Vermont Fish and Wildlife Funding Task Force Meeting

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On January 18th 2007, the Fish and Wildlife Funding Task Force will hold a public listening session in the Pavilion Theater at 106 East State Street, in Montpelier at 7:00 PM. The public is welcome to comment on the proposed recommendations of the Task Force at that time.

The Fish and Wildlife Taskforce was established by the Vermont legislature to examine alternatives and make recommendations on sustainable funding sources for the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. The Governor appointed members of the Task Force. The Taskforce is required to submit a report to the legislature by mid-January. While not required by legislation to hold a public meeting, the Task Force is seeking public input on their draft recommendations in order to improve the final report to the Legislature and the Governor.

The Task Force is seeking comments on eight draft revenue recommendations including establishing multi-year fishing licenses, redirecting a portion of the state sales tax and others. The Taskforce will consider the comments made at the listening session when making its final recommendations.

Documents produced by the Task Force will be available for downloading on the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department's website

Below is a summary of the Task Force findings.

Draft Executive Summary

Sec. 296a of Act No. 215 of 2006 (H. 881) of the 2005-2006 Vermont Legislature established the Fish and Wildlife Department Funding Task Force. The law directed the Task Force to submit findings and recommendations to the 2006-2007 Legislature and Governor Douglas' Administration.

The Task Force was formed during the fall of 2006 with the appointment of nine members representing various department stakeholders.

The Task Force held seven meetings in Montpelier on September 18, October 16, October 30, November 13, November 27, December 11, 2006 and January 4, 2007. All Task Force meetings were open to the public. An email requesting comments was sent to all parties listed as interested in the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department's Second Wildlife Congress. A public presentation of the Task Force Report was made on January 4, 2007.

The law directed the Task Force to develop recommendations for comprehensive, sustainable funding mechanisms for the operations of the department of fish and wildlife which complement existing funding sources. It further stated the task force shall, among other things, consider whether costs of work carried out by fish and wildlife department personnel in providing technical services to permitting bodies and in enforcing laws and regulations other than fish and wildlife laws and regulations, should be paid for from other agency and department funds, as appropriate.

The Task Force received presentations from Sher Yacono, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department Business Manager; Ron Regan, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department Wildlife Division Director; and Thomas Decker, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department Operations Director. The Task Force reviewed Agency of Natural Resources FY07 Program and Budget Summaries; Agency of Natural Resources FY07 Budget Detail; VT Fish and Wildlife Department Statement of Needs Memorandum 11.08.06; VT Fish and Wildlife Department Agency Assist Memorandum 11.06.06; VT Department of Fish and Wildlife 45-Year Boating and Universal Shore Fishing Access Development Plan; Teaming with Wildlife, State-Level Funding Initiatives information sheet; Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department FY06 Revenue Sources; IAFWA-ASA Dating Mining Project, Initial Vermont Findings, September 30, 2006; Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife. 2000. Vermont Residents' Attitudes Toward Program Priorities and Alternative Funding Mechanisms for the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife. Responsive Management, November 2000; Funding the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department in the 1990s, A Report from the Governor's Commission on Fish and Wildlife Funding, June, 1990; Investing in Wildlife, State Wildlife Funding Campaigns, Summary of Findings, Teaming With Wildlife; Technical Assistance Performance Report FW-17-T-31, Job I-1, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department; State Wildlife Diversity Program Funding: A 1998 Survey, International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies; The Future of Vermont's Natural Treasures, Tuck School of Business for Agency of Natural Resources, August, 2005; Passing The Buck, A Special Report by the Izaak Walton League of America, A Comparison of State Fish and Wildlife Agency Funding and the Economic Value of Wildlife-Associated Recreation, 1999; and Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife License Sales Data 1987-2005.