Tuesday, 30 September 2003 17:00

Huge Fee Increases for Sportsmen

Written by Gerald Lent
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Nevada Hunters Association

You can thank the Division of Wildlife and the Wildlife commissioners for sponsoring a $7.5 million fee increase for NDOW in the next two year budget cycle. HUNTER’S ALERT and Nevada Hunters Association opposed these huge increases for many reasons.

 

First, the fee increase was initially proposed without any documentation or proof that a fee increase of this magnitude was justified. Their attitude was that " it was just time for an increase"! The Division of Wildlife’s annual report for 2000-2001 states "With a budget base of more than $21 million and a healthy reserve, we are in good financial shape."

How can you go from healthy financial shape to economic disaster in just a little over a year with no new programs? The answer is that they are not prioritizing their expenses which are running rampant. NDOW produced a graph and with these new fees, it still shows the agency going downhill. This proves there is a big spending problem in this agency. This massive increase just to keep status quo shows there is definitely a huge spending problem.

Here’s what needs to be done immediately. Establish a budget review committee of commissioners and concerned sportsmen. Establish and define budgetary priorities and making necessary cuts that don’t support these priorities. Host townhall style meetings to explain the budget process, gather input from staff, community members and user groups. They should help decide what programs should be cut before increasing our fees. This review process would produce many potential cost saving measures.

Sportsmen need answers to questions such as How essential does the community think the program is? What is the overall cost of the program and what are the funding sources? Is there a more cost effective way to run the program? Can efficiency be increased in every department? Currently, none of these measures are being done by NDOW. Only more spending which results in higher fee increases. And finally, do not balance your budget on the backs of your customers which happen to be the sportsmen.

How can fee increases of this magnitude be justified when no one knows where the money is being spent and no one is responsible for checking the budget in this agency. The problem is not insufficient revenues. The problem is that revenues are not being used for game programs which will generate funds for this agency.

Before any new increases should have been approved, a complete performance audit should have been done on NDOW. This would have shown how their funds are being spent, being spent wisely and if any new revenues were needed. A recent partial audit found that five staff members in the Administration Bureau racked up between 300 and 1100 hours overtime. This shows that a complete audit is necessary.

Nevada Hunters Association
P.O. Box 50557
Reno, Nevada 89513

By Gerald Lent
Nevada Hunters Association

Last modified on Tuesday, 20 April 2010 07:28
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