Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Ad Hoc Infrastructure Committee

November 6, 2002

Commission Hearing Room
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744

                                  
           7        BE IT REMEMBERED, that heretofore on  the 6th day of

           8   November, 2002, there came on to be heard matters under the

           9   regulatory authority of the Parks and Wildlife Commission

          10   of Texas, in the Commission Hearing Room of the Texas Parks

          11   and Wildlife Headquarters Complex, beginning at 2:15 p.m.

          12   to wit:

          13   APPEARANCES:

          14   THE PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION:

          15   AD HOC INFRASTRUCTURE COMMITTEE:

          16             Katharine Armstrong, Austin, Texas, Commission 
          17             Chair
          18             Joseph B.C. Fitzsimons, San Antonio, Texas
          19             Ernest Angelo, Jr., Midland, Texas
          20             John Avila, Jr., Fort Worth, Texas
          21             Alvin L. Henry, Houston, Texas, Committee Chair
          22             Philip Montgomery, Dallas, Texas
          23             Donato D. Ramos, Laredo, Texas
          24             Kelly W. Rising, M.D., Beaumont, Texas
          25             Mark W. Watson, Jr., San Antonio, Texas

          26   THE TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT:
          27   Robert L. Cook, Executive Director, and other personnel of
          28   the Parks and Wildlife Department

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           1             CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  We will now open the Ad

           2   Hoc Committee on Infrastructure meeting.

           3             COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Okay.  Thank you.

           4             I call the meeting -- to order the meeting of

           5   the Ad Hoc Infrastructure Committee this November 6, 2002

           6   at 2:10 p.m.

           7             The first item of business is the approval of

           8   the Committee minutes from May 29, 2002, because I don't

           9   believe we had a meeting the last Commission meeting.

          10             Do I have a motion?

          11             COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  I would so move.

          12             COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Do I have a second?

          13             COMMISSIONER RISING:  Second.

          14             COMMISSIONER AVILA:  All in favor say aye.

          15             (A chorus of ayes.)

          16             COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Bob, is there any update

          17   to the Chairman's charges?

          18             MR. COOK:  Yes, sir.

          19             On our charge to successfully complete existing

          20   bond issue and prepare for and execute our upcoming bond

          21   issue, Steve Whiston will report to the Commission on our

          22   bond program.

          23             We continue to make good progress in all areas

          24   of our capital program, and I am particularly proud of

          25   our response to the recent flood damage.  State parks and

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           1   wildlife management areas received over $4.9 million in

           2   damages, but, because of quick response by facilities

           3   staff, force account crews and the infrastructure staff,

           4   we incurred only minimum loss in revenue and in most

           5   cases were back up and operational within 48 hours.

           6             Also, to track and appropriately manage the

           7   Lonestar Legacy Development projects, I am happy to

           8   announce that construction contracts for the Bentsen site

           9   of the world birding [phonetic] center have been let and

          10   that construction will commence as soon as the ground is

          11   dry enough to go to work.

          12             COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Hallelujah.  Okay.  Thank

          13   you, Mr. Cook.

          14             Steve Whiston?

          15             MR. WHISTON:  Yes.  Thank you, Mr. Chairman,

          16   Chairman Armstrong and Commissioners.  For the record, my

          17   name is Steve Whiston; I'm the Acting Director of the

          18   Infrastructure Division.  The purpose of today's

          19   Committee briefing is to update you on our current

          20   capital program.

          21             Our focus for the beginning of this fiscal year

          22   has been aimed at completing the $60 million revenue bond

          23   program authorized by the 74th Legislature for statewide

          24   critical repairs, as well as gearing up for the $36.68

          25   million issue of general obligation bond program that was

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           1   approved as a part of Proposition 8 last November and

           2   initiating the planning for the '04/'05 bond issue that

           3   will be considered in the upcoming legislative session

           4   beginning in January.

           5             Our first revenue bond issue, as you'll recall,

           6   was made available to us in FY '98.  We've completed the

           7   original 89 projects that were funded with that original

           8   $12 million issue.  Using the savings that we realized

           9   from those projects along with another $176,000 in

          10   interest income that we earned over the life of those

          11   bonds, the Department has funded an additional nine

          12   projects that are underway and that we expect to be

          13   complete this coming March in 2003.

          14             A couple of examples of some of the projects

          15   that we completed with the '98 issue include, first, the

          16   replacement of seven screen shelters at Blanco State

          17   Park.  This was an $80,000 project accomplished by our

          18   Parks and Wildlife Force Account crew.  The existing

          19   shelters were completely torn down and then rebuilt,

          20   bringing them all into compliance with the Americans with

          21   Disabilities Act.

          22             We completed, as well, with these funds the

          23   renovation of a $300,000 project, the wastewater

          24   treatment plant at Huntsville State Park.  This project

          25   included the replacement of the treatment plant, sewer

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           1   lift stations and all the associated piping with that

           2   facility.

           3             In January of FY '99, the Department was issued

           4   $18 million in revenue bonds for the FY '99 program.  As

           5   with the '98 issue, we are substantially complete with

           6   that program.  Only eight of the 133 projects that remain

           7   are in the final stages of construction and are all

           8   scheduled to be closed out in January or February of this

           9   coming year, 2003.

          10             Some examples of some of the projects from our

          11   '99 issue include our boat dock improvement program. 

          12   Using $400,000 of the '99 bond proceeds and a grant of

          13   $900,000 from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife, we replaced 11

          14   courtesy boat docks at Fort Parker, shown here, as well

          15   as Cedar Hill, Lake Livingston, Lake Ray Roberts and

          16   Possum Kingdom State Park, just to name a few, for a

          17   total of $1.3 million worth of boat dock repairs.

          18             '99 bond funds were also used for the

          19   renovation of the GCCA Marine Development Center.  This

          20   facility is located in Corpus Christi and was a former

          21   metal hatchery building.  Being in its Gulf Coast

          22   location, it was obviously subject to pretty extensive

          23   corrosive conditions.  The 4,900-square-foot facility

          24   was, obviously, pretty badly deteriorated.  The building

          25   was completely reconstructed.  The exterior siding and

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           1   doors were then replaced with a fiberglass reinforced

           2   plastic material to prevent any further deterioration and

           3   protect that building for the long haul.

           4             The interior spaces were totally renovated at

           5   the facility.  We replaced a single restroom in the

           6   former building with new men's and women's restrooms and

           7   showers and provided a new ADA-accessible lab and kitchen

           8   area.

           9             As this graph indicates, we are about 52

          10   percent complete with our 2000 revenue bond issue.  We've

          11   completed 58 of the original 111 projects but, at the

          12   same time, expended about 82 percent of the funds of that

          13   issue, or about $16-1/2 million of that $20 million

          14   issue.  We are on target with the issue, and we expect to

          15   complete all of the 111 projects by mid-summer of next

          16   year.

          17             Some highlights of that 2000 issue include a

          18   new headquarters and visitors center at Lake Somerville

          19   State Park.  We are really extremely proud of this new

          20   facility.  If you'll recall, in August of 2001, the

          21   headquarters of Lake Somerville was struck by lightning

          22   and burned down.  This new headquarters was designed and

          23   constructed using sustainable building design techniques

          24   and standards.

          25             Using environmentally appropriate materials, we

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           1   tried to focus our efforts on reduced energy consumption,

           2   water efficiency and interior and exterior air quality. 

           3   The images on the left and in the center in this

           4   particular slide show some of the rainwater collection

           5   tanks that were incorporated into the building in the

           6   project.

           7             We anticipate, because of our collective

           8   efforts on this project on behalf of Parks and Wildlife,

           9   to receive a gold rating from the U. S. Green Building

          10   Council for innovation and leadership in energy and in

          11   environmental design.  So we're really, as I said, just

          12   very proud and feel really great about the result of that

          13   project.

          14             In about a week, one of our infrastructure

          15   division force account crews is scheduled to complete the

          16   renovation of the rec. hall, an historic CCC structure at

          17   Caddo Lake State Park in northeast Texas.  Our crew

          18   replaced the roof, rebuilt the porch and entry, we

          19   provided new H/V/AC electrical systems, new fire alarms,

          20   and completely gutted and restored the interior to match

          21   the original CCC construction, as well as making the

          22   building accessible for ADA.

          23             At the Devil's Sink Hole State Natural Area in

          24   west Texas, our crew there constructed a new observation

          25   platform, a really unique project that I thought you

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           1   might be interested in seeing a little bit about, a new

           2   platform to provide public access to view the sink hole

           3   and watch the bat flights coming out of the sink hole. 

           4   This is a $110,000 project that also included new barrier

           5   fencing, trail construction and new toilet facilities.

           6             Our last revenue bond issue was made available

           7   to us in FY '01 for 13.5 million.  All of the 74 projects

           8   in that issue are, as well, underway in design and

           9   construction; 10 percent are complete, and we expect to

          10   complete the remaining projects in early FY '04.

          11             A couple of sample projects of the 2001 program

          12   include the renovation of the Dickinson Regional Office

          13   facility.  This is an office facility for coastal

          14   fisheries and resource protection divisions in the

          15   Department.

          16             This project included extensive exterior

          17   repairs, as well as ADA improvements.  It also included

          18   the complete interior renovation of the facility to

          19   provide new restrooms, new reception areas and lobbies,

          20   conference and classroom space, as well as office space,

          21   for a project cost of about $575,000.  And this project

          22   was completed last -- May of this year.

          23             And last, but not least, another project we're

          24   real proud of and wanted to share with you is the

          25   renovation of the guest rooms at Indian Lodge at Fort

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           1   Davis State Park, another great project executed by our

           2   force account program, where they went in and removed all

           3   the asbestos, restored all the original ceilings and wood

           4   floors in the guest rooms at the lodge, provided new

           5   operable wood shutters and remodeled the bathrooms.

           6             In addition, our crews restored all the

           7   exterior porches to some of the rooms, as well as to the

           8   registration and gift shop; we constructed ADA walkways

           9   and landscaped the facility with native plants.  And it

          10   turned out really well, we think.  We're really proud of

          11   it, as well.

          12             To summarize our revenue bond program, we've to

          13   date completed 68 percent of the total 409 projects

          14   funded out of the revenue bonds totaling 63.5 million

          15   that was made available to us.  We've expended to date

          16   $51 million of that issue.  We are on course, as Bob

          17   indicated, to complete all of the projects that are

          18   currently funded with that issue in revenue bonds in the

          19   summer of FY '04, and we'll be able to put that one to

          20   bed.

          21             I'd like to conclude the presentation with a

          22   brief summary of our new general obligation bond program. 

          23   As you know, with the passage of Proposition 8, the 77th

          24   Legislature authorized Parks and Wildlife to receive

          25   101.5 million of general obligation bonds for statewide

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           1   facility repairs, wastewater system renovations, ADA

           2   compliance projects, as well as the construction of some

           3   new state park facilities.

           4             This matrix illustrates -- and I think you've

           5   seen this before in previous presentations -- how that

           6   $101.5 million is proposed to be funded out of this

           7   current biennium and the two subsequent bienniums,

           8   '04/'05 and '06/'07.  The Texas Public Finance Authority

           9   has issued to us already our first tranche, or the first

          10   $430,000, last October -- mid-October for the 36.68 issue

          11   that was approved by the legislature for the '02/'03

          12   biennium.  $31 million of that will be directed, as the

          13   top two lines indicate, to infrastructure and facility

          14   repairs for '03.

          15             The remaining $5.68 million of those GO bonds

          16   will be provided to fund the planning and the design and

          17   the construction of Levi Jordan Plantation, Admiral

          18   Nimitz, Sheldon Lake Environmental Education Center, the

          19   San Jacinto Battleground and the Battleship Texas.

          20             This is our GO bond expenditure strategy, and I

          21   hope it'll give you a better idea of how we anticipate

          22   the $101-1/2 million to roll out over the course of the

          23   life of this program.  We have been approved and are

          24   underway with the '02/'03 appropriation of 36.68 million.

          25             With the legislative approval this coming

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           1   session, we expect to begin rolling out funds in FY '04

           2   for a total issue of $16.3 million in revenue bonds

           3   beginning in September '03.  And then, likewise,

           4   beginning each September of each year through FY '07, we

           5   anticipate receiving another issue of general obligation

           6   bonds, for a total of $101 million.  Each subsequent

           7   issue will take about three years to fully expend, so we

           8   anticipate being able to complete this issue sometime at

           9   the end of September in 2009 -- calendar year 2009.

          10             With that, that completes my brief presentation

          11   this morning [sic], and I'd be more than happy to answer

          12   questions.

          13             COMMISSIONER AVILA:  This gives us a good

          14   synopsis.

          15             Does anybody have any questions?

          16             CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  I have a comment.

          17             COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Okay.

          18             CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  I was at the Indian Lodge

          19   this summer and got to see a lot of what was done out

          20   there, and I was very impressed.  It looked beautiful,

          21   and the new renovations were fantastic.

          22             MR. WHISTON:  Thank you.  We appreciate it. 

          23   We're proud of what was done.

          24             CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Very exciting.

          25             MR. WHISTON:  I'm glad you had an opportunity

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           1   to see them.

           2             CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Me, too.

           3             MR. WHISTON:  I invite everybody to take a

           4   look.

           5             MR. COOK:  I just wish we had enough force

           6   account crews to do more.

           7             MR. WHISTON:  Oh, yes.

           8             MR. COOK:  When you see the job those guys do,

           9   it's incredible and fits the time period, whatever it is. 

          10   And they've done a great job, Steve, and we really

          11   appreciate it.

          12             MR. WHISTON:  Thank you.

          13             CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Thank you.

          14             COMMISSIONER AVILA:  All right.  If there's no

          15   other business, this concludes the meeting of the Ad Hoc

          16   Infrastructure Committee.

          17             (Whereupon, the meeting was concluded.) 

                                ON THE RECORD REPORTING
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           1                     C E R T I F I C A T E

           2   MEETING OF:     Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
           3                   Ad Hoc Infrastructure Committee

           4   LOCATION:      Austin, Texas

           5   DATE:          November 6, 2002

           6             I do hereby certify that the foregoing pages,
           7   numbers 1 through 13, inclusive, are the true, accurate,
           8   and complete transcript prepared from the verbal
           9   recording made by electronic recording by Penny Bynum
          10   before the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

          11                                             12/10/02

          12                       (Transcriber)         (Date)

          13                        On the Record Reporting, Inc.
          14                        3307 Northland, Suite 315
          15                        Austin, Texas 78731

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                                    (512) 450-0342

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