Kentucky fish & wildlife department budget woes similar to most users
Kentucky’s Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources faces some pocketbook issues similar to most folks who enjoy the outdoors.
The KDFWR must live within its revenues, says Dr. Jon Gassett, commissioner of the department.
In the August commissioner newsletter from the KDFWR, Gassett, outlined the current status of the Fiscal Year 2013 budget. He explained how despite belt tightening, the department strives to offer quality facilities and experiences for the public.
Gassett wrote in part: “This current year has been a challenge and is directly related to the following factors:
• Personnel costs increased due to insurance and retirement rates.
• Our state license revenue declined in License Year 2012. This number was used as our revenue base for the FY 13 budget.
• Also more “baby boomers” are recruiting to the $5/Senior license (produces less revenue than regular license)
• Federal Sport Fish Restoration Funds have declined since they are based on fishing license sales.
“Our budget reduction strategy is similar to your personal finances: Do Not Spend More than Your Make!,” explained the commissioner.
Gassett said in an effort to respond to the budget impacts, some reduction methods include:
• Reducing fleet vehicles including a car pool for Headquarters, along with curtailing the purchase of new vehicles in this budget cycle;
• Eliminating blackberries and reissuance of less expensive phones/devices where necessary;
• Negotiating new cell phone costs;
• Curtailing and delaying the purchase of new capital outlay items (e.g., boats, atvs, etc.) in this budget cycle;
• Delaying the filling of unfilled positions;
• Reducing out of state travel;
• Reducing printing costs in favor of more technological advances; and
• Identifyjng other inefficiencies that translate
to immediate cost savings.
Gassett said KDFWR has a stable Fish and Game Fund that can be used as a backup for necessary expenses. “However, it has been our routine practice to avoid use of these funds for our operating budget.
We do use these funds for our Capital/ Land Acquisition Projects, but many of these receive a significant reimbursement to offset this debit,” according to Gassett.
He added that projections indicate an improvement in license revenues to accompany planned savings from frugal management.
“In summary, this is not a crisis, and we
periodically have to reexamine our spending strategies – again no different than your personal finances.” Gassett concluded.
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TAYLORSVILLE DOCKS -- KFDWR Engineering Division staff recently completed installing new boat courtesy docks at the Possum Ridge and Settlers Trace boat ramps at Taylorsville Lake.
They also plan to rework the existing boat courtesy docks at Chowning Lane and Van Buren boat ramps in the near future.
These boat courtesy docks were damaged as a result of the intense flooding which occurred during the spring of 2011 when Taylorsville Lake water levels for the first time exceeded the emergency spillway.
Funding for much of the work is being reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a result of the flooding.