Finance Committee

Wednesday, 9:00 am, March 25, 2009

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Commission Hearing Room
4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX 78744

Commissioner J. Robert Brown, Committee Chair
Gene McCarty, Committee Liaison

Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes

  1. Update on TPWD Progress in Implementing the TPWD Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan
    Staff: Carter Smith
  2. Financial Overview
    Staff: Gene McCarty
  3. License and Boat Registration Fee Options - Permission to Publish Changes in the Texas Register
    Staff: Gene McCarty
  4. Audit Reports
    • State Parks Progress Regarding the Audit by State Auditor's Office
    • Concluded and Ongoing Internal Audit Activities and Reports
    Staff: Scott Boruff, Carlos Contreras

Committee Agenda Item No. 1
Presenter: Carter Smith

Finance Committee
Update on TPWD Progress in Implementing the TPWD Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan
March 25, 2009

I. Executive Summary: Executive Director Carter Smith will briefly update the Commission on the status of the agency's efforts to implement the Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan (the Plan).

II. Discussion: In 2001, the 77th Texas Legislature directed that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) develop a Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan (Tex. Park & Wild. Code §11.104). In November 2002, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (the Commission) adopted the first Plan. A revised Plan was adopted by the Commission in January 2005. The Plan is available on the TPWD web site. Executive Director Carter Smith will update the Finance Committee on TPWD's recent progress in achieving the Plan's Goals and Objectives as they relate to the Finance Committee.

The Plan consists of 8 Goals and a total of 56 Objectives. The Goals stated in the Plan are as follows:


Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Presenter: Gene McCarty

Finance Committee
Financial Overview
March 25, 2009

I. Executive Summary: Staff will present a financial overview of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).

II. Discussion:

  1. Staff will update the Commission on revenue collected by TPWD for FY 2009, including state parks receipts, boat titling and registration revenue, and license sales revenue as well as the number of licenses sold.
  2. Staff will review revenue collected by fund (Game Fish and Water Safety Fund, State Park Fund, Local Park Fund, and Other).
  3. Staff will compare the FY 2009 budget to FY 2009 expenditures and summarize recent budget adjustments.

Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Presenter: Gene McCarty

Finance Committee
License and Boat Registration Fee Options
March 25, 2009

I. Executive Summary: Staff has analyzed the need for increased funding to maintain current levels of service in the divisions which are funded by Fund 9, the Game, Fish, and Water Safety Account. Operations in Coastal Fisheries, Inland Fisheries, Law Enforcement and Wildlife, along with the divisions which support them (Human Resources, Administrative Resources, Communications and Legal) depend upon the sale of licenses (65 percent) and the annual apportionment of federal excise taxes on the sale of sporting goods (35 percent) to fund conservation programs that all Texans benefit from. Constituents have actively supported conservation initiatives, not only through license purchases but as partners and advocates. In order to avert cuts in service and staffing, we must consider raising additional dollars from our primary funding stream, which is license revenue. We have not raised Texas hunting and fishing license prices since 2004, when fees increased 16 percent overall. Since then, our operating costs have increased 26.5 percent. We are currently looking at about a 5 percent increase, which by comparison is minimal and would mean an increase on individual licenses of only a few dollars a year.

II. Discussion: Operational costs have continued to rise and inflation has effectively reduced funding by around $850,000 each year since the last fee increase in 2004. The salaries of our biologists, technicians and administrative support staff are increasingly less competitive with other state agencies and especially in comparison to other fish and wildlife agencies around the country. Infrastructure and facility maintenance needs have been deferred or minimized in order to maintain acceptable levels of service. There is a consistent and growing demand for expanding programs, services and law enforcement that has stressed existing capacity to the limit of budget resources.

Staff requests permission to publish the proposed changes in the Texas Register for the required public comment period.


Committee Agenda Item No. 4
Presenters: Scott Boruff
Carlos Contreras

Finance Committee
Audit Reports
State Parks Progress Regarding the Audit by State Auditor's Office
Concluded and Ongoing Internal Audit Activities and Reports
March 25, 2009

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. TPWD staff will brief the Commission on the audit recommendations and the status of TPWD's implementation of those recommendations and the related General Appropriations Act Riders.

The internal auditor will provide information to the Commission on recently concluded and ongoing Internal Audit assignments and reports released after the January 2009 Commission meeting.


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