $20 million in funding for its terminal relocation and aerotech park expansion projects.

Gov. Jim Justice delivered the news, adding that $10 million would come from economic development funds, and the other $10 million would come from a federal loan. Both funding packages will undergo a review process.

The projects are part of the airport's strategic growth initiative and its $70 million master plan. Work will involve constructing a new terminal building near W.Va. 279 and expanding the aerotech business park which employs about 2,000 people.

Officials continue to search for additional revenue sources to reach their funding goals, and hope to begin work on the new terminal by the end of this year.
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
Maine - Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and the University of New Hampshire (UNH) have signed a five-year educational partnership agreement to foster collaboration and development between both parties.

The U.S. Navy's assets and personnel will be made available to UNH for research and education, while the university's faculty and students will be involved in the Navy's research projects.

Those in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields will benefit from hands-on experience and access to the Navy's hardware. The agreement opens the door to research and development opportunities, allowing the partners to address complex challenges and develop solutions. In 2017, the U.S. Navy's shipyard attained technology transfer laboratory status, which promotes cooperative programs and business agreements with industry and academia.

California - The city of Huntington Beach selected Oliver Chi as its city manager August 5. He takes over for Dave Kiff who was serving in an interim capacity. Chi previously served as the city manager of Monrovia, California. Prior to that role, he was an assistant city manager for the city of Barstow, California, and held positions with the communities of Rosemead, Claremont, and Arcadia.

Illinois - City of Chicago Mayor Laurie Lightfoot named Maurice Cox as the city's commissioner of planning and development on August 7. Cox most recently was the city of Detroit's director of planning and development. He previously taught at Syracuse University, the University of Virginia, and Harvard University, served as an associate dean at Tulane University, and worked as a design director at the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C. Cox also served as mayor of the city of Charlottesville, Virginia where he chaired the Housing and Development Authority Commission, Metropolitan Planning Organization, and Mayor's Taskforce on Urban Housing Policy.

Colorado - Gov. Jared Polis appointed Rebecca Mitchell as the Colorado commissioner to the Upper Colorado Water Conservation Board, which also comprises Wyoming, Utah, and New Mexico commissioners. She succeeds outgoing commissioner James Eklund. Mitchell, director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, has more than 17 years of experience in the Colorado water sector and contributed to the state's water plan.

Alabama - Josh Laney has been hired as director of the new Alabama Office of Apprenticeship. He most recently led workforce development at the Alabama State Department of Education where he was senior director. Laney holds more than 20 years of education experience in junior high and high schools and as technical director at Phenix City School District.

Oklahoma - The state's Department of Transportation (ODOT) recently named Daniel Nguyen as its project management division manager. Nguyen joined ODOT as a chemical scientist in the materials division. He then became the division construction auditor for Division 4 followed by a promotion to project manager over that division. Most recently, he oversaw the general obligation bond program and project management team at the city of Oklahoma City.

Colorado - The city of Westminster appointed Emily Littlejohn as its new information technology director on August 5. She succeeded Art Rea who was serving as interim director for five months after 20-year IT director David Puntenney retired. Littlejohn joined the city in 2012 as its library supervisor and held positions in the Parks, Recreation, and Libraries Department and Human Resources Department. The published author also worked for the Denver Public Library and served as a college instructor and registrar.
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