Presenter: Scott Boruff

Commission Agenda Item No. 12
Action
Implementation of Recommendations of the State Auditor's Office Audit of State Parks Financial Processes
August 23, 2007

I. Executive Summary: In March 2007, the State Auditor's Office (SAO) issued a report titled Financial Processes at the Parks and Wildlife Department (the audit). TPWD takes the SAO's audit recommendations seriously and is committed to fully addressing the issues raised by the SAO as set out in TPWD's responses contained within the audit report.

II. Discussion: TPWD staff will brief the Commission on the audit recommendations and the status of the TPWD's implementation of those recommendations. Staff will seek Commission approval of a resolution attached as Exhibit A supporting the SAO recommendation 2.B.7 that TPWD seek input from legislative oversight committees and local communities in order to maintain a state park system that has statewide merit and serves TPWD's goals and mission. Staff will also seek Commission approval of prioritized criteria for capital improvement and repair needs attached as Exhibit B. This action will support implementation recommendation 3.6.

Staff will also seek Commission input on the changes to the agency's land transaction and conservation policy, attached as Exhibit C. The changes require public hearings and six month's notice to the Legislative Budget Board and the Governor's office of planned facility closures. Also, planned facility closures would be presented to the Commission in at least two meetings. In addition, this policy change would require that before a state parks site can be transferred to a local governmental body, the local governmental body must submit a management and operating plan to be approved by TPWD. These policy changes will address SAO findings 2.B.4, 2.B.6 and 2.B.8.

III. Recommendation: Staff recommends the following motions:

Motion 1

"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts the resolution attached as Exhibit A requiring that TPWD staff seek input from legislative oversight committees and local communities in order to maintain a state park system that has statewide merit and serves the Department's goals and mission."

Motion 2

"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts by resolution (Exhibit B) the prioritized criteria for capital improvement and repair needs (Exhibit C)."

Attachments – 4

  1. Exhibit A – Resolution - SAO Recommendation 2.B.7
  2. Exhibit B – Resolution - SAO Recommendation 3.6
  3. Exhibit C – Prioritized Criteria for Capital Improvement and Repair Needs
  4. Exhibit D – Land Transaction and Conservation Policy - SAO 2.B.4, 2.B.6 and 2.B.8

Commission Agenda Item No. 12
Exhibit A

A Resolution by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Requiring the Solicitation of Input on the State Parks System

Whereas, In March 2007, the Texas State Auditor's Office (SAO) issued a report titled Financial Processes at the Parks and Wildlife Department (the audit);

Whereas, the Commission supports the full implementation of the audit as contained in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) response to the audit;

Whereas, in Chapter 2.B.7 of the audit, the SAO recommended that TPWD "seek input from legislative oversight committees and local communities in order to main a state park system that has statewide merit and serves the Department's goals and mission;"

Whereas, the Commission recognizes that input from legislative leadership, oversight committees and local communities is extremely important and serves a valuable purpose for TPWD;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission endorses the SAO recommendation that TPWD seek input from legislative oversight committees and local communities in order to main a state park system that has statewide merit and serves TPWD's goals and mission;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department staff is hereby directed to seek input as TPWD seek input from legislative oversight committees and local communities regarding the state parks system.

In official recognition hereof, we hereby affix our signatures this 23rd day of August 2007.

  • Peter M. Holt, Chairman
  • Donato D. Ramos, Vice-Chairman
  • Mark E. Bivins, Member
  • J. Robert Brown, Member
  • Joseph B. C. Fitzsimons, Member
  • T. Dan Friedkin, Member
  • Philip Montgomery III, Member
  • John D. Parker, Member
The State Of Texas
County Of Travis

I, the undersigned Executive Director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, do hereby certify that the foregoing resolution is a true, full, and correct copy of a resolution adopted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission of the State of Texas on the 23rd day of August 2007.

Executed Under My Hand and seal of said Commission on this the 23rd day of August 2007.

Robert L. Cook
Executive Director
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department


Commission Agenda Item No. 12
Exhibit B

A Resolution by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Clearly Establish Prioritization Criteria for Repairs and Capital Improvements

Whereas, In March 2007, the Texas State Auditor's Office (SAO) issued a report titled Financial Processes at the Parks and Wildlife Department (the audit);

Whereas, the Commission supports the full implementation of the audit as contained in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) response to the audit;

Whereas, in Chapter 3.6 of the audit, the SAO recommended that TPWD "clearly establish its prioritization criteria for repairs and capital improvements;"

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission endorses the SAO recommendation that TPWD establish its prioritization criteria for repairs and capital improvements;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission that the prioritization criteria for repairs and capital improvements is hereby adopted;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission delegates to the Executive Director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department the authority to effect changes in the prioritization criteria for repairs and capital improvements to serve the Department's goals and mission;

In official recognition hereof, we hereby affix our signatures this 23rd day of August 2007.

  • Peter M. Holt, Chairman
  • Donato D. Ramos, Vice-Chairman
  • Mark E. Bivins, Member
  • J. Robert Brown, Member
  • Joseph B. C. Fitzsimons, Member
  • T. Dan Friedkin, Member
  • Philip Montgomery III, Member
  • John D. Parker, Member
The State Of Texas
County Of Travis

I, the undersigned Executive Director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, do hereby certify that the foregoing resolution is a true, full, and correct copy of a resolution adopted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission of the State of Texas on the 23rd day of August 2007.

Executed Under My Hand and seal of said Commission on this the 23rd day of August 2007.

Robert L. Cook
Executive Director
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department


Commission Agenda Item No. 12
Exhibit C

Prioritized Criteria for Repairs and Capital Improvements
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
August 23, 2007

I. Health and Safety
Projects necessary to prevent hazardous conditions that may negatively impact the physical well being of staff and the public.
II. Regulatory
Projects necessary to bring assets into compliance with current rules, laws, codes, and regulations.
III. Business Continuity
Projects necessary to maintain the successful operation of department programs, facility assets, and services and promote visitation and revenue such as major repair, minor repair and maintenance.
IV. Mission Support
Projects necessary to support the conservation and preservation of cultural and natural resources, and enhance recreational and educational opportunities.

Commission Agenda Item No. 12
Exhibit D

Land Transaction, and Conservation and Facility Closure and Transfer Planning Policy

Policy Number: LF-03-01
Type of Policy: Lands and Facilities
Date: July 2003 (Revised: January 2007)
Purpose

This document establishes policies that ensure Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's (TPWD or Department) land conservation decisions are based on Department priorities and conducted in a fair and open manner with ample opportunity for public comment. It also creates procedures to coordinate all TPWD resources efficiently when conducting land transactions.

Background

The Department must carefully consider and coordinate capital improvements to facilities because of the long-term implications of these sizeable investments. Decisions relating to the divestiture and acquisition of land will have especially long lasting impact on the Department. The need exists to prioritize potential land acquisitions and the reinvestment of proceeds from strategic land sales so that limited land acquisition funds are invested wisely for the state and the Department.

TPWD's legal authority for various land transactions is found in the Parks and Wildlife Code. Some examples include:

Definitions

For the purpose of this policy the following applies:

Land Acquisition:

Transfer and transfer of jurisdiction, purchase, donation, or land exchange resulting in additions to TPWD's real property inventory.

Land Disposition:

Sale, exchange, transfer and transfer of jurisdiction resulting in a loss to TPWD's real property inventory.

Land Trade:

An exchange of real property per §13.009 Sale or Exchange of Land, Parks and Wildlife Code.

Land Transactions:

Transactions involving land disposition, land acquisition, land trade, granting surface use privileges, easements and/or recommending mineral leases on TPWD lands. A land transaction under this policy does not include the acquisition of non-possessory property rights, such as a third party right to enforce conservation easements or other restrictive covenants.

Land Conservation:
Right of First Offer to Adjacent Landowners:

A procedure in which TPWD establishes a sales price for TPWD property and offers the property to an adjacent landowner at that price. If the adjacent landowner declines the offer or if terms cannot be reached with the adjacent landowner, TPWD may offer the property to all proposed buyers at the highest price.

Facility Closure

The complete or partial closure of a state park, state historic site or wildlife management area by TPWD, including significant reduction in programs, services or hours of operation.

Planned Facility Closure

A non-routine facility closure that is reasonably foreseeable by TPWD. A planned facility closure does not include a facility closure due to a weather or other type of emergency, including, but not limited to a water or wastewater system failure, destruction of a facility by an act of nature or otherwise, the closure of a facility for construction, repair or maintenance, and the normal seasonal closure of a facility.

Policy
Public Notice And Input To Tpwd Land Transactions
Requirements Applicable to both Land Acquisitions, and Dispositions and Planned Facility Closures, and Facility Transfers
Additional Requirements for Land Disposition and Planned Facility Closures
Legislatively Mandated Acquisitions and Dispositions

These transactions will take place in accordance with the legislation mandating the transaction. Unless the legislation requires action by the Commission, such transactions may occur without Commission action. If the legislation requires Commission action, an effort will be made to conduct the transaction in accordance with the normal policy for land acquisitions and dispositions, set out above.

Transfer of Property to the Texas Public Finance Authority

This policy shall not apply to a transfer of property to the Texas Public Finance Authority for the purpose of issuing revenue bonds or other debt for the benefit of TPWD pursuant to Chapter 1232 of the Texas Government Code, so long as the Commission has entered an appropriate resolution authorizing the issuance of the revenue bonds.

Transfer of Property to Local Governmental Entities

Proposals submitted by local governmental entity seeking transfer of a state park to the governmental entity should contain a plan for future management and operation of the park. Any state park land transferred to a local governmental entity must be permanently dedicated for public park and recreation purposes and shall revert to TPWD if the governmental entity fails to use the property for these purposes. TPWD shall furnish the receiving governmental entity with any biological survey, site assessment, natural and cultural resource data and management planning documents in TPWD's possession. Based on this information, the local governmental entity must prepare and submit to TPWD a Site Management Plan that addresses public use, cultural and natural resource protection at the site to include resource-based vegetation management, riparian and water quality protection, and wildlife management. TPWD must approve the Site Management Plan before the site can be transferred.

Roles And Responsibilities
The Land Conservation Program (LCP)
Wildlife, Inland Fisheries, Coastal Fisheries and State Parks Division Directors

As the Department's major land-holding divisions, the directors will coordinate within their divisions to identify land acquisition/disposition needs and function within the Land Acquisition Coordination Committee to prioritize specific transactions and recommend funding strategies based on overall department needs and limitations.

Chief Financial Officer and Infrastructure Division Director

These positions will function within the Land Acquisition Coordination Committee to prioritize land transaction recommendations that are in the long-term strategic interest of the department and are in compliance with applicable laws, directives, and legislative appropriation.

General Counsel or Designated Department Lawyer

This position will function within the Land Acquisition Coordination Committee to ensure that all transactions comply with applicable law and receive appropriate legal review.


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