What’s Troubling the EU-US Alliance?

The US President Donald Trump said that for very long, the US has been shouldering the financial burden of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and other member states especially certain EU countries have got away without doing much. In 2018, Trump wrote letters to NATO members states including Germany, Spain and Netherlands, along with Canada, days before the NATO Summit (July 11-12, 2018), that they should contribute their “rightful share”. If not, the US would be compelled to think of withdrawing its military presence around the world. The US President singled out Germany for failing to live up to its obligations vis-à-vis NATO, in spite of the economy performing reasonably. While reacting to Trump’s letter, the Belgian PM Charles Michel stated that he was not impressed by the letter from the US President.

Spotlight

City of Orem Economic Development

Ever since the City of Orem traded in its farms and orchards for the likes of WordPerfect and Novell, publications around the country have taken notice of Orem's pro-business environment. Most recently, the Milken Institute named the Orem-Provo MSA as the No. 2 Best Performing Cities, a recognition that has become commonplace in such rankings. Orem's proximity to more than 60,000 students from Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University ensures that the city's workforce needs will be well-cared for as the economy continues to grow.

OTHER ARTICLES
Government Business, Government Finance

Cities, counties launching projects to reach sustainability goals

Article | July 12, 2022

Motorists and automobile lovers are already noticing rather rapid change. Sustainability goals adopted by elected officials at cities and counties are continuing to promote projects that support walking, biking, and using public transportation. Housing density, walkable communities, technology enhancement and convenient public transportation are the goals. Parking options are being reduced. Automobiles are being banned on many community streets, and cities are adding parks, entertainment venues, affordable housing, and more retail. Mixed use development, biking lanes, and convenient transportation options for non-motorized travel are the goal. The arguments for such changes are that people will be healthier and safer, the air will be cleaner, and there will be more options for people with disabilities. The trend is called ‘livable and walkable communities,’ and as it sweeps through the country, it opens up thousands of partnering opportunities between public entities and private sector contractors. Indiana The city of Indianapolis plans to add more sidewalks throughout the city and has commissioned an inventory to determine how many and which streets don’t have a sidewalk. The results of that study will be published by the end of 2020. The city, which covers 360 square miles, has approximately 8,400 lane miles of streets. Indiana’s Department of Transportation maintains about one-third of the state’s sidewalks, and the cities are responsible for the rest. The study is part of the Indy Moves plan, a long-range planning document that combines walking, biking, and public transportation goals. More than 400 projects are outlined that include building new roads, developing greenways, upgrading existing roads with sidewalks, and constructing more bike lanes. Adding sidewalks to every street without them could cost more than $1 billion. The sidewalks, however, appear to be a high priority because city officials have pledged net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and that requires fewer automobiles in the city. Texas In August, the city of Houston approved a plan that is built around walkable places and transit-oriented programs that encourage pedestrian-friendly spaces. The city, like many others throughout the country, will work to promote mixed-use development designed for walkability. For three years, the city has studied ways to make neighborhoods more walkable. Its new plan lists Midtown, Emancipation Avenue, and the Northside as the first places of high focus. Ordinances will be effective beginning October 1. Some of the first initiatives include the construction of facades closer to the road, expansion of sidewalks and relocation of parking lots to the side or rear of buildings. Additionally, the ordinances call for additional bike parking standards in areas that are within a half-mile walking distance from Metro transit station platforms. New Hampshire The Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission recently unveiled its Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Plan. The document outlines projects that include constructing streets and paths that encourage walking and biking. It calls for developing safer intersections and compact and well-signed city blocks. The city of Manchester has applied for a $25 million federal grant to will help fund a pedestrian bridge and the addition of a new street to help alleviate traffic congestion around the Southern New Hampshire University parking garage. City leaders hope to know by November if their grant request has been approved. If so, projects related to improving connectivity and walkability will be launched. The plan calls for an approximate $125 million investment, but the projects could unlock $600 million more in anticipated development. The new developments are expected to include a facility for 1,802 residential units, a hotel with 154 rooms, 785,000 square feet of office space, and 198,000 square feet of retail space. Illinois The city of Chicago has announced an initiative called INVEST South/West. This plan commits $750 million of public funds for projects in 12 commercial corridors in 10 neighborhoods. The objective of this plan is to improve streetscapes and public and also strengthening transportation networks and repurposing vacant lots for public amenities and affordable housing. Currently, three solicitation documents have been released for one neighborhood but numerous others will be released in coming months for projects in other neighborhoods. The initial solicitation documents call for proposals by November 24 with construction to begin by the end of 2020. Projects outlined for the various neighborhoods were developed through a months-long community-engagement process, and the developers and contractors will be expected to begin work quickly. California The city of Modesto has approved a 20-year plan that calls for bicycle lanes as well as widening and enhancing of sidewalks. Other projects are also planned with the overall objective of making neighborhoods more convenient for non-drivers and encouraging foot traffic and bicycles. City leaders point out that the downtown area has strong office, restaurant, and entertainment sectors, but there is a desire to reduce automobile traffic. Denser housing options and the encouragement of transportation options that include walking and biking are the goal. Construction of new home sites, retail, and other uses will be left to developers. City leaders plan to replace the Stanislaus County Courthouse and adjacent jail to make that property available for new, denser home sites. A pedestrian-friendly route would lead to the Tuolumne River. Georgia Clayton County and the cities of Sandy Springs, Savannah, and Valdosta were selected for funding in Georgia Tech's 2020 Georgia Smart Communities Challenge. Each region will receive $100,000 in grant funding to be used for planning purposes. The Clayton County Smart Pedestrian Planning project outlines plans to promote mobility, equity, and the identification of smart technologies to support walkability in communities. Sidewalk data will be collected, and the county will oversee the selection of pilot projects in locations that represent different neighborhood typologies. The first projects will be studied for future development of additional regions. Cities and counties throughout the country are rushing to meet sustainability goals and these efforts are resulting in an abundance of contracting opportunities for developers, engineering firms, construction companies, landscape firms, and technology providers. Mary Scott Nabers is president and CEO of Strategic Partnerships Inc., a business development company specializing in government contracting and procurement consulting throughout the U.S. Her recently released book, Inside the Infrastructure Revolution: A Roadmap for Building America, is a handbook for contractors, investors and the public at large seeking to explore how public-private partnerships or joint ventures can help finance their infrastructure projects.

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Creating Public Value using the AI-Driven Internet of Things

Article | May 26, 2021

Government agencies seek to deliver quality services in increasingly dynamic and complex environments. However, outdated infrastructures—and a shortage of sys­tems that collect and use massive real-time data—make it challenging for the agencies to fulfill their missions. Governments have a tremendous opportunity to transform public services using the “Internet of Things” (IoT) to provide situation-specific and real-time data, which can improve decision-making and optimize operational effectiveness.

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Emerging Technology, Government Business

Bond elections catalyze numerous contracting opportunities

Article | October 7, 2022

People often believe that bond elections only fund construction projects. Although it’s true that construction opportunities do occur when bond packages are approved, sales of certificates of obligation or general obligation spawn hundreds of other contracting opportunities. Companies that provide services related to technology, energy systems, furniture, landscaping, and security also benefit. Voters already have approved an abundance of bond packages this year, and more are pending in November elections. Although it’s true that construction opportunities do occur when bond packages are approved, sales of certificates of obligation or general obligation spawn hundreds of other contracting opportunities. Georgia The state of Georgia has funding of $1.133 billion that will be used for new projects, the purchasing of equipment, repairs and renovations to existing facilities. Some of it will also be used to launch new construction projects. School districts have been allocated approximately $378 million and $302 million is available for projects at the University System of Georgia. The Department of Transportation will receive over $152 million for roads, bridges, and rail projects, and the Technical College System of Georgia will receive approximately $99 million for various projects. The state also allocated $20 million for a new conference center at Lake Lanier Island and $12 million for infrastructure improvements at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. West Virginia The Cabell County Board of Education authorized the issuance of $87.5 million in public school bonds after it was approved by voters in August. Architectural firms and design teams will be in high demand soon as construction is planned for early 2021. Projects include rebuilding Meadows Elementary and Milton Elementary and construction of a new Davis Creek Elementary facility. Other school buildings will receive major renovations including new windows, doors, roofing, HVAC systems, sprinkler systems, and security upgrades. New York Bond funds were approved in Lewis County for a $33 million capital project to construct a new surgical pavilion and renovation of the existing Medical-Surgical floor. Bidding will be solicited in January and February 2021 with construction to begin immediately. The project includes construction of a 36,224 square-foot surgical pavilion as well as the renovation of about 18,889 square feet of the existing Medical-Surgical inpatient floor. California The state of California recently announced the sale of $2.65 billion of revenue bonds to benefit various projects at the University of California (UC). About $1.15 billion will be spent on campus projects. Regents for the university system announced that about than 50 construction projects at all 10 UC campuses are planned. Projects include improvements to the Agriculture and Natural Resources Research and Extension Center and Franz Hall. Seismic upgrades are planned for the Irvine Campus, the engineering tower, four gateway quad buildings, and the social sciences buildings. More earthquake-resistant improvements will be made at a number of additional facilities. Louisiana In August, $140 million in bonds were approved for construction of a new high school and the completion of 13 other construction and improvement projects for Ascension Parish Public Schools. Approximately $79.5 million has been set aside for a new high school which will be located in Prairieville. Solicitation documents for contractors will be released in 2021. Other projects that have been approved include $27 million in renovations at East Ascension High School, $7.5 million for artificial turf at four high school stadiums plus the stadium at the new high school, $4.4 million for a classroom addition at St. Amant Primary, and $2.3 million for improvements at Donaldsonville High School. Texas Voters recently approved $76.6 million for the Plainview Independent School District and this funding will be used to consolidate and restructure elementary and middle school facilities. Some of the revenue will also be used to update security and technology. The proposed building plan consolidates six elementary campuses into three with pre-K programs and increased capacity at each campus. Some solicitation documents are expected in November, and others are planned for early 2021. Hawaii The state of Hawaii successfully sold $995 million of general obligation bonds, and the funding will be used to finance capital improvements for various public buildings, elementary and secondary schools, community college and university facilities, public libraries, and parks. As 2020 draws to a close over the next few months, millions more in funding for all types of projects will result as November bond packages are placed on the ballot for voter approval. Even in the midst of a pandemic, public assets must be maintained, expanded, and made safe for citizens. The activity generated by the bond elections stimulates local economies, and the projects that result create thousands of jobs as well. Mary Scott Nabers is president and CEO of Strategic Partnerships Inc., a business development company specializing in government contracting and procurement consulting throughout the U.S. Her recently released book, Inside the Infrastructure Revolution: A Roadmap for Building America, is a handbook for contractors, investors and the public at large seeking to explore how public-private partnerships or joint ventures can help finance their infrastructure projects.

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5 (free) things governments can do to reposition for the future

Article | May 27, 2021

Over the last year, we’ve all witnessed years of digital transformation in a matter of months. A recent survey from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), sponsored by Microsoft, shows that government respondents were the second-most likely group (after financial services) to report increased investment in digital transformation since the start of the pandemic. As governments around the world continue to look to technology and innovation to respond to the challenges of today, here are five (free) things governments are doing to step-change the way they can achieve their economic, social, and sustainability objectives in the future.

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Spotlight

City of Orem Economic Development

Ever since the City of Orem traded in its farms and orchards for the likes of WordPerfect and Novell, publications around the country have taken notice of Orem's pro-business environment. Most recently, the Milken Institute named the Orem-Provo MSA as the No. 2 Best Performing Cities, a recognition that has become commonplace in such rankings. Orem's proximity to more than 60,000 students from Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University ensures that the city's workforce needs will be well-cared for as the economy continues to grow.

Related News

Emerging Technology

Thentia now working with AWS to drive innovation in the public sector

PR Newswire | January 20, 2024

Thentia, a leading innovator in regulatory technology, is pleased to announce that it is now working with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to drive continued innovation in the public sector. Thentia is empowering regulators to seamlessly tap into the company's comprehensive regulatory assurance Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform, Thentia Cloud, powered by AWS, fortifying the landscape of regulatory oversight. "We are thrilled to be working with AWS as we persist in our commitment to deliver an enhanced experience for government agencies and regulatory entities globally." says Julian Cardarelli, CEO, Thentia. "By leveraging the power of AWS, we solidify our position as a clear leader and a versatile multi-cloud provider in our category, affirming our commitment to ongoing excellence." Cardarelli adds, "With our world-class, fully integrated regulatory assurance platform now accessible on AWS, we strengthen our commitment to empower the public sector with sophisticated tools for unparalleled efficiency in fulfilling their mandate of public protection." Other key benefits of Thentia's relationship with AWS include working with AWS engineers and architects to optimize Thentia Cloud's performance, security, compliance, and reliability. Partnering with AWS also helps ensure that Thentia Cloud remains at the forefront of the latest advances in cloud computing. Designed for regulators by regulators, Thentia Cloud digitizes, streamlines, and consolidates all essential regulatory functions within a single and secure cloud-based environment. The platform is designed to empower regulators with a comprehensive 360-degree view of all licensee activities, giving them a much more modern, streamlined, and efficient way to work and ultimately meet their regulatory obligation to safeguard the public. Trusted by millions of licensed professionals, businesses, and entities globally, Thentia has been recognized by regulators worldwide for its enhanced blend of technological innovation and regulatory proficiency. In addition to AWS, Thentia Cloud is available on other cloud providers including Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. About Thentia Thoughtfully built for regulators, by regulators, Thentia is driving regulatory transformation for hundreds of regulators and regulatory agencies worldwide with a platform that handles all key department functions including licensing, investigations, enforcement, fitness to practise, quality assurance, scope of practise, continuing education, board management, data analysis, and more. Thentia Cloud empowers regulators to transcend the constraints of legacy processes, custom-built solutions, and a web of disparate applications with a single unified 360-degree platform, setting new standards in efficiency and effectiveness. Thentia Cloud is available on all major cloud providers, including Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS), IBM Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.

Read More

Government Business

Permuta Launches SaaS Version of DefenseReady on Microsoft Azure Government DoD Cloud

PR Newswire | January 19, 2024

Permuta, a leading HR modernization and talent management software platform for Federal organizational readiness and operational excellence, announced today the release of its first ever SaaS product for DefenseReady with AI and Machine Learning capabilities, called DefenseReady Cloud. The release comes after a decade of on-premise DefenseReady applications and two years after the release of a DoD ATO cloud-hosted IaaS option on IL5. "DefenseReady Cloud provides DoD and approved civilian organizations the low code/no code SaaS/AI solution that ingests existing data sources, regardless of location, to provide a single pane of glass that informs leaders to make readiness decisions which will help our forces be stronger, safer, and our country more competitive," said Sig Behrens, Permuta's CEO. "Our mission has always been to assist in putting the right people, in the right place, at the right time," said Behrens. "And now leadership can have the highest level of confidence on the DISA's approved Microsoft DoD tenant while saving operational costs." "Microsoft is committed to helping the DoD use innovative technologies to meet their critical mission needs and working with key partners like Permuta enables us to innovate and scale solutions for our national security leaders," says Wes Anderson, Vice President for Defense, Microsoft. "This collaboration with Permuta on the DefenseReady cloud will enable Department of Defense leaders to make fully informed operational and readiness decisions with speed." About Permuta Permuta Technologies Inc., is a privately owned software manufacturer which creates off-the-shelf software which has been tailored for military and civilian organizations. With deep experience in the government, Permuta understands the challenges agencies face to protect and meet mission-critical initiatives. As a trusted leader in delivering solutions built and designed for government, Permuta is committed to increasing effectiveness and readiness so agencies can confidently execute their mission. Their products, built on Microsoft technology are the only solutions in the market that cover all federal readiness management needs in one system, including force readiness, training, performance and asset management, medical readiness, mission planning and more.

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Government Finance

Springbrook Software Announces Record Number of Customers Moving to New Cirrus SaaS Based Government Financial ERP Platform in 2023

PR Newswire | January 09, 2024

Springbrook, the country's leading developer of cloud-based government software, closed 2023 with a record number of 68 municipalities selecting Cirrus, the company's flagship financial ERP. Cirrus is a fully integrated, Multi-Tenant, SaasS based platform designed from the ground up specifically for local government agencies. "Cirrus reflects what our customers need and have asked for. We address growing concerns with ransomware attacks by offering the highest level of cybersecurity available. We provide citizens and the next generation of personnel with a seamless, modern, interactive experience. And we know from the pandemic that a changing workforce needs anytime, anywhere browser-based access. Our growth reflects the trend of moving away from home brewed or dated technologies to solutions that are designed for today's challenges," says Robert Bonavito, CEO of Springbrook Software. Springbrook's Cirrus provides a full suite of integrated solutions including finance, payroll, utility billing, advanced budgeting, and human resources. Springbrook also offers the most advanced payment solution available, through Xpress Bill Pay, as well as Tableau, the number one visual analytics tool in use by government agencies. 2023 also marked the roll out of several new technologies including an AI driven ChatBot, Allocation Billing for water utilities with tiered billing structures, and efficient online and mobile Payroll Time Clocks and Time Sheets. About Springbrook Software: Springbrook Software is the country's leading cloud-based finance and administration software provider designing solutions specifically for small to medium sized local government agencies. Nearly 2800 cities, towns and districts from coast to coast use our suite of modern, high-performance solutions to manage their finances, payroll, utility billing and collect citizen payments. Springbrook is headquartered in Portland, Oregon with regional presence in over 40 states, and seven countries internationally.

Read More

Emerging Technology

Thentia now working with AWS to drive innovation in the public sector

PR Newswire | January 20, 2024

Thentia, a leading innovator in regulatory technology, is pleased to announce that it is now working with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to drive continued innovation in the public sector. Thentia is empowering regulators to seamlessly tap into the company's comprehensive regulatory assurance Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform, Thentia Cloud, powered by AWS, fortifying the landscape of regulatory oversight. "We are thrilled to be working with AWS as we persist in our commitment to deliver an enhanced experience for government agencies and regulatory entities globally." says Julian Cardarelli, CEO, Thentia. "By leveraging the power of AWS, we solidify our position as a clear leader and a versatile multi-cloud provider in our category, affirming our commitment to ongoing excellence." Cardarelli adds, "With our world-class, fully integrated regulatory assurance platform now accessible on AWS, we strengthen our commitment to empower the public sector with sophisticated tools for unparalleled efficiency in fulfilling their mandate of public protection." Other key benefits of Thentia's relationship with AWS include working with AWS engineers and architects to optimize Thentia Cloud's performance, security, compliance, and reliability. Partnering with AWS also helps ensure that Thentia Cloud remains at the forefront of the latest advances in cloud computing. Designed for regulators by regulators, Thentia Cloud digitizes, streamlines, and consolidates all essential regulatory functions within a single and secure cloud-based environment. The platform is designed to empower regulators with a comprehensive 360-degree view of all licensee activities, giving them a much more modern, streamlined, and efficient way to work and ultimately meet their regulatory obligation to safeguard the public. Trusted by millions of licensed professionals, businesses, and entities globally, Thentia has been recognized by regulators worldwide for its enhanced blend of technological innovation and regulatory proficiency. In addition to AWS, Thentia Cloud is available on other cloud providers including Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. About Thentia Thoughtfully built for regulators, by regulators, Thentia is driving regulatory transformation for hundreds of regulators and regulatory agencies worldwide with a platform that handles all key department functions including licensing, investigations, enforcement, fitness to practise, quality assurance, scope of practise, continuing education, board management, data analysis, and more. Thentia Cloud empowers regulators to transcend the constraints of legacy processes, custom-built solutions, and a web of disparate applications with a single unified 360-degree platform, setting new standards in efficiency and effectiveness. Thentia Cloud is available on all major cloud providers, including Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS), IBM Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.

Read More

Government Business

Permuta Launches SaaS Version of DefenseReady on Microsoft Azure Government DoD Cloud

PR Newswire | January 19, 2024

Permuta, a leading HR modernization and talent management software platform for Federal organizational readiness and operational excellence, announced today the release of its first ever SaaS product for DefenseReady with AI and Machine Learning capabilities, called DefenseReady Cloud. The release comes after a decade of on-premise DefenseReady applications and two years after the release of a DoD ATO cloud-hosted IaaS option on IL5. "DefenseReady Cloud provides DoD and approved civilian organizations the low code/no code SaaS/AI solution that ingests existing data sources, regardless of location, to provide a single pane of glass that informs leaders to make readiness decisions which will help our forces be stronger, safer, and our country more competitive," said Sig Behrens, Permuta's CEO. "Our mission has always been to assist in putting the right people, in the right place, at the right time," said Behrens. "And now leadership can have the highest level of confidence on the DISA's approved Microsoft DoD tenant while saving operational costs." "Microsoft is committed to helping the DoD use innovative technologies to meet their critical mission needs and working with key partners like Permuta enables us to innovate and scale solutions for our national security leaders," says Wes Anderson, Vice President for Defense, Microsoft. "This collaboration with Permuta on the DefenseReady cloud will enable Department of Defense leaders to make fully informed operational and readiness decisions with speed." About Permuta Permuta Technologies Inc., is a privately owned software manufacturer which creates off-the-shelf software which has been tailored for military and civilian organizations. With deep experience in the government, Permuta understands the challenges agencies face to protect and meet mission-critical initiatives. As a trusted leader in delivering solutions built and designed for government, Permuta is committed to increasing effectiveness and readiness so agencies can confidently execute their mission. Their products, built on Microsoft technology are the only solutions in the market that cover all federal readiness management needs in one system, including force readiness, training, performance and asset management, medical readiness, mission planning and more.

Read More

Government Finance

Springbrook Software Announces Record Number of Customers Moving to New Cirrus SaaS Based Government Financial ERP Platform in 2023

PR Newswire | January 09, 2024

Springbrook, the country's leading developer of cloud-based government software, closed 2023 with a record number of 68 municipalities selecting Cirrus, the company's flagship financial ERP. Cirrus is a fully integrated, Multi-Tenant, SaasS based platform designed from the ground up specifically for local government agencies. "Cirrus reflects what our customers need and have asked for. We address growing concerns with ransomware attacks by offering the highest level of cybersecurity available. We provide citizens and the next generation of personnel with a seamless, modern, interactive experience. And we know from the pandemic that a changing workforce needs anytime, anywhere browser-based access. Our growth reflects the trend of moving away from home brewed or dated technologies to solutions that are designed for today's challenges," says Robert Bonavito, CEO of Springbrook Software. Springbrook's Cirrus provides a full suite of integrated solutions including finance, payroll, utility billing, advanced budgeting, and human resources. Springbrook also offers the most advanced payment solution available, through Xpress Bill Pay, as well as Tableau, the number one visual analytics tool in use by government agencies. 2023 also marked the roll out of several new technologies including an AI driven ChatBot, Allocation Billing for water utilities with tiered billing structures, and efficient online and mobile Payroll Time Clocks and Time Sheets. About Springbrook Software: Springbrook Software is the country's leading cloud-based finance and administration software provider designing solutions specifically for small to medium sized local government agencies. Nearly 2800 cities, towns and districts from coast to coast use our suite of modern, high-performance solutions to manage their finances, payroll, utility billing and collect citizen payments. Springbrook is headquartered in Portland, Oregon with regional presence in over 40 states, and seven countries internationally.

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