Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Finance Committee

January 19, 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 19th
      8   day of January 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 1:50 p.m. to wit:
     14
     15
          APPEARANCES:
     16   THE PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION:
     17   FINANCE COMMITTEE
          Chair:      Ernest Angelo, Jr.
     18               Lee M. Bass
                      Carol E. Dinkins
     19               Nolan Ryan
                      Dick Heath (absent)
     20               John Avila, Jr.
                      Alvin L. Henry
     21               Katharine Armstrong Idsal
                      Mark E. Watson, Jr.
     22
          THE PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT:
     23   Andrew H. Sansom, Executive Director, and other
          personnel of the Parks and Wildlife Department.
     24
     25
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      1                   JANUARY 19, 2000
      2                      *-*-*-*-*
      3               FINANCE COMMITTEE MEETING
      4                      *-*-*-*-*
      5                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Call to order
      6   the Finance Committee meeting.  And as far as
      7   approval for the minutes of the previous meeting,
      8   are there any changes?  Modifications?  Do we
      9   have a motion?
     10                COMMISSIONER RYAN:  So moved.
     11                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Do I have a
     12   second?
     13                COMMISSIONER IDSAL:  Second.
     14                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  All in favor
     15   say aye.  Opposed?  The motion passes.
     16                (Motion passed unanimously.)
     17      AGENDA ITEM NO. 1:  BRIEFING - CHAIRMAN'S
     18      CHARGES.
     19                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Evidently we
     20   have a briefing on the chairman's charges.
     21                MR. SANSOM:  Mr. Chairman, if I
     22   might, I would call your attention to the fact
     23   that you will be receiving today a briefing on
     24   our automated licensing system.  This is a part
     25   of the charges in that we are basically in a
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      1   situation where a contract with our current
      2   vendor will be up in about a year and a half and
      3   so that relates directly to the chairman's
      4   charges.
      5                In addition I would like to call
      6   your attention to the fact that some of our staff
      7   had been meeting with members of the legislature
      8   concerning reciprocal licenses for other states.
      9   And we will be bringing to you, perhaps as early
     10   as the next meeting, a proposal to sort of
     11   rethink the issue of reciprocal licenses.  It
     12   seems to me it's primarily coming from citizens
     13   from Texas who are senior citizens who are
     14   fishing in other states and now being charged for
     15   it because of reciprocal agreements.
     16                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Excuse me.
     17                MR. SANSOM:  No, sir.  Go ahead.
     18                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Did you
     19   conclude that?
     20                MR. SANSOM:  Yes, sir.
     21                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  I believe you
     22   have an introduction you would like to make,
     23   also.
     24                MR. SANSOM:  Yes.  I would like
     25   to -- at this time it gives me a great deal of
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      1   pleasure to introduce to the Commission and other
      2   members of our staff and the public, Ms. Suzy
      3   Whittenton.  Suzy has joined us from the Animal
      4   Health Commission.  She's worked at the Racing
      5   Commission and in Governor Clements' office.  She
      6   will be our chief financial officer as of
      7   February 1.  So welcome, Susie.
      8      AGENDA ITEM NO. 2:  BRIEFING - FINANCIAL
      9      REVIEW.
     10                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  All right.
     11   The second item is a briefing on financial
     12   review, which we will ask Jayna to present.
     13                MS. BURGDORF:  Thank you.  We will
     14   have the updated financial information on major
     15   accounts, including license sales comparisons,
     16   and the operating budget status.
     17                Account 9, Game, Fish and Water
     18   Safety.  Boat registration and titling and
     19   license sales are the two primary fee sources.
     20   50 percent of Account 9 revenue is from license
     21   sales, which is almost a quarter of the agency's
     22   total revenue.
     23                Boat registration and titling fees
     24   are on track.  We base our projection on a range
     25   of time because registrations are good for two
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      1   years.  We have only collected about 15 percent
      2   of the original revenue estimate at this time,
      3   which is typical for this fee stream.  And no
      4   revenue adjustment is recommended.
      5                We have collected a significant
      6   portion of our license sales.  And so we have a
      7   lot of information on a lot of data at this
      8   time.  The super combo sales are up 11.2
      9   percent.  And as a matter of fact, the super
     10   combos crossed the 250,000 point, which is
     11   basically half of the combos back in 1996, when
     12   we were querying customers as to whether or not
     13   they'd be willing to purchase the super combo
     14   license at $50 price range.  And so because of
     15   our marketing efforts, we're actually 20,000 over
     16   what we had ultimately projected we would hit.
     17                In addition, we have an 11 percent
     18   increase in the nonresident hunting sales, which
     19   is driving revenue.  Interestingly, 11 percent is
     20   slightly less than 2,000 hunters and yet that
     21   account is for $460,000 in revenue.  So
     22   nonresident hunters are a significant driving
     23   source of our revenue increase at this time.
     24                Total hunting sales are up .3
     25   percent, to 976,000.  While these total hunting
.0006
      1   sales are below a million at this time, they are
      2   still ahead of last year and we did cross the
      3   million mark.  We expect to see increases in
      4   resident hunting, nonresident five-day, and your
      5   nonresident spring turkey.
      6                By all accounts, good fishing on the
      7   coast has resulted in all resident fishing
      8   licenses and stamps being up.  Resident fishing
      9   alone is up 6.5 percent.  Total fishing sales up
     10   almost five percent.  Total fishing sales last
     11   year hit $1.6 million for the entire year.  So
     12   what we need to determine over the next few
     13   months is, did our customers buy early or do we,
     14   as a matter of fact, have new customers?
     15                In addition, as we reported at the
     16   last meeting, Big Time Texas Hunt sales were up
     17   207 percent to 70,000.  And so total license
     18   revenue is up $2.3 million to date.  Very good
     19   news.
     20                Okay.  License sales revenue.  This
     21   chart just basically reflects the doubling of our
     22   license revenue over the past ten years and then
     23   at the next meeting, the increase that we'll be
     24   proposing in a minute will be reflected on this
     25   chart.
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      1                Okay.  So our projection -- if our
      2   increases hold through the fiscal year, we should
      3   hit almost $64 million.  We've collected 79
      4   percent of our original revenue estimate at this
      5   time.  We are recommending a revenue adjustment
      6   of almost a million, which reflects the super
      7   combo increase and the nonresident hunting sales
      8   gain.  We are not recommending any adjustment
      9   related to the fishing revenue.
     10                And this brings us to our estimated
     11   financial statement on Account 9.  Cash balance
     12   starting at $32 million.  You add your license
     13   sales revenue of $62 million, which does reflect
     14   the adjustment, boat fees at 14, your federal
     15   funds at $38 million, which include the sport
     16   fish and wildlife restoration grants and
     17   $4 million -- actually $5 million in the BCCP
     18   grant that is flowing through our agency to
     19   Travis County.  Other reflects fines, interest
     20   earnings, the collection fee for boat sales tax,
     21   and magazine sales.
     22                And then we subtract our
     23   expenditures.  The operating budget for Account 9
     24   is $117 million, which includes 15 million in
     25   employee benefits.  The capital budget is
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      1   primarily made up of that $19 million but it does
      2   include three and a half million for dedications
      3   that cannot be spent on any other items other
      4   than what they were statutorily authorized for.
      5                Prior year obligations are
      6   subtracted and then we reduce by $4 million the
      7   revenue in Account 9 for the biennial
      8   allocation.  This is money that we will use to
      9   help fund our appropriation next year.
     10                And that leaves us with an ending
     11   available balance of $3 million.  When the budget
     12   was approved in August, we discussed authorizing
     13   adjustments based on revenue estimates coming
     14   true.  And indeed, they exceeded our
     15   expectations.  One of the items that we discussed
     16   was the completion of the Rollover Pass
     17   restoration.  And we do have appropriation
     18   authority of $1.8 million remaining for
     19   Account 9.  And, therefore, we'd like to propose
     20   through our standard budget adjustment process
     21   that we increase the capital budget by $500,000
     22   for Rollover Pass.
     23                And we do have some of the pictures
     24   that we had at the August meeting that we shared
     25   with y'all.  The budget adjustment process that
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      1   was -- is part of our operating budget policy has
      2   been, I think, over the past five years, is the
      3   approval of the chairman and the vice chair for
      4   finance.
      5                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Obviously if
      6   any of the commission members had any questions
      7   about it or wanted to change their opinion, they
      8   could certainly do so.  Otherwise, we'll assume
      9   that it's -- the approval that was given in
     10   August is still valid.  Is that everybody's
     11   feeling?
     12                Andy, you might point out what you
     13   were telling some of us earlier.  Is that what
     14   this is, we're looking at?
     15                MR. SANSOM:  Yes, sir.  These are
     16   the remains of the bulkheading along the inward
     17   reach of Rollover Pass.  This is a principal area
     18   on that part of the upper coast for bank
     19   fishing.  And these bulkheads not only cause a
     20   problem of security with respect to the Pass
     21   itself but a tremendous safety issue with respect
     22   to anglers who are standing along the bank.  This
     23   work needs to be done.
     24                We would execute this through an
     25   agreement with Galveston County, and thus, be
.0010
      1   able to do it for this amount of money.  And I do
      2   strongly recommend that we go forward with it.
      3                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  What's the
      4   amount of money?
      5                MR. SANSOM:  About a half a million
      6   dollars.  And what that would result in would be
      7   a -- would result in the stabilization of the
      8   bulkhead, the creation of a walk and handrail,
      9   and the removal of this dangerous metal,
     10   protruding metal.  And complete our obligations
     11   of Rollover.  We've already done the seaward side
     12   of the Pass.
     13                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Andy, before we can
     14   go on to Fund 64, the Big Time Texas hunts, we
     15   generated gross revenue of, I guess, about
     16   $700,000.  And it's my recollection that out of
     17   that we net about four to five hundred thousand
     18   dollars?
     19                MS. BURGDORF:  Almost 400.
     20                CHAIRMAN BASS:  $400,000.
     21                MR. SANSOM:  And principal expenses
     22   being in direct mail.
     23                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Direct mail?
     24                I'd be interested in -- at our next
     25   meeting, having a presentation and discussion of
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      1   what do we look towards next year in terms of how
      2   we allocate those funds and how we -- we
      3   reorganize our strategy to take advantage of what
      4   we learned from our successes and failures, try
      5   to get up-to-date on that, get it in the works
      6   for the next year.
      7                MR. SANSOM:  Yes, sir.  We'll have a
      8   breakdown of who took what hunt and kind of -- I
      9   think you're exactly right.  I think it's
     10   exceeded all of our expectations.  But there's
     11   also some anomalies in it that I think we can
     12   learn from.
     13                MS. BURGDORF:  Account 64, State
     14   Parks, we compare September through December
     15   revenue to prior year.  It's up 19.4 percent, to
     16   over $1 million.  The increase is due in part to
     17   the fact that we had some bad weather last year
     18   that we're not experiencing this year.  And
     19   specifically we had several high revenue parks
     20   that were closed.  And those three alone account
     21   for $125,000 increase over prior year.
     22                In addition, in late fiscal '99 we
     23   opened the George Bush Gallery.  And at the
     24   opening we also increased some fees.  And that
     25   alone has resulted in an additional $60,000.  So
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      1   we're making money across the board.  And if
      2   revenue holds through, we would -- our
      3   projections would be at 24.4 million.  We have
      4   only collected approximately 29 percent of the
      5   original revenue estimate.  So we would not
      6   recommend a revenue adjustment at this time, not
      7   knowing if we'll have water in our lakes and our
      8   state parks this summer.
      9                The estimated financial statement,
     10   start with a cash balance of $12 million.  We add
     11   in the estimated revenue from parks at 22, the
     12   sporting goods sales tax at 16, and other
     13   revenue, which includes the conservation passport
     14   and magazine at 7.  And we subtracted our
     15   expenditures, which is our operating budget,
     16   which includes 5 million in employee benefits,
     17   the capital projects, and the bond payment at
     18   $9 million, prior year obligations of $4
     19   million.  And, again, we're subtracting out our
     20   biennial allocation or our one-time funds that
     21   we're spreading over the entire biennium.  That
     22   leaves an ending available balance of $1
     23   million.
     24                Our operating budget status.  So far
     25   with one-third of the year behind us, we have
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      1   obligated 31 percent of our $177 million
      2   operating budget.  And with the commission
      3   approval tomorrow and final encumbrances on all
      4   improved grants, we will have obligated all but
      5   22 percent of the $29 million in grant funds that
      6   were authorized at the August meeting.
      7                And the bond status.  Tomorrow,
      8   while you're meeting, the Public Finance
      9   Authority will be meeting.  And they will be
     10   awarding the bid on both the general obligation
     11   conservation project bonds and the revenue
     12   critical repair bonds.  And Melanie Callahan has
     13   informed me that she thinks in about 15 days,
     14   then, we will have the cash to start those
     15   projects.
     16                And I'd be happy to answer any
     17   questions on this review.
     18                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Any
     19   questions?  You can proceed to your next part.
     20      AGENDA ITEM NO. 3:  BRIEFING - TEXAS OUTDOOR
     21      CONNECTION LICENSE POINT OF SALE SYSTEM.
     22                MS. BURGDORF:  Okay.  The bullets
     23   I'm going to try and hit is an overview of the
     24   current system, an analysis of the alternatives
     25   that was conducted by Spectrum Maximus, Mike
.0014
      1   Easley and Cindy Jochen, with that company, who
      2   are our consultants, have been here, are here at
      3   this meeting and were here earlier and have
      4   provided us with lots of information.  We'll look
      5   at a review of what other states are doing, the
      6   recommendations for both the current system, our
      7   future options, and some recommended policy
      8   changes, and then next steps.
      9                Texas Outdoor Connection is our
     10   on-line point of sale system for hunting and
     11   fishing licenses.  We do operate a five-year
     12   turnkey contract with Transactive.  Just a little
     13   history of the contract.  Initially we started
     14   this in January '95 when we issued an RFP.  It
     15   did, at that time, take a year and a half before
     16   the system was fully implemented.  We don't
     17   expect that that would be the case this time.  At
     18   the time we did that, we were one of the first
     19   states to have an on-line hunting and fishing
     20   system, so it was very new to the industry.  And
     21   now there's a lot of players in the game that
     22   are -- that have other states up and running.
     23                In October of '99, Transactive gave
     24   us official notification of their intent not to
     25   renew and their contract does expire on August
.0015
      1   31, 2001.  And we have quickly conduced a study
      2   of the existing system and the alternatives.
      3                Current numbers, we have 3200
      4   licensed deputies, 3900 terminals, although they
      5   are not all out in the field.  Some are in
      6   various states of repair.  They use the Verifone
      7   equipment that's shown below.  It consists of a
      8   terminal, a keypad, and a keyboard.  We have
      9   about 3.2 million transactions in a year.  Up so
     10   far this year, we're at 2.2 million
     11   transactions.  The time for sale varies on
     12   whether or not the terminal makes a connection
     13   with the host.  And the primary difference there
     14   is, do the name and address data pop up or does
     15   an individual have to sit there and enter the
     16   data?
     17                Total payments to Transactive,
     18   $3.1 million in fiscal '99.  And that was based
     19   on 96 cents a transaction.
     20                Thirty-nine percent of our licenses
     21   are sold by 246 Wal-Mart stores.  Fifteen percent
     22   of our licenses are sold by 49 Academys.  Six and
     23   four-tenths percent are sold by state parks and
     24   law enforcement offices, and 1.5 percent of our
     25   volume comes from telephone sales.
.0016
      1                Almost 25 percent of our licenses
      2   are sold in September alone.  The Saturday of
      3   Labor Day is our busiest day at 74,000 licenses.
      4   And last Labor Day weekend was four percent of
      5   our sales for the year.  So one weekend.  We
      6   definitely have peaks in this system.
      7                Transactive manages this process
      8   through four primary functions.  They have a call
      9   center in Florida; they have field service and
     10   supplies that deals with repairs; financial
     11   management, which relates to merchant reports and
     12   revenue transfers; and then operations and
     13   software development.
     14                We do have some current issues.
     15   We've had system reliability and response time
     16   problems since we started this license year.
     17   We've had inconsistent management response to our
     18   ongoing concerns.  And, again, the contract does
     19   end in about a year and a half.
     20                So we contracted with Spectrum to
     21   conduct this study.  The study process included
     22   focus group meetings with key stakeholders, a
     23   survey that was sent to all licensed deputies, a
     24   review of other states, and interviews with key
     25   staff from Transactive and Parks and Wildlife.
.0017
      1                We had a 23 percent response rate to
      2   our survey.  The survey included agree, disagree
      3   questions, rankings, and a place for written
      4   comments.  59 percent find the current process
      5   acceptable, and 73 percent agree that the look
      6   and feel of the licenses is acceptable.
      7                This is how they ranked the
      8   following criteria in order of importance.  They
      9   included written comments, and some of the more
     10   frequent ones were comments such as, they like
     11   the small footprint.  In other words, they like
     12   the fact that the machine and the terminal, the
     13   keyboard slides under the machine, it doesn't
     14   take up a lot of their counter space.  They're
     15   concerned about the poor service at the help desk
     16   and in the field.  A number of them mentioned a
     17   decline in paper quality, so that's something
     18   we're going to investigate.  I'd say most of them
     19   noted that they were happy with the system when
     20   it worked as designed.  So when it's working,
     21   they like it.
     22                And finally, a few of them would
     23   like to see an increase in their commission of
     24   five percent.  I think some of the smaller ones
     25   feel like when they accept credit cards for
.0018
      1   license sales, they almost lose money on the
      2   transaction because they're paying the credit
      3   card company two, three, four percent sometimes.
      4                So one of the most important things
      5   that we looked at was what do other states do?
      6   There are 22 other states, plus Alberta, that
      7   have either telephone, Internet, or point-of-sale
      8   systems, or all of them.  Thirteen have the
      9   full-scale automated point-of-sale systems.
     10   These are mostly smaller states.  Arkansas,
     11   Tennessee, Wisconsin are some examples.
     12                Central Bank automated license
     13   system provides point-of-sale services to more
     14   states than any other vendor.  They're known as
     15   ALS in the industry.  There are other options
     16   which include EDS, Compaq, and some states have
     17   actually developed systems in-house and operate
     18   them in-house.
     19                System costs.  Development costs
     20   have ranged from nothing, which is what we did
     21   here in Texas.  We had a no-cost pilot.  And
     22   that's the same thing that Tennessee did very
     23   recently, to $3.3 million in Oregon.
     24                Annual operations and maintenance
     25   costs range from $250,000 in Maryland to
.0019
      1   $2.2 million in Michigan.  And one thing that's
      2   interesting about Michigan is, they have
      3   roughly -- not only are they roughly two-thirds
      4   the price of what we pay on an annual basis, but
      5   they have about two-thirds of the license
      6   deputies, so real proportional there.  They are
      7   the second largest state to Texas that has an
      8   automated system.
      9                Telephone sales.  Over half of the
     10   states that have phone sales use Bass Proshops.
     11   And they have 24 by 7 availability.  They
     12   charge --
     13                CHAIRMAN BASS:  What is that?
     14                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  24 hours a day,
     15   seven days a week.
     16                MS. BURGDORF:  They charge the
     17   customer between three and four dollars for
     18   shipping and handling.  And just a reminder, at
     19   this point we do not charge a fee for our
     20   telephone customers, although Transactive charges
     21   us double, basically $2.96 cents for each
     22   telephone transaction.  And they do claim that
     23   they're losing money on that piece.
     24                Less than five percent of total
     25   sales purchased by any state.  No one brings in
.0020
      1   that much revenue on telephone sales.  And
      2   one-fourth of the states actually manage
      3   telephone sales in-house with their own call
      4   centers.
      5                Seven states have Internet sales,
      6   and these range from very simple electronic
      7   request forms that are sent to the agency or to a
      8   vendor and then manually fulfilled and mailed to
      9   a customer.  There are complex systems that
     10   process and produce the license and they issue
     11   security numbers that allow a customer to print
     12   their license on their own home printer.  No one
     13   has crossed the tag barrier.  In other words,
     14   what do we do with tags in terms of trying to get
     15   the tags to the customer just by buying a license
     16   on the Internet.
     17                MR. SANSOM:  So what you're saying
     18   is, there's no system over the Internet which can
     19   accommodate tags, currently?
     20                MS. BURGDORF:  Not that we've found
     21   yet.  Right.  And actually the last point there,
     22   we did have a discussion in our focus group about
     23   are tags necessary.  There are some states that
     24   don't have tags.  Most of those have check
     25   stations, which we don't have in Texas.  I think
.0021
      1   there's concerns about losing the biological data
      2   that biologists in the field need.  And I think
      3   there's a very real culture change that we would
      4   have to decide as an agency, are we ready to go
      5   forward with that or is that something that we
      6   just handle with Internet customers and we use
      7   that as almost a means of piloting a different
      8   method of collecting that data.
      9                Illinois and Kansas are the two
     10   states that allow customers to print their
     11   license on their own printer.  And actually
     12   Illinois has a public hunting application that
     13   does on-line error, correction, editing, and a
     14   confirmation for those who participate in their
     15   public hunting process.
     16                Recommendations has three parts:
     17   The current system, future options, and policy
     18   modifications.  Current system, Spectrum, right
     19   now, recommends an independent operational audit
     20   of the outstanding contractual issues with
     21   Transactive, a review of the damages that they
     22   potentially owe Parks and Wildlife.  An example
     23   of that would be not meeting service parameters.
     24   There's a requirement that they basically service
     25   a machine that's down within four hours and we've
.0022
      1   received numerous instances from deputies that
      2   that's not occurring on a regular basis.
      3                Regular reports from Transactive
      4   should be required until some of these ongoing
      5   issues are resolved.  And implementing some
      6   enhancements, even in the short term, that could
      7   improve our existing system, with software
      8   upgrades, better reliability of the database, and
      9   improved response time.
     10                We have two future options.  One is
     11   to issue an RFP for a new vendor or vendors.  We
     12   would allow a vendor to bid on all or parts of
     13   the new system.  In other words, if Bass Proshops
     14   was interested in our business, they could bid
     15   only on telephone sales if they wanted to.
     16                It has some advantages going to a
     17   completely new system.  There is the potential
     18   for minimal development costs.  And it appears
     19   that, based on what Tennessee got and some other
     20   states have gotten recently in RFPs, that our 96
     21   cent transaction fee is not out of line.  So we
     22   have no reason to expect that on an annual basis,
     23   our cost would increase substantially if we went
     24   to a new system.
     25                We would have ongoing maintenance
.0023
      1   support handled by a single vendor.  And most
      2   importantly, we would have some vendors that we
      3   could get references from other states, vendors
      4   that have lots of experience in this business.
      5                There are also some disadvantages.
      6   The vendor resources would not be dedicated to
      7   Texas.  We would have data transfer issues both
      8   with historical information in our current system
      9   and potential problems with a midyear conversion
     10   to a new system.  It's also a longer
     11   implementation process.  You're looking at
     12   probably eight to ten months, not including the
     13   RFP process of four to six months.
     14                Another option is to purchase the
     15   Transactive system and then outsource some of
     16   those operations, the service and the telephone
     17   Internet sales.  The advantage is that we would
     18   not have a significant transition for our
     19   customer or our license deputy.  And, again, that
     20   kind of goes back to the comment of, when it's
     21   working, they're pretty happy with it.  Many
     22   Parks and Wildlife information programs are
     23   structured around the current system.  And this
     24   is an issue that came out in our focus group
     25   session, is that there are lots of programs that
.0024
      1   are built here -- that are written here and that
      2   are based on trends that they use to -- where
      3   they extract the data from our existing system.
      4   And those would have to be written and that would
      5   be a time consuming process.  We would avoid the
      6   procurement and implementation process.  We would
      7   increase our flexibility to enhance the
      8   functionality of the system because we would own
      9   the system.  Right now we don't own the system,
     10   Transactive does.  And we would be able to make
     11   the kind of needed changes that we wanted more in
     12   the time frame that we are comfortable with.  And
     13   you would potentially lower your ongoing
     14   operational costs if you ran it in-house.
     15                There is a significant disadvantage
     16   and that is that Transactive has priced their
     17   system at $4.35 million for the software and
     18   hardware.  Our consultants have valued the system
     19   between $1.2 and $1.5 million.  I was told by
     20   Transactive today that the 4 and a half million
     21   dollar price is a starting point for
     22   negotiation.
     23                We would have to replace the
     24   equipment.  All the equipment that is out there
     25   in the field is four years old.  And in some
.0025
      1   instances, it's not in good shape.  So that would
      2   need to be updated.  And if we took over the
      3   contract ourselves, then that -- adding that
      4   equipment and amortizing that would be our
      5   responsibility.  We would be managing multiple
      6   contracts, potentially either way you go, either
      7   option.
      8                It requires additional FTEs,
      9   full-time equivalents, which we do have a State
     10   cap on the number of employees that can work for
     11   this agency.  And there would be some cost in
     12   transferring the management of that system from
     13   Transactive to Parks and Wildlife, and you'd have
     14   to add that to your purchase price.
     15                There were a few policy changes,
     16   again, that Spectrum recommended.  I want to be
     17   clear that these are not proposals at this time.
     18   They're just recommendations.  One is to reduce
     19   the number of licensed deputies that we have and
     20   require some kind of minimum sales.  Right now we
     21   have almost 800 deputies that sell less than 100
     22   licenses.  So we have a lot of equipment out
     23   there that isn't necessarily recouping its cost
     24   in terms of the license sales coming back to the
     25   department.  We should probably require a deposit
.0026
      1   for the equipment.  And, again, you could always
      2   look at a situation where reputable vendors that
      3   have been with the State for ages wouldn't have
      4   to do that, but perhaps new ones would.  We'd
      5   also like to look at some kind of service seeing
      6   the machines through overnight replacement by
      7   mail.
      8                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Those vendors
      9   that only have a small number, are they generally
     10   in a certain type of area, like small towns or
     11   whatever?
     12                MS. BURGDORF:  Well, I think that's
     13   another thing.  If we're going to examine this
     14   further, I think we need to look at, are they the
     15   only ones in the county?  Well, if so, then we
     16   need to make sure --
     17                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  (Inaudible.)
     18                MS. BURGDORF:  Right.  You'd want to
     19   have someone there.
     20                CHAIRMAN BASS:  I think some of them
     21   are probably hunting camps.
     22                MS. BURGDORF:  Lodges.
     23                CHAIRMAN BASS:  They pick up a
     24   client at the airport at 8:00 o'clock and go
     25   straight to the lodge they want to hunt the next
.0027
      1   morning and Wal-Mart is closed.
      2                MS. BURGDORF:  So the next steps.
      3   What we would propose to do is to pursue parallel
      4   tracks in a short time frame.  We want to make a
      5   better decision with better information.  We'd
      6   like to negotiate with Transactive and determine
      7   what really the bottom line price is.  We'd like
      8   to prepare and issue an RFP in February and have
      9   a final decision on which path to further pursue
     10   in April.
     11                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  If the present
     12   system were purchased by Parks and Wildlife or
     13   whatever, would there be any market for someone
     14   in Texas to -- some company to take it over from
     15   us, to buy it back, in other words, and operate
     16   it?
     17                MS. BURGDORF:  I think that's an
     18   option.  And I think -- I don't know if we would
     19   have to go out with two different RFPs.  But I
     20   think that's something we'd like to look at
     21   somehow including in the current RFP.  At a
     22   minimum I think we'd like to look at having the
     23   option of someone writing -- having someone
     24   handle Internet sales and writing a program that
     25   would automatically interface with that
.0028
      1   database.  So there are some options of having
      2   other vendors help take over a Transactive
      3   system.
      4                Transactive, I think, let it be
      5   known that their system was for sale.  I would
      6   get calls over the past year -- well, past six
      7   months from -- I know MCI was interested at one
      8   time.  And I don't know if it was the purchase
      9   price, if this was the same purchase price that
     10   they gave them, or what it was that turned other
     11   companies off.  I know that what we've talked
     12   about and what the consultants have shared with
     13   us is that probably an ALS, which is kind of,
     14   again, the leading vendor, doesn't want to buy
     15   Transactive's system because they have their
     16   whole own way of doing it set up for seven other
     17   states and they don't want to come in and take
     18   over a system that they're not familiar with,
     19   that runs on different software and hardware and
     20   is known to have had some problems.  So there
     21   hasn't been a lot of interest in the vendor
     22   community at this point.
     23                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  And Transactive
     24   doesn't want to renew because -- I mean, have
     25   they told you -- how much money have they lost in
.0029
      1   their endeavor here?  Have they done this
      2   before?  Was this a first time --
      3                MS. BURGDORF:  This was -- what they
      4   did is, Transactive was a subsidiary that came in
      5   and they basically set up an operation where they
      6   tried to get economies of scale by running the
      7   electronic benefit transfer system for Texas, and
      8   the hunting and fishing sales system for Texas.
      9   What happened is, when the welfare laws changed,
     10   they lost a lot of money, or at least this is
     11   Transactive's story, on the electronic benefit
     12   transfer system.  So they were getting out of
     13   that business.  They were also doing the Illinois
     14   EBT system.  But they basically decided to get
     15   out of that business.  When they did that, they
     16   lost their economies of scale for running Parks
     17   and Wildlife system.  They were all in the same
     18   building, they had the same software people
     19   handling both systems.
     20                I think -- they're a subsidiary of
     21   GTECH and I think they want to focus on the
     22   Lottery business.
     23                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  I would think
     24   we would want to think long and hard about taking
     25   it over.
.0030
      1                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Well, I don't
      2   even know that that's an option.
      3                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  It doesn't
      4   send up any exciting vibes.
      5                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  This sounds
      6   like it's broke and don't fix it.
      7                CHAIRMAN BASS:  I think it's going
      8   backwards, frankly, to take over our own system.
      9   And this field of data management and customer
     10   data stuff is moving so fast.  As we were
     11   discussing upstairs with the RFP five years ago,
     12   the Internet or the concept of Internet sales was
     13   so far out of the realm of imagination that it
     14   was never even mentioned.  And I think if you're
     15   starting from scratch today, that's -- that's
     16   something that you'd be in the dark ages not to
     17   put in as at least a component of how you would
     18   structure it.
     19                MS. BURGDORF:  Right.
     20                CHAIRMAN BASS:  And five years from
     21   now, that may be the only way anybody wants to
     22   buy a license.  Whether it's Wal-Mart using the
     23   Internet as their way of servicing the customer
     24   there in the store or -- can we take a moment,
     25   please, if I might, to -- the barrier to really
.0031
      1   doing on-line sales is the tag issue, how does
      2   one issue tags that are not where you can put it
      3   on your printer and just print multiple copies or
      4   whatever, et cetera, maintain integrity of the
      5   tag doing on-line sales.  And, Bob, if you or
      6   Jerry Cooke, or somebody could maybe refresh
      7   or -- a conversation that we had.  Back when we
      8   were doing regulatory Sunset, which was about,
      9   what, four or five years ago, one of the things
     10   that we came up with to review, for reasons
     11   completely different from this, was the
     12   elimination of tags.  And both law enforcement
     13   and wildlife felt comfortable enough that they
     14   could accomplish their goals without any tags,
     15   that it was a proposal that we floated out, and
     16   really did not follow through on, as I recall,
     17   primarily due to landowner concerns that without
     18   tags, they would lose some of their ability to
     19   control their lessees.  There's also a little bit
     20   of -- I think just the status quo and a comfort
     21   level, that we all grew up with tags, which
     22   really were invented in an era of a scarce
     23   resource trying to be allocated amongst the
     24   hunting public, whereas now most animals that we
     25   have tags for, the biggest problem statewide is
.0032
      1   managing overabundance and not underabundance.
      2                MR. COOK:  Mine is always finding
      3   something to tie it on with.  I think you're
      4   absolutely right.
      5                CHAIRMAN BASS:  At that point we
      6   really didn't see a lot to be gained.  But help
      7   me remember, and for the benefit of those
      8   commissioners who weren't there at that time, you
      9   know, how did we propose or how did we foresee
     10   being able to achieve the biological goals that
     11   wildlife division would have, the enforcement
     12   goals that law enforcement would have, in a realm
     13   of actually not having a physical tag.
     14                And now that we have Internet sales
     15   of license being something that's -- we really
     16   almost have a paperless license.  If they do
     17   airplane tickets that way, there's no reason not
     18   to do hunting license that way, theoretically.
     19                Help me remember how we would have
     20   proposed to do all that and be able to achieve
     21   that.
     22                MR. COOK:  And I think it is a topic
     23   that's very timely.  Because this business, like
     24   you said, or like Jayna said, of Internet sales,
     25   I don't think there's any question.  I think that
.0033
      1   most of us agree that probably within the next
      2   four to five years, that's probably where the
      3   bulk of our licenses and tags and permits are
      4   dealt with.
      5                The tag issue, I think, and there's
      6   a number of people in the audience that probably
      7   can speak to this better than I.  But the tag
      8   issue, I still believe, is primarily -- primarily
      9   an issue with landowners, as far as particularly
     10   whitetail deer.  I think there's a comfort level
     11   there in having deer, you know, hanging in camp
     12   or out on the road, you know, in the back of the
     13   truck, headed home, that having that tag on there
     14   and knowing what ranch it come from, knowing what
     15   date it was harvested, and knowing what county it
     16   was harvested in, is a real -- truly a comfort
     17   factor from the standpoint of having control of
     18   this resource and being able to feel comfortable
     19   that the resource is not being overharvested,
     20   et cetera.
     21                From a biological standpoint, and
     22   I'll just talk very briefly about whitetail
     23   deer.  There was not total consensus, and it's
     24   important that you know this.  There was not
     25   consensus in the staff that, oh, yeah, we could
.0034
      1   do away with tags and no problem.  We do utilize
      2   that information.  We utilize -- for example, on
      3   whitetail deer and turkey, both, our guys
      4   routinely go into cold storage plants during the
      5   hunting season, they stagger across the state,
      6   sample about a third of the counties, fourth of
      7   the counties each year, and simply by taking that
      8   tag off, you can see exactly what -- if you go
      9   into a cold storage plant and there's 400 deer in
     10   there and you and a couple of guys are going to
     11   weigh, age, and measure every deer, because you
     12   don't just go in and select certain ones.  You
     13   just start down the row and start weighing, and
     14   aging, and measuring every deer to determine the
     15   physiological characteristics of that deer herd,
     16   whether or not they're in good shape, poor shape,
     17   overpopulated, all those kinds of things.
     18                That tag immediately tells you what
     19   county that deer came from, when it was
     20   harvested.  And both of those are important
     21   pieces of information to know when you look at
     22   the age, and the weight of that deer.  So there
     23   is some concern about the loss of that.
     24                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Of course, that
     25   could be handled in other ways.
.0035
      1                MR. COOK:  That could be handled
      2   other ways.  That is exactly right.  We'd have to
      3   change some procedures.
      4                CHAIRMAN BASS:  That doesn't have to
      5   be a unique piece of paper.
      6                MR. COOK:  And where we are today,
      7   again, one of the considerations that I've
      8   mentioned to staff a little bit, particularly on
      9   deer, where we are today is so much different
     10   than where we were five to ten years ago, in
     11   that -- and you've heard many, many times about
     12   all these ranchers who are involved in our
     13   management plans, our programs out there.  They
     14   collect a lot of data.  We require them to
     15   collect a lot of data, which is very useful,
     16   again, to us, in place of the other data.
     17                You know, you go almost anywhere in
     18   the United States, they have every kind of
     19   different system.  Certainly not -- I forget what
     20   the numbers -- it's been a while since I looked
     21   at it.  But less than half the states actually
     22   have deer tags.  I mean, you have a thing that
     23   you put on your shoulder or whatever it is, and
     24   go hunting, but you don't necessarily have a
     25   tag.
.0036
      1                In most of those cases they do run
      2   them through check stations, as Jayna mentioned.
      3   And we don't really -- that's a very, very
      4   costly, very, very expensive operation.  I would
      5   not -- I would never recommend to you that we go
      6   big time check stations, manning and staffing of
      7   those check stations ourselves.  For instance,
      8   think about how we do on turkeys in East Texas on
      9   the eastern bird.  Those check stations are
     10   voluntary, local, you know, the guy that sells
     11   groceries, the guy that has gasoline.  And the
     12   hunters are required to check them.  And we have
     13   lots of people volunteer to collect that
     14   information.  Fortunately, we've been getting
     15   very good information from that kind of check
     16   station.
     17                So I -- again, and I -- and this
     18   does not address at all some of the issues
     19   regarding your tags now associated -- your stamps
     20   and/or tags associated with fish.  You know, some
     21   of those kinds of issues would have to be
     22   addressed.  But I still believe that the major --
     23   if we -- and which I'm not sure that -- I'm not
     24   sure that we shouldn't.  If we roll this out
     25   across the state -- and it probably will be
.0037
      1   rolled out tomorrow morning as we talk here.  I
      2   think that the most concern that we're going to
      3   hear is from landowners and our ability to
      4   enforce the bag limits that we have.
      5                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Bob, in that
      6   regard about the bag limits, we were wondering at
      7   lunch or just talking about it, kicking it
      8   around, that -- what's curious to me is how many
      9   violations we have of people actually killing
     10   more deer than the legal limit, as opposed to a
     11   lot of other types of violations.  Probably very
     12   few, wouldn't you guess?
     13                MR. COOK:  It wasn't until just a
     14   few years ago that we had turkey tags.  I mean,
     15   we operated for centuries without a turkey tag.
     16   And our deer and turkey populations are in good
     17   shape.
     18                There are species like the eastern
     19   turkey that we have the ability to handle that a
     20   little bit different.  But it would be -- it
     21   would be something if we could -- if Texas could
     22   get to that point where we could issue -- where
     23   our licenses could be issued directly over the
     24   Internet, printed at home, put that thing in your
     25   pocket, you've got you a number.  I anticipate
.0038
      1   that, based on what little contact I've had with
      2   some of these guys that -- you know, people,
      3   groups that have been running at us with these
      4   things, and we've all heard from some of them,
      5   that they'll be able to assign some specific
      6   numbers very soon.  I think that ability will be
      7   there on the Internet, on your machine at home,
      8   to get a specific number where it can't be
      9   replicated.
     10                COMMISSIONER HENRY:  Are there other
     11   areas of concerns that the biologists are
     12   concerned about that we haven't addressed with
     13   regard to the tags or is it strictly mostly a
     14   numbers kind of thing?
     15                MR. COOK:  I believe it's mostly in
     16   regarding -- in regards to whitetail deer and
     17   mule deer.  I believe that's -- those are the two
     18   species that it is primarily in reference to.
     19   Certainly Rio Grande turkey, I mean, you know,
     20   like average hunter nowadays, the average deer
     21   killer in Texas, let's talk about that one a
     22   minute.  You've got all these tags on your
     23   license.  The average, if you look at the
     24   numbers, is like less than one deer per hunter.
     25   So, you know, we're stacking tags on top of tags
.0039
      1   and they're carrying --
      2                COMMISSIONER HENRY:  That's going to
      3   make Ernest's point clear.
      4                MR. COOK:  Yes, sir, correct.
      5                COMMISSIONER WATSON:  Well, you
      6   know, it seems like to me we also -- it's sort of
      7   a redundancy of information.  Because the
      8   landowner has to fill out all these reports.
      9   Then the locker plant has to fill out a report.
     10   And I think a lot of that is the same
     11   information.
     12                MR. COOK:  Yes, it is.
     13                COMMISSIONER WATSON:  And I don't
     14   know how the landowners feel about it but we have
     15   to do it anyway.  So why not maybe shift a little
     16   bit more to the landowner?
     17                MR. COOK:  Well, most landowners
     18   actually don't have to keep any kind of record
     19   right now.
     20                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  That
     21   requirement has been dropped, hasn't it?
     22                MR. COOK:  Yes, sir.
     23                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Well, you have to
     24   keep one if you run a management plant, which is
     25   10 million acres.  Most people are not.
.0040
      1                MR. COOK:  But I think -- I mean, I
      2   think all of the issues --
      3                CHAIRMAN BASS:  But then, again, all
      4   you need is a scientific sampling.
      5                MR. COOK:  Right.  All the issues
      6   that we're talking about are --
      7                CHAIRMAN BASS:  You know, if the
      8   hunters document that we require -- if I turn my
      9   piece of game over to somebody else and take
     10   possession of it, is supposed to have my license
     11   number, where I killed it, et cetera.  That type
     12   of a requirement, as far as putting something in
     13   locker plants, would solve that particular
     14   instance that you recited, where somebody can go
     15   in a plant, the locker plant if they need to know
     16   what county it came from or something.
     17                MR. COOK:  The last time we talked
     18   about it -- I'd probably have to get Jim or
     19   somebody from law enforcement to help me here.
     20   But there was some talk about, you know,
     21   requiring the landowner, for example, to provide
     22   a tag, requiring that.  Well, kind of where I
     23   come from there is, if we're going to require
     24   somebody to have a tag, well, we should provide
     25   it.  There's nothing saved in that exercise of
.0041
      1   saying, well, we're not going to print it but
      2   we'll require you to do it.
      3                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Well, in that
      4   instance, you know, it's no more secure having
      5   the landowner print it than having the hunter
      6   print it because --
      7                MR. COOK:  I think most of our
      8   landowners -- we're very conscientious about that
      9   kind of thing.  But that's true, there's not
     10   necessarily --
     11                CHAIRMAN BASS:  That wouldn't
     12   provide any more security.
     13                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  It seems to me
     14   we ought to make a significant effort to try to
     15   find a way to go without tags.
     16                COMMISSIONER HENRY:  Is there any
     17   significant opposition that you're aware of
     18   within the department, to move in this
     19   direction?  And I was wondering, if so, why?
     20                MR. COOK:  Yes.  I think you'll hear
     21   some very valid concerns from wildlife division,
     22   fisheries division, law enforcement and all.  I
     23   think there will be some.  And I would -- if we
     24   could take 15 minutes here and discuss that, it
     25   think it might be well -- we probably should do
.0042
      1   it some other time when we've got more time.  But
      2   I think there are some concerns, yes, sir,
      3   absolutely.
      4                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  But the single
      5   impact of that tag is, if I hear you right, it is
      6   a passive deterrent to exceeding bag limits or
      7   illegal kills.  That's it?
      8                MR. COOK:  I believe that's the
      9   primary function.
     10                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  It's only
     11   from -- we have all historically -- you guys
     12   better put a tag on it right away because you
     13   just don't want to be caught without a tag.
     14                COMMISSIONER IDSAL:  What game
     15   species would you think would be the most
     16   affected if you did do away with tags?
     17                MR. COOK:  Whitetail deer.
     18                COMMISSIONER IDSAL:  Not any of the
     19   fish or anything?  I mean, in terms of -- I don't
     20   know many people --
     21                MR. COOK:  I don't really count
     22   fish.
     23                COMMISSIONER IDSAL:  (inaudible) red
     24   drum.
     25                MR. MURPHY:  Red drum is, I think, a
.0043
      1   very valid issue.
      2                COMMISSIONER IDSAL:  That's what I
      3   was thinking.
      4                MR. COOK:  We would just --
      5   (inaudible) why to deal with that.
      6                COMMISSIONER IDSAL:  I just don't
      7   know many people that exceed the limit of tags
      8   they have.  I don't know anybody.
      9                CHAIRMAN BASS:  The people --
     10                MS. IDSAL:  I don't know anybody
     11   that shoots -- uses up all their tags.
     12                CHAIRMAN BASS:  In most instances
     13   where somebody uses all the tags, it's probably
     14   under a wildlife management plan in order to try
     15   to accomplish something that's in conjunction
     16   with the department approved plan.
     17                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  It would be a
     18   goal we're trying to support.
     19                CHAIRMAN BASS:  When you get down to
     20   shooting all the does and.
     21                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Could I
     22   interrupt the discussion for just a second?  I
     23   believe, Jayna, you had some things you needed to
     24   do?  Are we through with Jayna's presentation?
     25   Does anybody have any further questions for her?
.0044
      1                MS. BURGDORF:  I've got a little bit
      2   more.
      3                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Do you?  Are
      4   you through with what you wanted to present?
      5   It's whenever you need to go, is when --
      6                MS. BURGDORF:  Okay.  Okay.  I
      7   appreciate that.
      8                CHAIRMAN BASS:  I would agree with
      9   Mr. Angelo, that I think -- I don't get real
     10   excited about taking over equipment that's five
     11   years old.  I have a really hard time thinking
     12   that's a very good idea.  I think that we, as a
     13   State agency, are probably never going to be able
     14   to provide the service as economically or as
     15   efficiently as private vendors are today who, you
     16   know, have tremendous competitive pressures
     17   amongst one another to provide these kinds of
     18   data management services to industry, you know,
     19   from EDS all the way to IBM, MCI and AT&T.
     20   Everybody is getting on the list.
     21                So I mean, I would -- I come to this
     22   with a strong bias, that we should outsource the
     23   whole thing.  And that equipment that's five
     24   years old is kind of like a Model T in today's
     25   technology world and I wouldn't blame somebody
.0045
      1   else for not wanting to take it over.
      2                From the other point of view, I
      3   think we should really strive to not create what
      4   will be another Model T before we know it, which
      5   is to say that we should really work to try to
      6   get a system that would be compatible with
      7   Internet sales.  Obviously I can see a date
      8   probably sooner now than I would have said 18
      9   months ago, where almost all our sales would be
     10   that (inaudible) based on...  But it will still
     11   take a while.  We'll have to still have Wal-Mart
     12   doing it.  But to that regard I think we really
     13   ought to look at internally of what are the pros
     14   and cons of getting completely away from a tag
     15   system, which would let us get completely away
     16   from a unique piece of paper system and the
     17   trade-offs before we jump into a new distribution
     18   system of license that might lock us in to
     19   something for another five to ten years.
     20                MS. BURGDORF:  If I might jump in
     21   here.  One of the things that we talked about is
     22   that one of the potential benefits of taking over
     23   the Transactive system in the short term --
     24   again, talking two to three years -- is that if
     25   the Internet really takes off like we think it's
.0046
      1   going to -- as a matter of fact, I think one
      2   state and, again, it's a smaller state, is
      3   actually putting terminals, computer terminals to
      4   use, as you mentioned, having people hook up to
      5   the Internet in people's stores.  If that's
      6   really the way things might go in two to three
      7   years, then do we want to introduce a new system
      8   and three years later introduce yet another new
      9   system.  So that was one of the thoughts is, do
     10   we take over the Transactive system for a short
     11   period of time while we're introducing the
     12   Internet, and as the Internet grows, then that
     13   becomes the next system that we go to.
     14                CHAIRMAN BASS:  The other aspect of
     15   that is, somebody who comes in and wants to be
     16   our service provider, and they are completely
     17   Internet driven, may be willing to take over
     18   Transactive's equipment as a bridge that -- it's
     19   a buggy whip to them but they see in three years
     20   they can throw it out.
     21                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Any other
     22   thoughts and comments on either of these
     23   subjects, that are related very closely.
     24                MR. COOK:  One of the things that
     25   y'all might keep in mind just very quickly on
.0047
      1   this thing of no tags, one of the suggestions
      2   that I saw since the last time we talked about
      3   this was that on the back of the license that the
      4   person continues to carry, that he records the
      5   date, the county, the place, the time, the ranch
      6   of where that deer or turkey, whatever species
      7   that we're primarily concerned about, or that he
      8   might be actually out on the road with, that it
      9   is recorded on that license.  So that if he's
     10   stopped and checked, all he does is show that
     11   license and that information is readily
     12   available.
     13                Again, there's always a situation
     14   of, well, I'm carrying two deer for old Fred, you
     15   know, or I've got six deer in the back and two of
     16   them are mine and three -- but there -- you know,
     17   there are ways, I think, to work with most of
     18   that, some sort of written pass, some sort of
     19   written permission thing can be done.
     20                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  And the
     21   landowners can keep a record, go back to that.
     22                COMMISSIONER WATSON:  Well, I think
     23   to get the kind of information you need, you
     24   don't have to record every deer.  And I think
     25   between the people that have managed land permits
.0048
      1   and the locker plants, I think you'd get enough
      2   information for your biological queries.
      3                MR. COOK:  We'll go to work on this.
      4                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Any other
      5   comments?  Jayna, does that conclude your
      6   presentation today?
      7                MS. BURGDORF:  Yes, it does.  And
      8   Tim Hogsett has the next two agenda items.
      9                MR. SANSOM:  Chairman, if I might
     10   comment here.  Ms. Burgdorf is winding up about
     11   nine years as the Chief Financial Officer of this
     12   Department.  And I recall in one of our meetings,
     13   Former Lieutenant Governor Hobby, who was a
     14   member of this board and probably as
     15   knowledgeable a person about the finances of
     16   State government as there is, commented that the
     17   finances of Parks and Wildlife were as well
     18   managed as any agency that he had ever had
     19   anything to do with.  And a lot of that, in fact,
     20   all of that has to do with her stewardship over
     21   these years.  And I believe that certainly I and
     22   the rest of us owe her a great debt of thanks for
     23   the contributions that she's made to this
     24   Department.
     25                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Well, I was
.0049
      1   going to make a comment to that.
      2                (Applause, standing ovation.)
      3                MS. BURGDORF:  Thank you.  I
      4   appreciate it.
      5                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Jayna, I'll just
      6   say, I don't always like what the numbers tell me
      7   these days, but at least I can understand it.
      8   And that wasn't always true.  And I thank you for
      9   that.
     10                MS. BURGDORF:  Thanks.  It is nine
     11   years on Friday and I have been very happy here
     12   and I appreciate the opportunity to be able to
     13   stay on and I'm actually very excited about this
     14   project.  I think it's going to be really
     15   challenging.  And I'm very interested in just
     16   working on the Internet and the electronic
     17   aspects of licensing.
     18                So I appreciate the opportunity so
     19   far.  And I'll see you around.  I'm sorry, I have
     20   to go pick up a kindergartner.
     21                CHAIRMAN BASS:  At least you have
     22   your priorities straight.
     23      AGENDA ITEM NO. 4:  ACTION -  LOCAL PARK
     24      FUNDING AND INDOOR RECREATION GRANTS.
     25                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  All right.
.0050
      1   The next item on our agenda is Item 4 and it's an
      2   action item and it regards local park funding and
      3   indoor recreation grants.  And Tim Hogsett will
      4   make the presentation.
      5                MR. HOGSETT:  Mr. Chairman, members
      6   of the Commission, I'm Tim Hogsett, Director of
      7   Recreation Grants in the State Parks Division.
      8   The first item relates to, tomorrow we will be
      9   bringing to you for your consideration our second
     10   round of the fiscal year 2000 grants for indoor
     11   and outdoor recreation facilities.
     12                In terms of outdoor grants we have
     13   applications from 34 sponsors in the amount of
     14   almost $14 million.  And they were all the
     15   applications that we had received by our July
     16   31st, 1999, deadline.  We've done our site
     17   visits, done our analysis.  You can find your
     18   list of proposed projects for tomorrow at Action
     19   Item Number 3, public hearing.  And we are going
     20   to recommend 15 projects for approximately $6.5
     21   million tomorrow, the first 15 projects on the
     22   list.
     23                In terms of indoor application,
     24   recreation center and other types of indoor
     25   recreation facilities, we have applications from
.0051
      1   eight local governments.  This will be our one
      2   and only award of grants to indoor recreation
      3   facilities for fiscal year 2000.  We have
      4   applications in the amount of about $3.35
      5   million.  And, again, these are all the
      6   applications that were received by our July 31st,
      7   1999, deadline.  We've, again, done site visits.
      8   That's Action Item Number 4 for tomorrow, and the
      9   list is attached.
     10                We propose, since funds are
     11   available to do so, to fund all of those
     12   projects.
     13                With that, I'd be glad to answer any
     14   questions.  And essentially we're asking your
     15   permission to move forward with these grant
     16   proposals tomorrow.
     17                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Any questions
     18   or discussions or if not, a motion?  This item is
     19   not recommended for consent because of general
     20   public comment.  Do we have a motion?
     21                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  I so move.
     22                COMMISSIONER HENRY:  Second.
     23                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  All in favor
     24   say aye.  Opposed.  Motion carried.
     25                (Motion approved unanimously.)
.0052
      1                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Excuse me.
      2   Mr. Chairman, since you've got the -- if I
      3   understood you, Tim, you've got the same number
      4   of applications as you basically had funding
      5   for.  Do you think that the potential applicant
      6   pool is aware that we have this amount of money
      7   and that they should be considering
      8   applications?
      9                MR. HOGSETT:  Well, yes.  I have
     10   thought of that and I think we may should do a
     11   little more outreach to folks.  But this is a bit
     12   of an aberration.  Most of the other two or three
     13   awards we've made for indoor recreation, we've
     14   had quite a bit of competition.  It was a
     15   surprise to me as well, that it was so close to
     16   the amount that we had.  And with the increase of
     17   another million dollars a year, then your point
     18   is well taken.  We probably should get the word
     19   out more widely.
     20                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  I wondered
     21   about that, too, how many communities don't
     22   really even know that it's potentially there.
     23                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Well, I like
     24   not having to tell people no.  But it just seems
     25   to me that if we're coming out even, that we may
.0053
      1   not be doing as much giving of notice.
      2                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  We might be
      3   able to upgrade the projects to some degree if
      4   you had more applicants.
      5                MR. HOGSETT:  One of the things that
      6   I'm going to discuss with you when we talk about
      7   rule-making, also, is we are going to make a
      8   commitment to do a couple of grant workshops next
      9   year, put out the word in that manner, and we
     10   will probably also do some additional public
     11   hearings related to letting people know what the
     12   new rules that you adopt are and how they work.
     13      AGENDA ITEM NO. 5:  ACTION - RECREATIONAL
     14      GRANTS PROPOSED RULES.
     15                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  All right.
     16   Item number 5 is the recreational grants proposed
     17   rules.  Tim.
     18                MR. HOGSETT:  I guess I can do this,
     19   too.
     20                As you probably recall from
     21   November, we have been, since early September,
     22   going through the process of evaluating our Texas
     23   Recreation and Parks Account Grant Programs.  And
     24   proposing some changes in the rules and the
     25   administration and in some of the policies of how
.0054
      1   we do business.  Primarily this was as a result
      2   of some increased funding provided by the
      3   legislature through the appropriation of an
      4   additional $5 million to us, that being the
      5   interest money that is made on the Texas
      6   Recreation Parks Account.
      7                And the other major incentive is
      8   passage of House Bill 2108, which made some
      9   revisions in the grant program in the Texas Parks
     10   and Wildlife code.
     11                You probably remember that there are
     12   three grant programs that are part of the Texas
     13   recreation and parks account: outdoor; indoor,
     14   which we just talked about; and the community
     15   outdoor outreach program, which is part of an
     16   over -- more larger overall outreach initiative.
     17   I think Mr. Cook is going to give you some
     18   information about that in your outreach committee
     19   meeting.
     20                Why we need new rules.  Again, House
     21   Bill 2108 and increased appropriations is a
     22   primary driving factor behind this.  Besides
     23   that, House Bill 2108 did create a couple of new
     24   initiatives for us.  What's called facility
     25   transfers that Mr. Dabney talked to you about
.0055
      1   earlier today, the transfer of facilities from
      2   Parks and Wildlife management, potentially to
      3   local governments, and also a concept that we
      4   call the regional park concept that I'll tell you
      5   a bit more about in a minute.  The last time that
      6   we went through a significant rule-making process
      7   was in 1993.  So it's really time -- and it was
      8   time for us to go back to the public and get a
      9   feel for how they feel about our administrative
     10   procedures and just what, if anything, has
     11   changed out there.
     12                When the State auditor performed an
     13   audit on the State Parks Division last year, they
     14   recommended a couple of minor changes that I'll
     15   point out in a few minutes.
     16                There is a large increase in the
     17   amount of the Community Outdoor Outreach
     18   Program.  And it has been formally codified in
     19   Parks and Wildlife code, so we felt the need for
     20   public input in that regard.  And, finally, most
     21   of you are new since 1993, and we felt that it
     22   was appropriate that we come back to you in terms
     23   of how we do business and get your input and
     24   assistance.
     25                The increased appropriations,
.0056
      1   briefly, again, $5 million over each of the next
      2   two years.  And it will end after fiscal year
      3   2001, unless the legislature reappropriates this
      4   money to us or sees fit maybe to raise the
      5   capital on the sporting goods tax.  But for the
      6   next two years, the Outdoor Grant Program will
      7   remain at $12.9 million.  There will be a million
      8   dollar per year increase in the Indoor Recreation
      9   Grant Program and in the Community Outdoor
     10   Outreach Program.  The regional park initiative
     11   of approximately a million dollars a year for
     12   each of the next two years and then two million
     13   is set aside for each of the next two years for
     14   facility transfers if they come forward.
     15                The major changes that House Bill
     16   2108 made into the Parks and Wildlife code were
     17   that it set up the facility transfer initiative
     18   and defined eligibility and set up a system for
     19   grants for that program.  It put the Community
     20   Outdoor Outreach Program actually in the Parks
     21   and Wildlife code.  Previously it had been a
     22   directive through a rider at the end of the
     23   appropriations process in each of the last
     24   several sessions of the legislature.  So in
     25   effect, it legitimized the program in law.  It
.0057
      1   defines in the code what eligibility is for the
      2   program, who is eligible.  And that is either
      3   political subdivisions or nonprofit
      4   organizations.  And it specifies the Community
      5   Outdoor Outreach Grants will be for programs, for
      6   programmatic activities as opposed to
      7   construction projects like the indoor and outdoor
      8   programs are.
      9                The rule-making process included
     10   seven public hearings.  We had fairly good
     11   attendance, some better than others.  But a total
     12   of more than 250 people came to hearings.  We not
     13   only took verbal testimony, we also provided each
     14   person with a questionnaire with some specific
     15   issues and some specific things we asked them to
     16   respond to.  We got fairly good return from
     17   those.
     18                And that then leads me to the
     19   proposed changes.  To be honest with you, there's
     20   not a big cry out there on the part of the
     21   public, as far as we can tell, for major changes,
     22   even as a result of new money and as a result of
     23   the House Bill 2108.  In general, I think folks
     24   are happy with the way that you're making their
     25   funds available to them and the program in which
.0058
      1   they're made available.
      2                One of the things we did hear
      3   consistently, particularly from smaller
      4   communities, is that they feel that with our
      5   current outdoor recreation grant program, that a
      6   sponsor who is either a small applicant or a
      7   sponsor who only wants to do one type of
      8   facility, for example, they only want to build
      9   one ball field as opposed to doing a very large
     10   development, are not quite as competitive as
     11   larger sponsors and sponsors who have very large
     12   scope in their projects.  I would tend to
     13   disagree somewhat with the size of the sponsor.
     14   But I think the point is well taken when it
     15   relates to people that, again, just want one
     16   facility, and that's really all they need and
     17   probably all they will ever ask for.
     18                So we're going to recommend that you
     19   allow the staff to prepare a pilot program for
     20   probably one of each of the next two years, in
     21   the amount of one -- really one large grant of
     22   $500,000, and allow small communities or single
     23   purpose projects to compete for that 500,000,
     24   just to see how it goes.  We would have a scoring
     25   criteria for you and would have other
.0059
      1   administrative rules.  It would be very similar
      2   to the way we do business with the indoor
      3   program.  But this is a reaction to what we heard
      4   fairly consistently from some of the public
      5   hearings.
      6                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Would the max
      7   be $500,000?
      8                MR. HOGSETT:  That would be what we
      9   would propose to set aside in total.  And there
     10   would be competition among sponsors for that
     11   500,000.
     12                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  As a lump sum
     13   or parts and pieces?
     14                MR. HOGSETT:  In pieces, individual
     15   grants.
     16                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Most of the ones
     17   that you're speaking to are applications for less
     18   than half?
     19                MR. HOGSETT:  Oh, absolutely.  You
     20   know, I envision several 50 to 100,000 dollar
     21   applications for a soccer field or two or a ball
     22   field and rest rooms or maybe acquisition of a
     23   small piece of property for conservation
     24   purposes.
     25                CHAIRMAN BASS:  And would your
.0060
      1   proposal include some type of a cap on how much
      2   of this half a million --
      3                MR. HOGSETT:  I think we would need
      4   to, to make sure that there was a legitimate
      5   competition and an appropriate amount made
      6   available.  Otherwise, it really wouldn't be
      7   worth people's time to apply for it.
      8                We're thinking probably somewhere,
      9   20 to 50 to 100 thousand dollars.  I'm going to
     10   need some more input on that, I think, from some
     11   of the potential applicants.
     12                This is a housekeeping measure.
     13   It's important to us in that we'll save some
     14   staff time.  We're required, particularly when we
     15   receive federal funds, required to do
     16   postcompletion inspections on a five-year basis
     17   of all the grant sites that we've ever
     18   supported.  That's getting to be close to a
     19   couple of thousand.  Staff and travel budgets,
     20   being limited as they are, we're going to propose
     21   that we do a self-certification process, where a
     22   sponsor would go out and do our inspection, in
     23   effect, for us, certify that everything was in
     24   order, and then we would do some spot-checking to
     25   make sure that indeed they were telling us the
.0061
      1   truth.  And that would particularly be important
      2   when people were applying for new grants and we
      3   were doing a compliance check on them to make
      4   sure that indeed they were taking care of what
      5   they already have.
      6                The federal government allows this
      7   in several of their programs.  A couple of other
      8   states I've contacted do this.  And it's pretty
      9   easy and pretty successful.
     10                We're going to propose to add --
     11                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Excuse me, Tim.
     12   Would you then spot check some of those just to
     13   have some kind of an audit?
     14                MR. HOGSETT:  Yes.  That's what I
     15   was saying.  We would just on occasion go
     16   unannounced and do a spot check on it.
     17                CHAIRMAN BASS:  I'm sorry, I wasn't
     18   listening.
     19                MR. HOGSETT:  If we found a problem
     20   then --
     21                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Revamp the program?
     22                MR. HOGSETT:  Yeah.  Look at it
     23   again and maybe not allow that sponsor to do
     24   self-certification.
     25                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Well, in that
.0062
      1   process, or the completion of it, do they send
      2   you an accounting of, we gave $25,000 and here is
      3   the receipt for our 25,000?
      4                MR. HOGSETT:  Well, we have always
      5   and will continue to do a final audit, on-site
      6   audit, and inspection before we close out a
      7   project.  This is more of five years after a
      8   project is completed, are they keeping it open?
      9   Is it well maintained?  Have they done something
     10   with part of the property, like sold it or
     11   whatever?  It's just a -- it's an investment --
     12   protection of the investment, basically.
     13                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Got you.
     14                MR. HOGSETT:  We're proposing to add
     15   a point for the creation of wetlands in the water
     16   recreation criteria.  The wetlands are already
     17   given advantages in other places in the
     18   criteria.  But this will be one other place to
     19   try to stress a little bit conservation projects
     20   that involve wetlands.
     21                We're going to -- rather than have
     22   status reports due to us on a cyclical basis,
     23   based on when a project was approved, we're going
     24   to ask people to provide status information on
     25   active projects once a quarter, with these
.0063
      1   deadlines.  Just a minor item but it's a big deal
      2   to these folks, to be able to schedule when
      3   they're going to let us know what the progress is
      4   that they're making.
      5                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Tim, could
      6   you go back to that slide, please?  When we
      7   talked about this in November, one of the things
      8   we discussed was how important this is as a way
      9   to further the mission of the Department.  And I
     10   was glad to see the addition of the one point.
     11   But I question whether it goes as far, certainly
     12   within the little category that it's in.  And I
     13   know that you have other places where wetlands
     14   get substantial recognition.  But when I found
     15   this one in the category about the direct and
     16   complimentary park opportunities, the reservoirs
     17   got six points and wetlands got one point, and
     18   that seemed to me anomalous given the importance
     19   of wetlands in the -- in terms of habitat as
     20   distinguished from a reservoir in terms of
     21   habitat.  And so I would ask that we look harder
     22   at these rules.  And I use that as an example to
     23   see if there are some other places that we could
     24   really emphasize, using the scoring system for
     25   these grants in ways that make sense to further
.0064
      1   the mission of the department.  Because it's very
      2   exciting to see us have more money to give out.
      3   It's surprising to see that we gave out -- that
      4   we gave money to everybody who asked for it.  And
      5   it just seems to me that it is time for us to try
      6   to refine the process to take that into account.
      7                Do you see other opportunities -- my
      8   understanding was, because we didn't get a
      9   red-line on these.  And I didn't have time to go
     10   back and try to do that myself.  Are these our
     11   major changes from the other rules, the ones that
     12   are summarized on this?
     13                MR. HOGSETT:  Basically the major
     14   changes are administrative changes as opposed to
     15   exchanges in the scoring system and the way we've
     16   done business.  This is the only modification
     17   directly in the scoring system.
     18                One of the things I'm going to do
     19   tomorrow, when we talk about approval of new
     20   grants is, I'm also going to give you a briefing
     21   of some projects that we've done in the past.
     22   And I hope that you will -- I hope that the
     23   message that you will get from that is that
     24   really some conservation initiatives and
     25   preservation initiatives are already in a lot of
.0065
      1   these projects, more than what I think you may
      2   expect.  But we're certainly open to anything
      3   that you would like to give us in terms of
      4   guidance on the scoring system, other ways
      5   that -- there have been a lot of conservation
      6   related projects that have been funded and are
      7   high scoring projects.
      8                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Which I think
      9   is terrific.  I just want to make sure that we
     10   guide the decision-making through the rule-making
     11   so that when we have a lot of applications, way
     12   more than what we have money for, that we are
     13   really accounting for the natural resources in
     14   the park grants and recreation grants.  And it
     15   seems to me that a point in time where we're just
     16   starting to see some increase in our funding
     17   abilities and where maybe in the future we'll see
     18   much bigger increases in our funding abilities,
     19   that if we get it set in the rules now, it will
     20   make it easier to administer with that policy in
     21   mind, than if we get a lot of money and then we
     22   say, well, now we're really going to try to focus
     23   people on the mission of the department in
     24   applying for their own park grants, that it's
     25   going to be too late.  And so that's why I would
.0066
      1   like to see us think about whether there are
      2   other ways we can do it before we put these rules
      3   out.
      4                CHAIRMAN BASS:  I think that's a
      5   very good point.  I think, for instance, if we --
      6   that there are a lot of concepts we could pursue
      7   such as one point for wetland per acre up to five
      8   points, create a five-acre wetland, you get five
      9   points, not one, or that type of a concept.  And
     10   I'm sure there are other habitat things other
     11   than wetland that that model might be applicable
     12   to, you know, that includes greenbelt
     13   preservation or creation.
     14                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Equestrian
     15   trail.
     16                CHAIRMAN BASS:  And things -- not
     17   just habitat but maybe also things that help
     18   enhance the park user's understanding of what
     19   that is and why is that important, some
     20   educational parts that might go with that.
     21                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  I always
     22   notice the write-up has something about A nature
     23   trail and whatever.  And I always think that's
     24   great.  And the extent to which we can encourage
     25   that more...
.0067
      1                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Yeah.  I think the
      2   more we can do that, the more we can leverage
      3   these funds into furthering a lot of the
      4   conservation missions in the department rather
      5   than just being a pass-through agency.  And I
      6   think we would all be very supportive of some
      7   further suggestions in that area.
      8                MR. HOGSETT:  As would the staff
      9   from you, in terms of suggestions of things that
     10   you'd like us to focus on, more than we are
     11   already.
     12                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Things that help --
     13   most of these are urban by their nature.  But
     14   things that can help us encourage in urban
     15   settings urban wildlife management, the ways
     16   of -- the whole backyard wildlife program that --
     17   it's almost a way for us to have a model of it
     18   brought into a community and a way for us to
     19   enhance it.  I would imagine that many of these
     20   projects have, as part of their site, some land.
     21   And the site planner says, well, this is pretty
     22   marginal land.  It really doesn't fit into what
     23   we're trying to do here.  So he just kind of
     24   sketches something into the boundaries or the
     25   borders.  And we might be able to, by awarding a
.0068
      1   few extra point incentives here and there, have
      2   him really make that something that's -- doesn't
      3   take away from what the original intent of the
      4   program was, but enhances the mission of the
      5   department.
      6                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Tim, the
      7   projects that you're going to give us briefings
      8   on tomorrow, is it pretty clear if we look at
      9   these regulations, how they were scored, so that
     10   if they had been in competition with other
     11   projects, they still would have gotten the higher
     12   score?
     13                MR. HOGSETT:  I think so.  I think
     14   that -- the ones that I'm going to focus on
     15   tomorrow were, if I'm not mistaken, all ranges of
     16   scores, in terms of in their respective review.
     17   Not necessarily the highest and not necessarily
     18   the lowest project that was funded in that
     19   review, but are representative of some of the
     20   different kinds of projects we do, from
     21   conservation related things to active recreation,
     22   sports complexes.  A couple of examples, like,
     23   for example, Edinburg tomorrow, which is a lot of
     24   both.  It has a significant wetland in it.  It
     25   has a significant lake in it, but it also --
.0069
      1   we're also supporting the development of an
      2   athletic complex on that same site.  So --
      3                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Tim, may I ask --
      4                MR. HOGSETT:  You tell me tomorrow
      5   if I -- if you --
      6                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Like it?
      7                MR. HOGSETT:  If you're -- you know,
      8   if you're getting the message in terms of the
      9   scoring system and how it related on those
     10   projects.  I hope so.
     11                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Related but a little
     12   bit different question, if I might.  Is the
     13   appropriations process that sets this system up,
     14   require that every cycle we expend 100 percent of
     15   the available funds?
     16                MR. HOGSETT:  We have to have -- a
     17   grant program is considered, under the
     18   appropriations process, to be that: A grant
     19   program.  And it requires that the money that is
     20   appropriated be obligated to projects within the
     21   same fiscal year in which it's appropriated.
     22   Otherwise, it goes back to the treasury.
     23                CHAIRMAN BASS:  The reason I ask
     24   that is this.  Is that every time we go through
     25   this, I tend to look at the score and what the
.0070
      1   cutoff is as just an indicator of how strong that
      2   pool of applicants was.  This current one is --
      3   73 points is where we run out of money.  And, you
      4   know, there have been, as I recall, I think the
      5   last one or the one before this, it was close to
      6   80 something.
      7                MR. HOGSETT:  In the 80s.
      8                CHAIRMAN BASS:  It was in the 80s.
      9   So there's a little bit of luck of the draw for
     10   some of these applicants as to whether they're in
     11   a weak class or a strong class.  You know, when I
     12   went to school, 73 was still a passing grade.  I
     13   flip over to the indoor recreation.  Well, a guy
     14   got money with 26 points, which is half of the
     15   next lowest score.  You know, what I'm wondering
     16   is if there's a way that we may not better spend
     17   this money and create stronger projects for -- in
     18   the end, which ultimately benefits everyone, all
     19   the users, if we were able to have some kind of a
     20   minimum score that if you didn't reach it, that
     21   money, that unspent money might carry over into
     22   the next pool of applicants, where a fellow that
     23   had a 79 score last time was out of the running,
     24   this time he would have been well into
     25   receiving.  I know people can put in, you know,
.0071
      1   repeatedly, et cetera.  But they go home with a
      2   79 that didn't get money, they have to retool
      3   their application probably.  They spend some
      4   money in the local basis, put it back in.  And
      5   it's more time for us to review it again because
      6   it's been tweaked, et cetera; when if it's simply
      7   been on a six-month later cycle, they would have
      8   got their money in the first place.
      9                MR. HOGSETT:  It is much like
     10   dealing a deck of cards.  We don't know what
     11   we're going to get and they don't know what their
     12   composition is going to be until the group comes
     13   together.
     14                In terms of saving money, let me use
     15   this review for tomorrow as an example.  The law
     16   requires that we set aside no less than 15
     17   percent for indoor recreation grants.  This is
     18   fiscal year 2000 money.  This will be the last
     19   opportunity, unless we were to bring another
     20   group to you before the end of August, for us to
     21   be able to get that indoor money appropriated --
     22   obligated, or we would lose it; it would go back
     23   to the treasury.  That would be, to me, the
     24   only -- to do reviews at a different time or to
     25   change when we bring applications to you or bring
.0072
      1   them more often would be probably the only thing
      2   I can think of.
      3                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Or perhaps we can,
      4   in concert with the legislature in the next
      5   appropriations process, be able -- if we study
      6   it, be able to show them that if they were to --
      7   to allow us to carry no more than ten, 15 percent
      8   of the money from one year of the biennium into
      9   the second, as long as it was all spent in the
     10   biennium, that we would be able to make better
     11   use of the money, and we may get support for that
     12   type of thing.
     13                MR. HOGSETT:  Which is precisely the
     14   way that we did business prior to the session
     15   before last of the legislature.  We used to have
     16   what was called the authority to bring forward
     17   the unobligated balance from one year to a next.
     18   The legislature took that away from us the
     19   session before last.
     20                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  I think this
     21   emphasizes the point that Carol made earlier,
     22   that we may need to do some effort to get more
     23   applicants.  That would overcome part of --
     24                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Well, another
     25   way to do it, but I fear it might be too
.0073
      1   burdensome on the staff would be to set a
      2   minimum, as you suggest.  And if you don't have
      3   all of them reach that minimum score, ask for
      4   more proposals.  But the problem is, that would
      5   be quite a burden.  But I think, the things that
      6   you got --
      7                MR. HOGSETT:  Not insurmountable,
      8   though.
      9                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Well, maybe
     10   you could think about that.  The things that
     11   you've got later on in the slide that you alluded
     12   to about having workshops, you know, you've got
     13   several things on there that might encourage more
     14   applications.  And I know you work with people
     15   very closely to help them with their
     16   applications.  But I really think increasing the
     17   applicant pool might avoid the low scoring
     18   award.
     19                CHAIRMAN BASS:  True.  And another
     20   approach might be to take that money and go back
     21   to the successful applicants and ask them for
     22   proposals of how they might enhance their
     23   proposal if we made the cap more than $500,000.
     24   I mean, the Greenville recreation center that
     25   scored 88 may well make better use of the money
.0074
      1   in the grand scheme of things than somebody who
      2   scored 26 and sloughed off the last $140,000.
      3   I'd be willing to bet -- I mean, folks at Hidalgo
      4   County might not agree with that.  It's a long
      5   drive to Greenville, but --
      6                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  But they know
      7   where you live.
      8                CHAIRMAN BASS:  But anyway, I think
      9   that's something worth giving at least some
     10   consideration to and maybe, if nothing else,
     11   coming up with a proposal to the next legislature
     12   that we had some good, sound evidence of, when
     13   you took this away from us, this is what
     14   resulted, is that really what you meant to have
     15   happen?
     16                MR. HOGSETT:  Related to the indoor
     17   program, we heard very commonly that the funding
     18   cap of $500,000 that we currently have on
     19   projects is restrictive.  Most recreation centers
     20   are one to two to three million dollar
     21   facilities, particularly in the urban areas.  So
     22   what we end up doing, when we're supporting them
     23   at $500,000, is simply doing a very small amount
     24   of a big project.  Nothing wrong with that, but I
     25   think that they're hoping that we will be able to
.0075
      1   increase that.  And that is one of the things
      2   that we're proposing that you consider.  And
      3   that's the increase to $750,000.
      4                This, strangely enough, when we
      5   asked for questionnaires, we asked people what do
      6   they think should and should not be funded in
      7   various grants, either outdoor or indoor.  And
      8   very consistently they told us for some reason
      9   they didn't think we should be doing steam/sauna
     10   and whirlpool facilities in indoor recreation
     11   centers.  So, fine, we're proposing that we not
     12   fund them.  That was about the only one that
     13   there was a strong consensus on.  And they didn't
     14   like the kinds of things that we currently are
     15   allowing.
     16                The community outdoor outreach
     17   program, as a result of the infusion of the
     18   additional million dollars, and the popularity of
     19   and the high profile that that program is
     20   beginning to get, we propose an increase of the
     21   grant ceiling on those from 20 to 30 thousand.
     22   It doesn't sound like a lot but to a small,
     23   nonprofit group who is running a recreation
     24   program using one of our State parks or whatever,
     25   it could mean a very considerable -- make a very
.0076
      1   considerable difference in what they're able to
      2   do.
      3                The regional park concept is, as I
      4   think I told you in November, the one that we
      5   have, for lack of a better way of putting it,
      6   probably the least handle on.  When Texas A & M
      7   did the study for us prior to the beginning of
      8   the last session of the legislature, one of the
      9   things that that report that they provided showed
     10   was a need in -- as demographics and other things
     11   change in Texas, is a need to provide regional
     12   concept parks and recreation opportunities in the
     13   urban areas of the state.  Well, I think when
     14   that was done, it was envisioned that there would
     15   be a lot more money available for that program
     16   from the legislature than ultimately came to
     17   pass, as we only got a million dollars a year
     18   from the legislature for each of the next two
     19   years.  In an endeavor to try to make the biggest
     20   bang for the buck out of that that we can, we're
     21   going to recommend that we do something in the
     22   form of a pilot program.  I talked several times
     23   with Mr. Sansom.  We're going to make an
     24   aggressive effort to find some projects, either
     25   be significant conservation projects in the urban
.0077
      1   areas or intensive recreation projects in the
      2   urban areas.  And we're thinking it may be only a
      3   couple of grants, you know, a couple of large
      4   grants, maybe one of each in the next two years.
      5   And, again, our staff at Executive Director's
      6   direction are going to proactively seek some
      7   exemplary projects that meet the general criteria
      8   of what we think the legislature intended in this
      9   regional park concept.
     10                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  That's a
     11   matching grant?
     12                MR. HOGSETT:  These would be
     13   matching grants, yes, 50 percent matching
     14   grants.  The idea is not only are they large
     15   grants in the urban areas but that they are
     16   regional in scope in that there are multiple
     17   jurisdictions involved in their planning, in
     18   their construction, and in their operations and
     19   management.  There are definitely projects out
     20   there already, for example, in the Houston area
     21   and in the Dallas area, which is probably the two
     22   places we're going to start, that meet those
     23   kinds of initiatives.
     24                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Does that have
     25   to be a governmental agency on the other end,
.0078
      1   then?
      2                MR. HOGSETT:  The ultimate sponsor
      3   would have to be a governmental entity.  However,
      4   as we can with any of these grants, operations
      5   and planning and day-to-day things can be
      6   concessioned out to somebody else.  But
      7   ultimately a local government would sponsor the
      8   application and get the grant from us and could
      9   then decide how they wanted to operate and that
     10   sort of thing.
     11                MR. SANSOM:  This, for the first
     12   time, really gives us the opportunity to leverage
     13   some large-scale, you know, urban conservation
     14   projects, particularly, but also to provide some
     15   unique recreational opportunities in multiple
     16   jurisdictions.  So it's -- it's going to be up to
     17   us to try to help -- the constituency needs us to
     18   work with them to develop the models that they
     19   can then envision doing it again.  That's
     20   basically what it boils down to.  And that's what
     21   they're telling us.  Let's work together and try
     22   some stuff and that will then guide us as to
     23   where we go from here.
     24                MR. HOGSETT:  And hopefully we'll
     25   have such exemplary projects that it will
.0079
      1   convince the legislature that a million dollars
      2   doesn't go very far and that we need quite a bit
      3   more to do this in the future.
      4                CHAIRMAN BASS:  It, at least in
      5   part, I guess, is a carrot to try to entice
      6   cooperation.
      7                MR. SANSOM:  Exactly.  Leverage.
      8                MR. SANSOM:  Absolutely.
      9                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Entities that
     10   sometimes have a hard time seeing beyond their
     11   own boundary.
     12                COMMISSIONER HENRY:  You're talking
     13   about counties as grantees, probably?
     14                MR. SANSOM:  Well, or you could
     15   have, for example, in the metroplex along either
     16   the Trinity or either Dallas or Fort Worth or
     17   along Rowlett Creek North, along the bayou system
     18   in Houston where you have multiple, you know,
     19   municipal jurisdictions.
     20                COMMISSIONER HENRY:  I'm talking
     21   about the grantees, primarily city or counties.
     22   Is that what we're saying, governmental?
     23                MR. HOGSETT:  Yes, sir.  It would be
     24   a grant to a governmental entity.
     25                CHAIRMAN BASS:  It could be a city
.0080
      1   as a lead agency which could maybe include six
      2   different incorporated areas up and down a
      3   river.
      4                MR. SANSOM:  In Houston we've been
      5   talking to a city and some nonprofits, of which
      6   you're talking to.  In Dallas we've talked to a
      7   private entity, the city, and the county.
      8                COMMISSIONER HENRY:  That was my
      9   question.  Were other nonprofits brought in or
     10   considered a part of the mix?
     11                MR. SANSOM:  Yes, sir.  In one case
     12   it's the housing authority, you know, is part of
     13   the mix.
     14                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  But a nonprofit
     15   could create something -- Eagle Lake area, create
     16   a nonprofit.  Could we deal with them or would
     17   they still --
     18                MR. SANSOM:  No.  You would still
     19   have to grant the money to a political
     20   subdivision in the State.  But I think our --
     21                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  But it gives
     22   them an avenue by which to go.  Before, they're
     23   just a homeowners association.
     24                MR. SANSOM:  Let me give you an
     25   example.  There's a facility in Houston in which
.0081
      1   Mr. Henry is very familiar with, where the City
      2   of Houston owns a piece of property immediately
      3   adjacent to a facility operated by a nonprofit,
      4   and up until the present time, they haven't had
      5   the ability -- or haven't found a way to work
      6   together, even though they're both kind of
      7   doing --
      8                COMMISSIONER HENRY:  Each other's
      9   work.
     10                MR. SANSOM:  Each other's work.  And
     11   so perhaps with this program, we can strengthen
     12   the whole.  But the receiving entity would have
     13   to be the city, in this case.
     14                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Are the
     15   regulations anywhere specifically addressing the
     16   regional grants program?
     17                MR. HOGSETT:  No.  We have not done
     18   that yet.
     19                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Are you going
     20   to do these pilot programs --
     21                MR. HOGSETT:  Yes, ma'am.
     22                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  --
     23   demonstration programs, and then see about
     24   writing regs?
     25                MR. HOGSETT:  Yes.  That's what we
.0082
      1   envision doing, is doing some pilot projects --
      2                MR. SANSOM:  We found members in the
      3   outreach program, which was -- which is a similar
      4   thing, where we work with the legislature to
      5   conceive of a new way of doing our work, that we
      6   had to do that almost that first round.  We did
      7   some things totally outside the realm of
      8   hard-line set of rules, so that both we and the
      9   sponsors could kind of learn our way.  We don't
     10   do that anymore in that program.  But in the
     11   beginning, probably half of them we designed with
     12   the people, outside the context of a rigid set of
     13   rules.
     14                MR. HOGSETT:  That way you don't
     15   limit your options of what you can do.
     16                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Because in that case
     17   we were dealing with institutions that had never
     18   received such grants before.  And so we had to
     19   kind of make it up.  And there was some good news
     20   and some bad news in that.
     21                MR. HOGSETT:  Some miscellaneous
     22   things that came up in the hearings and
     23   subsequent to the hearings, we're being asked
     24   repeatedly to see if we can't get funds back to
     25   people more quickly, faster reimbursement when
.0083
      1   grants are pursued.  And we are addressing that
      2   through the addition of an additional auditor on
      3   our staff and some other procedural changes.
      4                This is, I think, critical to us,
      5   putting our grant materials and possibly even an
      6   application itself on our Parks and Wildlife
      7   web.  Almost twice a week, I get a call or an
      8   e-mail from somebody that says, I'd like to get
      9   the materials from you.  Well, they certainly
     10   should be there, available for them.  So that's
     11   something we would propose to do.
     12                Grant workshops, as I mentioned.  We
     13   have done those in the past but I think it's time
     14   to go do those on a recurring basis, to get the
     15   word out and to help people.
     16                One of the things that gets you
     17   additional points in this current scoring system,
     18   if you have a local master plan for your parks
     19   and recreation system.  It's not required, but it
     20   gets you additional point criteria.
     21                Lots of folks still, particularly in
     22   smaller communities, still are resisting or
     23   reluctant to do that because they think it's
     24   either expensive or too difficult or don't
     25   understand what we're looking for.  So to help
.0084
      1   promote the master planning effort, we're going
      2   to do sort of a how-to guide based on the
      3   experience that we've gotten with several hundred
      4   other master plans.  It's just, you know, a
      5   cookbook approach as to how to put together a
      6   successful master plan.
      7                The State auditor, as I mentioned
      8   earlier, made a suggestion that we feel is
      9   appropriate, and that's that we publish in the
     10   materials that we send out to the public, all of
     11   the details of the scoring system as it relates
     12   to the ranges of points.  If you were to go look
     13   at our current publications, you'll have a
     14   criteria and you'll have a -- in parentheses, a
     15   point range for that criteria.  It might be one
     16   to ten points.  The auditor's office said that
     17   they thought that we should show exactly how
     18   those one, two, three, four, five, et cetera,
     19   points are awarded.  And we agree with that.  And
     20   that's contained within the information that you
     21   have today.
     22                And finally, just some housekeeping
     23   things.  Anytime you have a grant document, like
     24   a manual, then it probably needs some
     25   housecleaning, as ours did.  We have the manual
.0085
      1   itself available for you today.  If you'd like
      2   one, Ms. Estrada has those.  It's the
      3   administrative details on how the program works.
      4                The recommendation is that we are
      5   asking you to authorize us to publish proposed
      6   repeals and new sections concerning the
      7   administration of the Texas recreation and parks
      8   account grant program, which is at Exhibit A
      9   published in the Texas Register for public
     10   comment.
     11                And then we propose to come back to
     12   you in April and ask for adoption.  And that will
     13   also give us the opportunity to revisit some of
     14   the issues like you were mentioning,
     15   Ms. Dinkins.
     16                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Any other
     17   questions, comments?  How about a motion?
     18                COMMISSIONER HENRY:  So moved.
     19                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  So moved.
     20                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  The motion is
     21   seconded.  All in favor say aye.  Opposed.  The
     22   motion carries.
     23                (Motion passed unanimously.)
     24                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Is there any
     25   other business to come before this committee?  If
.0086
      1   not, the committee is adjourned.
      2                     *-*-*-*-*
      3                 (HEARING ADJOURNED.)
      4                     *-*-*-*-*
      5
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.0087
      1                REPORTER'S CERTIFICATE
      2   STATE OF TEXAS   )
      3   COUNTY OF TRAVIS )
      4
      5        I, MELODY RENEE DeYOUNG, a Certified Court
      6   Reporter in and for the State of Texas, do hereby
      7   certify that the above and foregoing 86 pages
      8   constitute a full, true and correct transcript of
      9   the minutes of the Texas Parks and Wildlife
     10   Commission on JANUARY 19, 2000, in the commission
     11   hearing room of the Texas Parks & Wildlife
     12   Headquarters Complex, Austin, Travis County,
     13   Texas.
     14        I FURTHER CERTIFY that a stenographic record
     15   was made by me a the time of the public meeting
     16   and said stenographic notes were thereafter
     17   reduced to computerized transcription under my
     18   supervision and control.
     19        WITNESS MY HAND this the 18TH day of
     20   FEBRUARY 2000.
     21
     22
                 MELODY RENEE DeYOUNG, RPR, CSR NO. 3226
     23          Expiration Date:  12-31-00
                 3101 Bee Caves Road
     24          Centre II, Suite 220
                 Austin, Texas  78746
     25          (512) 328-5557
          EBS NO. 37595

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