Ad Hoc Infrastructure Committee

Wednesday, 9:00 a.m., November 6, 2002

Commission Hearing Room
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
Subject Public Hearing
Agenda Item No.
  Approval of the Committee Minutes from the previous meeting held May 28, 2003.  
  Summary of Minutes  
1. Chairman's Charges (Oral Presentation) Committee Only
2. Capital Construction Program Update
Staff: Steve Whiston
Committee Only
3. Other Business  

Summary of Minutes
Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
AD HOC Infrastructure Committee

August 28, 2002

BE IT REMEMBERED that heretofore on the 29th day of May 2002, there came on to be heard matters under the regulatory authority of the Parks and Wildlife Commission of Texas, in the Commission Hearing Room of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Headquarters complex, Austin, Travis County, Texas beginning at 2:00 p.m., to wit:

Katharine Armstrong Idsal, Chair
Ernest Angelo, Jr.
John Avila, Jr.
Joseph Fitzsimons
Alvin L. Henry (absent)
Philip O’B Montgomery, III
Donato Ramos
Kelly W. Rising, M.D.
Mark E. Watson, Jr.

II. OPENING STATEMENT: Commissioner Avila called the meeting to order.

III. APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Commissioner Avila asked for a motion to approve the minutes from the January 16th, 2002 meeting. He then placed a motion for approval. The motion was moved by Commissioner Montgomery, seconded by Commissioner Watson and carried. The motion passed unanimously.


1. BRIEFING – Chairman Charges

Presenter: Mr. Robert L. Cook

Robert L. Cook, Executive Director, stated to the Commission that part of the briefing given today by the Ad-hoc Infrastructure Committee includes a resolution proposal, for consideration at the public hearing, authorizing the first issue of the proposition 8 general obligation bonds.

2. BRIEFING – General Obligation Bond Program

Mr. Steve Whiston

Mr. Steve Whiston, Acting Director of the Infrastructure Division, briefed the Commission on the general obligation bond issue designated for the purpose of construction and repair projects. He reminded the Commission that the bond issue was part of an $850 million general obligation bond approved by the Texas voters on November 6, 2001 for 13 state agencies. Of the $850 million, the legislature authorized Texas Parks & Wildlife Department to receive $101.5 million over the next three bienniums.

He went on to say that the general obligation bonds include $15 million to complete the remaining critical repairs that was identified by the 1996 Infrastructure Task Force and includes $54 million for the planned and scheduled facility repairs. It also includes $32.5 million for the repair and renovation of five specific park sites identified by the 77th Legislature. They are: Levi Jordan Plantation, National Museum of the Pacific War, San Jacinto Battleground, Sheldon Lake, and the Battleship.

Levi Jordan Plantation is identified to receive $4.1 million for the development of a new state historic site interpreting the African-American heritage of Texas. The general obligation bond funds will be used primarily for the development of site and interpretive master plans, archeological surveys, and the restoration of the plantation house. The National Museum of the Pacific War is proposed to receive $1.1 million for the repairs of the former Nimitz Hotel and improvements to the visitor orientation facility and landscaping.

About $12.3 million is recommended for the San Jacinto Battleground for the restoration of the battlefield, utilities, roads, and the repair of historic structures. Approximately $2.6 million is included in the program for the construction of the Sheldon Lake Environmental Education Center. Plans include redeveloping this former fish hatchery wetland into a giant natural outdoor classroom for inner city school children. General obligation bond funds will be used for the engineering, design, utility infrastructure, roads, restrooms, and renovation of facilities on the site. The Battleship is identified to receive $12.5 million for towing and dry dock repairs.

He explained that the first bond issue totaling $36.68 million includes $31 million for facility repairs and $5.68 million for the renovation of San Jacinto, National Museum of the Pacific War, Sheldon Lake, and Levi Jordan. He further explained to the Commission that the agency will need and expects to receive legislative authority for the remaining bonds in subsequent legislative sessions. Responding to a question by Commissioner Avila concerning the funding compared to length of the projects, Mr. Whiston explained that the issues were planned and scheduled so that the funding would coincide with the need for the funds to accomplish the work.

Commissioner Montgomery inquired about the authority for approving the bonds and the process to draw from them. Mr. Whiston explained that the general obligation bonds would be issued under commercial paper, which gives the agency the authority to draw the funds as needed and that the Texas Public Finance Authority would pay for the debt service.

Mr. Whiston then commented on the collaborative effort of all the divisions for putting together the $31 million repair program. He stated that the Facility Management System made the process considerably easier and that each division took part in the process of determining the overall agency priorities. Once the final list was prepared, the division directors and their capital program staff confirmed the list before it was given to Mr. Cook for final approval. He further commented that the bond package would be submitted to the Texas Public Finance Authority (TPFA) to initiate the sale of the bonds and start the financing process after receiving Commission approval on the bond resolution. After receiving approval from TPFA and The Bond Review Bond, the bond issue would then be presented to the Commission for final approval in August as part of the FY03 Capital and Operating Budget.

He then gave the Commission a breakout of the $31 million repair program by three major categories. Of the $31 million, 37 percent or $11.6 million is dedicated for water and wastewater system renovation, 58 percent or $17.9 million will be used for facility repairs. The remaining 5 percent or $1.5 million are to bring our facilities in compliance with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). Once bond funds are released from TPFA, the implementation of the projects can move forward as preliminary schedules have already been established. He then gave the Commission a few project examples and explained to the Commission that a portion of the $31 million includes funds for design-only projects to provide a head start with the FY04 projects.

Mr. Whiston concluded his presentation with a proposal recommending the adoption of the bond resolution be placed on the agenda for the public hearing. Commission Avila asked about the amount of in-house construction versus outsourcing. Mr. Whiston replied that the majority of large projects are planned for outsourcing while our internal design staff will do the smaller valued projects. Commissioner Avila, without further objection, placed the bond resolution on the Thursday Commission agenda for public comment and action and also gave praise to the leaders of Infrastructure for developing the division into a professional construction management unit.


VI. ADJOURNMENT: There being no further business, Commissioner Angelo adjourned the May 29, 2002 meeting of the Ad Hoc Infrastructure Committee of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Committee Agenda Item No. 1

AD HOC Infrastructure Committee
Chairman's Charges
November 2002

(This item will be an oral presentation.)

Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Presenter: Steve Whiston

Ad Hoc Infrastructure Committee
Capital Project Update
November 2002

I. Discussion: The Commission will be given a presentation on the Capital Construction Program. The presentation will include project status, funding, expenditure, and implementation plans for the FY03 Bond Program.