Presenter: Tim Hogsett

Commission Agenda Item No. 4
Briefing
Grant Program Update
January 2006

I. Executive Summary: During the August 25, 2005 public hearing of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, the significant reductions in state and federal grant funds appropriated by the Texas Legislature and the U.S. Congress (respectively) for the TRPA Program were discussed. Recreation Grants Branch staff were charged to check with our constituency and determine if the limited appropriations for the TRPA Program are allocated properly, given these significant funding reductions and if other administrative changes were needed. This briefing is the result of that process.

II. Discussion: During the August 25, 2005 public hearing of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, the significant reductions in state and federal grant funds appropriated by the Texas Legislature and the U.S. Congress (respectively) for the TRPA Program were discussed. Recreation Grants Branch staff were charged to check with our constituency and determine if the limited appropriations for the TRPA Program are allocated properly, given these significant funding reductions and if other administrative changes were needed.

An invitation for review and comments was distributed in September 2005 to more than 2,000 contacts representing the political subdivisions of Texas, the 24 Regional Councils of Government, professional consultants, private citizens and members of the Texas Recreation and Parks Society. The Recreation Grants staff reviewed all responses, discussed results and developed an implementation plan.

The options we offered for consideration were the following:

  1. Limit the Outdoor Program reviews to only one review per fiscal year.
  2. Reduce the maximum project grant share of $500,000 for the Outdoor Program.
  3. Postpone Regional Grant reviews (until adequate funding is restored) and invite applicants to revise their regional grant applications and submit them for review in the Outdoor Program.
  4. Limit the Community Outdoor Outreach Program reviews to only once per year.
  5. Make no changes to the TRPA Programs at this time.

In all, responses from 30 constituents were received and results are illustrated in the table below:

Options Proposed or Suggested Support (%) Do Not Support (%) Neutral or No Comment (%)
1. Limit outdoor program reviews to one review per year 71.4 28.6 -
2. Reduce the $500,000 outdoor program maximum request 72.2 22.2 5.5
3. Postpone regional grant reviews until adequate funding is restored 75.0 20.0 5.0
4. Reduce COOP reviews to one per year 73.3 26.6 -

Based on these results, Recreation Grants Staff makes the following recommendations:

  1. Reduce the Outdoor Program reviews to one per year, where the next review of applications will be July 31, 2006, and those applications be considered at the January 2007 Commission Hearing.
  2. Reduce the maximum request amount in the Outdoor Program from $500,000 to $400,000 per application, beginning with the July 31, 2006 Review.
  3. Postpone the Regional grant reviews until adequate funding is available.
  4. Reduce the COOP reviews to one per year, where the next review of applications will be February 2006.

It was also suggested that if additional funding is apportioned to the Department from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (NPS), that those additional funds shall first be used to fund additional project requests; then (if adequate) to restore the Regional program to one review per year.


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