WDF&W BUDGET UPDATE

WDF&W BUDGET UPDATE

 

 

This email was forwarded to me so I thought I would share it. The jest of it is the Governors Budget came back more favorable to WDF&W but all should remember that traditionally the Governor's Budget is DOA once the legislative process starts up. It is a much better starting point for Willapa & GH to be sure but I think some in Puget Sound will feel otherwise.

 

Dave

 

 

From: Anderson, Philip M (DFW)
Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2014 4:29 PM
To: DFW DL WDFW Staff
Subject: Budget Summary

 

Hello All:

 

Earlier today the Governor released both his operating and capital budget proposals for the 2015-2017 biennium. Considering there is a projected state general fund budget shortfall of up to $4.5 billion, WDFW fared quite well.  The 105 day legislative session begins on January 12 and the Governor’s budget proposals will be the starting point for legislative budget development.  The House and Senate will release their respective proposals in March and then work on a compromise budget will begin.  Each chamber must agree on the final compromise budget before they adjourn for the year.  We should see a legislative budget in late April which will provide funding state agencies for the next two fiscal years beginning July 1, 2015.  There will also be a 2015 supplemental budget which will make final changes to the current biennium which ends on June 30, 2015. 

Here is a link to the Governor’s budget page which includes the appropriations bills, and other supporting documentation.  http://ofm.wa.gov/budget15/default.asp

 

First a brief summary of the Governor’s capital budget for WDFW:

 

Minor Works Projects.  The proposal includes $10.5 million for minor works projects…the appropriation amount is equivalent to the current biennium.  Minor works project are those projects costing less than $1 million and includes projects such as: corrections to facility safety deficiencies; replace hatchery pumps, alarms and emergency generators; fish cultural improvements; road maintenance; roof repairs and various other facility and infrastructure repairs.

 

Major Projects.  The Governor’s proposal included $36.1 million for major projects, a significant increase from the $13.5 million WDFW received in the current biennium.  Funded projects include:  Kalama Falls Hatchery ($4M); Soos Creek Hatchery, Phase 2 ($17M); Repairs to Edmonds Pier ($800K); Floodplain Improvement, Wooten Wildlife Area ($4M); Marblemount Hatchery Intake ($2.3M); Lake Whatcom Hatchery Intake ($1.4M); Puyallup Hatchery Renovation ($570K for pre-design); Eells Springs Hatchery Improvements ($4.6M); Fir Island Farms Restoration ($500K); and Lake Rufus Woods Fishing Access ($1M).

 

Next is a summary of the Governor’s 2015-17 biennium and the 2015 supplemental operating budget proposals for WDFW:

 

2015-17 Biennium

 

15% State General Fund Reduction Options:

 

Part of the Governor’s strategy to meet the challenge of developing a budget with a significant shortfall was to require state agencies to develop state general fund reduction options equal to 15 percent of their state general fund support.  Our mandated target was $10.8 million and the Governor’s budget takes approximately $2.0 million of that amount.  None of the reductions included in Governor Inslee’s operating budget proposal will reduce current staffing levels.

 

Fish Program Reductions:

The Governor’s budget proposal includes two reductions that will affect hatcheries.  These are production reductions at George Adams Hatchery (56% reduction in fall Chinook production) and Hoodsport Hatchery (affects chum, fall Chinook, and pink salmon production).  The Governor chose not to include any of the hatchery closure that were contained in our proposal.  

 

Enforcement Program Reduction:

The proposal also reduces funding for 3 Enforcement Officer positions.  This reduction will affect currently vacant officer positions and will not necessitate a reduction of currently filled officer positions. 

 

2015-17 Maintenance Level:

 

Maintenance level budget requests are intended to maintain current service levels.  Almost all of our maintenance level requests were funded at requested levels with the exception of our payments-in-lieu of taxes (PILT) and funding for hatchery utility increases.  The PILT payments are basically property tax payments to counties for WDFW owned wildlife lands.  We also did not receive funding for utility increases at hatcheries, although we should be able to obtain this funding during the 2016 session.  There will be no effect to staffing levels as a result of this proposed funding level.

 

2015-17 Biennium Selected Major Enhancements:

 

Fee Legislation ($7.0 million) -WDFW’s number one priority budget request, the fee bill, is funded in the Governor’s proposal and is projected to raise an additional $7.0 million per biennium primarily to support salmon production, hatchery maintenance, enforcement, and fisheries management activities throughout the state.

 

Tracking Puget Sound Fish Health ($1.5 million)- Funding was provided to track contaminants in Puget Sound fish species.  The funding will allow WDFW to fully implement fish contaminant and assessment and monitoring efforts as part of the Puget Sound Ecosystem Monitoring Program.

 

Recover Puget Sound Steelhead ($800K)- Funding was provided to continue WDFW’s efforts to study the extremely high mortality of steelhead smolts once they enter the Puget Sound.

 

Aquatic invasive species funding ($800K)- WDFW received funding to support our Aquatic Invasive Species Program as bridge funding for one biennium, practically doubling their biennial budget.  This funding is intended to bolster our ability to combat the threat of invasive species and to work on getting future funding to increase our work in this area.

 

Managing Elk Hoof Disease ($250K)- Funding is provided to support continued efforts to limit the spread of this debilitating disease.

 

Collective Bargaining Agreements:

 

The Governor’s budget funds the collective bargaining agreement which includes a 3 percent increase in the first fiscal year and 1.8 percent increase in the second fiscal year for state employees as well as a $20 per month increase for employees earning less than $2500 per month.  Funding is also included for Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) salary adjustments for targeted job classes with increases that range from 2.5 to 10 percent.  Affected job classes at WDFW are as follows: Contracts Specialists 1-3 (2.5%); Environmental Planner 2 (2.5%); Fish and Wildlife Biologist 2-4 (10%); Forms and Records Analyst 1-3 (2.5%); Management Analyst 1-5 (2.5%) and Natural Resource Specialist 1-5 (2.5%).

 

2015 Supplemental

 

We received the requested amount to pay the Department of Natural Resources for fighting wildfires and for restoration costs on WDFW lands from the serious wildfires this spring and summer.

 

Other funding adjustments provide enough funding to see WDFW through to the end the current biennium.

 

Synopsis

Overall WDFW ended up with a favorable budget from the Governor considering the current state budget climate.  This is positive first step that puts us in a favorable position at the outset of legislative budget development.  Thanks to everyone who worked with the Governor’s Office over the past few months helping them to understand the importance of our work. We will update you in the coming weeks and months as we have new information to share.

 

Phil and Joe

 


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