Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Finance Committee

April 5, 2000

Commission Hearing Room
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744


         7        BE IT REMEMBERED that heretofore on the 

         8   5th day of April 2000, there came on to be heard 

         9   matters under the regulatory authority of the 

        10   Parks and Wildlife Commission of Texas, in the 

        11   Commission Hearing Room of the Texas Parks and 

        12   Wildlife Headquarters complex, Austin, Travis 

        13   County, Texas, beginning at 11:12 a.m., to wit:


             FINANCE COMMITTEE: 
        17   Chair:         Ernest Angelo, Jr.
                            Lee M. Bass (absent) 
        18                  Carol E. Dinkins 
                            Dick W. Heath 
        19                  Nolan Ryan 
                            John Avila, Jr. 
        20                  Alvin L. Henry 
                            Katharine Armstrong Idsal 
        21                  Mark E. Watson, Jr. 

             Andrew H. Sansom, Executive Director, and other 
        23   personnel of the Parks and Wildlife Department  


.                                                                     2

         1                     APRIL 5, 2000


         3                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  This is the 

         4   meeting of the Finance Committee.  Since we did 

         5   adjourn, I believe, the last meeting, tell me who 

         6   wants to read Vernon's Civil Statutes once again.

         7                  MR. SANSOM:  Mr. Chairman, a public 

         8   notice of this meeting containing all items on the 

         9   proposed agenda has been filed with the Secretary 

        10   of State, as  required by Chapter 551 of the 

        11   Government Code.  This is known as attention as 

        12   the Open Meetings Law.  And I would appreciate it 

        13   if it were included in the record of the meeting.

        14                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  Thank you.  

        15                  And, Commissioners, you all have 

        16   received minutes from the previous committee 

        17   meeting.  May I have a motion to approve those 

        18   minutes?  

        19                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  So moved. 

        20                  COMMISSIONER RYAN:  Second. 

        21                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  All right. 

        22   Thank you.  

        23                  Chairman's charges briefing, Andy.


        25                  MR. SANSOM:  Mr. Chairman, I would 
.                                                                     3

         1   briefly like to make note of a couple of things 

         2   that I think apply directly to the charges.  

         3                  As you know, we are in the process 

         4   of renegotiating our contract to provide Texas 

         5   Outdoor Connection to the citizens of our State, 

         6   and that we have completed the development of the 

         7   RFP for that; and you will receive a briefing on 

         8   it today.

         9                  I would also like to make note of 

        10   the fact that the Chairman has charged us with 

        11   monitoring and tracking current initiatives at the 

        12   Federal level which would enhance funding for our 

        13   programs.  Chairman Dinkins and I traveled to 

        14   Washington recently to meet with the leadership of 

        15   the House of Representatives, along with Gary 

        16   Graham and Walt Dabney and other people from the 

        17   Department; and we had a very fruitful series of 

        18   meetings with the Congressional leadership.  

        19                  Currently, there are about 320 

        20   sponsors of House Bill 701, known as CARA.  The 

        21   issue before the House at this time is to try to 

        22   get a scheduled vote on the floor.  I have spoken 

        23   to the Majority Leader's office yesterday, and 

        24   they are meeting to try to find a date to schedule 

        25   it, and I have every anticipation that it will be 
.                                                                     4

         1   scheduled soon.  Thank you.  

         2                  COMMISSIONER WATSON:  Do we know 

         3   what it looks like on the Senate side, Andy?  

         4                  MR. SANSOM:  In the Senate, a 

         5   companion Bill has been filed by Senator Murkowski 

         6   and Senator Landrieu of Louisiana.  Murkowski is 

         7   Alaska.  And that Bill mirrors House Bill 701, 

         8   and it has not been heard in committee yet in the 

         9   Senate.  

        10                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  Thank you 

        11   very much.                

        12                  COMMISSIONER DINKINS: Mr. Chairman, 

        13   if I could just remind everyone that this $220 

        14   million a year for Texas, one of the three 

        15   highest-ranking states, if this measure were 

        16   enacted and funded, which would be a tremendous 

        17   boost for conservation and public recreation in 

        18   this State.    

        19                  MR. SANSOM:  This Bill would not 

        20   only revive the Land and Water Conservation Fund, 

        21   which has been responsible for parks from 

        22   Enchanted Rock to city and county parks 

        23   throughout the State, but it would also provide us 

        24   for the first time a large infusion of funding for 

        25   wildlife diversity and would make a major 
.                                                                     5

         1   contribution to coastal issues.  

         2                  For example, I believe that you 

         3   could use funding from CARA to finance a buyback 

         4   program.  So you could probably use funding from 

         5   this legislation to contribute to the issues that 

         6   we discussed in our Regulations Committee meeting.

         7                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  Good.  Thank 

         8   you very much, Andy.  

         9                  And we'll be going to the next part 

        10   of the meeting with a financial review from Suzy 

        11   Whittenton, our Financial Officer.


        13                  MS. WHITTENTON:  Thank you.  

        14                  Good morning, Mr. Chairman and 

        15   Commissioners.  For the record, my name is Suzy 

        16   Whittenton, and I'm the Chief Financial Officer. 

        17   I'm here to present a financial overview, which 

        18   will include updated financial information for 

        19   major accounts including license sales and state 

        20   park fees, current-year operating budget status as 

        21   well as the status report on next year's operating 

        22   budget and capital budget, and finish up with a 

        23   timeline for the development of next year's 

        24   biennial legislative appropriations request.  Feel 

        25   free to interrupt me at any time if you have 
.                                                                     6

         1   questions.                  

         2                  Account 9, Game, Fish and Water 

         3   Safety:  The two primary revenue sources for 

         4   Fund 9 are boat registrations and titling fees and 

         5   license sales.  

         6                  The original estimate for revenue 

         7   from boat registration and titling fees appears to 

         8   be a good estimate.  We currently project $13.9 

         9   million, and the original estimate was at $13.5. 

        10   But with only 26 percent of the original estimate 

        11   collected at this time, no revenue adjustment is 

        12   recommended.  

        13                  License sales through March 22nd 

        14   show overall license sales, combination license 

        15   sales, up just slightly over last year.  It looks 

        16   like people are moving towards buying Super Combos 

        17   rather than Combos.  

        18                  Also, total hunting sales are very 

        19   close to last year's numbers, up less than a half 

        20   a percent, although that's equal to nearly a 

        21   million dollars in difference.  

        22                  Fishing sales are up 2 percent 

        23   overall.  At the last meeting, that number was 

        24   5 percent.  This, we think, indicates that 

        25   customers probably bought early, rather than that 
.                                                                     7

         1   there are a lot of new customers out there.  

         2                  License sales are up 1.9 million 

         3   overall.  License sales at this time, we've 

         4   collected 86 percent of our projected revenue, and 

         5   we're looking at about 63 and a half million for 

         6   the fiscal year.  

         7                  At the last meeting, you already 

         8   increased the revenue estimate by $900,000, so at 

         9   this time we're not recommending any additional 

        10   adjustments.  

        11                  With the updated license and boat 

        12   revenue numbers, the Account 9 cash statement 

        13   looks very similar to what you saw at your last 

        14   meeting, with the cash balance, the projected 

        15   cash balance at the end of the year at about 

        16   $2 million.  The only differences from last 

        17   meeting are basically rounding.  

        18                  Account 64 is the State Park 

        19   account.  Revenue through February is up 

        20   18.7 percent over last year, amounting to a total 

        21   of $1.4 million.  

        22                  We pulled the March revenue data 

        23   also to assess preliminary impact of spring break 

        24   this year, and it looks like it's up approximately 

        25   over 7 percent from last year, which is good news. 
.                                                                     8

         1   I think there was some bad weather in '99.

         2                  As to park fees, we've collected 

         3   42 percent of the original estimate.  And even 

         4   though revenue is up, we're not ready to recommend 

         5   any kind of adjustment, in case there's a drought 

         6   this summer.  We may see some fees falling, so no 

         7   changes for now are recommended on that.  

         8                  The cash statement for Account 64 

         9   also pretty closely mirrors the one you saw at the 

        10   last meeting, with the exception of revenue under 

        11   the category of "Other."  There are some 

        12   additional Federal funds included in there that 

        13   weren't in there in January, so it's slightly 

        14   higher.  The numbers are slightly higher, with an 

        15   ending balance of $2 million.  

        16                  The Fiscal Year 2000 operating 

        17   budget status at the end of February, which is 

        18   approximately halfway through the fiscal year, 

        19   shows approximately 51 percent remaining in the 

        20   budget.  And when you back out grant funds, we 

        21   have 52 percent remaining, which shows that we're 

        22   right on target on operating budget.               

        23                  We've now begun the process of 

        24   putting together our Fiscal Year 2001 budget.  We 

        25   are going to be using the 95 percent budgeting 
.                                                                     9

         1   method that we've used in the past here, which is 

         2   just that each division is given 95 percent of 

         3   what they had in the current year to start with; 

         4   and then anything above that, they have to ask for 

         5   supplemental requests for.  

         6                  The Fiscal Year 2001 operating 

         7   budget will include continued efforts to ensure 

         8   that the budget is comprehensive.  And in so 

         9   doing, we'll analyze each division's requests and 

        10   look at the ratios between salary, operating 

        11   expenses, and equipment to ensure that the budgets 

        12   are fairly consistent from year to year and that 

        13   nothing gets left out.  Then supplemental requests 

        14   or anything over the 95 percent would be 

        15   categorized and prioritized.

        16                  Capital budgets:  Again, we'll have 

        17   a continued focus on critical repairs, especially 

        18   water and wastewater.  It will also include 

        19   revenue from the remaining $12.7 million in 

        20   revenue bonds.  That would be the final issuance 

        21   of the $60 million bond package.  

        22                  Here is our budget timeline.  As 

        23   you can see, we're well under way in the process 

        24   with division submissions.  Their proposed budget 

        25   is due next Friday.  We expect to give you a 
.                                                                    10

         1   preliminary budget overview at your next meeting 

         2   and then ask for final Commission review in 

         3   August.  

         4                  I just wanted to give you some 

         5   forewarning that this is the year that we'll be 

         6   preparing a legislative appropriations request. 

         7   We prepare these every other year.  They will be 

         8   this time for appropriations for the Fiscal Years 

         9   2002 and 2003.  They will be considered at the 

        10   next Legislative Session.  This is a mechanism 

        11   that we use to ask for authority to spend our 

        12   funds.  

        13                  Although instructions have not yet 

        14   been received, in recent years the request has 

        15   been limited to total expenditures for the 

        16   previous biennium, and so we expect that to be the 

        17   same this time.  

        18                  The request will also be submitted 

        19   by strategy, rather than by internal organization 

        20   or division.  Those strategies are found, along 

        21   with our goals and objectives, in our Strategic 

        22   Plan.  

        23                  The timeline:  We're hoping to get 

        24   instructions by next month, and then we'll work 

        25   throughout the summer to develop the request, and 
.                                                                    11

         1   then we anticipate a due date of mid-August.  Any 

         2   request will be reviewed by the Legislative 

         3   Budget Board and the Governor's Office of Budget 

         4   and Planning pretty extensively.  And then from 

         5   there, we'll start having preliminary budget 

         6   meetings with some of the members of the 

         7   Legislature.  And then finally it will be 

         8   determined at the next Legislative Session through 

         9   that process next spring. 

        10                  And that's all I had as a quick 

        11   update.  I'll be glad to take any questions.  I 

        12   don't know that I could answer too many.   

        13                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  Well, you gave 

        14   the right update.  

        15                  Any questions from any members of 

        16   the Commission at this point?  Then we'll just 

        17   keep the Commission informed as we develop the 

        18   budget over the next few months. 

        19                  Thank you very much, and welcome, 

        20   Suzy. 

        21                  MR. SANSOM:  Mr. Chairman, you 

        22   recall that last year we created an opportunity 

        23   for the Commission to become involved in a kind of 

        24   a workshop fashion at the point in time that we 

        25   had sort of winnowed it down to the critical 
.                                                                    12

         1   decisions, and we would like to propose doing that 

         2   again this year if it was helpful to you all.      

         3                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  Andy, I had 

         4   put down to get that three to four weeks before 

         5   the next meeting.  Is that a reasonable time?  

         6                  MR. SANSOM:  Actually, I don't 

         7   think we'll be ready on our supplementals until 

         8   after your June meeting.  

         9                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  Okay.

        10                  MS. WHITTENTON:  Right.  

        11                  MR. SANSOM:  Yes.  So it would 

        12   follow the June meeting.  It would have to be 

        13   sometime between June 1st and August.  

        14                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  Okay.  If you 

        15   and Suzy would, just schedule that time a couple 

        16   of weeks before the June meeting.  

        17                  Andy could come in, and Ernest 

        18   could join us as well.  

        19                  MR. SANSOM:  That's a compliment to 

        20   me.  Thank you.  

        21                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  You were just 

        22   promoted, Andy.   

        23                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  I thought 

        24   that was a compliment to me, Andy.  

        25                  MR. SANSOM:  Thank you, Suzy. 
.                                                                    13

         1                  COMMISSIONER HENRY:  I have a 

         2   question on sunset.  How do we even anticipate 

         3   what impact, if any, it may have on the budget 

         4   preparation?  Do we deal with that at all?  

         5                  MR. SANSOM:  Yes, sir.   And I 

         6   think that's an extremely good question, and I 

         7   appreciate it.  I believe that it will not only be 

         8   an issue that we will want to take into 

         9   consideration with respect to our LAR; that is, 

        10   our request to the Legislature.  But the other 

        11   factor is the Governor's Task Force upon which you 

        12   sit, and Chairman Dinkins is the Chair; and that 

        13   could also have an impact before we're done.

        14                  I guess I'd have to say that at the 

        15   present time, in light of the fact that the sunset 

        16   report has not been released, that I would kind of 

        17   reserve a final answer to you until we have the 

        18   opportunity to see that information. 



        21                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  Any further 

        22   questions?  Let's proceed to the next item, then. 

        23   No. 3 is a briefing on the Outdoor Connection and 

        24   the license point sale systems.  

        25                  Jayna?  
.                                                                    14

         1                  MS. BURGDORF:  Hi.  The purpose of 

         2   this briefing is to update you on our efforts to 

         3   transition to a new licensing system.  I'm going 

         4   to cover four sections, a little bit of 

         5   background, and an update on our current system 

         6   and update on options for our new licensing 

         7   system; next steps, which is also a timeline for 

         8   implementation; and some proposed changes for the 

         9   license year 2001, which is really upcoming here 

        10   in August 2000.  

        11                  Our current system runs on Verifone 

        12   equipment, which is in that picture right there, 

        13   and it's also right in front of Gene McCarty over 

        14   there.  we've got a little display today.

        15                  We had last year 3.2 million 

        16   transactions that brought in $65 million in 

        17   revenue.  

        18                  We are continuing to have some 

        19   current system issues and are working with 

        20   Transactive management, even including G-Tech 

        21   management, which is their parent company, on 

        22   trying to resolve those issues.  We want to make 

        23   sure that as we go into the next license year, 

        24   that it is a smooth final year into our transition 

        25   to a new system.  
.                                                                    15

         1                  One of those issues is printing 

         2   problems.  We are evaluating new paper.  I want 

         3   to tell you when I say that that to the consumer, 

         4   to the customer, it will look probably just like 

         5   the same old license.  What we're talking about is 

         6   potentially putting on another coating or having 

         7   you a glue strip between the actual license and 

         8   the receipt that will keep the paper from slipping 

         9   when it's printing.  

        10                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  Would you make 

        11   sure that Commissioner Ryan is aware of whatever 

        12   changes are made?  

        13                  COMMISSIONER RYAN:  I'd like to 

        14   test it.

        15                  MS. BURGDORF:  Well, as a matter of 

        16   fact, I have a little sample of something we're 

        17   thinking about in the future that I'll pass out 

        18   later.  

        19                  His comment, by the way, is legend, 

        20   at least in the licensing.  

        21                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  (Inaudible.) 

        22   There's no question.  The earlier you get there, 

        23   the better off you'll be.  

        24                  COMMISSIONER RYAN:  Right.

        25                  MS. BURGDORF:  Exactly.  
.                                                                    16

         1                  Internet transactions do not appear 

         2   to be compatible with the current system, and so 

         3   we're planning on piloting that with our new 

         4   system.  Again, we want to minimize offline sales, 

         5   which causes all of those problems for the 

         6   retailers, especially during the peak periods.  

         7                  And a lot of this feeds into that 

         8   bullet there, which is that we've made the 

         9   determination to bid a new system, and we would 

        10   like to recommend not purchasing the existing 

        11   system.  

        12                  So there are a number of factors to 

        13   consider in a new system.  There are a number of 

        14   different vendors in the marketplace.  There are 

        15   different types of input devices, printers, and 

        16   license paper; and I'm going to briefly go over 

        17   those.  

        18                  I will tell you that just even in 

        19   this calendar year, since we've started this we've 

        20   finalized the report with the consultant on the 

        21   analysis of alternatives.  

        22                  We've issued a draft RFP for vendor 

        23   comments, which is basically that we put out our 

        24   proposal and gave them about a two-week turnaround 

        25   to say, "Do you see any substantial concerns in 
.                                                                    17

         1   our proposal?"  And we based on both our existing 

         2   system and some things that other states have done 

         3   since we've implemented ours; and we did not 

         4   receive any major concern, but it helps in 

         5   preparing the final.  

         6                  We had a conference.  There is 

         7   actually, believe it or not, a group of people on 

         8   a national people that get together to talk about 

         9   license systems.  And that was a great opportunity 

        10   to look at what's out there.

        11                  We had an open house here in this 

        12   room just last week.  We had a number of different 

        13   vendors come and show off their equipment and 

        14   their printers and what types of licenses they're 

        15   doing for other states.  We had about 75 people 

        16   here, including License Deputies and our own 

        17   staff.  So that was a good process.  

        18                  These are the possible vendors that 

        19   we will get bids from potentially.  ALS has the 

        20   most states running on their systems, and they use 

        21   Verifone equipment.  Compaq has Georgia and 

        22   Kentucky.  EDS is operating in Michigan and North 

        23   Carolina.  

        24                  MCI WorldCom is somewhat of a new 

        25   player to the market, and they actually are the 
.                                                                    18

         1   ones offering a PC-based system.  And on that 

         2   little table over there, those are the two basic 

         3   new systems, and I'll talk about that in a minute. 

         4   But to my knowledge, they're the only ones at 

         5   this point offering a PC-based system, and they 

         6   are getting ready to implement in Montana and 

         7   Washington.                 

         8                  Peat Marwick, Northrup Grumman, and 

         9   even since this slide was developed, a company 

        10   called ACS and another one called InforCorp have 

        11   expressed interest in looking at our proposal.  

        12   They are mostly in the financial transaction 

        13   business.  

        14                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  Is ACS out of 

        15   Dallas?

        16                  MR. SANSOM:  Uh-huh.  

        17                  MS. BURGDORF:  Again, there are two 

        18   basic options.  

        19                  There's the PC-based system.  The 

        20   advantages are that it's a user-friendly system. 

        21   It's Windows-based.  And, actually, I should call 

        22   it a mini-PC.  You can see it.  It's not full-

        23   sized.  It's Windows-based, which means that many 

        24   of your clerks in some of your stores who now are 

        25   used to computers and have grown up with them 
.                                                                    19

         1   would be very comfortable with something like 

         2   this.  It has enhanced functionality.  In other 

         3   words, at some point in the future two or three 

         4   years down the road, it might be fairly easy to 

         5   add a boat registration renewal system onto 

         6   something like this.  

         7                  The disadvantages are that it has a 

         8   larger footprint, and a lot of your Deputies will 

         9   tell you that counter space is very important to 

        10   them, because they want to be able to sell other 

        11   products and conduct other business there; and 

        12   it's more expensive.  

        13                  This is the latest Verifone 

        14   equipment; and, again, that's over there on that 

        15   little table.  They are the primary maker of this 

        16   equipment, at least in this industry.  They 

        17   actually have a huge market segment in all 

        18   financial transactions, but they provide almost 

        19   all of the little point-of-sale equipment for 

        20   hunting and fishing systems.  

        21                  You would probably have a reduced 

        22   learning curve, because it would be similar to 

        23   what we have now; a lower initial investment, in 

        24   that the machines don't cost quite as much; a 

        25   small footprint; and a built-in receipt printer. 
.                                                                    20

         1   They have advanced now so that the printer for 

         2   the receipts is actually incorporated in the 

         3   little terminal device. 

         4                  A disadvantage is that it's a 

         5   little display screen.  It's primarily made for 

         6   financial transactions, and therefore it has some 

         7   limited functionality.  

         8                  Interestingly, at the open house we 

         9   did have an evaluation form.  And of the ones that 

        10   we got back, there wasn't a significant difference 

        11   between Deputies or employees preferring one 

        12   system over another.  And I thought there might 

        13   be, but there wasn't.  The one single highest-

        14   scoring item was that they like the small 

        15   footprint -- everyone did -- of that little 

        16   machine.                     

        17                  Your printer options: You have a 

        18   dot matrix printer; again, two basic types.  It 

        19   prints on a variety of materials.  That's our 

        20   little printer right there that we use.  Low cost; 

        21   people are used to it, so reduced learning curve.  

        22   We do use the little receipt printer for the 

        23   License Deputy settlement reports at the end of 

        24   the day; so you would always need a receipt 

        25   printer, even if you went with something else.  
.                                                                    21

         1                  Disadvantages:  It's noisy.  

         2                  When it says, "Cannot Sense Top of 

         3   Form," what that means is that it doesn't 

         4   automatically line up, and so you will sometimes 

         5   have licenses where the tags aren't lined up with 

         6   the perforations in the license, and that's not a 

         7   good thing.  And they either end up reprinting 

         8   it, or they let the customer go off without it, 

         9   without a clean license.  

        10                  Limited graphics and no ability to 

        11   print landscape.  

        12                  This is a little thermal printer, 

        13   and it has high-quality printing.  You can print 

        14   landscape and graphic.  It's fast, and it does 

        15   know when it's at the top of the license.  

        16                  It does require additional 

        17   training.  It's a little more expensive.  And the 

        18   footprint, although this little machine isn't 

        19   larger, what it does is you're going to have to 

        20   have that receipt printer along with it, and so it 

        21   may end up being a larger footprint.  

        22                  I do have -- and I have little 

        23   samples here -- this is nothing more than just an 

        24   example of some things that you can do with a 

        25   thermal printer.  You could go back to something 
.                                                                    22

         1   similar to the old license, which --               

         2                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  (Inaudible.) 

         3                  MS. BURGDORF:  Not that old 

         4   license, but the one that people framed and hung 

         5   on their walls and speak about with such 

         6   fondness.  That's the one that I'm talking about. 

         7   Actually, I have a copy of that one, too, so that 

         8   y'all can see what I'm talking about, if any of 

         9   y'all -- and it would be nice because it would 

        10   resolve some of the -- if I tear out a tag in the 

        11   middle, then I have a number of pieces.  

        12                  Again, this is just something that 

        13   we're thinking about, but it's something that's 

        14   possible with a thermal printer.  

        15                  And what we would do is when we get 

        16   to the point where we're actually negotiating with 

        17   a vendor and we've signed a contract, one of the 

        18   things that we would be doing during that process 

        19   is talking to them very seriously about what would 

        20   the license look like, and we would be talking to 

        21   customers and you all as well.  So I'm just 

        22   passing this out as an example.  It's not 

        23   necessarily something that we're going forward 

        24   with.                     

        25                  Next steps:  Next Monday, April 
.                                                                    23

         1   10th, we'll issue a final RFP.  We should receive 

         2   our bids by May 24th.  

         3                  We also during this time period 

         4   need to obtain the Legislative Budget Board 

         5   approval on our biennial operating plans.  And 

         6   what that is is a technology plan that we prepare 

         7   every two years that talks about systems, and we 

         8   need approval to proceed with this transition.  We 

         9   will negotiate during June, hopefully sign a 

        10   contract in July, and decide on a system and have 

        11   that complete by the end of August, develop the 

        12   system in September through December, pilot 

        13   January through March, and roll out about this 

        14   same time next year, which actually, I think, is a 

        15   good time from the License Deputies' standpoint in 

        16   that they don't want to be doing anything until 

        17   after Christmas.  That's some of the feedback that 

        18   I've gotten. 

        19                  Now what I'd like to do is move a 

        20   little bit to this upcoming license year, which is 

        21   still with Transactive, and talk about two 

        22   proposals.  One is the senior combination license, 

        23   and the other one has to do with the mule deer 

        24   tags.  

        25                  What we currently have right now, 
.                                                                    24

         1   if you are a senior and you want to hunt, you can 

         2   buy a $6 special resident license, and there's 

         3   65,000 people that do that.  

         4                  For those seniors who turned 65 

         5   after August 31, 1995 -- and there was about 

         6   28,000 of those -- they buy a $6 special resident 

         7   fishing license.  That's actually increasing about 

         8   6 percent every year as more people age and fall 

         9   into that category.  

        10                  The feedback that we got on having 

        11   some kind of a discounted senior license:  We had 

        12   heard before, "Why don't you have one license? Why 

        13   all of a sudden when I turn older then do I not 

        14   have the option of having one license, a 

        15   combination, like I did before?"                   

        16                  The feedback was pretty positive.  

        17   There were 36 for, 10 against; and that took the 

        18   form mostly of maybe some people writing in on the 

        19   Internet.  For example, I saw some comments, 

        20   "Well, I think everybody should have to pay the 

        21   same thing.  It doesn't matter how old you are."  

        22                  There were 23 other comments, which 

        23   is a large number of others, and that was 

        24   primarily people saying, "We just don't want to 

        25   pay for a fishing license. We're not commenting on 
.                                                                    25

         1   your discount."  

         2                  What we would like to do:  The 

         3   proposal is to post in the Texas Register this 

         4   month a senior combination license, which would 

         5   range from $9 to $11; and a senior Super Combo, 

         6   which would range from $19 to $25.  

         7                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  Can you just 

         8   remind us what discount that is, then?  

         9                  MS. BURGDORF:  Well, it's $55 for 

        10   the stamp.  

        11                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  Right.

        12                  MS. BURGDDORF:  So depending on if 

        13   you put -- let's say you put the Senior Combo at 

        14   $10, so it's $65, as compared to -- it's a steeper 

        15   discount than the Combo and the Super Combo, but 

        16   there aren't as many seniors who buy stamps.  So 

        17   what we're trying to do is accommodate someone who 

        18   would buy one and a half to two stamps. 

        19                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  Jayna, what's 

        20   your judgment of the revenue impact?  

        21                  MS. BURGDORF:  Well, what we did is 

        22   we made some assumptions, and we looked at a 

        23   pricing on Senior Combo at $10 and Senior Super 

        24   Combo at $20.  And at that, it's basically a wash. 

        25   There's no change in revenue.  Some people are 
.                                                                    26

         1   going to get a discount, and some people are going 

         2   to pay a little bit more to get the Senior Super 

         3   Combo.  

         4                  And, again, I think we're looking 

         5   at this as much from a standpoint of trying to 

         6   provide a convenience for them and ease into the 

         7   whole senior fishing arena, and also maintain our 

         8   customer database at the same time.  

         9                  I think what will happen -- we 

        10   costed it out over five years -- as you continue 

        11   to have seniors enter that fishing level, now 

        12   they're required to buy the license, whereas they 

        13   weren't before.  You'll probably see a slight 

        14   increase in revenue, maybe $50,000 every year over 

        15   what we're currently bringing in.  

        16                  But it's not a significant change 

        17   this revenue either way.  We wouldn't lose a lot 

        18   of money, and we wouldn't gain a lot of money.    

        19                  MR. SANSOM:  It's proactive with 

        20   the coming demographic. 

        21                  MS. BURGDORF:  If we market it and 

        22   seniors are interested in the Super Combo, you 

        23   would have the potential to --

        24                  MR. SANSOM:  That's what I was 

        25   referring to. 
.                                                                    27

         1                  MS. BURGDORF:  -- to bring in some 

         2   more revenue, just like we've done on the Super 

         3   Combo.  

         4                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  I just want to 

         5   make sure that there's no potential for downside 

         6   on the revenue.  We made this decision, and it 

         7   was obviously a difficult decision when we made 

         8   it; but just to make sure we don't move in a 

         9   direction away from the direction we've moved in.

        10                  MS. BURGDORF:  I don't think that 

        11   the downside would be significant at all.  I think 

        12   it would be minimal.    

        13                  We also received what I would 

        14   characterize as overwhelming response on our tag 

        15   proposal.  There were 78 individuals who commented 

        16   on retaining tags.  What this doesn't reflect is 

        17   the 100 people who clapped every time one of them 

        18   got up and spoke.  Ten people wanted to eliminate 

        19   the tags, and there were just some general 

        20   comments regarding our license format.  

        21                  What we would like to propose is 

        22   that we continue to retain the tags until there 

        23   are new technologies available that just make 

        24   enforcement better, more cost-effective, whether 

        25   that's through the use of bar codes, whether at 
.                                                                    28

         1   some point in the future when sells cover the 

         2   entire State and you have people call in within 

         3   24 hours of harvesting an animal, which some 

         4   states do.                  

         5                  There are some options in the 

         6   future that would actually provide significant 

         7   benefits; but right now there's not a significant 

         8   benefit moving to a log, and clearly our public 

         9   believes that you cannot control harvest if you 

        10   take away the tags.  

        11                  What we would like to do is offer 

        12   mule deer tags as an option, which means a totally 

        13   free option.  But when you go up to the counter, 

        14   one of the questions that the clerk would ask you 

        15   is, "Do you hunt mule deer?" or "Would you like 

        16   mule deer tags?"  And we will work on the actual 

        17   wording of the question.  But what that would do 

        18   is it would shorten two tags off the licenses.  

        19                  There are 20,000 hunters who hunt 

        20   mule deer every year -- and this is based on 

        21   10 years' worth of data; it doesn't fluctuate 

        22   much -- out of a million hunters.  So you have 

        23   980,000 people who potentially would walk away 

        24   with a shorter license, and you'd have 20,000 who 

        25   would have the mule deer tags.  You would also 
.                                                                    29

         1   have the benefit of having Wildlife staff have 

         2   information on that database as to who those mule 

         3   deer hunters really are, which we don't have a lot 

         4   of that right now.  

         5                  COMMISSIONER RYAN:  Jayna, if that 

         6   person didn't opt to take that mule deer license, 

         7   could they go back and get it at a later date if 

         8   they decided they were going mule deer hunting?  

         9                  MS. BURGDORF:  That's what we're 

        10   going to tell Transactive that they have to build 

        11   into the system is an opportunity for them to go 

        12   back then and get those two tags.  This proposal 

        13   is based on the assumption that Transactive can do 

        14   that, and we believe through discussions with them 

        15   that they can.  

        16                  Actually, the mule deer option, 

        17   because it's just a format change and we're not 

        18   changing a fee or anything, it doesn't need to be 

        19   published in The Texas Register.  

        20                  The Super Combo proposal and the 

        21   just regular Senior Combo would need to be 

        22   published this month.  We would authorize 

        23   Transactive to go ahead and start proceeding with 

        24   these, although we would be able to pull back if 

        25   we needed to; bring it up to Commission 
.                                                                    30

         1   consideration in the May-June time frame at that 

         2   meeting; and then adopt it in The Texas Register 

         3   in June.  

         4                  And I'd be happy to answer any 

         5   questions. 

         6                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  Any 

         7   questions, Commissioners?  

         8                  Thank you, Jayna.  It looks like 

         9   we're moving in a good direction here. 

        10                  MS. BURGDORF:  Thanks.  And if you 

        11   get an opportunity, take a look at those two 

        12   little machines over there.  

        13                  MR. SANSOM:  And Gene will be happy 

        14   to sell any of you a license that would like one.




        18                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  The next item 

        19   is an Action Item, Proposal for Reinstatement of 

        20   Reciprocal License Agreement with Louisiana and 

        21   Oklahoma.  

        22                  Ken?  

        23                  MR. KURZAWSKI:  Good morning, 

        24   Mr. Chairman and Commissioners.  My name is Ken 

        25   Kurzawski, from the Fisheries Division, and today 
.                                                                    31

         1   I'm coming before you to ask for the Commission's 

         2   permission to publish proposed changes to our 

         3   reciprocal fishing license agreements in The Texas 

         4   Register.  

         5                  To review where we've been on this 

         6   issue, you recall last August we eliminated the 

         7   exemption for out-of-state seniors from Oklahoma, 

         8   Louisiana, and Kansas.  These residents now need 

         9   to purchase a nonresident fishing license to fish 

        10   here; and if you recall, that protects us.  Our 

        11   annual license is $30 nonresident, or five days 

        12   $20.  And this being a reciprocal agreement, our 

        13   seniors now have to purchase license to fish in 

        14   those states.  Oklahoma's annual is running around 

        15   $28.50, and I believe Louisiana is $31, and that 

        16   is additional charges for salt-water fishing.

        17                  This change last year was prompted 

        18   by complaints we received from our anglers in 

        19   Texas.  A lot of that stemmed from what Jayna 

        20   mentioned earlier about the senior resident 

        21   license that went into a special residents 

        22   license that went into effect in 1995.  Our 

        23   seniors felt that it was unfair for them to have 

        24   to purchase a license when seniors from other 

        25   states were getting one for free, but they were 
.                                                                    32

         1   forgetting about the reciprocal portion of that. 

         2   So now, after we made that change in '89, we're 

         3   receiving complaints about the elimination of the 

         4   agreements, because they're having to pay a 

         5   substantial increase to go fish in those other 

         6   states.  

         7                  MR. SANSOM:  And those complaints 

         8   far exceeded the comments we got on the earlier 

         9   system. 

        10                  MR. KURZAWSKI:  Yes.  We had a 

        11   public scoping meeting last fall in Port Arthur, 

        12   and we received numerous complaints against our 

        13   action there.  

        14                  And after discussions with some 

        15   Texas legislators, anglers, and the staffs from 

        16   Louisiana and Oklahoma, we've agreed that our best 

        17   option here is to reinstate those agreements as 

        18   they were prior to the Commission's actions of 

        19   last August.  Those two states have agreed to 

        20   respond in kind.  And if the Commission goes ahead 

        21   with this process, we should be able to implement 

        22   this all by the start of our license year this 

        23   year, September 1.  

        24                  Seniors from all three states would 

        25   then once again be exempt from licenses; and the 
.                                                                    33

         1   three states I'm referring to here are Texas, 

         2   Louisiana, and Oklahoma.  We're not pursuing any 

         3   reinstatement with Kansas.  We're we just sticking 

         4   with the border states, because Kansas didn't seem 

         5   to be much of a issue either way.  

         6                  Therefore, our staff would 

         7   recommend adoption of the following motion:  That 

         8   the Finance Committee authorize publishing in The 

         9   Texas Register these proposed changes for public 


        11                  I'll be happy to answer any 

        12   questions if you have any.  

        13                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  Any questions?

        14                  So we took an action.  The action 

        15   gave us more response on the negative side than we 

        16   think we'll get when we go back to where we were. 

        17   That's the bottom line?

        18                  MR. KURZAWSKI:  Yes, sir. 

        19                  MR. SANSOM:  The revenue is fairly 

        20   insignificant.  I think the big issue to members 

        21   was that we discovered that there was whole lot of 

        22   people from Texas fishing in Louisiana and 

        23   Oklahoma.  That's why it caused such a tremendous 

        24   backlash.  

        25                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  Questions of 
.                                                                    34

         1   Ken?  Then I would like a motion for approval to 

         2   take this to the Commission, full Commission, 

         3   tomorrow -- The Texas Register; excuse me.  All in 

         4   favor?  

         5                  COMMISSION MEMBERS:  Aye.  

         6                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  And that's a 

         7   candidate for the consent agenda tomorrow, or no?  

         8                  MR. KRUZAWSKI:  It's just for 

         9   publishing. 

        10                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  Thanks, Ken.



        13   GRANTS.

        14                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  Item 5 is an 

        15   Action Item also, on local park funding.  

        16                  MR. HOGSETT:  Good morning, Mr. 

        17   Chairman and Members of the Committee.  I'm Tim 

        18   Hogsett, Director of the Recreation Grants Program 

        19   in the State Parks Division.  

        20                  This is a preview of Item No. 8 for 

        21   the public hearing tomorrow, which you can find on 

        22   Page 143 of your book.  

        23                  The Urban Parks Recreation Recovery 

        24   Act is a Federal program which provides 70 percent 

        25   matching grants to local governments for 
.                                                                    35

         1   rehabilitation of recreation facilities that have 

         2   fallen into disrepair in the urban areas of the 

         3   State.  The program has not been funded by the 

         4   Federal Government for the last several years. 

         5   This year Congress appropriated $2 million for 

         6   that program on a national basis.  No state is 

         7   eligible for more than 15 percent of that 

         8   $2 million, making Texas communities collectively 

         9   eligible for $300,000.

        10                  The Federal Government makes all 

        11   the decisions in terms that they accept 

        12   applications, and they make the funding decisions 

        13   on who will and will not be funded.  Several of 

        14   the large cities in the State have already 

        15   indicated to me that they plan to submit 

        16   applications.  I would imagine that one, maybe 

        17   two, grants will be approved.  

        18                  The Federal Government also allows 

        19   states to and offers an incentive for local 

        20   governments if states participate in providing 

        21   part of the match for this program.  States can 

        22   provide up to 15 percent against the Federal 

        23   70 percent, for which that 15 percent would be 

        24   matched dollar for dollar by the Federal 

        25   Government.  In effect, if you so elected, it 
.                                                                    36

         1   would take any responsibility for local match away 

         2   from the local governments.  

         3                  In the past, the Commission has 

         4   made match money available but has only made 

         5   10 percent available, the reason being that past 

         6   Commissioners felt that it was important that 

         7   there be a local commitment to this program, even 

         8   though it would be small.  

         9                  So that's what we're recommending 

        10   tomorrow; that out of the Texas Recreation and 

        11   Parks account, which you are authorized to use for 

        12   this purpose from Parks and Wildlife Code, that we 

        13   set $30,000 as a match, a 10 percent match for 

        14   those projects.  If $300,000 worth of projects 

        15   weren't approved by the Feds, then any of that 

        16   $30,000 that was not used would go back into the 

        17   account for normal grants. 

        18                  MR. SANSOM:  Members, although this 

        19   program is small, this money is used for rehab of 

        20   urban park infrastructure.  So it's as critical an 

        21   issue for them as it has been for us over the past 

        22   few years to get repairs underway.  

        23                  I would also point out that the 

        24   CARA legislation that we discussed earlier would 

        25   substantially increase funding for this program. 
.                                                                    37

         1                  It's basically a way for us to, I 

         2   think, enhance the competitive edge for Texas to 

         3   get what little money there is.  So we help the 

         4   communities by doing this.  I have spoken to their 

         5   leadership -- that is, the Texas Recreation and 

         6   Parks Society -- and they are in favor of this 

         7   action.  

         8                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  Questions? 


        10                  So this does require a motion, 

        11   then, for approval tomorrow?  

        12                  MR. HOGSETT:  For it to be taken to 

        13   tomorrow's meeting, yes.  

        14                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  Do I have a 

        15   motion, please?  

        16                  COMMISSIONER WATSON:  So moved. 

        17                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  Do I have a 

        18   second?  

        19                  COMMISSIONER IDSAL:  Second.        

        20                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  And it's also 

        21   a candidate for the Consent Agenda.  Do I have a 

        22   motion for that?  

        23                  COMMISSIONER RYAN:  So moved.   

        24                  COMMISSIONER HENRY:  Second.  

        25                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  It's seconded.
.                                                                    38

         1   All in favor?  

         2                  COMMISSION MEMBERS:  Aye.

         3                  (Motion carries unanimously.)

         4                  MR. HOGSETT:  Thank you very much.

         5                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  Thank you, 

         6   Tim.                      

         7                  Any other business?  Then we will 

         8   conclude the meeting of the Finance Committee, and 

         9   we will go to lunch.  Do you want to go to lunch?

        10                  COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Yes.  We 

        11   always want to do that.  I just first wanted to 

        12   say that I believe we have a class here from Texas 

        13   A & M and welcome you and encourage you and 

        14   commend you for studying in this area.  Thank you

        15                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  Which one of 

        16   you are giving a speech?  Who's giving a speech?

        17                  (LAUGHTER BY AUDIENCE)  

        18                  COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Well, with 

        19   that, then, I would like to announce that pursuant 

        20   to the requirements of Chapter 551 of the 

        21   Government Code, referred to as the Open Meetings 

        22   Law, an Executive Session will be held at this 

        23   time for the purpose of consideration of land 

        24   transactions.  

        25                  And following that, we will 
.                                                                    39

         1   reconvene for the remainder of the committee 

         2   meetings and the task force meetings this 

         3   afternoon.  

         4                  Thank you for attending this 

         5   morning.  

         6   Y                (LUNCHEON RECESS)