Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Finance Committee

April 7, 2004

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

BE IT REMEMBERED, that heretofore on the 7th day of April, 2004, there came on to be heard matters under the regulatory authority of the Parks and Wildlife Commission of Texas, in the Commission Hearing Room of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex, beginning at 9:00 a.m. to wit:

APPEARANCES:

THE TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION:

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

P R O C E E D I N G S

CHAIRMAN HOLMES: The first order of business, the approval of the Committee minutes which have been distributed. Is there a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: So moved.

COMMISSIONER WATSON: Second.

CHAIRMAN HOLMES: Moved and seconded. All in favor say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

CHAIRMAN HOLMES: Opposed?

(No response.)

CHAIRMAN HOLMES: Motion carries.

Mr. Cook, would you make your presentation on the Chairman's Charges?

MR. COOK: Thank you, very much, sir.

In the Finance Committee our Chairman's Charges today, Mary Fields will be presenting an update on our current financial report, including revenue and expenditure projections.

As a side note to that I would like to inform you and would like for you to know that this afternoon I will be going down to the capitol. Drew and Gene McCarty plan to accompany me.

We have been asked to testify before a subcomittee of the House Appropriations Committee concerning the Department's dedicated fund accounts.

We don't think there's any big overtones here, but it's just an information—gathering process. We have like 14 different dedicated accounts. We're in a long list of agencies that have dedicated accounts.

There's four or five other agencies that they are going to talk to today before us. The bottom line message that I at least always try to convey to commissioners and to our constituents is that our dedicated accounts serve several purposes.

The primary is when a constituent is visiting a park and paying fees to enter that park or utilizing the facilities at that park, that they are comforted by knowing that those fees are going to be used in our state parks.

The same is true on our hunting and fishing licenses. Historically, and continuing, our constituents are very, very interested to know that their funds are not crossing those boundaries.

Within those dedicated accounts — for example within Fund 9, which is a dedicated account — there are accounts such as the Turkey Stamp, Waterfowl Stamp, that again are even more specifically, by statute, dedicated to certain purposes and causes — if you choose to look at it in that way — that we are restricted in that use.

However, again we've had incredible constituent support through the years for these added fees, as long as they know that those funds are going for that purpose.

And we saw the same thing again this year in our Freshwater Fishery Stamp. As long as they know that fee is going to renovation, rebuilding of freshwater fish hatcheries, they're very supportive.

So that'll be the basic message that we're talking to the subcommittee about this afternoon. In fact, I may have to leave before our meeting is over.

But that's kind of where we are as far as a budget update. Mary will be giving you some more information.

In August of this last year, we implemented a project we call Family Fishing Celebration, which is a special year—long event to encourage parents to spend time enjoying one of America's greatest pastimes, fishing, with their children.

To help make this easier to do, adults are not required to purchase a fishing license to fish in any Texas state park any time from the last Labor Day weekend through the end of August 2004.

While it is a little bit early to speculate how we're going to end up, because there's kind of a major fishing season just coming up.

But all reports we've gotten so far on this fish for free in parks is very, very positive, from our park people, from our law enforcement people and from the users out there.

In the long run, quite frankly, I believe that as opposed to losing money, costing us money, it's going to build outdoor users, build the number of fisherman and encourage people to come to our state parks.

We're feeling very good about it. It is one of those things that we can continue to do or we can opt not to do. We'll be watching it very closely.

Right now, we're all feeling very positive about it, and I suspect that we will opt to continue that special offer.

CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS: Does that include city parks, county parks, or just state parks?

MR. COOK: State parks. You've got to be fishing on the bank, unless that lake is contained wholly within the park — for example, we have some parks that are just part of the lakeshore. If you get out of that boat and get on the lake, then you've got to have a fishing license. If you're fishing from the bank — that's working well. We're positive of that.

CHAIRMAN HOLMES: How widely are we advertising that program?

MR. COOK: About as widely as we can afford. It's kind of like that public hunting program we were talking about a while ago, we have a tremendous media campaign on all of those kind of things.

We're really talked about a lot, and our writers that follow our Agency and follow fishing and hunting are tremendous help statewide in getting that message out and continue to tell that story and make people aware of it.

I think we've done a pretty good job, Mr. Holmes, of getting the word out on that. But still we have people show up to the park, and it's like they learn it when they get there. It's an ongoing thing that we still have to work on.

CHAIRMAN HOLMES: Great.

MR. COOK: It's a good one. Thank you, sir.

CHAIRMAN HOLMES: Thank you.

Mary Fields?

MS. FIELDS: Good morning, Commissioners.

I'm Mary Fields, Chief Financial Officer. And I'm here to provide the financial review.

The focus of the presentation today will be to provide a revenue and budget status for fiscal year 2004, review our recent mid—year budget adjustments, give you a status on our Business implementation Plan, and also give you a status on the preparation of our Strategic Plan and our Legislative Appropriations Request for fiscal years '06-'07.

We'll start with the status of state park revenue. When comparing state park gross receipts through February 28, we're up 13.6 percent or $1.1 million over last year's collections.

While almost all categories of park revenue are showing some increase, the largest component continues to be from the use of facilities and reservation deposits.

The increase is also supported by the sales of our new State Park Pass, which we started in January.

Over the first couple of months of sales, we have seen a 27 percent increase in the State Park Pass sales over the State Conservation Pass, which was sold previously. As we move into the spring and summer, we expect revenues to pick up in the park area even more.

Our boat revenue as of February 2004 is up by 23.7 percent or $1.1 million compared to last year at this same time.

The increased revenue relates primarily to increased fees as the number of boat registrations and titles issued are actually down, as compared to last year.

We continue to transfer 15 percent of the registration and titling revenue to Fund 64. That amounts to $732,000, based on revenues through February 29.

More positive news here on license sales and revenues. As of February 28, we're at $66 million, which is a $10.5 million increase as compared to last year, or 19 percent which closely correlates with the fee increase.

Combo revenue is up 19 percent. Fishing revenue is up 27 percent. Hunting is up 23, and other licenses are up 9 percent.

I'll follow up with the number of licenses sold that help support those revenues I just talked about.

Our total number of licenses sold are up 2.2 percent as of February 28. Hunting is up 2.5. Fishing is up 3.7 percent. And total combo sales are down by 2.85 percent. That's pretty consistent with the last presentation to the Commission in that area.

I just want to remind you that when we did the fee increase, we did expect a 4 percent decrease overall in license sales. So, we're encouraged really to see the increase in sales and where we're at now.

When comparing our fiscal year 2004 revenue collection as of the 29th to the annual revenue estimate, again we're looking pretty good.

With 50 percent of the fiscal year elapsed, we've collected 61.2 percent of our Fund 9, Game Fish and Water Safety funds; 47.4 percent of State Park funds; 50.8 percent of Local Park.

Our other category is doing well at 91 percent. Nine funds were included in the other category, and most of those funds are collecting more than the estimate. So we're doing well.

In reviewing our 2004 budget versus expense, you can see we have $172.9 million or 56.2 percent of the budget remaining as of the end of February, again with 50 percent of the year elapsed.

Salaries and other personnel costs are right were they should be with about 51.2 percent of the budget remaining.

I'll drop down to the benefits category and mention again that that one's tracking fairly close to salaries, as we would expect.

The operating and equipment category's also tracking closely, with 51.7 percent of the budget remaining.

We've seen our grant activity pick up since the last presentation, as we would have expected. We're issuing those grants and have 41.4 percent of the budget remaining there.

Capital projects has 73.3 percent of the budget remaining. Again that's not uncommon in this area, because capital projects will extend beyond one fiscal year.

Our overall budget has increased by $3.1 million since the end of November. Budget adjustments made during the months of December, January and February are summarized on this slide.

I'm just going to cover a couple of categories that are the most significant. Over $1.3 million of unexpended balances were carried forward in fiscal year 2004. Most of those balances related to construction.

We did have $1.1 million of increases for new contracts. The largest of those is with the City of Weslaco for the World Birding Center. That one was for about $788,000.

As you can see, we had further adjustments to increase grants donations and just some other budget adjustments.

I wanted to talk a little bit about our mid—year budget adjustments. We finished that process in mid—March. The numbers that related to these adjustments are not in the numbers that I'm talking about today.

You'll see those in the financial reports for March, which you'll receive toward the end of this month. But I did want to talk about this process, because staff spent quite a bit of time on it.

You'll recall at the beginning of the year, we held 15 percent of the fee increase in reserve to just make sure that revenues were coming in as we expected.

At mid—year we reviewed that and went ahead and decided to move that revenue into the division's operating budgets.

We worked with the division directors. They made funding requests. We prioritized those. Executive management made the final decisions on what requests got funded.

This is just a high level summary of the budget adjustments, where basically the money was moved out of the reserve category and brought into the division's operating budget for expenditure.

Again, you'll see some of the numbers changing in the adjusted budget in your financial reports at the end of this month.

As far as the Business Improvement Plan, we're making headway there. We've completed six items since the last time we talked about the plan.

Seventy-eight of the items or 83 percent of them are complete now. We've got ten of them that are at least 70 percent complete. And six items below 60 percent completed at 6 percent.

Again the items in that last category are going to take a little while to be resolved, as most of them are related to automated system improvements. We'll be making progress on those over the next few years.

Just to update you on the preparation of the Strategic Plan and the Legislative Appropriations Requests — I'll be referring to it as LAR probably for the rest of the presentation.

The division staff and planning staff have been working on the Strategic Plan and improving our strategic structure. With the structure, I'm referring to the goals, objectives, strategies and measures that appear in the Natural Agenda document.

We're proposing to align the strategies, working closely with the division's operations.

We have also requested the addition of 25 new measures, the deletion of 25 measures and the retention of 46 existing measures, with some minor revisions to those measures.

The budget structure, which includes line items included under each strategy, is intended to provide a lower level of detail to the legislature.

This lower level of detail really resulted from discussions with the Legislative Budget Board in the Governor's Office of Budget and Planning.

As required, we have submitted our proposed strategic and budget structures to the Legislative Budget Board and the Governor's Office. We submitted those by April 2, and we will be negotiating those.

The Strategic Plan is actually due by July 2. The approved structure or framework within the Strategic Plan actually becomes the framework for the Legislative Appropriations Request.

I'll be talking a little bit more about the Strategic Plan as we conduct these negotiations, we'll have a better idea of what the structure will look like toward May.

And so in the May meeting, I'll plan on sharing a little more information regarding these structures.

The status of the Legislative Appropriations Request — we are beginning our fiscal year 2005 operating budget process. We'll be kicking that off mid—month.

We're looking at our timelines for preparing the request for fiscal years >06 and >07. That process will carry us from April into August, when the document's actually due.

We anticipate receiving the LAR instructions in May. We'll be talking more about the LAR throughout the summer.

That concludes my presentation. Are there any questions?

CHAIRMAN HOLMES: Phil.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: In regard to the conversation you and I had related to performance measures, do these do a better job of linking the tactical and the strategic planning?

We have some things in there we'd like to see help senior management commission track the performance that really relates back to our operating goals.

MR. BORUFF: For the record my name is Scott Boruff, Deputy Executive Director of Operations. Commissioner Montgomery, we will have additional performance measures within each division.

There are two parallel strategic planning processes going on right now that are closely linked. I think I'm going to have an opportunity here in the Conservation Committee to talk a little bit about that.

But, yes, we are working closely with Mary and her staff to make sure that the Natural Agenda, which is the Strategic Plan that defines our funding structure, links very closely and intimately with the Land and Water Conservation Plan, which drives our operations.

And I will talk about that a little bit more later, if that's all right, unless you have other questions I'd be glad to answer.

CHAIRMAN HOLMES: Mary, just for the Commission's benefit, when we reserve 15 percent of the increase in license revenues, that was about $4 million. Is that correct?

MS. FIELDS: It was. The reserve for the fee increase was $2.6 million. We also have some funding that we were holding for contingency purposes, and we had a portion of salary lapse that we pulled together, that came from roughly $4 million.

CHAIRMAN HOLMES: And that was the total $4 million. And we've now allocated $3.8 million out into the divisions.

MS. FIELDS: Yes, sir.

CHAIRMAN HOLMES: So we have a fairly high level of comfort that we'll receive all those increases. Some of them we knew about anyway, because they'd been carryovers. Right?

MS. FIELDS: That's correct. And you'll recall just looking at our revenues in relation to biennial revenue estimates and just overall revenues are just looking real good.

So we just felt like we could go ahead and expend those funds.

CHAIRMAN HOLMES: And that would leave about $200,000 left in the reserve account.

MS. FIELDS: That's correct.

CHAIRMAN HOLMES: Do you have any other questions for Mary?

(No response.)

CHAIRMAN HOLMES: Thank you.

MS. FIELDS: Thank you.

CHAIRMAN HOLMES: The License Fee Restructure Rule Review — Gene McCarty, Julie Horsley and Ann Bright.

MS. HORSLEY: Good morning. My name is Julie Horsley. I'm a Programs Specialist in the Budget and Planning Section of Administrative Resources Division.

You can tell we switched the order that we're going in. Gene will be immediately following me. I'm here this morning to discuss the rule review of Chapter 53 Finance.

As some background provisions, the government code requires each agency to conduct a review of all the regulations every four years and to either readopt, amend or appeal the rules.

The provisions also require agencies to assess whether the reasons for initially adopting the rule continue to exist.

As a result of the review of Chapter 53, we did identify a number of proposed amendments, which were published for public comment in the March 5 issue of the Texas Register.

The majority of the changes are house—keeping type changes aimed at consolidating information, clarifying language or ensuring consistency.

For example, as part of the cleanup, we've consolidated all fee related information currently contained in other chapters into Chapter 53.

There are also changes to better organize the information in the chapter and relocate certain provisions into Chapter 51 Finance.

The specific provisions being moved include those related to vendor protest procedures, investment of the Lifetime License Endowment Fund and customer information.

There are some other more significant changes resulting from the review as well. The first of these are some fee changes.

The Saltwater Trotline Tag would increase from $3 to $4. And various business license transfer fees, such as those for retail and wholesale fish dealers and bait dealers, would increase from $10 to $25.

These two items were actually approved by the Commission at the time of the last fee increase in May, but were inadvertently omitted from the changes that were submitted to the Texas Register.

To make sure that we're compliant with the Administrative Procedures Act, we're bringing them back before you.

Another fee change is the elimination of the $3 instruction charge for marine safety enforcement training.

The second set of changes includes the addition of language that delineates specific ranges for use and entrance fees at various department facilities.

This would affect Sea Center Texas, the Freshwater Fishery Center, Parrie Haynes Youth Ranch and Mason Mountain and Old Tunnel WMAs.

Third, the proposed changes incorporate the items resulting from the license restructuring effort.

These include the changes necessary to implement House Bill 1989, such as addition of the Freshwater Fishing Stamp, deletion of the Muzzle—loader and Freshwater Trout Stamps and addition of the various licensing options that were discussed with you at the last Commission meeting.

The final change involves the Customer Information Policy. As I mentioned earlier, in addition to these provisions being moved into Chapter 51, Executive, there are some substantial modifications being made to it.

Both this Customer Information Policy and the license restructuring effort are going to be discussed in much greater detail in separate presentations made this morning.

As I mentioned earlier, the changes were submitted to the Texas Register for public comment and appeared in the March 5 issue.

We did receive a large number of comments on the license restructuring effort. However, we have not received any comments specific to the other Chapter 53 changes that I just discussed.

One thing that I would like to bring to your attention before concluding, is that we need to make some minor modifications to the vendor protest procedures as they appeared in the Texas Register publication of March 5.

The changes are simply to update the reference to the position title responsible for handling the protests.

And that concludes my presentation. I'd be happy to answer any questions.

CHAIRMAN HOLMES: Thank you, Julie. Any questions?

(No response.)

CHAIRMAN HOLMES: Thank you, very much.

If there are no further questions or discussion without objection, I authorize the staff to place this item on the Thursday Commission agenda for public comment and action. Gene?

MR. McCARTY: I'm just giving you a little more detail concerning license restructuring and license fees. My name is Gene McCarty. I'm Chief of Staff for the agency.

The item before you today is a proposal that incorporates a newly created Freshwater Stamp into our license systems and restructures our temporary licenses.

Legislation passed by the 78th Legislature made several changes in our license structure.

These included the creation of the Freshwater Stamp, the elimination of the Muzzle—loader Stamp, elimination of the Freshwater Trout Stamp, and a request to evaluate the issuance of a year—to—date fishing license.

At the January Commission meeting, you authorized the Department to publish in the Texas Register proposed changes to our license structure, keeping in mind four guiding principles: maximize revenue, maximize customer convenience, minimize customer confusion and minimize the impact on our point-of-sale system.

Let's start with the Super Combo. By definition, Super Combo is intended to be a one—stop shopping, that is it's an all—inclusive license.

To continue with this theme, we propose that we should include the Freshwater Stamp in the Super Combo package, and that the fee should be $64 — that is the addition of the $5 stamp fee — and the Senior Super Combo priced at $30.

Next would be the combo license. We're recommending to continue the combo license with the stamp as part of the license package with three options: a Freshwater Combo, a Saltwater Combo and an All Water Combo, priced as you see there as our regular and our Senior Combo pricing.

Next we look at the basic fishing license. To minimize customer confusion, it's recommended that we package the fishing license and the stamp together and provide three options: a Freshwater Fishing License, a Saltwater Fishing License and an All Water Fishing License in our two options of either resident or non—resident, priced as you see there on the board.

To address constituent concerns with the temporary license structure, we recommend discontinuing the three—day resident temporary, the five—day non—resident temporary and the 14—day resident temporary and create a single day license, both resident and non—resident with the option of adding additional days.

The cost of the stamp would be included in the first day. And the additional days would not be required to purchase the stamp. So you see the prices that are recommended on the slide there.

The first day is inclusive of the stamp, either freshwater or saltwater, and the second day is just a few without the stamp.

In addition, we recommend the creation of a Summer Fishing License. This would be a license good for the months of July and August and with a proposed fee for freshwater, saltwater and all water, as you see on the board.

And finally to address legislative interests, we proposed the creation of a year—to—date license with a proposed fee of $45.

In general, public comment on this issue was fairly light at the public hearings, being only 18 comments at the public hearing.

All told, we received a pretty good number of comments — about 407 comments total — via telephone, email, letters and an online survey. The online survey actually produced the largest number of comments, being about 278 comments.

In general, the majority of the comments were in opposition of a new fee, as you would expect — being about 71 percent of the comment in opposition, that's not out of line with other proposed fee increases that we've done.

Whenever we do a proposed fee increase, we seldom get better than a 71 percent opposition to the fee increase.

Most of the comments on the license structure — that is the year—to—date license and/or the single day license were pretty evenly split about 50—50 — in favor and opposition about a similar amount.

A lot of the opposition to those particular sections were more in opposition to the fee for those options than they were the actual options. So again the negative comments were basically associated with fees.

If you break that down a little further, a good deal of the opposition to the fees were associated around several different points.

Non—resident seniors, winter Texans were pretty concerned that we don't provide an option for a non—resident senior. They have to buy the non—resident license at $50. We got a good number of comments from winter Texans that didn't want to pay that fee.

A good number of comments about the Super Combo, eliminating two stamps, adding one stamp, but going ahead and increasing the fee.

They really didn't understand the idea that that increased fee is a dedicated fund — the Freshwater Stamp is dedicated.

It's coming off the mainstream of our Fund 9 general account. If you didn't increase the fee, you'd basically be hurting Fund 9.

And then a lot of comments on the year—to—date license. They didn't understand why the year—to—date license is more expensive than just a regular license. They felt like they were being punished for the year-to-date license.

Of course one of the problems with the year-to-date license is our administrative cost on a year-to-date license are much, much higher, and reprogramming of the point-of-sale system is going to cost us a significant amount of money.

Any questions?

CHAIRMAN HOLMES: Any questions for Gene?

(No response.)

CHAIRMAN HOLMES: All right. Thank you.

MR. McCARTY: And next we will have Ann talk a little about the customer information component.

CHAIRMAN HOLMES: Ann Bright?

MS. BRIGHT: Good morning. I'm Ann Bright, General Counsel. I'm here to talk about the customer information rule.

Section 11.030 of the Parks and Wildlife Code exempts the Parks and Wildlife Department customer information from the Texas Public Information Act.

This is extremely unusual for a state agency to have information that is just not subject to the State Information Act.

We've received confirmation — and actually since the rule was proposed — even strong confirmation from the Attorney General's Office that this Commission does have discretion regarding the handling of customer information.

This provision also requires the Commission to adopt a rule regarding the sale, release, and use of customer information.

The previous rule is in Chapter 53, and as Julie mentioned earlier, we looked at these changes in connection with the rule review of Chapter 53. There have been some minor amendments over the years.

But one of the big gaps in the current rule is that it does not recognize the fact that we currently use the Department of Public Safety's driver's license database to populate our hunting and fishing licensing system.

Driver's license information is generally confidential under federal and state law. And as a result, we've not sold hunting and fishing licensing mailing lists for the last few years.

We need to update our rule to reflect some of these changes.

The proposed new rule we looked at in connection with the 53 rule review — it's going to repeal the previous rule in its entirety and replace it with a new rule.

The new rule is going to be put in Chapter 51, which is really a more appropriate place for it.

And it also primarily addresses customer information, which is consistent with the Parks and Wildlife Code. We're talking about name, address and telephone number of Department customers.

It also, for purposes of determining how customer information will be treated, it categorizes different types of customer information maintained by the Parks and Wildlife Department.

The rule will allow disclosure of magazine customer information and commercial customer information. The magazine customers are people who subscribe to the Parks and Wildlife magazine.

Commercial customers who purchase commercial licenses — commercial fishing licenses and certain dealer licenses, wholesale licenses, that sort of thing.

Our thinking there is that — generally when you're talking about a commercial entity, they're not as many privacy issues.

And with the magazine — basically we're trying to follow industry standards in the magazine industry regarding handling subscriber lists.

Consistent with the Parks and Wildlife Code though, the rule will allow commercial customers and magazine customers to opt out.

So if they want their name off a mailing list, they'll tell us, and we'll take it off. We will not include it on the mailing list.

Under the proposed rule, we will not disclose personal information.

I think this is the information that people are most concerned about — driver's license number, social security number, bank account, charge card information — that's usually the most sensitive.

We also will not disclose recreational customer information. Again we're talking with standard customer information — name, address and telephone number.

So this will take care of most of our hunting and fishing license holders.

Also — and this is really kind of a belt and suspenders approach — information that's confidential by law — if there's some other law that would prohibit the disclosure of the information.

So there's actually going to be kind of two laws under which the hunting and fishing license information would be withheld.

The proposed rule would also allow customers to consent to a specific disclosure. If for whatever reason they want us to disclose it to a specific person or entity, they can consent to that.

Of course, if we're required by subpoena or law to disclose it, we'll do that.

It also allows us to disclose it to another governmental body that will maintain the information's confidentiality.

That along with the provision that [indiscernible] to withhold it. If it's confidential by law and information is disclosed to another governmental body, we'll hopefully ensure that it's handled appropriately.

In addition, the rule delegates certain functions to the executive director.

Categorizing information — as you know, we have many, many types of customer information, licensing information, park information.

Under this rule, we will prepare a list, make that generally available, so that any member of the public will know what category, what types of — basically their information would be in. Establish procedures and costs for obtaining the information.

And that's the motion that we're going to ask that you consider tomorrow. But I wanted to point out a couple of more things on some of this information.

One is that under the proposed rule, we will verify whether someone has a license. If someone calls and says, does John Doe have a hunting license, we will do that. Now there may be a fee involved, but we will verify information.

The other thing is that the recreational customer information is defined so that it will also include some park customers. We consider those recreational customers.

When we're talking about individuals, usually there are greater privacy concerns than you will have with a corporation.

And that concludes my presentation. I'll be happy to answer any questions.

CHAIRMAN HOLMES: Any questions? Discussion?

(No response.)

CHAIRMAN HOLMES: If there are no further questions or discussion without objection, I authorize the staff to place this item on the Thursday Commission agenda for public comment and action.

Committee item number four — Local Boat Ramp Funding. Tim Hogstett.

MR. HOGSTETT: Good morning. Tim Hogstett, Director of Recreation Grants Program, State Parks Division.

This is a request for funds for a boat ramp construction.

We are authorized by state law to use federal aid and pass that through to local government for the purchase and construction of boat ramp facilities that will be operated and maintained by those local governments.

We have a request for a 75 percent match in the amount of $95,100 from the City of Aransas Pass to basically renovate, upgrade and add some additional facilities to an existing boat ramp that is in Harbor Park in Conn Brown Harbor in the City of Aransas Pass.

We're going to be asking you tomorrow to approve funding for this boat ramp project.

I'll be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER WATSON: Does that have anything to do with the proposed new marina there?

MR. HOGSTETT: That I do not know. Not to my knowledge. This is an existing ramp right in the middle of the park. I'm not aware of the marina proposal.

CHAIRMAN HOLMES: Any further questions or discussion?

(No response.)

CHAIRMAN HOLMES: Does that complete your presentation, Tim?

MR. HOGSTETT: Yes, it does.

CHAIRMAN HOLMES: If there are no further questions or discussion without objection, I authorize the staff to place this item on the Thursday Commission agenda for public comment and action.

Committee item number five — Outdoor Recreation Grant Funding. Tim?

MR. HOGSTETT: The legislature in the last appropriations bill to the Agency placed a rider, Rider 26, on our Appropriations Act, that requires us to make a grant available in the amount of $750,000 this fiscal year.

That grant is being made to the City of Houston for the development of a 50% matching grant for the development of a ballfield complex and some other facilities in West Little York Park. It will be called the Acres Home Baseball Complex.

Tomorrow we are going to be asking you to approve funding for this matching grant. We have confirmed from the City of Houston that they have their match available in the form of capital improvement monies and a private donation.

That concludes my presentation.

CHAIRMAN HOLMES: Any questions or comments?

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: What's going to be the total cost of the project?

MR. HOGSTETT: At this point, $1,500,000. There may be some additions to that, but at this point, we're only asking you to approve a $1,500,000 project.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: And the match is confirmed?

MR. HOGSTETT: Yes, sir. It is.

CHAIRMAN HOLMES: Any further discussion?

(No response.)

CHAIRMAN HOLMES: If there are no further questions or discussion without objection, I authorize the staff to place this item on the Thursday Commission agenda for public comment and action.

Thank you, Tim.

Any more business for the Finance Committee, Mr. Cook?

MR. COOK: I did fail to tell you all about our presentation this afternoon. I think you were handed a copy of the information that we sent down to the subcommittee and that you might find interesting about our various dedicated funds.

If you have any questions about that, I'd be glad to talk to you about it at your convenience.

CHAIRMAN HOLMES: Anything further?

That completes the business of the Finance Committee.

(Whereupon, the meeting was adjourned.)

C E R T I F I C A T E

MEETING OF: Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission

Finance Committee

LOCATION: Austin, Texas

DATE: April 7, 2004

I do hereby certify that the foregoing pages, numbers 1 through 34 inclusive, are the true, accurate, and complete transcript prepared from the verbal recording made by electronic recording by Penny Bynum before the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.

4/19/04
(Transcriber) (Date)
On the Record Reporting, Inc.
3307 Northland, Suite 315
Austin, Texas 78731


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