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O F F I C I A L P U B L I C AT I O N O F T H E T E X A S M U N I C I P A L L E A G U E AUGUST 08 VOLUME XCV NUMBER 8

Our Aging Infrastructure: A Challenge for Texas and the Nation


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Look at the art of Gini Garcia and see San Antonio. The twirl of skirts frozen in mid-fiesta. Cantina lights reflected in the nighttime river. She finds all this local color here in her Southtown backyard, where an open-armed arts community and a world of inspiration flow together in molten glass through her passionate artistry. Let Gini and the many arts and artists of San Antonio ignite and inspire you. Deep. In the heart.

©2008 by San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau.

V I S I T S A N A N T O N I O . C O M

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Contents Published by the Texas Municipal League,

A U G U S T

1821 Rutherford Lane, Suite 400, Austin, Texas

VOL. XCV

U

2 0 0 8

ISSN 1084-5356

78754-5128, 512-231-7400. This publication assumes no responsibility for statements made by contributors in signed articles. It is not operated for

Fe a t u r e s

pecuniary gain.

Editor

Karla Vining

Asst. Editor Gwena Cearley

10 The State of the Union—Crumbling

Designer

Janice McLemore Graphic Design

Printing

Capital Printing

15 Infrastructure Needs in Texas Texas Town & City (ISSN 1084-5356) is published monthly except bimonthly in November/December for $30 per year ($3.00 per single copy) by the Texas

16 The Connection Between Infrastructure and Revenue Caps

Municipal League, 1821 Rutherford Lane, Suite 400, Austin, Texas 78754-5128. Periodicals Postage Paid at Austin, Texas. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Texas Town & City, 1821 Rutherford Lane,

18 Cities and Their Parts: Is America on the Road to Ruin?

Suite 400, Austin, Texas 78754-5128.

Section 305.027, Government Code, requires legislative advertising to disclose certain information.

22 Mayors, Senators Call for Infrastructure Plan, Financing

A person who knowingly enters into a contract or other agreement to print, publish, or broadcast legislative advertising that does not contain the

24 Program at a Glance: 2008 TML Annual Conference and Exhibition

required information commits a Class A misdemeanor offense. Texas Town & City contains material which is legislative advertising as defined by state law.

26 A Feast of Texas Festivals

Mr. Frank Sturzl has entered into an agreement with Capital Printing for the printing of Texas Town & City

34 Pennington on Leadership: Leader or Liar?

magazine. Mr. Sturzl represents the member cities of the Texas Municipal League. His address is 1821 Rutherford Lane, Suite 400, Austin, Texas 78754-5128.

About the Cover “Infrastructure is the four-syllable jawbreaker that governments use to describe the concrete, stone, steel, wires, and wood that Americans rely on every day but barely notice until something goes awry.”

In Every Issue 5 Message from the President 6 Small Cities’ Corner 8 Legal Q&A 35 Professional Cards

10%

Cert no. BV-COC-080317


About the Texas Municipal League

Texas Municipal League Board of Directors

The Texas Municipal League exists solely to provide services to Texas cities. Since its formation in 1913, the League’s mission has remained the same: to serve the needs and advocate the interests of its members. Membership in the League is voluntary and is open to any city in Texas. From the original 13 members, TML’s membership has grown to more than 1,090 cities. Over 16,000 mayors, councilmembers, city managers, city attorneys, and department heads are member officials of the League by virtue of their cities’participation.

President Todd Pearson, Mayor, Rockport

Shona Bohon, Court Administrator, Midland Texas Court Clerks Association Cleve Calagna, Fire Chief, Villages Fire Department

President-Elect

Texas Fire Chiefs Association

John Cook, Mayor, El Paso

Judy Freeman Chambers, Mayor Pro Tem, Mexia

Past Presidents

Randy Childers, Building Official, Waco

Texas Association of Black City Council Members

Henry Wilson, Councilmember, Hurst Dock Jackson, Councilmember, Bastrop Terry Henley, Mayor Pro Tem, Meadows Place

Building Officials Association of Texas Carol Cooper, Purchasing Director, Garland Texas Public Purchasing Association G. M. Cox, Chief of Police, Corsicana

The League provides a variety of services to its member cities. One of the principal purposes of the League is to advocate municipal interests at the state and federal levels. Among the thousands of bills introduced during each session of the Texas Legislature are hundreds of bills that would affect cities. The League, working through its Legislative Services Department, attempts to defeat detrimental city-related bills and to facilitate the passage of legislation designed to improve the ability of municipal governments to operate effectively.

Directors-at-Large Robert Cluck, Mayor, Arlington Will Wynn, Mayor, Austin Henry Garrett, Mayor, Corpus Christi Tom Leppert, Mayor, Dallas John Cook, Mayor, El Paso Jungus Jordan, Councilmember, Fort Worth James Rodriguez, Councilmember, Houston Justin Rodriguez, Councilmember, San Antonio

Regional Directors 2-Debra McCartt, Mayor, Amarillo 3-Laura Lynn Wilson, Mayor, Slaton 4-Sherry Phillips, Mayor, McCamey

The League employs full-time attorneys who are available to provide member cities with advice and information on municipal legal matters. On a daily basis, the legal staff responds to member cities’ written and oral questions on a wide variety of legal matters.

5-Linda Shelton, Councilmember, Bowie 6-Anthony Williams, Mayor Pro Tem, Abilene 7-Tony Wilenchik, Councilmember, Schertz 8-Harry Jeffries, Mayor, Watauga 9-John P. Erwin, Jr., Mayor, Hillsboro 10-Roselee Mondrik, Councilmember, Cameron 11-Sam Fugate, Mayor, Kingsville

The League annually conducts a variety of conferences and training seminars to enhance the knowledge and skills of municipal officials in the state. In addition, the League also publishes a variety of printed materials to assist member cities in performing their duties. The best known of these is the League’s monthly magazine, Texas Town & City. Each issue focuses on a variety of contemporary municipal issues, including survey results

12-Joel Quintanilla, Mayor, Mercedes 13-Rob Franke, Mayor, Cedar Hill

Texas Police Chiefs Association Patricia Ervin, City Secretary, Waco Texas Municipal Clerks Association, Inc. Phyllis Jarrell, Director of Planning, Plano Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association Mike Lester, Director of Health and EMS, Baytown Texas Association of Municipal Health Officials Sharon Logan, Community Information Officer, Coppell Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers Larry Offerdahl, Director of Parks and Recreation, Amarillo Texas Municipal Parks, Recreation and Tourism Association Cynthia Pearson, Director of Finance, League City Government Finance Officers Association of Texas Lauren Safranek, Director of Human Resources, Frisco Texas Municipal Human Resources Association Matt Singleton, Director of Public Works, Grapevine Texas Public Works Association Greg Vick, Assistant City Manager, Farmers Branch Texas City Management Association Diane Wetherbee, City Attorney, Plano Texas City Attorneys Association Will Wilde, Director of Water Utilities, San Angelo Texas Municipal Utilities Association

14-Wayne Riddle, Mayor, Deer Park 15-Wayne Frost, Mayor Pro Tem, Longview 16-Jack Gorden, Jr., Mayor, Lufkin

Affiliate Directors Ray Aranda, Jr., Alderman, Dilley

Ex-Officio Non-Voting Invited Representatives TML Intergovernmental Risk Pool Mary Gauer

Association of Hispanic Municipal Officials Marie A. Briseno, Councilmember, Lamesa Association of Mayors, Councilmembers,

to respond to member inquiries.

and Commissioners

TML Intergovernmental Employee Benefits Pool Joe Arisco, Mayor Pro Tem, Groves

Joyce Baumbach, Director of Libraries, Plano

For additional information on any of these services, contact the Texas Municipal League at 512-231-7400 or visit our Web site, www.tml.org.

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Texas Municipal Library Directors Association Donna Benham, Tax and Revenue Manager, Keller Texas Association of Municipal Tax Administrators

AUGUST 2008

TML Executive Director Frank J. Sturzl


Message from the President Todd Pearson Mayor, Rockport

Dear Texas City Official, This issue of Texas Town & City focuses on the state’s infrastructure, the often-invisible and taken-for-granted systems, facilities, and structures upon which our economy and our quality of life depend. For cities, “infrastructure” especially means streets, bridges, drinking water systems, wastewater treatment, and solid waste disposal—facilities and services that ensure our very survival. Unfortunately, as the lead-off article points out, much of America’s infrastructure is in bad shape. Another article drills down into the condition of infrastructure in the Lone Star State. Finally— and perhaps most importantly—be sure to read an article titled “The Connection Between Infrastructure and Revenue Caps,” in which we present solid evidence that legislative attempts to place additional restrictions on the ability of cities to generate property tax revenue will, if successful, further damage our infrastructure, to the detriment of our state’s job growth and economic health. This topic will continue to be debated in the months and years to come. The quality of life our citizens enjoy and expect is dependent on these most basic services. I hope as you read this issue of the magazine, you will think about what this means to your city. Sincerely,

Todd Pearson TML President

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Small Cities’ Corner Health Care Goes High-Tech in Rural Friona and Wellington By Julie V. Kelly Public Information Specialist, Office of Rural Community Affairs (ORCA)

Is Your Rural Community Ready for Telemedicine? Telemedicine is the remote practice of medicine using electronic equipment to gather and transmit medical data. For example, the sound of a patient’s lungs and heart can be transmitted via an electronic stethoscope and a laptop to a doctor hundreds of miles away in an urban hospital, similar to the way information travels on the Internet. Is telemedicine the solution to rural Texas’ health care problem? Debbie Voyles, director of telemedicine at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, hopes that Friona and Wellington will answer that question. “When rural health care needs are not being met because of factors like geographic distance, telemedicine has the potential to help the community,” Voyles said. Texas Tech specializes in helping rural communities to access telemedicine, often working with them to find grant money to cover telemedicine equipment, which typically costs from $30$35,000 per project.

The Panhandle towns of Friona and Wellington are at the center of an experiment that could change the way many rural Texans access health care. By the end of November, a $1.6-million project will use electronic medical records and telemedicine to connect hospitals and ancillary health care providers in each town to the larger urban hospital in Amarillo. For patients in Friona and Wellington, the project will give their doctors and other health care providers rapid and secure access to electronic medical records. Telemedicine will allow patients in both towns to be treated by specialists in Amarillo while being examined by local doctors.

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“The biggest problem (for communities) is connectivity,” said Voyles. “We work with them to find grant money for the equipment, if they are interested. The biggest problem is managing the ongoing cost of transmitting the medical data over special lines. For video, you need a certain bandwidth that is a lot faster than dial-up.” The cost of a service able to transmit medical data is about $300 per month. That’s why the project in Friona and Wellington could change rural health care. Both towns are testing a technology called DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) to transfer video and audio information over ordinary copper telephone lines. DSL service costs only $70-90 per month and could remove the cost barrier of connectivity. “I would like to see telemedicine everywhere,” said Voyles. “If we can provide access that is the same as urban access, that’s the benefit of telemedicine.”


Telemedicine is the use of electronic telecommunications equipment, such as laptops, electronic stethoscopes, and cameras to practice medicine from a remote location. The project will connect Collingsworth General Hospital in Wellington and Parmer County Community Hospital in Friona, along with many local health care partners, with Northwest Texas Hospital in Amarillo. The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) in Lubbock will implement the telemedicine component for specialty consultations. The Texas A&M Health Science Center Rural and Community Health Institute (RCHI) is managing the project. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded the $1.6-million grant to the Texas Office of Rural Community Affairs (ORCA) through a national competition. Kathy Mechler, co-director and chief operating officer of RCHI, said that the speed and security of electronic medical records will result in better coordinated care with better outcomes for patients. She explained that the addition of telemedicine will give both community

hospitals the ability to offer advanced and specialty care from a major medical center. “For example, a patient who has surgery in Amarillo can be transferred to the local hospital in Friona or Wellington but still be examined by the surgeon more than 100 miles away in Amarillo,� said Mechler. “The rural hospital has the benefit of filling that bed, and the patient is more comfortable near home.� “Ideally, this project will serve as a roadmap for rural communities that want to improve care and help their hospitals remain financially viable,� said Charles S. (Charlie) Stone, ORCA’s executive director. Lance Gatlin, administrator of Parmer County Community Hospital, said that the financial impact to the hospitals has not been the primary focus of the project. However, it does have the potential to reduce costs and improve efficiency. “What will be vital in demonstrating to others that this was a successful venture will be our tracking of improved patient outcomes and reduction of costs,� Gatlin said. “Obviously, for something to be replicated in other communities, it has to be feasible in its implementation and costs.� ★

Saving one city at a time!

Wonder Writer aka: Jeri Petersen Public Relations

The Mighty Pen aka: Dennis Strini Writer

Data Boy Captain Orasi aka: Paul Sobolak aka: Jack Thompson, CEcD Demographics/Urban Geography City Development

Super Stylus aka: Jennifer Henderson Design/Marketing

Monetary Man aka: R. Lance Reardon Finance and Economic Incentives

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AUGUST 2008

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Legal Q & A By Evelyn W. Njuguna former TML Legal Counsel

As a regular feature of Texas Town & City, the questions and answers provided in this article are stated in general terms. Your city attorney or legal counsel should always be contacted about how the law applies to your city’s specific fact situations.

Editor’s Note: Evelyn left the TML Legal Services Department in July. She has taken a position as assistant city attorney with the City of Houston. Her expertise and dedication to the League’s membership will be sorely missed, and we wish her well in her new position.

Q A

How is volunteer status determined under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)?

To qualify as a “volunteer” under the FLSA, an individual must satisfy three conditions: (1) the person must perform hours of service for civic, charitable, or humanitarian reasons without promise, expectation, or receipt of compensation for rendered services; (2) the services must be offered freely and without pressure or coercion, direct or implied, from an employer; and (3) the person cannot be employed by the city to perform the same type of services that are volunteered. See 29 C.F.R. §553.101. An individual who meets these criteria is considered a volunteer and not an employee who is subject to the FLSA minimum wage and overtime pay provisions.

Q A

May a city compensate a volunteer?

Cities that use volunteers often wrestle with what they can pay the individuals without jeopardizing their volunteer status. Although the FLSA provides that a volunteer may not be compensated, it allows a city to pay “expenses, reasonable benefits, [and] a nominal fee” to bona fide volunteers without jeopardizing their volunteer status. Id. §553.106. For example, a city may reimburse a volunteer for approximate out-of-pocket expenses incurred incidentally to providing volunteer services. Id. Such expenses may include uniform allowances, reasonable cleaning expenses, transportation or meal costs, books or supplies, or tuition to attend classes intended to teach the individual to perform the volunteer services efficiently. Id. §553.106 (a)-(c). A city may also furnish a volunteer with reasonable

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benefits—including group insurance plans (for example, liability, health, life, disability, workers’ compensation), pension plans, or length-of-service awards—without jeopardizing an individual’s volunteer status. Id. §553.106(d). The term “nominal fee” is not defined by the FLSA, but the FLSA regulations provide guidance for when a fee is nominal and permissible. For a payment to be considered a permissible “nominal fee,” it must not be “a substitute for compensation” or “tied to productivity.” Id. §553.106(e). The United States Department of Labor (DOL) acknowledges that the prohibition against tying a volunteer’s payment to productivity does not preclude a city from paying a volunteer a “per call” or a “per shift” fee, as long as the fee can be fairly characterized as tied to the volunteer’s sacrifice rather than productivity. Id.; Dep’t Labor Op. FLSA 200628 (Aug. 7, 2006). The DOL also created a bright-line rule that provides that a fee not exceeding twenty percent of the amount a city would pay a full-time employee performing the same services is a “nominal fee.” Dep’t Labor Op. FLSA 2005-51 (Nov. 10, 2005). A city should look to its payroll as a benchmark for this calculation and, absent such information, look to information from neighboring jurisdictions, the state, or ultimately the nation, including information provided by DOL’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Id

Q A

May a city employee also serve as a volunteer for the city?

City employees may desire to volunteer at certain city events, and cities often welcome such benevolent services. However, a city should be aware of certain restrictions imposed by the FLSA. Employees of a city may volunteer their services provided that “such services are not the same type of services which the individual is employed to perform for the city.” 29 C.F.R. §553.103(a). The term “same type of services” means “similar or identical services” and includes duties that are “closely related to the actual duties performed by or responsibilities assigned to the


employee.” Id. For example, a firefighter cannot volunteer as a firefighter for the same city. Id. Also, a volunteer would be precluded from working some shifts for pay for the city and continue to work some shifts on a volunteer basis. In this case, all hours worked on all shifts would have to be combined and compensated for FLSA purposes. Even without evidence of coercion, allowing paid employees to perform the “same type of services” for their employer on an uncompensated “volunteer” basis if they choose to do so would be in violation of the FLSA. Dep’t Labor Op. FLSA 2004-15 (Oct. 18, 2004). In contrast, a city employee may volunteer to perform in a different capacity for the employing city. For example, a city police officer may volunteer as a part-time referee in a basketball league sponsored by the city. 29 C.F.R. §553.103(c). In addition, a person who is employed to provide a specific service to a city may provide the “same type of services” on a volunteer basis to a different public entity.

Q A

Q A

Would a city be liable to a volunteer who is injured while volunteering?

To the extent authorized by the TTCA, a city may be liable to persons, including volunteers, for property damage, personal injury, and death proximately caused by the wrongful act, omission, or negligence of a city employee, or the condition or use of personal or real property. TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE § 101.021. A city owes the same duty of care to volunteers as to others on city property. City of Austin v. Selter, 415 S.W.2d 489 (Tex.Civ.App.--Austin 1967). A city may want to limit its liability by obtaining liability coverage for its volunteers. State law allows a city to provide workers’ compensation insurance for its volunteers. TEX. LAB. CODE §504.012. Additionally, each volunteer police force member of a city must be insured or covered against any injury suffered in the course and scope of performing the person’s assigned duties at the request of or under a contract with a state agency or city. TEX. GOV’T CODE §614.122. ★

Would a city be liable for the actions of its volunteer?

Although a volunteer is generally not considered a city employee, a volunteer’s action may create liability for a city. As such, a city should be cognizant of its responsibilities involving volunteers. The Texas Tort Claims Act (TTCA) waives sovereign immunity for certain actions of governmental employees. TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE § 101.021(1). The Act defines an employee as “a person, including an officer or agent, who is in the paid service of a governmental unit.” Id. § 101.001(2). The Supreme Court of Texas has concluded that an unpaid “volunteer” is generally not considered an “employee” for whose acts the governmental unit can be held liable. Harris County v. Dillard, 883 S.W.2d 166, 167 (Tex. 1994). However, a city may be liable for the acts of a volunteer in some cases, such as where the city: (1) has the right to direct the volunteer in his/her duties; (2) has an interest in the work being carried out by the volunteer; (3) accepts direct or indirect benefit from the volunteer’s work; and (4) has the right to fire or replace the volunteer. El Paso Laundry Co. v. Gonzales, 36 S.W.2d 793 (Tex. Civ. App. — El Paso 1931). There may also be a basis for liability stemming from the negligent screening and hiring of volunteers. See Doe v. Boys Club of Greater Dallas, Inc., 907 S.W.2d 472 (Tex. 1995). Given that liability questions are notoriously fact-specific, city officials should consult with local counsel and their liability coverage providers regarding liability for the actions of its volunteers.

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The State of the Union—Crumbling By Eric Kelderman, Stateline.org Reprinted with permission of Stateline.org.

Editor’s Note: Text in bold italics below is additional material provided by the TML staff.

T

he numbers are staggering. More than one in four of America’s nearly 600,000 bridges need significant repairs or are burdened with more traffic than they were designed to carry, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. A third of the country’s major roadways are in substandard condition—a significant factor in a third of the more than 43,000 traffic fatalities each year, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Traffic jams waste four billion hours of commuters’ time and nearly three billion gallons of gasoline a year, the Texas Transportation Institute calculates. Dams, too, are at risk. The number of dams that could fail has grown 134 percent since 1999 to 3,346, and more than 1,300 of those are “high-hazard,” meaning their collapse would threaten lives, the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) found. More than a third of dam failures or near failures since 1874 have happened in the last decade. Underground, aging and inadequate sewer systems spill an estimated 1.26 trillion gallons of untreated sewage every year, resulting in an estimated $50.6 billion in cleanup costs, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “Much of America is held together by Scotch tape, bailing wire, and prayers,” said Donald F. Kettl, director of the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania. Fixing these problems and others threatening the nation’s critical infrastructure would cost $1.6 trillion—more than half of the annual federal budget, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) estimates. And that doesn’t include what it will cost for new capacity to serve a growing population. Recognizing the importance of structures so integral to U.S. commerce and Americans’ well-being and safety, local, state, and federal governments already are budgeting nearly two-thirds of the $1.6 trillion needed for infrastructure work. The problem is they raid many of those funds for other purposes, ASCE says. Coming up with new money to fill the funding gap has become a political nightmare, with politicians and the public trying to avoid anything that looks like a higher tax.

“We have convinced ourselves that infrastructure is free, that someone else should be paying, or that we have paid our share,” said Mike Pagano, an urban planning expert at the University of Illinois at Chicago. There is ample evidence to support Pagano’s assertion. For example, total federal, state, and local spending on infrastructure—expressed as a percentage of gross domestic product—has decreased from over three percent in the early 1960s to roughly 2.4 percent today, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Infrastructure is the four-syllable jawbreaker that governments use to describe the concrete, stone, steel, wires, and wood that Americans rely on every day but barely notice until something goes awry. Broadly speaking, it includes airports, the electrical energy grid, hazardous and solid-waste storage sites, navigable inland waterways, public parks, schools, and even the security to protect all of those structures. While the federal government bears the broadest responsibility to keep America’s gears turning, state and local governments are accountable for supplying more than half of the money and all of the manpower to build and maintain the country’s vast ground transportation network. States also have regulatory oversight of 85 percent of dams and help fund drinking water and wastewater systems. Federal and state officials share the blame for shortfalls in America’s maintenance budget. Congress hasn’t raised the federal gasoline tax of 18.4 cents per gallon—which pays for about 45 percent of all road construction—since 1993, nor have many state leaders been willing to charge drivers more at the pump to pay for local road repairs. According to the Energy Information Agency, the United States gasoline tax is much lower than the same tax in European nations. Nation

Netherlands United Kingdom Germany Belgium France Italy United States

Gas Tax Per Gallon (in U.S. dollars)

$ 5.06 4.93 4.90 4.83 4.60 4.43 0.40* * Average federal/state tax

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The association of state dam officials contends that most state dam safety programs are underfunded, understaffed, and often don’t have adequate authority to regulate safety standards or emergency plans. Likewise, the federal dam safety program, which helps pay for the upkeep of structures, never has been fully funded by Congress. The EPA estimates that the nation is falling short on water infrastructure by $22 billion annually. The federal Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which makes low-interest loans to clean up or protect water supplies, has shrunk from more than $3 billion in 1990 to roughly $1 billion in 2007. The consequences of skimping can be dire: â–

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On Aug. 1, 2007, the Interstate 35 bridge in downtown Minneapolis collapsed into the Mississippi River, killing 13 people and injuring at least 80. Losing the state’s most heavily traveled bridge is costing an estimated $400,000 daily in extra commuting time and gasoline, said Brian McClung, a spokesman for Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R). Steam pipe explosions in Midtown Manhattan last summer killed one person, injured dozens, and disrupted businesses.

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In March 2006, the 116-year-old Kaloko Reservoir Dam in Hawaii collapsed after heavy rains, killing seven people and causing nearly $15 million in damage.

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In August 2005, after Hurricane Katrina, levees holding back Lake Pontchartrain gave way, flooding major parts of New Orleans. The storm and flooding are blamed for more than a thousand deaths and more than $100 billion in damage.

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In May 2002, the Interstate 40 bridge near Webbers Falls, Oklahoma, collapsed into the Arkansas River, killing 14 people.

Despite urgent calls to prevent more tragedy from failed infrastructure, politicians and voters have signaled they are gun-shy of new taxes. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) twice vetoed gasoline-tax hikes before the Minneapolis bridge fell. After the bridge collapse, the Legislature in 2007 considered a 5-cent gas-tax increase but failed to agree to a statewide transportation package. In 2008, however, the Legislature overrode a Pawlenty veto to approve an 8.5-cents-a-gallon increase in the gasoline tax. Washington state voters in 2006 did pass a 9.5-cent increase in the state’s gas tax, but last year passed a followup measure to require a two-thirds vote in the Legislature or voter approval for any tax increases. This year, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman (R) vetoed a 1.2-cents-a-gallon gas-tax increase, but his veto was overridden by the Legislature. The reluctance to increase gasoline tax rates comes at a time of rapid inflation in highway construction costs. A March 2008 report published by the Associated General Contractors of America found that between December 2003 and December 2007, the producer price index for highway and street construction rose by 49 percent. The consumer price index rose by just 15 percent during the same period. To begin to address their transportation problems, state governments are borrowing more money, adding user fees such as tolls, and striking deals with private companies, including leasing state assets. Proposals to pay for bridge and road repairs with tolling are on the upsurge with politicians—though not with the public. In Pennsylvania, Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell wants the state to adopt one of two competing proposals to help raise money for transportation needs, and both have met with strong resistance from residents, truck drivers, and others. One of the proposals, muscled through the General Assembly by Rendell last year, would add tolls to a section of Interstate 80 to collect $950 million a year for the state; the plan, however, has not yet received the necessary


federal approval. Many civic groups are opposed to tolling I-80 because they say it would discourage tourism and trucking along the cross-state corridor, and they have urged state and federal leaders to reconsider. The other proposal, now being debated in the Assembly, would lease the Pennsylvania Turnpike to a private firm for 75 years for a whopping $12.8 billion. The deal would be similar to Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’ (R) 2006 lease of the Indiana Toll Road to a foreign firm for $3.8 billion. Political backlash over that deal became a factor in the 2006 elections, when Democrats recaptured a majority in the Indiana House. Daniels subsequently shelved two smaller proposals for privately built and managed toll roads in the Hoosier State.

to handle $500 billion in public projects that he says are needed over the next 20 years. That plan follows his success in 2006 in convincing voters to approve more than $40 billion in bonds for transportation, water, and school-building projects. In 2007, Texans approved more than $6 billion in bonds for roads, flood control, and clean water projects. Overall, states’ debts nearly doubled between 2000 and 2005, from $1 billion to $1.9 billion, according to Federal Reserve Board data. Using bonds to pay for capital projects can be a worthwhile reason for debt because the results provide long-term public and economic benefits, said Sujit CanagaRetna, a fiscal analyst for the Council of State Governments. However, Chris Edwards, who studies budget issues at the libertarian Cato Institute, argues that debt, even to finance infrastructure, just defers the tax bill. Instead, he favors the privatization approach. One of the chief challenges facing infrastructure is simply age. Much of the nation’s transportation infrastructure was erected in the boom days after World War II and is reaching the end of its life cycle. Half of the nation’s bridges were built before 1964, when the ill-fated Minneapolis bridge was constructed. More than half of the bridges in Rhode Island and Massachusetts

But many other states continue to barrel down the path of privatization as more allow for-profit firms to lease, design, build, and operate public infrastructure—options that are more widespread in other developed countries. In the United Kingdom, for example, 10 percent to 13 percent of all infrastructure projects involve some public-private partnership, according to Deloitte Services, LP, part of a worldwide consulting firm. In the United States, more than $21 billion in publicprivate transportation deals have been signed in the past dozen years, with projects in California, Florida, Texas, and Virginia accounting for half of that amount. Also, more than 25,000 water and wastewater systems are managed privately, according to a 2006 Deloitte report. One new cutting-edge program will let Missouri repair or replace 800 of its small and medium-sized bridges within five years. The state will choose a team of private contractors to finance construction costs up front and maintain the structures for 25 years. The Show Me State will pay back the builders annually for a quarter century, costing the state at least double the initial construction costs but providing a quick fix for ailing bridges. The plan spares lawmakers from seeking higher gasoline taxes or new tolls. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is calling for legislation to encourage more public-private partnerships AUGUST 2008

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also are rated deficient or obsolete, according to the U.S. Transportation Department. More than a third of the nation’s nearly 83,000 dams already are 50 years old, and within a decade, 60 percent will reach the half-century mark. Cast-iron pipes from the 19th century still carry water to sinks in some of the nation’s oldest cities and are overdue to be replaced, according to the American Water Works Association. Although it has not done a state-by-state survey, the association estimates that replacing worn-out water pipes will cost $250 billion over 30 years. Last November, Congress overrode President Bush’s veto to authorize up to $23 billion over 15 years for water projects. Another worry is that the nation’s growing population is creating a need for more capacity. Today, 246 million cars—278 percent more than 50 years ago—are forced to squeeze onto 47,000 miles of interstate that have increased only 15 percent during the last half-century. New Jersey has the most snarled traffic in the country with congestion choking 58 percent of its urban roads and 52 percent of rural roads, according to an analysis of federal data by The Road Information Project. To handle growing transportation needs, the federal highway system will have to double during the next 50 years, and public transportation ridership should double within 20 years, according to recommendations from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). Railways should be prepared to handle a 63 percent increase in freight by 2035, the association estimated. Besides stretching the country’s infrastructure to its limits, the growing population puts more people in harm’s way when something goes wrong. Development in floodplains and below dams has contributed to the fast-rising costs of flood damage, estimated at an annual $6 billion before this year’s devastating Mississippi River flooding, according to the Association of State Floodplain Managers. Dams are a major concern for states, which have regulatory oversight of 85 percent of those structures even though

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nearly two-thirds are privately owned. The federal government monitors the other 15 percent, mostly major hydropower generators such as the massive Hoover Dam on the Colorado River. Ohio has the highest percentage of dams listed as deficient, with 48 percent, according to data compiled by ASDSO. Indiana is second, with nearly 45 percent of its dams rated in need of repair. States set their own standards for rating dam safety. Another challenge is that infrastructure repairs simply aren’t as sexy as ribbon-cuttings. The public and politicians are more likely to support new construction, leaving existing structures wanting, said Pagano, the urban planning expert in Chicago. It’s like buying a car and budgeting only for the purchase price, ignoring the costs of insurance, fuel, oil changes, and new tires, he said. The Government Performance Project (GPP), which measures how effectively states are managed, called unfunded and deferred maintenance “unquestionably the biggest problem for states in their management of infrastructure.” (The GPP, like Stateline.org, is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts.) Overall, rehabilitating a dilapidated structure can cost six to 20 times more than routine maintenance would have cost, Deloitte’s analysts found. For example, the Minnesota bridge that collapsed in August 2007 had been tagged “structurally deficient” in 1990. But the state deferred a $1.5 million steel-reinforcement project scheduled for 2006 and ordered more frequent inspections. The cost to build a new bridge is slated at $250 million. States also are skimping on staff to check up on existing structures. Minnesota had 77 bridge inspectors for 14,000 bridges. “There aren’t enough hours in the workday for 77 inspectors to check 14,000 bridges the way we should” with an inspection every two years, Minnesota bridge inspector Bart Andersen testified on Capitol Hill. One problem of paying for repairs is that the pot of money for improvements is steadily shrinking in value, if not in size. Matthew L. Garrett, director of the Oregon Department of Transportation, said that even with a growing number of taxpayers, revenues aren’t keeping pace with the bills. Spending on bricks-and-mortar projects equaled about 2 percent of per capita personal income in the 1950s and 1960s but has shrunk to less than 1 percent, Garrett said. Compounding the problem, prices for steel, concrete, and land have grown rapidly in recent years. Road-building costs are projected to increase more than 70 percent between 1993, when federal gas taxes were last increased, and 2015, according to an AASHTO report. The association estimates that federal gasoline taxes would have to rise 10 cents to 28.4 cents per gallon by 2015 just to keep up with maintenance. ★


Infrastructure Needs in Texas exas tions ous Society of report card for Texas:

T

infrastructure mirrors the condifound nationwide (please see previarticle). In 2005, the American Civil Engineers (ASCE) issued a for each state. Here are partial results

BRID GES ■

DAMS ■

The state has determined that 113 dams are deficient.

Rehabilitation of the most critical dams would cost an estimated $667 million.

R OA D S ■

40 percent of major urban roads are congested.

29 percent of major urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition.

Vehicle travel increased by 38 percent between 1990 and 2003, a period during which population grew by 30 percent.

Driving on roads in need of repair costs Texas motorists $3.8 billion a year in extra vehicle repair and operating costs—$294 per motorist.

21 percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

D RIN KIN G WATER/ WASTEWATER ■

The drinking water infrastructure need is $13 billion over the next 20 years.

The state has $9.15 billion in wastewater infrastructure needs. ★

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THE CONNECTION BETWEEN INFRASTRUCTURE AND REVENUE CAPS

W

ith the exception of construction, repair, and maintenance of the state highway system, infrastructure in Texas is primarily the responsibility of local governments. Streets, bridges, drinking water systems, and wastewater facilities are funded by local entities. Although some loans and very limited grant funds are available for some water projects, the fact remains that city streets, water systems, and wastewater utilities are built and maintained with citygenerated revenue. Furthermore, Texas cities are on their own when it comes to paying for these infrastructure projects. The paucity of state aid to Texas cities is well-documented. While most states (including virtually all of the most populous states) provide substantial financial assistance to cities to help pay for infrastructure, such grant programs generally do not exist in Texas. (A notable exception is the state’s grant program for local parks.) In fact, it can be argued that funds flow the other way—from local entities to the state. In fiscal year 2007, the Texas Department of Transportation received more than $207 million in revenue called “Local Participation.” This is money from local entities (including cities) to help pay for improvements to the state highway system. Much of the local revenue that is used to fund infrastructure projects comes from the property tax. That fact raises an interesting question: If the Texas Legislature passes legislation that limits or caps municipal property tax revenue, will municipal investment in infrastructure decrease? The answer is yes. The evidence is in the Texas Municipal League’s biennial fiscal conditions survey. When asked which cost-cutting measures were employed to balance the current-year budgets, cities consistently identify “postponed

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capital spending” as the most commonly used tactic. (Please see Chart 1 below.) Similarly, when asked to identify how they would respond to diminishing revenue in future years, city officials almost always select “postpone capital spending” as the top choice. (Please see Chart 2.) Here’s the bottom line: Any legislation that would place new restrictions on the ability of cities to generate property tax revenue will result in reduced spending on infrastructure, particularly city streets and bridges. Those spending cuts will harm regional economies and the state’s economy. This is particularly true at a time when infrastructure projects are

becoming more expensive because of hyperinflation in the costs of construction inputs. A recent TML survey of the state’s largest cities found the following increases in costs over the past three years: Asphalt 46% Concrete 32% Gasoline 54% Diesel Fuel 56% Rock 43% Sand 54% Without municipal investment in the infrastructure needed for industrial and commercial activity, the state’s job creation and economic growth will be severely damaged. And the most certain way to limit the construction and maintenance of infrastructure is to restrict the growth of tax revenue. ★

Chart 1 — Cost-Saving Measures (Percent of All Cities) Hiring freeze during the past two years Wage freeze during the past two years Reduced services Eliminated services Reduced salaries Laid off employees Postponed capital spending

1997 4.8% 3.7% 3.4% 2.1% 0.7% 7.4% 39.2%

1999 4.2% 2.5% 1.6% 0.9% 0.5% 3.5% 39.1%

2001 3.4% 2.6% 2.7% 1.7% 0.5% 4.1% 49.5%

2003 9.7% 6.3% 3.8% 2.2% 1.4% 8.6% 47.4%

2005 11.8% 10.3% 1.8% 1.0% 1.2% 9.1% 52.3%

2007 4.9% 2.9% 2.5% 1.4% 0.8% 5.9% 49.4%

Chart 2 — If Revenues Remain Constant or Diminish, What Will Cities Do? (Percent of All Cities) First Response Postpone capital spending Increase user fees Impose hiring freeze Raise property tax Impose wage freeze

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1997 43.3% 20.8% 16.7% 10.9% 3.6%

1999 34.8% 15.1% 16.0% 9.0% 3.8%

2001 33.3% 22.8% 29.2% 11.3% 10.2%

2003 29.2% 20.7% 34.6% 7.6% 9.9%

2005 27.3% 23.2% 34.1% 11.1% 13.7%

2007 39.5% 21.1% 19.1% 10.0% 3.4%


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Cities and Their Parts:

Is America on the Road to Ruin? By Roger L. Kemp, Ph.D.

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he term “infrastructure” refers to the basic facilities and installations necessary for cities to function in our society. These include transportation and communication systems (for example, highways, airports, bridges, telephone lines, cellular telephone towers, post offices); educational and health facilities; water, gas, and electrical systems (for example, dams, power lines, power plants, aqueducts); miscellaneous facilities (such as prisons, asylums, park structures); and other improvements to real property owned by government. In the United States, the infrastructure is divided into private and public sectors. In the latter case, it is divided again into facilities owned by municipal, county, state, and federal governments, as well as many special district authorities.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the only professional membership organization in the nation that has graded our nation’s public infrastructure, there are fifteen major categories of government infrastructure: Aviation Bridges Dams Drinking Water Energy

Hazardous Waste Navigable Waterways Parks and Recreation Rail Roads

Schools Security Solid Waste Transit Wastewater

Fiscal Crisis All levels of government in the U.S. are facing a new era of capital financing and infrastructure management. Revenues 18

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that once were available for capital construction, restoration, and maintenance have either diminished or evaporated entirely in recent years. Portions of the public infrastructure that were once adequate are now showing signs of distress, even decay, with no end in sight to the ongoing deterioration of America’s aging infrastructure. Local and state governments, as well as the federal government, are now subjected to unprecedented fiscal demands for public services in an environment of limited taxation and dwindling financial resources. Throughout the nation, many state government deficits loom ominously on the horizon. At the same time, the federal deficit is at an all-time high, exacerbated by the fact that our nation is financing military action in the Middle East. These negative fiscal circumstances, experts believe, are likely to continue for many years to come.


Congested highways, overflowing sewers, and corroding bridges are constant reminders of the pending crisis that jeopardizes our nation’s prosperity and the quality of life for our citizens. The recent bridge collapse in Minnesota is only an example of this trend. With new grades for the first time since 2001, the condition of our nation’s infrastructure has shown little to no improvement since receiving a collective grade of C- in 1988. Some areas slid downward toward failing grades. The American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2005 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure (see Note below) assesses the same categories it assessed in its previous survey. The grade comparison of America’s infrastructure between the ASCE’s most recent 2005 survey and its original survey in 1988 are highlighted below. U Aviation – Received a grade of B- in 1988 and a grade of D+ in 2005. U Bridges – Received a grade of C+ in 1988 and a grade of C in 2005. U Dams – While not graded in 1988, this category received a grade of D in 2005. U Drinking Water – Received a grade of B- in 1988 and a grade of D- in 2005. U Energy – While not graded in 1988, this category received a grade of D in 2005. U Hazardous Waste – This category received a grade of D in 1988 and again in 2005. U Navigable Waterways – While not graded in 1988, this category received a grade of D- in 2005. U Parks and Recreation – While not graded in 1988, this category received a grade of C- in 2005. U Rail – While not graded in 1988, this category received a grade of C- in 2005. U Roads – Received a grade of C+ in 1988 and a grade of D in 2005. U Schools – While not graded in 1988, this category received a grade of D in 2005. U Security – This category did not exist in 1988, and insufficient data is available to properly evaluate this category, so it received a grade of “I” in 2005. U Solid Waste – Received a grade of C- in 1988 and a grade of C+ in 2005. This is the only infrastructure category to improve its grade since the original evaluation. U Transit – Received a grade of C- in 1988 and a grade of D+ in 2005. U Wastewater – Received a grade of C in 1988 and a grade of D- in 2005. Our nation received a grade point average (GPA) of “C” in the 1988 infrastructure survey. Nearly two decades later, in 2005, the condition of America’s capital assets was rated with a GPA of “D.” Looking at these results, we cannot

ignore this issue for another two decades, or our national scorecard will reflect a GPA of “F” for our failure to address these issues. This rating system pretty much reflects the academic rating criteria, with “A” standing for “Exceptional,” “B” reflecting “Good,” “C” indicating “Mediocre,” “D” signifying “Poor,” and lastly, “F” denoting the lowest grade, or “Failure.” The letter “I” stands for “Incomplete,” since evaluative criteria have not yet been developed for assessment categories receiving this rating. In short, our country’s roads, bridges, sewers, and dams are crumbling and need a $1.6 trillion overhaul, but the political and fiscal prospects for improvement are grim. This is the amount of money necessary over the next five years to restore and rebuild major components of our nation’s public infrastructure. The nation’s drinking water system alone needs a public investment of $11 billion a year to replace facilities, comply with regulations, and meet our nation’s future drinking water needs. Federal grant funding in 2005 was only 10 percent of this amount. As a result, aging wastewater treatment systems are discharging billions of gallons of untreated sewage directly into our surface waters each year, according to the ASCE’s report. And the overt signs of our deteriorating infrastructure go on. Poor roads cost motorists $54 billion a year in repairs and operating costs, while Americans spend 3.5 billion hours a year stuck in traffic jams. The country’s power transmission system also needs to be modernized, the report indicated. While demand continues to rise, transmission capacity failed to keep pace and actually fell by two percent in 2001. As of 2003, 27 percent of the nation’s bridges were structurally deficient or obsolete, a slight improvement from the 28.5 percent in 2000. It is alarming to note, but since 1998, the number of unsafe dams in the country rose by 33 percent to more than 3,500. A dozen national professional associations have officially endorsed the ASCE’s 2005 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure. Some of these organizations include the American Public Works Association; the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association; The U. S. Conference of Mayors; the National Heavy and Highway Alliance; the American Road and Transportation Builders Association; the Association of State Dam Safety Officials; and the National Association of Clean Water Agencies. For a complete listing of these endorsing organizations, please refer to ASCE’s Web site at www.asce.org.

Economic Development It should be emphasized that the improvement and maintenance of our nation’s public infrastructure at all levels of government is linked to economic development in all regions of the country. Economic development programs, as most people are aware, bring in additional private-sector

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investment, add much-needed jobs to the local economy, and provide additional tax revenues to fund future public services for all levels of government. An adequate infrastructure makes a city, county, state, and nation more desirable from an economic development perspective. Without an adequate infrastructure, the financial plight of all levels of government is likely to deteriorate even further in the future. Hence, finding solutions to the country’s infrastructure problems is an important issue facing public officials and citizens at every level of government. If public officials continue to let these critical infrastructure issues remain unresolved, the next generation of political leaders at each level of government will either have to raise massive amounts of tax revenue to repair and maintain their government’s respective portion of the infrastructure, or be forced to close many public facilities due to their disrepair, deterioration, or decay. In short, major portions of our public infrastructure will become unsafe for the public to use. Economic development programs will also diminish if these infrastructure issues are not properly addressed and resolved, creating lost opportunities for private sector investment, the jobs they would bring, and the much-needed revenues that could be used to maintain essential public services at all levels of government.

National Leadership Is Needed While the views expressed by many experts who research and write about infrastructure issues throughout the nation point to a general agreement on the magnitude and complexity of this problem, little agreement exists on a way to achieve a comprehensive nationwide solution to restoring and maintaining America’s public infrastructure. Although there is disagreement as to an acceptable solution, one point seems clear: The necessary leadership and policy direction required to properly address this national issue must come from the highest level of government. It is only within a national policy framework that states, counties, and cities can work together to improve the current condition of our public works facilities. Local and state governments alone, because of their many diverse policies, multiple budget demands, and varied fiscal constraints, cannot be relied upon to achieve the comprehensive solution required to solve this national problem. The current philosophy of our national government has been to let the lower levels of government (states, counties, and cities) solve their own problems, regardless of the nature of their complexity or the magnitude of funds needed. The political posture of our national government needs to become more positive and proactive if a solution is to be forthcoming. For these reasons, it is obvious that assertive leadership is needed from the federal government to make the difficult policy decisions—as well as to approve the funding requirements—necessary to solve our country’s infrastructure problems. Fundamental changes are needed to redirect national political priorities for public capital investments. Public officials at all levels of government can no longer merely build public facilities without adequately maintaining them over the years.

The Future As the severity of this issue escalates and citizens become more aware of the increased costs of postponing a decision on this pressing issue, taxpayers may be more willing to become politically involved in solving this issue in the future. Local taxing entities cannot be expected, however, to foot the entire bill for a solution, since the majority of our country’s capital assets were constructed over the past several decades, some over a century ago, and frequently with the assistance of grant funds from our federal government. This bullet is “too big to bite� by lower levels of government alone. Also, cities, counties, and states have relative degrees of wealth based on their taxing capacity, bonding levels and ratings, and budgetary reserves. Thus, many lower levels of government do not have the financial capability, even with increased taxation, to adequately address the issues related to restoring and maintaining America’s infrastructure. It is safe to say that most citizens throughout the country already feel overtaxed by all levels of government. Even though local

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entities may be willing to assist financially, a major redirection of federal government funds will be required for a truly comprehensive and coordinated nationwide response to solving our country’s outstanding infrastructure problems and issues. Even with some additional taxes and user fees, funding will be limited at all levels of government. For this reason, argue those who deal with infrastructure issues, national priorities must be reestablished for the replacement and restoration of capital facilities at all levels of government, starting with those projects that are necessary to ensure the public’s security, health, and safety. Funds from the national government must be targeted to infrastructure projects rather than to less important programs with limited—or only special interest—constituencies. Within the framework of national policies, existing federal grant programs must be redirected to provide the funds to assist in the financing of those capital projects necessary to restore America’s public works infrastructure. This action will help ensure the security, as well as the health and safety, of all citizens throughout the country. Our nation is not “on the road to ruin,” as some experts claim. It is merely going through the transition period required to properly sort out and arrive at a politically acceptable long-term solution to this critical and complex issue that plagues all levels of government—federal, state, county, and city alike. If our nation’s infrastructure is allowed to deteriorate even further in the future, possibly to the point of decay, the cost of resolving this issue will escalate significantly in future years for all taxpayers. If this happens, economic development programs will also continue to suffer, and the revenues they could generate will not be available to assist in restoring our public capital assets. This lack of investment in America’s infrastructure will also restrict urban growth and will compound such urban problems as roadway traffic, mass-transit facilities, the provision of drinking water, and the proper disposal of sewage in towns and cities throughout the country. New residential developments are being located adjacent to public transit facilities. The new phrase for these types of residential projects is Transit Oriented Development (TOD). This type of development promotes a lifestyle for those folks who do not want cars, but would like to be close to and have access to public mass transit. If a public investment is not made in public transit facilities, urban sprawl will continue as more new housing developments are placed adjacent to our urban, suburban, and rural highways. This phenomenon will further exacerbate our nation’s urban transportation and traffic problems. Our national political leaders—the President, senators, and representatives—must address these important infrastructure issues soon, or America’s physical plant will

continue to deteriorate to that of a third-world country. The quality of a nation’s infrastructure is a critical index of its economic vitality. Reliable transportation, clean water, and the safe disposal of wastes are basic elements of a civilized society and a productive economy. This is the challenge facing our country’s political leaders as our nation enters the 21st century. Note: To develop the Report Card, ASCE assembled a panel of 24 of the nation’s leading civil engineers; analyzed hundreds of studies, reports, and other sources; and surveyed more than 2,000 engineers throughout the nation to determine the condition of America’s infrastructure. Base grades were then reviewed by ASCE’s Advisory Council. For more details about this process, refer to ASCE’s Web site at www.asce.org. Roger L. Kemp, Ph.D., is a career city manager, having served in California, New Jersey, and Connecticut. He is also a Senior Adjunct Professor at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, as well as a member of ASPA, GFOA, and ICMA. Roger is author, editor, and contributing author of nearly 50 books dealing with all aspects of our cities, including their future. He can be reached via e-mail (rlkbsr@snet.net). ★

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Mayors, Senators Call for Infrastructure Plan, Financing By Leslie Wollack, Principal Legislative Counsel, Federal Relations, National League of Cities

Reprinted from the June 23, 2008, issue of Nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Cities Weekly, the official publication of the National League of Cities.

A

panel of mayors called on Congress last week to develop a national strategic focus for improving the condition of the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s infrastructure and help find creative solutions for funding it. In testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, local officials detailed the impact of infrastructure on their local, regional, and national economies and the need for a strong federal role to help local taxpayers fund it. According to the Congressional Budget Office, in 2004 the federal government financed roughly 15 percent of the total capital spending on transportation, utilities, and other public facilities, while state and local governments funded 42 percent with the private sector funding the balance. â&#x20AC;&#x153;These mayors, like their colleagues across the country, bear the lionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s share of responsibility for maintaining the roads, bridges, mass transit systems, drinking water systems,

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wastewater removal systems, and other vital components of our national structure,â&#x20AC;? said Sen. Christopher Dodd (DConn.), chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, co-chair of Building Americaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Future, a coalition of state and local officials he founded with Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, called for a new national focus on infrastructure investment, warning that that the U.S. is â&#x20AC;&#x153;facing an infrastructure crisis in this country that threatens our status as an economic superpowerâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and threatens the health and safety of the people we serve.â&#x20AC;? In 1980, the federal government was spending 6 percent of its entire domestic budget on infrastructure. Today, that figure is less than 4 percent. As a result, state and local governments are now responsible for $3 out of every $4 spent on public infrastructure. Kansas City (Missouri) Mayor Mark Funkhouser highlighted the importance of the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s metropolitan communities as the incubators of the 21st century American economy. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In order to provide meaningful support to the national economy, we must sustain and improve the quality of life within our metro communities and provide a sound foundation upon which to continue to produce and innovate,â&#x20AC;? Funkhouser told the committee. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Yet as municipalities, we simply are unable to meet the infrastructure needs of our region on our own â&#x20AC;Ś The expense is far too large and


the challenges too far-reaching to be adequately addressed by local and municipal governments alone. Only the federal government has the resources to match the scale of problems.â&#x20AC;? Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton noted the importance of metropolitan areas as economic centers critical to the national economy, and he stressed the benefits of physical assets such as major rail and air cargo facilities and expanding deep water ports to move raw materials and manufactured goods to destinations across the U.S. â&#x20AC;&#x153;However, the financial burden is increasingly being assigned to local and state governments,â&#x20AC;? said Peyton. â&#x20AC;&#x153;While I recognize that infrastructure needs exceed available funding at all levelsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;federal, state and localâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;there must be a more realistic balance and prioritization for federal investments.â&#x20AC;? Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin noted, â&#x20AC;&#x153;We mayors are on the front lines, coping daily with frequent shortfalls in our aging infrastructure while we struggle to address the staggering costs of repairs and more often than not are unable to even consider the expense of replacement of these critical systems. â&#x20AC;Ś Local governments cannot do it alone.â&#x20AC;? Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) noted that the mayors testifying at the hearing are working on major infrastructure improvements in their cities while facing fiscal constraints.

You see a street

â&#x20AC;&#x153;These leaders are making these investmentsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;under tight budget pressuresâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;because they understand that investing in our infrastructure is an investment in our future economic well-being,â&#x20AC;? he said. Sens. Dodd and Hagel have proposed creation of a National Infrastructure Bank to help finance infrastructure costs. The infrastructure bank would establish a board to rate different infrastructure projects on the basis of merit and invest in those projects of regional and national significance. It would have authority to raise capital by issuing up to $60 billion in tax credit bonds and give loans, grants, or loan guarantees to states and local governments for major infrastructure improvements. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This proposal will not solve all of our problems, but we believe that it will go a long way in addressing many of the concerns,â&#x20AC;? noted Hagel. â&#x20AC;&#x153;As we face the prospect of significant long-term budget deficits, a weakening economy, decreasing tax revenue, and increasing unemployment, it is clear that the current ways by which we invest in our nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s infrastructure have become as obsolete as many of our infrastructure systems themselves.â&#x20AC;? Sens. Dodd and Hagel hope to move their legislation soon. Several additional proposals for infrastructure funding have been introduced in the House. â&#x2DC;&#x2026;

We see a street thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s part of a city with planned traffic flow, four fire stations, 50,000 visitors a year, jobs for 15,000 people, five city parks, and a community center with activities for all ages.

The things you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think about, cities provide. And weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re proud of it.        !g

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Texas Munici 96th Annual Confere

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Tues day, October 28 LEA

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11:00 a.m. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 5:00 p.m. Delegate Registration Open

Wednesday, October 29

D LE

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7:30 a.m. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 5:00 p.m. Delegate Registration Open

FOC

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9:00 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 11:45 a.m.

Concurrent Sessions

Noon â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 3:00 p.m.

Exhibit Hall Grand Opening

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Browse through more than 100,000 square feet of municipal shopping! Learn the latest trends from the

INSIGHTFUL STRATEGIES

real expertsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;those who specialize in city operations. 3:00 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 4:45 p.m.

Opening General Session and Presentation of Awards Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative Sir Ken Robinson will answer three vital questions for all organizations that have a serious strategic interest in creativity and innovation. National League of Cities Update NLC President Cynthia McCollum will share how she is accomplishing the three goals she outlined for the organization upon taking office.

Thursday, October 30 7:30 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 8:45 a.m.

TML Risk Poolsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Breakfast

7:30 a.m. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 5:00 p.m. Delegate Registration Open 8:45 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 11:45 a.m.

Conference Tourâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;San Antonio River Improvements Project: Museum Reach (ticketed event, $20) Take a fascinating hard-hat tour of the San Antonio River Improvements Project Museum Reach Urban Segment,

TEXAS CITIES INNOVATION MEETS PROGRESS

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For more information about the


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Exhibit Hall Open

9:00 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 11:45 a.m.

Concurrent Sessions and Affiliatesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Board, Business, or Educational Sessions

Noon â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 1:45 p.m.

Delegate Luncheon and Keynote Speaker (register now at www.tml.org)

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Manuel Scott, Freedom Writer, has devoted his life to equipping others with proven tools to succeed. His powerful presentation will help empower you to realize your full potential. 2:00 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 4:00 p.m.

Conference Tourâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;San Antonio Emergency Operations Center (ticketed event, $20) Tour this 35,000-square-foot, $24.5-million facility that houses and unifies city, county, regional, state, and federal departments during activation. The EOC is also the home of the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 24-hour customer service department.

2:00 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 4:45 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions and Affiliatesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Board, Business, or Educational Sessions

Evening

Vendor Hospitality Events

Friday, October 31 7:30 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 8:45 a.m.

Women in Government Breakfast (register now at www.tml.org)

7:30 a.m. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 3:00 p.m.

Delegate Registration Open

8:00 a.m. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Noon

Exhibit Hall Open

8:45 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 11:45 a.m.

Conference Tourâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Downtown San Antonio via Segwayâ&#x201E;˘ Personal Transporters (ticketed event, $30) Ride through historic San Antonio on the Segwayâ&#x201E;˘ Human Transporterâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the first self-balancing, electric-powered transportation device. Highlights will include downtown development and revitalization projects.

9:00 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 11:45 a.m.

Concurrent Sessions and Affiliatesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Board, Business, or Educational Sessions

Noon â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 1:45 p.m.

Delegate Luncheon and Keynote Speaker (register now at www.tml.org) Sam Glenn is an â&#x20AC;&#x153;attitude kickerâ&#x20AC;? who recognizes that attitude is significant in creating success personally and professionally. His entertaining presentation will revive your best attitude with energy, passion, and purpose.

2:00 p.m.

Resolutions Question-and-Answer Session and TML Business Meeting Be sure to attend this important annual meeting of the TML membership, where you can discuss and vote on resolutions submitted by cities from around the state.

conference and to register now-#*#+...+%$')!


A Feast of Texas Festivals By Gwena Cearley, TML Communications and Marketing Coordinator

eeling festive? We certainly hope so! Throughout the upcoming fall and winter months, cities across the state will host thousands of festivals—from the simplest, small-town country fair to the most sophisticated gala in a city of millions. We are pleased that readers continue to send TML details about their city’s special events, and we proudly showcase them in Texas Town & City twice each year. In August, festivals scheduled from September to February are highlighted, and the February magazine features events planned for March-August. If your city would like to be included in one of these bi-annual articles, please send your suggestion to festival@tml.org. Please keep in mind that details may change, so we suggest that you call to confirm the information provided here before you head out.

Benbrook: 2nd Annual Benbrook Heritage Fest “Cowboy Roundup” (Saturday, October 18) Heritage Fest, held at the Dutch Branch Athletic Complex, is a day of family fun including a Kiddy Korral, western-themed games and activities, arts and crafts, horseshoes, historical demonstrations and re-enactments, great food, and an evening concert. For more information, dial 817-2496008.

Addison: 21st Annual Oktoberfest (Thursday-Sunday, September 18-21) Addison’s four-day, authentic German festival is one of the largest Oktoberfest festivals outside the famed Munich celebration. Nearly 70,000 fans of polka and German food will gather in Addison Circle Park for music, folk dancing, sing-alongs, children’s entertainment, carnival rides, midway games, and a 5K run. Log on to www.addisontexas.net or call 800ADDISON to learn more.

Bridgeport: Coal Miners’ Heritage Festival (Saturday, October 11) Organizers of this festival are using some old tools—pickaxes and street dances—along with new ones—air guitar—to attract visitors to historic downtown Bridgeport for fun, shopping, and a history lesson or two. Activities will include the Bridgeport Rock Miners 5K Run/Walk and Bike Ride, a street dance, guitar hero contests, a quilt show, vendor and food booths, bingo, a classic car show, living history demonstrations, a pet parade and contests, and a children’s area. Mixing the past and present to educate and entertain, this celebration will offer fun for the whole family! To learn all the particulars, dial 940-6832076 or 940-683-3485 or check out www.bridgeportchamber.com.

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Boerne: 2nd Annual Chocolate Walk (Saturday, February 14) Yum…imagine a chocolate-covered treasure hunt in historic downtown Boerne. The walk will incorporate a guided tour of the excellent shops, galleries, and restaurants. Go to www. visitboerne.org or phone 830-2499511 for all the specifics and to buy tickets.

AUGUST 2008

Cooper: 15th Annual Delta County Chiggerfest and 9th Annual 5K Run/Walk (Saturday, October 18) Cooper Historic Square will be the site of fun for the whole family. You’ll enjoy the Little Mr. and Miss Chigger Pageant, vendors, the lawn mower race, a health fair, lots of delicious food, live music, a kids’ zone, the 5K Run/Walk, and much more. Call 903-395-4314 or visit www.deltacounty.org for additional details. Deer Park: Haunted Maze (Thursday-Friday, October 23-24) Dare to enter the Haunted Maze, housed at the Jimmy Burke Activity Center. In every corner lurks a freakish surprise, so BEWARE! (Parental discretion is advised, and this event is not recommended for young children.) To learn more, phone 281478-2050. Elgin: 21st Annual Hogeye Festival (Saturday, October 25) This is the best little pig gig in Texas…a time for warm hearts and hot guts. Elgin will go hog wild offering both humor and history…live music by local musicians, the Road Hog Car Show, handmade arts and crafts, a BBQ Pork Cook-Off, children’s activities, the “In a Pig’s Eye” Dart Contest, Cow Patty Bingo, the crowning of King Hog or Queen Sowpreme, a children’s costume pet parade, a carnival, Pearl’s Art Show, the Hogeye Hoedown Talent Show, pig puns, the Hogalicious Dessert Contest, and


great food for pigging out! The day kicks off with the Elgin Sowpremes, the infamous singing group, riding in on “hogs” (Harleys). Come hang out on Main Street with the other little piglets that are hamming it up. Dial 512-281-5724 or check out www.elgintxchamber.com for all the specifics.

Frisco: Winter Games of Texas (Saturday-Sunday, January 17-18) This family-friendly sports festival is patterned after the Olympics. Olympic hopefuls and recreational athletes come from parts of Texas near and far to participate in 15 sports. Highlights will include the Parade of Athletes, former Olympians, the lighting of the State Games cauldron, and fireworks. Last year’s event drew more than 3,500 athletes, as well as thousands of family members, spectators, and volunteers. For more information about this celebration of amateur athletes, phone 972-292-5252 or visit www.taaf.com.

Georgetown: 3rd Annual Up the Chisholm Trail Cattle Drive and Chuck Wagon Cook-Off (Friday-Saturday, September 26-27) Giddyup! Cowboys, longhorns, and chuck wagons (filled with grub) will gather at San Gabriel Park for a weekend of western fun featuring a stickhorse rodeo, an authentic chuck wagon cook-off, western demonstrations, live music and entertainment, a cattle drive along the scenic San Gabriel

Huntsville: 34th Annual Fair on the Square (Saturday, October 4) In the historic downtown square, streets will be closed to traffic to allow approximately 15,000 visitors to explore 350 booths loaded with arts, crafts, and food. You can begin your holiday shopping or simply find one-of-a-kind trinkets and treasures for yourself. Sample some of the most mouthwatering temptations in Texas….fajitas to funnel cakes, barbecue to kettle korn, and everything in between. Enjoy the Kids Korner, moonwalks, a petting zoo, pony rides, local bands, and even a bungee run for the most adventurous. If you have questions, dial 936-295-8113 or 800-289-0389.

River, a children’s costume contest, a trick roping and riding show, and a ranch rodeo. Call 512-943-1670 or log on to www.upthechisholmtrail. org for all the details.

Granbury: Harvest Moon Festival (Saturday-Sunday, October 25-26) This celebration in historic downtown Granbury will offer more than 100 arts and crafts and food vendors, a pooch parade, children’s activities, a tractor parade, an antique engine and tractor show, a carnival, and several contests—pumpkin carving, pie eating, hot dog eating, pumpkin decorating, and more. Hear all about it by phoning 817-573-5299 or visiting http://hgma.com. Grapevine: 22nd Annual GrapeFest (Thursday-Sunday, September 11-14) Uncork the fun at the largest wine festival in the Southwest, which celebrates the beloved grape in a multitude of ways. One popular event is the Grape Stomping Competition, where contestants vie for the coveted Purple Foot Award. Another highlight is the People’s Choice Wine Tasting Classic, which is the largest consumer-judged wine competition in the nation. The tennis action never stops at the GrapeFest Tennis Classic. Other weekend activities include live music on six stages, great food, the GrapeFest Express Railroad, arts and crafts, a carnival and midway, the KidZone, and the Texas Wine Tribute black-tie gala. Call 817-410-3185 or go to www.GrapevineTexasUSA.com for all the details.

AUGUST 2008

Jonestown: 1st Annual Oktoberfest (Saturday-Sunday, October 11-12) Jones Brothers Park on Lake Travis will be the site of this inaugural event featuring a classic car show, fine art booths (with original jewelry, sculpture, paintings, pottery, and photography), top notch arts and crafts, food booths offering delicious Texas fare (barbecue, sausage wraps, hot dogs, and more), and a moonwalk and clowns for the children in all of us. The music festival will feature some of the best Austin and Hill Country musicians. Call 512-267-3243 or check out www. jonestown.org for more information. Kermit: Celebration Days (Saturday-Sunday, September 27-28) Come enjoy small-town fun…live entertainment and music, a car show, food and merchandise vendors, and a motorcycle show. For all the particulars, visit www.kermittexas.us or phone 432-586-3468.

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Kerrville: Mardi Gras on Main (Tuesday, February 24) Mardi Gras on Main started in 2005 as a celebration of Kerrville Main Street’s tenth anniversary. It has since evolved into a festival that focuses on fine food, fine art, fine music, and fine wine. Each year, hundreds of people gather to celebrate Mardi Gras, Texas style. Dial 830-792-8395 or go to www.kerrville.org to learn more.

Lewisville: Western Day Festival (Saturday, September 27) This event in Old Town Lewisville is designed to showcase the city’s rich history. Highlights will include a Main Street parade led by Texas Longhorns, a children’s pet parade, Western-style demonstrations, two festival stages of live music, a Longhorn cattle drive, arts and crafts vendors, gunfight re-enactments, a cake contest, children’s area, trick ropers, a car show, the children’s pie eating contest, and the fourth annual World Tamale Eating Championship, an official International Federation of Competitive Eating event. For the latest on Western Day 2008, log on to www.cityoflewisville.com or call 972219-EVENT.

La Feria: Fiesta de La Feria (Saturday, February 28) This family-oriented gathering on Main Street will feature a variety of live bands on two stages, beautiful arts and crafts, a classic car show, various contests, a delightful children’s area, plenty of tasty food, an art exhibit, fun photo opportunities with mascots Fred and Frieda, and a raffle. For all the particulars, call 956-797-2261. Lake Dallas: Waterfest (Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 13-14) Waterfest at Willow Grove Park will feature the SuperCourse Nationals (a national Jet Ski-racing competition), a fun-filled Kidzone, live music, aquatic and outdoor recreation exhibitors, lots of arts and crafts, and great food. Log on to www.lakedallas.com/ special_events.html or dial 940-4972226 for additional information. Levelland: 4th Annual Texas’ Last Frontier Ranch Heritage Tour (Saturday, September 27) Visit historic ranches and other sites in far West Texas! Participants will tour the headquarters of the Surratt, Slaughter, and 07 Ranches, as well as the historic railroad towns of Bledsoe and Whiteface. You’ll also visit the Texas’ Last Frontier Museum in Morton and the historical museum in Whiteface. Finish the day with a barbecue dinner while listening to great country and western music. To learn more details, phone 806-229-2741 or visit www.ci.levelland.tx.us.

displays, and great food vendors. The Badland Texas Rangers will set up a camp and historic displays, and they’ll even stage several gun fights. After you tour the courthouse and the Old Llano County Jail (Old Red Top), sit under the cool shade of the numerous pecan trees in the Square. For more information, dial 325-247-4148 or go to www.llanomainstreet.com or www. llanotx.com.

McGregor: 17th Annual Founders’ Day (Saturday, September 20) This all-day festival on historic Main Street will include great music, a parade, arts and crafts, lawnmower races, wagon races, a car show, plenty of tempting food, a BBQ Cook-Off, terrific entertainment, a street dance, and children’s entertainment galore. You can also sign up for the Kid 1K, 5K and 10K Races. Call 254-8402292 for all the specifics.

Lindale: 24th Annual CountryFest/ BullFest (Saturday, October 11) The day will kick off with a pancake breakfast, followed by the big parade. Then the fun will continue with arts and crafts, live and silent auctions, a children’s area, live entertainment on stage, and lots of delicious food. That evening, it’s time for the BullFest. Call 903-882-7181 if you have questions.

Palestine: Fall Oktoberfest (Saturday, October 25) The festival kicks off with a parade starting at the Anderson County Courthouse that will feature autumn floats and numerous antique cars. The downtown and Old Town Palestine area will be filled with live music, arts and crafts, lots of delicious food, and a special Kidz Zone. The day will conclude with the Dogwood Jamboree Concert, a great, Branson-like performance of classic country and western music. Check out www.VisitPalestine. com and www.palestinechamber.org or phone 800-659-3484 to learn more.

Llano: Heritage Day Festival (Saturday, October 18) Put on your best period costume (you just might win the contest!) and come to the historic Courthouse Square. Throughout the day, continuous music will entertain visitors while they enjoy an arts and crafts fair, antiques, collectibles, historic photo

Port Aransas: 13th Annual Celebration of Whooping Cranes and Other Birds (Thursday-Sunday, February 26-March 1) Whoop it up—island style! Grab your telescopes and binoculars for one of the country’s premier birding festivals.

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Order Your Copy Now! The Texas City Officials Directory and Buyer’s Guide—the best resource for information on Texas cities— is published annually by the Texas Municipal League. Member cities, affiliate members, and associate members may obtain

copies from the Texas Municipal League for $30 each. Copies for non-members and the general public are available for $60 each, plus applicable sales tax. Purchase online at www.tml.org, or call 512-231-7400.

Texas Municipal League 1821 Rutherford Lane, Suite 400 Austin, Texas 78754-5128 AUGUST 2008

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Texas is our home

Employee beneямБts is our specialty

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(continued from page 28) Dr. George Archibald of the International Crane Foundation will be on hand to present his annual report on cranes around the world. Other activities include boat trips to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge to view the whooping cranes, art exhibits, birding bus tours, workshops, nature boat trips, and guided tours of the Animal Rehabilitation Keep (ARK) at The University of Texas Marine Science Institute. For all the particulars, visit www.portaransas. org or call 1-800-45-COAST.

Sachse: 23rd Annual Fallfest Country Fair (Saturday, October 11) Join us for an old fashioned country fair that draws several thousand people annually. Come to Heritage Park for a day full of mouthwatering food, arts and crafts, games, contests, a car show, fabulous entertainment, exciting children’s games, a special area for teens, musical talent from all around Texas, and fun for all. Go to www. sachsechamber.com or dial 972-4961212 if you need more details.

and arts festival, the South Texas Potters Show, vendors selling crafts and pecans, the Hoity Toity Hat Parade, a street dance, polka, a pecan baking contest, and photos with mascot “Nutty Buddy.” Log on to www.visitseguin.com or call 800-580-PECAN for a complete lineup of events.

Texarkana: 64th Annual Four States Fair and Rodeo (Friday, September 12-Saturday, September 20) Enjoy nine days filled with thrilling rides, exciting carnival games, a rodeo, a home and garden

show, delicious food, a monster truck show, an AKC dog show, a demolition derby, and loads of fun. For additional information, dial 870-773-2941 or visit www.fourstatesfair.com.

Waxahachie: 13th Annual Texas Country Reporter Festival (Saturday, October 25) Meet Bob Phillips and the folks you’ve seen on the popular Texas Country Reporter television show. From fine art to folk art and everything in between—plus fantastic live music— this unique festival will provide a full day of entertainment for the whole family in historic downtown Waxahachie. Go to www.texascountryreporter.com or phone 972-9372390 for more specifics.

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San Augustine: 17th Annual Sassafras Festival (Friday-Saturday, October 24-25) This sassy celebration on Courthouse Square will include a quilt show, food vendors to tempt one and all, an antique show and sale, an array of arts and crafts, a classic car exhibit, auctions, a pet show and parade, fun children’s activities, a barbecue cook-off, live entertainment, a classic/ antique car exhibit, the Mr. and Miss Sassafras Pageant, and much more. For specifics, phone 936-275-3610 or visit www.sanaugustinetx.com. Seguin: Pecan Fest Heritage Days (Friday-Sunday, October 24-26) Go nuts at this event featuring the Tour de Pecan Bike Ride, a film AUGUST 2008

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5ISM;MV[M WNAW]Z+MV\[ 7ZLMZ\PM<54:M^MV]M 5IV]IT<WLIa Do you ever wonder if your city takes advantage of all the various revenue sources available to it? Do you wish you could lower your property tax rate, but can’t find the funds to offset it? Are you afraid that you’re missing something simple when it comes to revenues that every other city knows about except you? In one convenient handbook, the TML Revenue Manual for Texas Cities, you can learn about nearly every known source of municipal revenue. The manual covers everything, from the biggest sources of city revenue—property and sales taxes—on down to the most mundane and arcane—open records charges, raffles, even cemetery taxes. The handbook is organized alphabetically by revenue type and presented in an easy-to-understand, question-andanswer format, similar to the Legal Q&A column that’s so popular in this magazine. For each type of revenue, the basics are covered first—such as how the revenue source is adopted, who collects it, on what it can be spent, and so forth. More advanced materialis included as well, such as strategic considerations about how particular sources of revenue interact with other taxes and fees, and how to switch from one revenue stream to another. The handbook should be useful to councilmembers, management, finance officers and staff, and even city attorneys.

The TML Revenue Manual for Texas Cities is available for $10 when you call 512-231-7400 and ask for Revenue Manual Sales.


Celebrate the holidays with this sleigh full of events! Anderson: Holiday in Historic Anderson (Saturday, November 29) Throughout the day, you will enjoy live entertainment, vendors, arts and crafts, music, re-enactments, food, and fun. When you take the walking tour of historic Andersonâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;all dressed up for the holidaysâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;be sure to visit the museum and the restored Grimes County Courthouse. Dial 936-8256600 for more details. Baytown: Christmas on Texas Avenue (Friday-Saturday, December 5-6) Show your holiday spirit by joining us for a â&#x20AC;&#x153;Christmas Weekend in Baytown.â&#x20AC;? A parade on Friday evening kicks off the festivities, with more than 250 parade entries anticipated.

Spectators will enjoy watching lighted floats, decorated vehicles, marching groups, school bands, and Santa Claus himself. The fun will continue on Saturday with a car show, local entertainment, scrumptious food, arts and crafts, childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s activities, and a visit from Santa. For more information, phone 281-420-6597 or visit www.baytown.org.

Dickinson: 11th Annual Dickinson Festival of Lights (Saturday, November 29Wednesday, December 31, weather permitting) Come to Paul Hopkins Park and stroll along the banks of the Dickinson Bayou through a spectacular wonderland of more than one million lights. Visit Santa, ride the train, listen to holiday music, or decorate a cookie at the

Cookie Factory. Call 281-337-2795 or go to www.dickinsonfestivaloflights. org to learn additional details.

San Angelo: Christmas at Old Fort Concho (Friday-Sunday, December 5-7) This three-day event transforms Old Fort Concho into a holiday setting with period decorations, special displays, living history re-enactors, ongoing entertainment, merchants, food booths offering mouthwatering treats, a chuck wagon camp, childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s workshops, Pancakes with Santa, and many ticketed events. Held on the grounds of Fort Concho National Historic Landmark, it is one of the largest holiday festivals of its kind in the region. To learn more, check out www.fortconcho.com or dial 325657-4441.

(continued on page 35)    

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(continued from page 31) Wichita Falls: 23rd Annual FallsFest (Friday-Saturday, September 26-27) Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll fall for the fun! Highlights of this annual celebration in Lucy Park include first-class live music, the FallsFest Motorcycle Poker Run, a Battle of the Bands, lip-smacking food, arts and crafts, a Chili Appreciation Society International (CASI)-sanctioned chili cook-off, and plenty of family fun with a special childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s area, rock climbing wall, â&#x20AC;&#x153;the zipper,â&#x20AC;? and game booths. Multiple stages will feature different bands throughout the day, and fireworks will dazzle the crowds each night just before the headline concert. If you have questions, call 940-692-9797 or check out www. fallsfest.org.

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Pennington on Leadership By Randy G. Pennington

Texas Town & City is proud to introduce a continuing series written by a longtime and greatly admired friend of the Texas Municipal League. A frequent speaker at TML educational events, Randy combines more than twenty years of front-line leadership and consulting experience with extensive research and writing to deliver practical ideas that can be applied at many levels. His expertise has made him an internationally respected guest commentator, with appearances on CNN, PBS, Fox News, the ABC Radio Network, and the BBC. He is also a prolific writer, and his ideas have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Executive Excellence, Training & Development, numerous newspapers, and many professional/trade association journals.

Leader or Liar? Turn Good Intentions into Action We choose every day. Are we a leader or a liar?

2. Would the results be beneficial for all if everyone made the same decision?

This is not a blanket accusation of malicious or criminal behavior. Most people want to do what’s right. Here is the challenge: We know our intentions. Others judge our behavior and performance filtered through their lens of perception. We may see ourselves as a leader, but to others we are simply lying to them or ourselves.

3. Where will your plan of action lead? How will it affect others?

SO YOU WANT TO BE A LEADER? Inconsistency between word and deed—regardless of intent—fosters mistrust. And mistrust creates friction that makes effective leadership challenging. Here are three ideas to turn good intention into positive action.

✔ Tell yourself the truth. Imagine wearing a large button with the words “Leader” and “Liar” written in opposite directions, so that one of the words is always readable to others. Would those you wish to influence position your button to say “Leader” or “Liar”? Individuals and organizations can fall prey to 3-D Vision—Denial, Distortion, and Delusion. We deny the truth, distort reality, and delude ourselves into thinking we are better than we are. The cure is simple—the continuous search for and acknowledgement of truth and reality.

✔ Make better choices. Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick created a six-point test for deciding right from wrong. Dr. Preston Bradley adapted it, and we revised it into “The Ethics Litmus Test.” 1. Does your course of action seem logical, responsible, and legal?

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4. Will you think well of yourself when you look back at what you’ve done? 5. How would the person you most admire— your hero—handle this situation? 6. What would your family and friends think of your decision? Decisions made in the hope that no one will find out are usually wrong.

✔ Act … intentionally. Thomas Edison said, “Vision without execution is hallucination.” Commit to a course of action. Do just one thing differently today, and then build daily on that success. Even the best leader has a bad day. The occasional honest mistake does not brand us as a terminal liar. Being the leader our communities want and deserve is a continuous journey to be better today than yesterday. Randy Pennington helps leaders create cultures focused on results, relationships, and accountability. He is author of Results Rule! Build a Culture that Blows the Competition Away and On My Honor, I Will: Leading with Integrity in Changing Times. For additional information, contact him at 972-980-9857, Randy@penningtongroup.com, www.penningtongroup-cities.com, or www.resultsrule.com. ★ ©2008 by Pennington Performance Group; Addison, Texas. All rights reserved.


(continued from page 33) Grand Prairie: Prairie Lights (Thursday, November 27-Tuesday, December 30) Light up your holidays at this 40night, drive-through holiday lighting extravaganza boasting three million lights displayed along two miles of roadway weaving along the shore of Lake Joe Pool. In the middle of the drive, guests love the out-of-car experience in Holiday Village, featuring concessions, photos with Santa, a walk-through wonderland of lights, and the Holiday Magic Theater, a light show set to music during which it actually snows! Nearly 120,000 visitors—young and old alike—took part in this enchanting event last year. Call 972-237-8355 or 972-2378329 or visit www.prairielights.com for all the specifics.

Pilot Point: 9th Annual Christmas on the Square (Saturday, December 6) Outstanding music and entertainment by local talent, relaxing carriage rides, cookie and ornament decorating, and festive food will be available throughout the evening. At 6:00 p.m., Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive for photos with the children, and the event will culminate in the Christmas tree lighting ceremony that night. Phone 686-8138 or 940-391-1438 for more information. Rosenberg: Christmas in Rosenberg (Saturday, December 6) Stroll the streets of historic Rosenberg and capture the holiday spirit while you delight in the sights and sounds of Christmas featuring two rockin’ holiday concerts, a carnival, visits

with Santa and Mrs. Claus, performances by the Cast Theatrical Company, gift and craft vendors, and a tempting food court. Shop the historic downtown district for an eclectic assortment of gifts, collectibles, art galleries, boutiques, and charming eateries. For all the particulars, call 832-595-3525 or visit www. visitrosenberg.com.

Round Rock: Rock’N Around the Holiday’s Bazaar (Saturday, November 8) Come to the Clay Madsen Recreation Center to browse through more than 75 arts and craft vendor booths and find the perfect gifts for the upcoming holiday season. Children can play in Santa’s Workshop while parents shop for a minimal fee. Dial 512-218-3216 or log on to www. roundrocktexas.gov to learn more. ★

Professional Directory

AUGUST 2008

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TTC Aug 09  

The Texas Town and City Magazine is a publication of the Texas Municipal League.

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