Presenter: Walt Dabney

Commission Agenda Item No. 15
Action
State Park Fees – Battleship Texas Entrance Fee
August 2005

I. Executive Summary: This item presents a proposal to increase the fee range for admission fees at the Battleship Texas State Historical Site.

II. Discussion: The current fee-range structure for State Park entrance fees does not provide sufficient flexibility for the Battleship Texas to price its admission rates comparable to similar ships throughout the United States. The fee ranges for admission fees at state parks are established based on market place factors of local comparability studies, observable and solicited customer satisfaction with fee practices, and analysis of annual use trends.

III. Recommendation: Staff recommends that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion:

"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts an amendment to §59.2, concerning State Park Fee Ranges, with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the July 22, 2005, issue of the Texas Register (30 Tex.Reg. 4196)."

Attachment – 1

  1. Exhibit A – Proposed Rule

Commission Agenda Item No. 15
Exhibit A

Battleship Texas Entrance Fee
Proposal Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (the department) proposes an amendment to §59.2, concerning Park Entrance and Use Fees. The amendment would implement an entrance fee range $1—$15 for the Battleship Texas State Historic Site.

The department establishes a fee range, consisting of an upper and lower value, for each type of facility or service (or combination thereof), which may vary from site to site. The purpose of the fee-range approach is to provide the flexibility for the department to make incremental adjustments to the fee structure from time to time (within the approved ranges) in response to changing conditions over a multi-year period. The fee range proposed by the department was determined by analysis of user demographics, benefit, demand, and comparability with other providers of similar facilities and/or services operated under similar conditions, and leisure industry trends.

The proposed amendment is necessary to provide additional funding to maintain the current level of park services at the Battleship Texas for the benefit of the public.


2. Fiscal Note.

Mr. Walt Dabney, Parks Division Director, has determined that for each of the first five years that the rule as proposed is in effect, there will be fiscal implications to state government as a result of enforcing or administering the rule as proposed. The current entrance fees at the Battleship Texas State Historic Site, under the fee range prescribed by §59.2(e) are: $7.00 for persons 13 years of age and older, $4.00 for persons 65 years of age and older, free admission to persons under the age of 13, and discounted entrance fees for groups. Upon adoption of this rulemaking, the fees and the fee structure will change. The department will implement increased fees below the proposed maximum of the fee range under a new fee structure. The new fees will be $10 per person. There will be additional discounted visitation in the form of persons who visit the site under the State Parks Pass, the totals for which are unquantifiable, but who will pay a $5.00 fee. The department estimates that approximately 145,900 persons will visit the site in each of the first five years that the new fee range is in effect. The maximum possible revenue per year that could be generated under the proposed new fee range would be $1,288,340. This estimate was derived by subtracting the total visitation revenue of 2004 ($900,160) from the estimated total visitation revenue for 2006, calculated at the maximum per-person price of $15. ($2,188,500). The estimate is an approximate value representing the total possible revenue increase under the proposed rule.

There will be no fiscal implications for units of local governments.


3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

Mr. Dabney also has determined that for each of the first five years the rule as proposed is in effect:

(A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the rule as proposed will be the continuation of Battleship Texas State Historic Site services at current levels for public enjoyment and benefit.

(B) There will be no adverse economic effects on small businesses or microbusinesses as a result of administering or enforcing the proposed rule. The economic effect on persons required to comply with the rule as proposed will be the cost of the fee to enter the site.

(C) The department has not drafted a local employment impact statement under the Administrative Procedures Act, §2001.022, as the agency has determined that the rule as proposed will not impact local economies.

(D) The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private real property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed rule.


4. Request for Public Comment.

Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted to Mike Crevier, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744; (512) 389-8560 or 1-800-792-1112 extension 8560 (e-mail: mike.crevier @tpwd.state.tx.us).


5. Statutory Authority.

The amendment is proposed under Parks and Wildlife Code, §13.015, which authorizes the department to charge and collect park user fees for park services, and requires the commission to set the fees.

The proposed rule affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 13.


§59.2. Park Entrance and Use Fees.

(a) An entrance/day use permit fee will be levied at state parks. The fee will grant entry and presence privileges for a specific 24-hour period or part thereof, regardless of the number of times of entry during the valid period. At the end of each 24-hour period, the fee will become due for the succeeding 24-hour period or part thereof.

(b) An annual entrance/day use permit fee in the range of $50-$100 may apply at certain state parks where entrance fees are prescribed. The annual permit will admit all occupants of a private, noncommercial vehicle, but will not apply to commercial, quasi-public, or public buses, or other such vehicles.

(c) Annual entrance permits are not valid for commercial purposes, conducted tours, for fishing privileges on fishing piers, or at parks where entrance fees are not prescribed.

(d) A Youth Group Annual Entrance Permit may be purchased by youth organizations composed of individuals age 18 and under for an annual fee of $50-$300. The group must be designated as a nonprofit organization. The permit is valid for entry at all recreational parks and historic sites managed by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. No more than 50 persons, including a reasonable number of adult supervisors as determined by the site manager will be admitted with each permit. The number of vehicles or the number of individual persons per historic site may be limited by the park manager. An additional permit(s) is required if the group exceeds 50 persons. Permit is valid for 12 months from date of purchase. To purchase the group permit, eligible organizations must submit an application along with the required fee to Texas Parks and Wildlife Headquarters, any state park, or other office designated by the department for approval. The permit authorizes entry of vehicles carrying group members provided the adult sponsor presents the permit(s) at the park entrance and identifies each vehicle carrying group members.

(e) An entrance fee of $1.00-$7.00 will apply on a per person basis at parks designated by the department. Where variable entrance and use fees are authorized by the commission, they may be set on an individual park basis.

(f) An entrance fee of $1.00 - $15 per person will apply at the Battleship Texas State Historic site.

(g)[(f)] The executive director may, at his discretion, temporarily waive any entrance fees or conditions thereof established in this section at any park when circumstances adversely affect public enjoyment of the recreational opportunities normally available. The executive director may discount or waive entrance fees in order to enhance utilization or promote the future use of existing facilities. The executive director may designate other department personnel to discount or waive entrance/day use fees.

(h)[(g)] No entrance fee will be charged or collected at parks unless the department deems it feasible to collect the fees.

(i)[(h)] Persons entering parks by boat, bicycle, or on foot are authorized to use a valid annual park entrance permit receipt in lieu of paying an individual entrance fee. An individual presenting a receipt must be the same person to whom the annual permit was issued. Individuals eligible for park entry as specified herein may be accompanied by as many as five other persons to enter by boat, bicycle, or on foot.

(j)[(i)] Persons whose date of birth is before September 1, 1930, and veterans of the armed services of the United States who, as a result of military service, have a service-oriented disability as defined by the Veterans Administration, consisting of the loss of the use of a lower extremity or of a 60% disability rating and who are receiving compensation from the United States government because of the disability, will be issued a state parklands passport at no cost upon application and not be required to pay an entrance fee at state parks. A resident of this state whose birth date is after August 31, 1930, and who is also a holder and in possession of a valid state parklands passport shall pay 50% of the normal entrance fee rounded to the nearest higher whole dollar. Non-residents of this state whose birth date is after August 31, 1930, shall pay the normal entrance fee. State parklands passports will be issued to eligible persons at state parks and the Austin headquarters. A driver's license, birth certificate, military discharge papers, or any other suitable identification considered sufficient proof for establishing the age and identity of an individual must be presented at the time the passport is issued to persons 65 years of age and over. Disabled veterans must establish eligibility by presenting one of the following:

(1) disabled veteran's of Texas license plate receipt;

(2) veteran's award letter (which establishes the degree of service-connected disability);

(3) tax exemption letter for Texas veterans.

(k)[(j)] A holder of a state parklands passport whose date of birth is before September 1, 1930 may enter the park without payment of an entrance fee. All residents of this state whose date of birth is after August 31, 1930, and who are also the holders and in possession of a state parklands passport may enter a park site upon payment of 50% of the normal entrance fee for that site, rounded to the nearest higher whole dollar. This passport does not exempt the holder from payment of fees for facility use or participation in certain activities required in some units of the state park system.

(l)[(k)] An individual with a documented physical or mental impairment may be issued a parklands passport under the provisions of this section.

(1) Eligibility requirements. To be eligible to receive a parklands passport under this section, an individual with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities must:

(A) have been medically determined to be disabled as a result of such mental or physical impairment (including blindness) for purposes of receiving benefits under the Social Security Act; and

(B) be currently receiving such benefits.

(2) Application procedure. An individual applying for a parklands passport under this subsection shall:

(A) apply in person at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Headquarters or at any park or other office designated by the department;

(B) submit positive identification and either an Award of Benefits Letter, or a Statement of Benefits, from the Social Security Administration attesting to the applicant's permanent disability;

(C) submit an affidavit or attestation in a form approved by the Department certifying that the applicant meets the requirements of paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(3) Privileges. A parklands passport used for the purposes of this subsection shall discount entry fees to State Parks for the individual pass holder for a period of one year from the date of issuance. The discount will be 50% of the established park entry fee, rounded up to the nearest whole dollar amount. The pass shall be nontransferable, but shall also authorize discounted entry for one person accompanying the pass holder, if the pass holder needs assistance while visiting the State Park. For the purposes of this subsection, "accompanying" means entering a park simultaneously with the pass holder.

(m)[(l)] A replacement for a state parklands passport may be issued when the original registration is lost, stolen, or damaged.

(n)[(m)] Entrance fees established in subsections (b) and (d) of this section will apply to all private aircraft and noncommercial motorized vehicles, which includes all vehicles with two or more wheels. Commercial, quasi-public, or public buses or other vehicles do not qualify for annual pass benefits.

(o)[(n)] Persons entering parks by bus, where entrance and use fees are charged on a per-person basis, will be charged normal entrance/day use fees.

(p)[(o)] Students, teachers, bus drivers, and children on group, school-sponsored visits to historic sites or parks for educational purposes may enter at the rate of $1.00-$5.00 per person at historic sites or at a park where day-use entrance and use fees are charged. The group or class must be accompanied by an adult supervisor(s). The $1.00-$5.00 per person fee applies to individuals from all public or private schools, colleges, and universities offering accredited courses.

(q)[(p)] Persons entering parks on foot, bicycle, or by boat where entrance and use fees are charged will be charged standard per-person entrance/day use fees.

(r)[(q)] The valid time period for daily entrance fees will be:

(1) for day use, the time period encompassing the day-use opening and closing hours of the park on the date on which admission is paid; and

(2) for overnight use, a 24-hour period beginning at 2 p.m. on the date admission is paid unless otherwise established at sites where circumstances or conditions warrant alternative timeframes.

(s)[(r)] At the discretion of the executive director, any person or persons may be exempted from the provisions of this section if the entry of such person or persons to a park or parks is necessary or desirable in order to provide a service for the state. The executive director is authorized to issue such entrance fee waivers under certain circumstances and conditions.

(t)[(s)] The executive director is authorized to establish an entrance fee in accordance with these sections at any site hereafter established as a state park when such action is deemed appropriate and in accord with applicable statutes.

(u)[(t)] When an annual or seasonal permit is offered for entrance in lieu of a daily fee, the executive director is authorized to establish a fee for a replacement and/or a duplicate permit.

(v)[(u)] Any fees established in this section may be waived or reduced at the discretion of the executive director or his/her designee for public use of a park during special events or exhibitions.

(w)[(v)] The executive director may designate the amount of use fee and entrance fee within the total amount provided for by this section.

This agency hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be within the agency’s authority to adopt.

Issued in Austin, Texas, on


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