TRPA to reduce funding ?

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TRPA to reduce funding ?

Postby PhilD » Tue Sep 13, 2005 7:08 pm

Recreation Grants Newsletter
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
Recreation Grants Branch
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, Texas 78744
Telephone: (512) 912-7124 Fax: (512) 707-2742

The format and delivery of the Recreation Grants Branch Newsletter is changing so you may notice a change in format. Please bear with us while we make necessary changes to better serve you.
TEXAS PARKS & WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT, RECREATION GRANTS BRANCH

INVITATION FOR REVIEW AND COMMENTS

Background

During the August 25, 2005 public hearing of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission, the significant reductions in state and federal grant funds appropriated by the Texas Legislature and the U.S. Congress (respectively) for the TRPA Program were discussed. Recreation Grants Branch staff were charged to check with our constituency and determine if the limited appropriations for the TRPA Program are allocated properly, given these significant funding reductions. Therefore, we invite you to review the information below and provide your written comments to the Recreation Grants Branch at the address below, by no later than October 15, 2005. Your comments are important to us and we highly encourage your participation in this process.

The Texas Recreation and Parks Account provides 50% matching (reimbursement) funding assistance to acquire property and / or develop outdoor and indoor public recreation facilities. Maximum grant awards for outdoor projects are limited to $500,000 per Outdoor Program project, $50,000 per Small Community Program project and $750,000 per Indoor Program project. Regional Program projects are limited to $2 million requests when sufficient funds are available. The Outdoor Program reviews are made twice per year, with application deadlines of January 31 and July 31. The Small Community Program and Regional Program reviews are made once per year with a January 31 application deadline, and the Indoor Program reviews are made once per year with a July 31 application deadline. The Community Outdoor Outreach Program (COOP), also funded through the TRPA, conducts two reviews per fiscal year and provides up to $30,000 funding assistance for outreach programs (no matching funds required).

The funding for these programs is administered through the Texas Recreation and Parks Account (TRPA), which receives a portion of the state sales tax on certain sporting goods. Supplemental funds may also be used from the State’s apportionment of the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund when funds are available. Upon adjournment of the 79th Texas Legislature, the legislative appropriations of TRPA funding assistance to local governments were reduced significantly. The average fiscal year appropriations for funding assistance through the Texas Recreation and Parks Account grant programs (TRPA) during recent years has exceeded $20 million. However, TRPA funds were reduced to $13 million per year during 2004-2005 biennium, and further reduced to $5.6 million per year during the 2006-2007 biennium. This equates to an approximate 72% overall reduction in five years.

2004 Public Input

During 2004, the Recreation Grants Branch utilized a focus group, held 8 public hearings throughout the state, conducted an online electronic survey of constituents and circulated several Department news releases, all regarding the administration of the TRPA grant programs. That planning process resulted in revised rules and regulations for administration of the Texas Recreation and Parks Account Program, which were approved by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission on January 25, 2005. The last such general review of program guidelines was in 2000.

cont/...
Last edited by PhilD on Tue Sep 13, 2005 7:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby PhilD » Tue Sep 13, 2005 7:09 pm

part 2

In addition to changes in the criteria of the scoring systems, program revisions were approved to increase the eligibility criteria for program participation for sponsors with active grant projects from $1 million to $2 million; extending eligibility of local park master plans from 5 to 10 years; and extending the waiver of retroactivity for land acquisition from 3 to 5 years, with a possibility of further extension.

Options for Consideration
The TRPA Grants Manual was also updated to accommodate these changes. Due to the significant reductions in TRPA funds by the 79th Texas Legislature, the Recreation Grants Branch is considering options for funding allocations among the programs described above. We are currently inviting your comments on the following options and also welcome any other options that you might suggest for consideration:

1. Limit the Outdoor Program reviews to only one review per fiscal year.

2. Reduce the maximum project grant share of $500,000 for the Outdoor Program.

3. Postpone Regional Grant reviews (until adequate funding is restored) and invite applicants to revise their regional grant applications and submit them for review in the Outdoor Program.

4. Limit the Community Outdoor Outreach Program reviews to only once per year.

5. Make no changes to the TRPA Programs at this time.

Please submit your comments to:

Tim Hogsett, Director
Recreation Grants Branch
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, Texas 78744

Or e-mail to: mailto:Rec.Grants@tpwd.state.tx.us
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