TPWD 2016-2017 Legislative Appropriations Facts
June 11, 2015
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Legislative Appropriations Request (LAR) for 2016-2017 included a biennial (two-year) base funding request of $575.1 million/ 3,109.2 full-time equivalent (FTE) employee positions in each year, plus exceptional items requesting additional funding totaling $201.6 million/66 FTEs, for a total request of $776.7 million/3,175.2 FTEs. The General Appropriations Act of the 84th Texas Legislature ultimately approved a total TPWD budget of $720.4 million and 3,141.2 FTEs (not including adjustments in Article IX, which may change final amounts). Specific exceptional items and amounts approved by the legislature are shown below. All figures are two-year biennial totals.
STATE PARK OPERATIONS
REQUEST: $25.3 million/39 FTEs OUTCOME: $14.7 million/6 FTEs
- State Park Staffing and Operations: $4.6 million/6 FTEs for important staff resources to service new and existing facilities, manage and keep-up sites and provide for essential operating and cyclical maintenance costs.
- State Parks Law Enforcement Compensation Equity: A total of $1.5 million for a compensation package for state park law enforcement to address longstanding equity, recruitment, and retention challenges in this statewide force.
- Minor Repairs and Vehicles: A total of $2.5 million for pre-emptive repairs and maintenance to state parks, and a total of $2.0 million for replacement of aging state park vehicles.
- State Park Business System: A total of $1.5 million to address funding needs associated with the park reservation, visitation and revenue system. The current contract expires December 31, 2016.
- Development of Palo Pinto Mountains State Park: A total of $2.7 million in remaining proceeds from the sale of the Eagle Mountain Lake property, to initiate the design and engineering phase for development of the new park site.
REQUEST: $17.4 million. OUTCOME: $1.7 million
- Operator and Chauffeur’s Account Shortfall: $1.7 million to address the cash shortfall in this fund and provide funding for the 15 game wardens funded from this source.
FISH AND WILDLIFE INITIATIVES
REQUEST: $18.9 million/9 FTEs OUTCOME: $5.7 million/7 FTEs
- Aquatic Invasive Species: $5 million/5 FTEs to address fresh and saltwater aquatic invasive species, which have generated mounting threats to Texas waters and regional economies in recent years.
- Coast-wide Habitat Monitoring Program: $371,424/2 FTEs to initiate an ongoing coast-wide habitat monitoring program as a component of the existing fisheries long-term monitoring program.
- Oyster Shell Recovery and Replacement Program: $325,305 for oyster reef enhancement, to expand on-going habitat restoration/enhancement efforts.
REQUEST: $82.4 million/18 FTEs OUTCOME: $69.3 million/0 FTEs
- Capital Construction Projects and Modernization: $68.6 million to address critical statewide capital construction and repair needs at TPWD facilities to address severely deteriorated water/wastewater systems, restrooms, public buildings, and other facilities.
- IT Business Initiatives: $697,401for updates and additional functionality for various agency applications and to fund increases in data center services costs (DCS).
LOCAL PARKS GRANTS
REQUEST: $14.1 million OUTCOME: $15.8 million
This item sought Sporting Goods Sales Tax (SGST) funding to support the outdoor/indoor recreational needs of local governments. In combination with amounts already in the base, this would provide SGST funding for local park grants at historic funding levels ($31 million over the biennium).
REQUEST: $25 million OUTCOME: $25 million
This is to complete the balance of known critical repair items.
OUTDOOR/NATURE TOURISM AND RECREATION
REQUEST: $18.5 million OUTCOME: $12.5 million
This will provide $3.5 million to develop and construct a Visitor’s Center at Franklin Mountains State Park, and $9 million for the Texas State Aquarium for capital improvement projects.
The Conference Committee also approved the following additional items :
- Border Security FTEst — Separate from TPWD’s exceptional items funding request, the conference committee approved an additional $5.3 million and 19 new game warden FTEs for border security.
- Fort Boggy — The conference committee appropriated an additional $500,000 for capital improvements and repairs at Fort Boggy State Park.
- Houston Local Parks — Conference Committee provided an additional $1.25 in General Revenue for grants to Houston local parks.