Finance Committee

Wednesday, 9:00 a.m., April 4, 2001

Commission Hearing Room
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
Subject Public Hearing
Agenda Item No.
  Approval of the Committee Minutes from the previous meeting.  
  Summary of Minutes  
1. Chairman's Charges (Oral Presentation) Committee Only
2. Financial Review Update
Staff: Suzy Whittenton
Committee Only

Regional Park Funding
Staff: Tim Hogsett

4. Local Park Funding
Staff: Tim Hogsett
5. Automated License System Update
Staff: Suzy Whittenton
Committee Only
6. Other Business  

Summary of Minutes
Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Finance Committee
January 24, 2001

BE IT REMEMBERED that heretofore on the 24th day of January 2001, there came to be heard matters under the regulatory authority of the Parks and Wildlife Commission of Texas, in the commission hearing room of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Headquarters complex, Austin, Travis County, Texas beginning at 9:32 a.m., to-wit:


Dick Heath
Lee M. Bass
Ernest Angelo, Jr.
John Avila, Jr.
Carol E. Dinkins
Alvin L. Henry
Katharine Armstrong Idsal
Nolan Ryan (absent)
Mark E. Watson, Jr.

II. OPENING STATEMENT: Commissioner Dick Heath called the meeting to order.

III. APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Commissioner Dick Heath asked for a motion to approve the minutes from the November 8, 2000 meeting. The motion was moved by Chairman Lee M. Bass and seconded by Commissioner Katharine Armstrong Idsal. The motion passed unanimously.


1. BRIEFING - Chairman’s Charges

Presenter: Mr. Andrew Sansom

The pilot for the license point-of-sale system will be rolled out in 5 phases between February and March 2001. MCI is about 1 month behind on implementation, however they will compress their remaining schedule to meet the June implementation date. We do plan to charge the license deputies a deposit for the use of the equipment to ensure that it is properly cared for.

The Texas Horned Lizard license plate is currently the third most popular specialty plate in Texas. We have sold approximately 9,000 and have gross revenues of about $180,000. The renewal of license plates with the Texas Horned Lizard is approaching and in order to change your license plate preference you have to go to the court house.

Studies regarding future license plate preference have been conducted. The next license plate we will issue is the Bluebonnet and proceeds will be used for State Parks. In the future we would also like to develop a white-tail deer license plate to support wildlife programs and a large-mouth bass license plate to support fisheries.

2. BRIEFING – Financial Overview

Presenter: Ms. Suzy Whittenton

Account 64, State Parks, comparing revenue for the period of September through December is down approximately 18%, compared to the prior year. Our original estimate still looks reasonable for this account and therefore we do not recommend a revenue adjustment at this time.

Account 9 Game, Fish and Water Safety. Boat registration and titling fees are down for the period of September through December. License revenue is up $1.3 million over prior year. Supercombo sales have increased 19%, however combo sales have declined approximately 12%. Overall combo sales are up 5%. Resident and non-resident hunting sales are up, while primary hunting and special resident sales are down. This causes the overall number to be down. Fishing license sales are down approximately 15% when compared to the prior year. When you look at total revenue for all license sales, sales were up $1.3 million, or approximately 5%. We have collected 80% of our original revenue estimate. We do not recommend a revenue adjustment at this time. Basically we are up for both hunting license revenue and fishing license revenue. We are currently up just under $2 million in hunting license revenue and approximately $300,000 in fishing revenue. When comparing all license sales as of January 10 for FY 2000 and FY2001 we have currently sold nearly 12,000 more license this year that last.

In regards to revenue bonds, we requested our last installment which we should be issued next month. We originally got $60 million, but with interest we will get $63.5 million.

LBB released their recommendations on our budget request and those recommendations were forwarded to the Appropriations Committee and Finance Committee for consideration. Their recommendation focused primarily on base level funding and didn’t include exceptional items. They recommended for TPWD to cut base level funding due to what they deemed were one-time project expenditures. Those totaled $2.8 million the first year and $2.5 million the second. The Governor’s Budget Office also puts a budget proposal out and it includes a recommendation for TPWD to receive $15 million in general obligation bonds, but they have to be voted on by the public if it passes the legislature. Items they did not include were the $2.5 million in conservation and education projects, entrepreneurial rider, $300,000 from the Texas Tech Study, or our recommended changes to the riders. They believe we should charge some of our infrastructure staff costs to the bonds, which would actually result in a net decrease in funding. The committees have the authority to make these decisions and our hearing went well yesterday.

Senator Lucio may introduce a bill that would have us go to an annual license. We are currently drafting a response to him regarding the impacts and issues we have regarding the change.

3. ACTION – Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Program Rules

Presenter: Ms. Debra Pendley

Ms. Stiles presented information regarding SB 178 from the 76th legislative session where it codified the HUB program under the Government Code Chapter 2161. The bill mandated the General Service Commission to develop and adopt new rules under the Texas Administrative Code. Section 2161.003 requires state agencies to adopt GSC rules as their own agency rules. They proposed new Section 51.171, concerning the HUB programs necessary to comply with this requirement. The prpoposed rule adoption ws published with no comment in the December 1st issue of the Texas Register. Staff recommends that the Commission adopts by reference the rules of GSC contained in Title 1 of the Texas Administrative Code, Sections 111.11-111.28.

A motion for approval and consideration on the consent agenda was made by Commissioner Mark E. Watson, Jr. The motion passed unanimously.

4. ACTION – Local Park Funding and Indoor Recreation Grants

Presenter: Mr. Tim Hogsett

Local Park Funding
Mr. Hogsett reviewed the proposed grant funding for a local park grant match project for outdoor recreation facilities. There were 46 requests received by the July 31, 2000 deadline for a total request of $17,322,833 from the Texas Recreation and Parks account. The recommendation was to fully fund the top 11 projects and to partially fund 1 project for a total of $5,511,794.

Indoor Recreation Grants
Mr. Hogsett reviewed the grants for indoor recreation facilities that will be funded out of the Texas Recreation and Parks account. There were requests from 14 sponsors requesting $7,088,375 in matching funds for all applications received by the July 31, 2000 deadline. The recommendation was to fully fund the top 5 projects and to partially fund the 6th project for a total of $3,325,000.

During our meetings we have heard concerns from the smaller communities that they can’t be competitive in our current outdoor recreation program. Therefore, we would also like to recommend setting aside $500,000 to use as a pilot program for projects of communities (cities, counties or municipal governments) of 50,000 or less in population and applications of no more than $50,000 in matching funds. If the pilot project works out then we will probably come forward with some draft formal rules to adopt this as a formal program.

The amount given this year is less than in the past due to us being required to put $500,000 into the Odessa meteor crater this last year.

One thing we are not seeing today is that in the last cycle of the legislature, the regional park program which provides a new opportunity for the larger metropolitan areas, but it also provides for a stronger kind of conservation component to those grants. So this series of applications do not represent the full spectrum of what this program represents now. That would be additional money, not included above.

Other ideas to consider is changing the matching program. We could give them additional points if they were only requesting a 30% match instead of a 50% match so that we could fund more projects.

Also, we will have about $4.5 million dollars of land and water conservation fund money from Congress, and it’s our intent right now to target as much as half of it toward this program.

The commission also suggested that updates be given throughout the year regarding the projects.

A motion was moved by Commissioner Ernest Angelo, Jr. and seconded by Commissioner John Avila, Jr. to move the item to the full Commission. The motion passed unanimously.

5. BRIEFING – Audit Status Report

Presenter: Mr. Dennis O’Neal

The State Auditor’s Office conducted an audit of our commercial fisheries program. Mr. Hal Osburn has prepared a detailed action plan to address the recommendation in the auditor’s report. A copy of the report will be forwarded to you.

Representative Junell asked the State Auditor’s Office to conduct an audit to determine if state agencies were reporting their ending fund balances correctly. Upon completion of the project the results will be forwarded to you.

The State Auditor’s Office is also conducting an audit of the Administrative Resources Division, which we do not expect to receive the report until April or May of this year and on Sportfish and Wildlife Restoration federal funds. That audit is almost complete and we should have their final report soon.

The last audits are the ones that the Internal Audit section are conducting at some state parks and on the Information Resources Branch, in which we are currently reviewing our security policies.

6. ACTION – Memorandum of Understanding – Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Department of Economic Development, Texas Commission on the Arts, and Texas Historical Commission

Presenter: Ms. Lydia Saldana

Ms. Saldana explained that as a member of the Tourism Advisory Committee, the committee has created a Tourism Memorandum of Understanding which calls for the agencies to do a better job of cooperating and coordinating efforts in marketing and promoting Texas. A product of this MOU will be an actual marketing overview that includes all agencies. We will link our web sites to each other to make them easily accessible from one site to the next. It was brought up that an increased emphasis across the board on state-operated sites needs to be addressed. Therefore there will be increased emphasis through this MOU for state parks, wildlife management areas and historic sites. Staff recommends the commission adopt the MOU.

A motion was moved by Commissioner Carol Dinkins to move the item to the consent agenda. The motion passed unanimously.

7. ACTION – Amendment to Artwork Approval

Presenter: Ms. Frances Stiles

Ms. Stiles explained that at the November meeting the commission approved the artwork for the stamps. However, due to an unexpected offer and purchase of the nongame print by a Canadian publishing company, the use of the Long Billed Curlew artwork by Thomas Quinn has encountered a conflict with copyright privileges. In order to resolve this conflict the artist offered and provided a substitute print to Collectors Covey. Therefore, we would like to ask for commission approval for the substituted artwork for the print and stamp designs.

A motion was moved by Commissioner Ernest Angelo, Jr. and seconded by Commissioner Alvin L. Henry to move the item to the consent agenda. The motion passed unanimously.

V. ADJOURNMENT: Commissioner Dick Heath adjourned the finance committee.

Committee Agenda Item No. 1
Presenter: Andrew Sansom

Finance Committee
Chairman's Charges
April 2001

(This item will be an oral presentation.)

Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Presenter: Suzy Whittenton

Finance Committee
Financial Review Update
April 2001

I. Discussion: Staff will present a financial review for the year to date FY2001, including an update on Account 9, Game, Fish and Water Safety and Account 64, State Parks. This presentation will focus on the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, boat registration and titling fees, and state park fees. Updated budget and expenditure information will also be presented.

Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Presenter: Tim Hogsett

Finance Committee
Regional Park Funding
April 2001

(This is Public Hearing Agenda Item No. 10.)

Committee Agenda Item No. 4
Presenter: Tim Hogsett

Finance Committee
Local Park Funding
April 2001

(This is Public Hearing Agenda Item No. 11.)

Committee Agenda Item No. 5
Presenter: Suzy Whittenton

Finance Committee
Automated License System Update
April 2001

I. Discussion: Staff will will present an update on the development and implementation of the new automated licensing system with MCI/WorldCom. The presentation will focus on the progress of the pilot system. Samples of the new licensing stock will be available for Commissioners to review. Drafts of the redesigned lifetime license will be available for review and comment.

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