A New Funding Strategy from the Clean Water Partnership P3

Source: Greg Cannito, Water Utility Infrastructure Management, April 20, 2016

Signed in March 2015, the Clean Water Partnership is a long-term public-private partnership between Prince George’s County, Maryland, and Corvias Solutions, to retrofit up to 4,000 acres of impervious surfaces using green infrastructure and low-impact development practices in the first three years and operate and maintain over the remaining life of the 30-year partnership. Corvias intends to deliver compliant, sustainable stormwater infrastructure with accelerated timelines and reduced costs, in accordance with Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and U.S. EPA standards. … MDE’s Water Quality Revolving Loan Fund (also known as the State Revolving Fund) provides below-market rate loans to encourage capital investments in water projects, in accordance with the Federal Clean Water Act and the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act. Up until now, State Revolving Funds have primarily been used to fund construction of wastewater treatment plants. However, exploratory conversations with MDE revealed the historical barriers to utilizing State Revolving Funds for stormwater management. State Revolving Funds offer a lower interest rates to regulated communities and even lower interest rates to Disadvantaged Communities equal to 25 percent of the market rate, for an all-in rate of 1.20 percent (compared to the standard rate of 50 percent of the Market Rate, 2.00 percent). This saves over $9 million compared to typical municipal debt financing. … While many types of P3 structures exist, the private partner in the relationship has traditionally not sought out state financing for the public partner. However, Prince George’s County and Corvias could not let this opportunity slip by. While MDE’s financing program had not been invested in a significant amount of stormwater work previously due to the piecemealed nature of stormwater project delivery, the aggregated nature of the Clean Water Partnerships delivery structure and their ability to execute larger scopes in a shorter period of time enabled the $48 million loan application—and the combination of cost of capital, flexible terms, and its unique characteristics made it the optimal source of financing available to fund the large volume of stormwater projects.

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A New P3 Model for Building Green Infrastructure
Source: Daniel C. Vock, Governing, May 27, 2015

One Maryland county is testing a unique public-private partnership that would not only save money but also help the environment and local economy. Leaders in Maryland’s Prince George’s County face an enormous task in complying with a federal “pollution diet” to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. Over the next decade, the county must convert 15,000 acres of watertight surfaces — almost 5 percent of the county’s total area — into surfaces that will either soak up or treat rainwater. To meet that deadline, Prince George’s will have to add some 46,000 stormwater devices, said Adam Ortiz, the director of the county’s environment department. “This isn’t like building one high school or a bridge. We’re building tens of thousands of little ecosystems in some of our most disadvantaged areas. We need a new approach.” So Prince George’s, which borders Washington, D.C., is turning to a public-private partnership to help install the rain gardens, cisterns, permeable pavements, and other devices for filtering and absorbing stormwater. Slowing the rapid runoff from roads and rooftops could reduce pollution that flows into sewers and, eventually, into the Chesapeake Bay. Using a public-private partnership to build green infrastructure on such a large scale is novel in itself. But the county is especially excited about the potential economic boost and other societal benefits the deal could bring to the region. Its partnership with Corvias Solutions includes incentives for all of those goals. …. Prince George’s County, for its part, will test whether Corvias can deliver on its promises. Initially, the company will be charged with converting 2,000 acres by 2017. But if it performs well, that amount could double. Meanwhile, a team of county workers will be “racing” Corvias to build stormwater improvements. The county team will also have 2,000 acres to work on so that officials can compare the two approaches. That information will help the county decide whether to expand the public-private partnership. It will also help other jurisdictions decide whether they also want to try something similar. …..

Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center
Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2015

…EPA’s Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center will serve as a resource for communities, municipal utilities, and private entities as they seek to address water infrastructure needs with limited budgets. The Center will support communities and explore creative and innovative financing practices, including public-private partnerships. It will build on the highly successful State Revolving Fund and other EPA programs and those of its federal partners and explore ways to leverage these programs to increase investment in the water sector. The Center will build partnerships and support work that brings together investors and interested communities. It will be an avenue to expand technical assistance, peer-to-peer learning opportunities, workshops, case studies and toolkits for financing alternatives.

The Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center will:
– Explore innovative financial tools, public-private partnership opportunities and non-traditional finance concepts to better leverage existing federal funding programs. An example of a recent public-private partnership in the water sector is the EPA, Maryland Department of Environment and Prince George’s County Public-Private Partnership Model to Accelerate Green Stormwater Controls and Support Local Job Creation.
– Explore ways to increase financing climate-resilient water infrastructure projects through integration of water efficiency, energy efficiency, water reuse and green infrastructure.
– Support communities to develop sustainable sources of funding for water infrastructure, particularly through stormwater utilities and green infrastructure projects.
– Collaborate with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utility Services and other federal agencies to maximize its support for small community drinking water and wastewater systems and increase small systems’ technical, managerial and financial capacities….

….For more information about water infrastructure needs for your state, see the table: Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs by State

Two-Authorizer Structure Critical to Charter Schools’ Success

Source: Bureau of Governmental Research, April 2016

Introduction:
In the current legislative session, state lawmakers filed several bills directed at reducing the state’s role in governing Orleans Parish public schools. Recently, the Senate unanimously approved a bill providing for the transfer of charter schools from the state Recovery School District (RSD) to the Orleans Parish School Board (School Board).1 This would reduce the role of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) as a charter authorizer in New Orleans.2 These changes would depart significantly from the dual authorizer structure that has been an unsung hero in Orleans Parish public schools’ success story. Charter authorizing carries more significance than its name might suggest. Charter authorizers grant charters in the first instance, but then continue in an oversight and accountability role, enforcing charter contracts and performance standards. In essence, charter authorizers serve as charter school regulators. They must foster autonomy and accountability at the school level and support the system’s ability to deliver high-quality education. In a system of mostly charter schools, the quality of the authorizing function directly affects the system’s performance and its future growth. For that reason, legislators must approach the charter authorizing structure with care. As part of its ongoing reporting on public education issues, this report seeks to inform lawmakers and the public about the current structure and the potential risks that accompany a diminished role for BESE and the RSD in charter management. The report recommends ways to reduce those risks. To be clear, BGR is not currently taking a position on the issue of whether, when or to what extent RSD charter schools should be placed under School Board management. Instead, BGR seeks to ensure that, as lawmakers chart the course for Orleans Parish public schools, whether now or in future legislative sessions, they elevate the charter authorizing structure among the many issues that are essential to long-term charter school success.

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Lockport, Modern Disposal open garbage negotiations

Source: Thomas Prohaska, Buffalo News, April 27, 2016

Lockport Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey will begin negotiations Thursday with Modern Disposal over the terms and prices for a renewed garbage and recycling contract for the city. But Alderman R. Joseph O’Shaughnessy, D-at large, will try to win passage at next week’s Common Council meeting for his resolution ordering the administration to issue a request for proposals for garbage collection by June 1. … She received an informal go-ahead from the Common Council last week to negotiate with Modern, whose five-year contract runs out Sept. 30. Its terms allow the city to extend the deal for five more years, but it also allows the city to tell the Lewiston company by July 1 that it wants to rebid the deal. … O’Shaughnessy’s resolution, as revised by Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano, would ask companies bidding on the garbage contract to submit an alternate price for sending out the bills themselves instead of having the city do it. Ottaviano said if the city actually tries to do that, it would have to negotiate the ability to do so with the Civil Service Employees Association, because that would take work away from people in the Treasurer’s Office.

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City of Lockport considers whether to seek new bids on garbage, recycling contract
Source: Thomas Prohaska, Buffalo News, April 6, 2016

The Common Council is considering whether to seek new bids on a garbage and recycling contract. The city’s five-year deal with Modern Disposal expires Sept. 30, and the city has until July 1 to tell the Lewiston company whether it will renew the contract for another five years. … Dawn M. Timm, Niagara County environmental science coordinator, who helped set up the city’s current program in 2011, recommended that the city try to negotiate changes with Modern before seeking bids. She said recent disposal bids in Erie and Niagara counties have come in at $42 to $44 per ton, while Lockport is paying about $34 a ton. … O’Shaughnessy also wants the new bid to include the option for the company rather than the city to bill residents for refuse service, which is now billed twice a year. O’Shaughnessy said 21 percent of users don’t pay on time. Unpaid bills are now added to the following year’s property tax bills. A private company wouldn’t be able to do that, Wohleben said.

Grocers drop liquor privatization plan to fight corporate tax measure

Source: Paris Achen and Hillary Borrud, Portland Tribune, April 27, 2016

A grocers coalition says it plans to withdraw an initiative to privatize liquor sales in Oregon so the group can focus resources on defeating a corporate sales tax proposed for the November ballot. Oregonians for Competition, led by the Northwest Grocery Association and Distilled Spirits Council, suspended Wednesday, April 27, collection of signatures in support of Initiative Petition 71. The measure would end state sale and distribution of distilled spirits and allow grocery stores to sell the products alongside beer and wine. … The Distilled Spirits Council does not plan to participate in the campaign against the corporate sales tax measure but will look for a way to move forward its effort to allow the sale of distilled spirits in grocery stores, said Eric Reller of the Distilled Spirits Council. McCormick said the grocers coalition also would continue to advocate for allowing sale of distilled spirits in grocery stores in the next 12 months.

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Court approves ballot title for liquor privatization in Oregon
Source: Kristena Hansen, KATU2, March 24, 2016

The state Supreme Court on Thursday approved the title language of a November ballot proposal that would allow grocery stores to stock their shelves with distilled liquor across Oregon, where there are currently more places to buy legal recreational marijuana than a bottle of Jack Daniels. Grocers behind the measure now have the go-ahead to begin gathering 88,100-plus required signatures by July, the final step to put Initiative 71, dubbed Oregonians for Competition, before voters this fall. … Oregonians Against the Takeover – a coalition formed by the Associated Liquor Stores of Oregon, Oregon Beer & Wine Distributors Association and East Bend Liquor, among a handful of others – argues liquor costs would soar as they have in Washington state, which privatized in 2011 and now boasts among the highest prices in the country.

Battle Over OLCC Privatization Unites Unlikely Allies—Labor Union and Beer Distributors
Source: Nigel Jaquiss, Willamette Week, December 29, 2015

Yet today, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees contributed $10,000 to Beverage PAC, a private-sector political action committee funded by beer and wine distributors. Why? The distributors oppose a 2016 ballot measure that would privatize the Oregon Liquor Control Commission and dismantle the tightly controlled alcoholic beverage business, threatening the lucrative niche distributors occupy. As for AFSCME, it represents the workers employed at the OLCC’s mammoth Milwaukie warehouse, where virtually every bottle of booze consumed in the state is shipped before being sent to retail locations. The union’s money will help underwrite polling on the OLCC.

Bend distillers say privatizing liquor would cripple business
Source: Joseph Ditzler, The Bulletin, November 15, 2015

Talking while he worked, Hale said the proposed ballot initiative filed Oct. 28 by a coalition of grocers seeking to privatize liquor sales in Oregon is a worrisome development. Cascade Alchemy, a 3-year-old startup, ships its six varieties of bottled spirits to about 100 liquor stores in Oregon. The stores, all run by contractors under a state-controlled system, afford small distillers a level, transparent playing field in a marketplace dominated by big labels, Hale and other distillers said. The grocers’ initiative would end the role played by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission as a warehouser, distributor and market regulator, but it would cripple small distillers and set back even those with several years experience, local distillers said. … Along with state involvement in selling liquor, it would end the revenue stream the OLCC collects from those sales. The six-page initiative says nothing about replacing that revenue, other than that sales of state properties and savings on future spending should go toward “enhancing public safety and preventing the sale of distilled liquor to minors.” …
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Despite several health code violations and concerns that workers need improved training, Sodexo officials say UWO has safe food

Source: Ti Windisch, Advance-Titan, April 27, 2016

Despite multiple accounts from students about the sanitary conditions of UW Oshkosh dining, Sodexo, the food service company on campus, said all of its procedures are up to health department standards. According to the Winnebago County Health Department website, there were observed violations found in Blackhawk commons in September 2015 including damaged containers of salad dressing and employees not washing their hands before sanitizing water container lids. General Manager of Sodexo Bill Rotchford said the follow-up inspection revealed the issues in Blackhawk and across campus had been corrected. … An unnamed source who works at a campus restaurant said food safety training occurred after food service had begun in the semester. …

WKU plan privatizes 202 staff positions

Source: Jacob Dick, WKU Herald, April 27, 2016

WKU custodial, building services, groundskeeping and waste management employees working on the Bowling Green campus will be employed by a private company starting in August to save money in the 2016-17 budget. On Wednesday, university administration informed faculty and staff that Sodexo, a private employment management service, would be taking over as employer for an additional 202 WKU workers. The change is supposed to save $745,000 for the next fiscal year. … Chief Facilities Officer Bryan Russell confirmed at a media briefing Wednesday that 18 staff with 20 or more years of employment would remain under WKU. … Russell said employees hired at the starting rate of $9.26 would receive that raise, and staff who were paid more than that amount will have their salaries adjusted with smaller raises. Russell also said children of staff currently enrolled in the university will still receive tuition discounts for attending WKU. Staff will receive discounts until 2017. … WKU has had a contract with Sodexo for 20 years, and the contract will be amended at the end of the fiscal year to include additional staff.

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WKU ground and service employment to be privatized
Source: WKU Herald, April 27, 2016

WKU custodial, building services, landscape and waste management employees working on the Bowling Green campus will no longer be employed by the university effective this August. On Wednesday, employees were informed that their employment with the university would end in July and that a private employment management service, Sodexo, would be taking over as their employer. … It continued to state that areas within the Department of Facilities Management, Housing and Residence Life and Downing Student Union would not be impacted.

Overdose death in Nashville CCA jail prompts lawsuit

Source: Dave Boucher, The Tennessean, April 27, 2016

An inmate dying from an overdose while behind bars at Nashville’s privately operated jail makes the jail operator and Metro government liable for $5 million in damages, the family of the inmate argues in a recently filed lawsuit. The family of Nonnie Kasben is suing Corrections Corporation of America and Metro Davidson government over Kasben’s death, according to federal court documents published Tuesday. CCA, a massive private prison company headquartered in Nashville, operates the Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility Kasben’s family says an autopsy shows Kasben died from “an acute overdose of a controlled substance,” according to the court documents. They also argue CCA officers and medical personnel didn’t respond quickly enough to help save Kasben. … Kasben’s family argues CCA and Metro should pay $5 million in damages because they acted negligently in both allowing Kasben to obtain a controlled substance and not immediately providing medical treatment. …

Hillary Clinton Says She’s Against Private Detention Centers

Source: Sameer Rao, Color Lines, April 27, 2016

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton expressed her opposition to private detention centers during MSNBC’s Democratic Town Hall on Monday (April 25) night. The statement came in response to an unscheduled question from an immigration rights advocate who was in attendance. …

QUESTION: [OFF MIKE]… the lives of the women that are [inaudible] right now? 

MADDOW: This is outside of our forum. Let me just rephrase the question for you. Tell me if I get it right. Asking about women and families in family—immigration detention facilities.

CLINTON: Yes, I’m against that. Absolutely I’m against that. I’ve been against it for a long time. I’ve said we should have family detention. We should end private prisons and private detention centers. They are wrong. We should end raids and roundups, and when I am president we are going to get comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship. So we will end all of these problems at the time we are successful.

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Hillary Clinton Says She’ll End Private Prisons, Stop Accepting Their Money
Source: Elise Foley, Huffington Post, October 23, 2015

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton pledged Thursday to ban the use of private prison companies if elected president, and in the meantime will stop accepting campaign contributions from those corporations and the lobbyists who work for them. All previous donations will be given to charity, the former secretary of state’s campaign said. … Lobbying firms that work for two major private prison giants, GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America, gave $133,246 to the Ready for Hillary PAC, according to Vice. Those companies operate a number of criminal and immigrant detention facilities, some of which have been plagued by allegations of abuse and poor treatment of detainees.

Private Prison Lobbyists Are Raising Cash for Hillary Clinton
Source: Lee Fang, The Intercept, July 23 2015

As immigration and incarceration issues become central to the 2016 presidential campaign, lobbyists for two major prison companies are serving as top fundraisers for Hillary Clinton. Corrections Corporation of America and the Geo Group could both see their fortunes turning if there are fewer people to lock up in the future. Last week, Clinton and other candidates revealed a number of lobbyists who are serving as “bundlers” for their campaigns. Richard Sullivan, of the lobbying firm Capitol Counsel, is a bundler for the Clinton campaign, bringing in $44,859 in contributions in a few short months. Sullivan is also a registered lobbyist for the Geo Group, a company that operates a number of jails, including immigrant detention centers, for profit. As we reported yesterday, fully five Clinton bundlers work for the lobbying and law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private prison company in America, paid Akin Gump $240,000 in lobbying fees last year. The firm also serves as a law firm for the prison giant, representing the company in court. Akin Gump lobbyist and Clinton bundler Brian Popper disclosed that he previously helped CCA defeat efforts to compel private prisons to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests. …. The future of both criminal justice reform and immigration are critical for private prison firms.

A.C. captain, councilman cite in-house towing’s benefits

Source: Michelle Brunetti Post, Press of Atlantic City, April 27, 2016

Pressure has been mounting on Atlantic City to find ways to cut its budget, including through privatization of city services. And the towing operation has been on the state’s radar for privatization for at least 20 years. … But police Capt. Chris Kammerman said he is in favor of keeping the towing operation in-house. Kammerman compiled a report on the tow operation’s expenses and revenues at the request of Council President Marty Small, to be shared with The Press of Atlantic City. Average tow truck response time now is less than 10 minutes, he said. That saves valuable patrol time, especially for police out on the road in the middle of the night waiting for a tow truck after an accident or crime, Kammerman said. …

Koster’s Bridgeton Landfill lawsuit back in county court

Source: Jacob Barker, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 26, 2016

A federal judge is sending Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster’s environmental lawsuit against the owner of the Bridgeton Landfill back to St. Louis County Circuit Court. In October, Republic Services, the owner of the burning Bridgeton Landfill and the adjacent radioactively contaminated West Lake Landfill, removed the 2013 state lawsuit to federal court. After several state reports suggested some radioactive material was discovered outside of West Lake Landfill, Republic argued that Koster’s office was seeking to assert state control over radioactive material under federal Environmental Protection Agency jurisdiction. Koster called the move, a few months before a now-delayed trial date, a stalling tactic. … Republic said the ruling was made “based on assurances made by the Missouri Attorney General’s Office that the State will not seek any court order concerning the radiologically impacted material.” That, Republic said, will allow EPA to finish its planning for a barrier between the two landfills “without further litigation involvement by the state of Missouri.”

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St. Louis County health department to start surveying residents near Bridgeton Landfill this month
Source: Stephanie Lecci, St. Louis Public Radio, February 9, 2016

The St. Louis County health department said a health survey of residents living near the West Lake and Bridgeton landfills will begin in about two weeks, a year after its initial announcement. Director Faisal Khan said the odors coming from an underground fire at Bridgeton Landfill smoldering since 2010 have affected residents’ respiratory health. He said the survey will specifically look for complaints of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and allergies. …

New reports in West Lake Landfill case show the site is safe
Source: Blythe Bernhard, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 30, 2015

Adding to conflicting information about the smoldering Bridgeton Landfill and the radioactive West Lake Landfill, new reports filed in court show the sites are safe and under control. The 15 reports were submitted Friday by the landfills’ owner Republic Services as part of an ongoing lawsuit against the company by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster for various environmental violations. The case is expected to go to trial next year. …

Lawmakers want hearing on West Lake Landfill
Source: Farrah Fazal, KSDK, October 14, 2015

Missouri’s Senators and Congressmen said the Environmental Protection Agency isn’t doing a good enough job of protecting people who live in the area. They said they’ve been lobbying Department of energy to let the Army Corps of Engineers take over the landfills. … The EPA said it does continuous testing at the Bridgeton and West Lake Landfills. EPA scientists said there’s very little chance toxic fumes could come from the landfills and impact the people who live around it. … Republic Services owns the landfills. The company said it does regular testing at the sites and the sites are safe. State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal said the sites are far from safe. She said the dangerous chemical are in the groundwater and are making their way into the drinking water. She wants the Governor to call a State of Emergency.
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