Discussion About Projects Subject to the Capital Spending Freeze
COMMITTEE ON CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT
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07:38 AM -- Discussion About Projects Subject to the Governor's Capital Spending Freeze
Representative Riesberg opened the floor for discussion about capital projects subject to the Governor's capital spending freeze. Committee members received a letter from the Governor's Office of State Planning and Budgeting (OSPB) regarding capital freeze exemptions (Attachment B), and a list of OSPB's capital freeze exemption decisions (Attachment C). Representative Riesberg invited discussion about Attachment C. Mr. Brad Membel, Director of Facilities Services, and Mr. Richard Markovich, Manager of Planning and Architecture, both of the Department of Human Services (DHS), came to the table at the request of the committee to answer questions about specific DHS capital projects for which exemptions were requested. Representative McFadyen suggested making a recommendation to the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) that projects with health and life-safety components be the first to be released from the freeze when it is lifted. Discussion ensued about how to interpret Attachment C and about specific projects in Attachment C, including project #11 and projects #38 through #43.
Mr. Membel and Mr. Markovich continued to answer questions about the projects in Attachment C. Discussion shifted to the impact of not funding specific projects in Attachment C, and why exemptions for some projects were denied. Regarding questions about project #40, Mr. Membel explained that DHS did not receive a freeze notice from OSPB until January 29, 2009, so DHS began construction on the project on January 27, 2009. Discussion turned to how federal stimulus money might be allocated for specific projects, who would be authorized to make such allocations, and the process the committee might use to allocate money to projects in a priority order.
Mr. Markovich spoke about projects #41 through #43 in Attachment C, and noted that Adams County recently closed on the land for project #46. Committee members commented. Representative Sonnenberg asked about redirecting severance tax funds, or other cash funds, for capital construction and maintenance needs, to the extent that severance tax funds are currently allocated to the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation (Parks) and the Division of Wildlife. Discussion ensued.
Discussion continued about severance tax funds and the funding sources for specific Parks projects. Committee members discussed possible ways to fund Parks projects. Representative Sonnenberg clarified that, in light of the state's budget and pressing needs, he had concerns with the funding sources for a handful of Parks projects, not all of the projects.
The committee adjourned.