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Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Commission
Attendees: Hal Stearns, Chair, Betsy Baumgart, Homer Staves, Arnie Olsen, Doug Monger, Carol Bronson, Clint Blackwood, Rita Cortright. Steve Kubick was unable to participate.
Transition Committee Meeting
L&C Bicentennial Commission Office
November 4, 2004
10:30 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.
Committee Chair Hal Stearns called the meeting to order at 10:35 a.m. and reviewed the major points to be discussed: timeline of duties, legislative changes including Arnie Olsen’s draft legislation, budgets for FY’05, FY’06 and FY’07, and funding needs, all of which were included in a packet of information mailed previously to committee members.
Clint Blackwood referenced the cover memo dated Oct. 27, 2004 that was sent to the Transition Committee along with the items noted above. He explained that the Timeline was based on projected staffing through June 30, 2007, and the FY’07 budget reflected costs associated with the office functioning through that same date. Based on a recent conversation with Commission Chair Homer Staves, he suggested approaching the discussion from the perspective of determining a sunset date for the Commission and working back from that date to determine duties and funding needs. Hal Stearns explained that other states whose major events had ended in the mid- to late summer were planning to transition out by the close of the year.
The Transition Committee agreed that their recommendations should go to the Executive Committee for approval and in consideration of the approaching Legislature, the Executive Committee would communicate with the full Commission via e-mail for their approval. Because three of the four members of the Executive Committee were present on this committee, Clint offered to call Darrell Martin and bring him up-to-date with the discussions.
Betsy Baumgart asked for a review of the items in the Timeline with the projected sunset of Dec. 31, 2006.
Based on Arnie’s draft legislation, the license plate revenues would flow to the Commission through 12/31/06, after which time they would be directed to the Montana Historical Society and be split 50/50 through 1/1/2013 between Community grants and Society projects. Betsy Baumgart suggested that if the Commission’s sunset date was 12/31/06, the bed tax funds from Travel Montana would end at the halfway point in FY2007; therefore, only $100,000 would be needed.
Staffing would cease with the 12/31/06 date.
- Fiscal duties would transfer to the Society.
- License Plates management would transfer to the Society through new legislation effective Jan. 1, 2007
- Commission meetings would end probably with the Oct. 06 meeting
- Director’s reports would end as of Dec. 2006
- Partner Coordination would end as of Dec. 2006
- Final Report to 2007 Legislature would be finalized by the Society
- Newsletter publication and Access Database maintenance would end with the Nov. 06 issue
- Website would transfer to the Society as of Dec. 06 to be captured in some form
- Legacy Campaign duties, including pledge reminders and receipts, quarterly financial reports, and communications/meetings of the Coordinating Committee, would transfer to the Society as of Dec. 06. Campaign admin. costs are built into the Campaign.
- Grants Program:
- O&P Grants for Calendar 2006 will require final reporting by Nov. 30, 2006
- Project Grant reporting will end as of Nov. 30, 2005
- Program Grants for FY05 and FY06 were not an issue. FY07 funding for MTTA could be wrapped into the Society’s future grants program. FY07 and FY08 funding for PPL sign projects would transfer to the Society. All Corps II Host Communities grants would require final reporting by Nov. 30, 2006.
- Challenge Cost Share Grants current agreement ends Sept. 2007.
Note: The Commission would not agree to serve as pass thru entity for any future NPS CCS grants awarded, including those in the Spring of 2006.
- Legacy Document Oversight and Preparation would be coordinated with staff until Dec. 06 and transfer to the Society (Dave Walter) for completion and presentation to the 2007 Legislature.
Following review of the above items, there was consensus that the Commission’s activities should conclude as of Dec. 31, 2006. It was agreed that legislative action would not be required. Arnie agreed to the transfer of ongoing duties as underlined above, and that the Society be compensated for the added duties out of the “community grants” portion of the anticipated license plate revenue beginning 1/1/2007.
Recommendation to the Executive Committee: That the activities of the Commission should conclude as of Dec. 31, 2006.
The Committee discussed the status of the Bed Tax as it related to House Bill 2. Betsy and Arnie agreed to meet prior to Nov. 15 and discuss possible action to immediately amend HB2 language in Gov. Martz budget to reflect bed tax funding of $200,000 in FY06 and reduction to $100,000 in FY07, with any unspent portion returning to Travel Montana – Dept. of Commerce. If that were not feasible, language would be crafted to amend the budget in the legislative process during the Session.
Recommendation to the Executive Committee: To support immediate language in Gov. Martz’ HB2 to reflect bed tax funding of $200,000 in FY06 and a reduction to $100,000 in FY07, with any unspent portion returning to Travel Montana – TAC. If that were not feasible, language would be crafted to amend the budget in the legislative process during the Session.
The FY07 budget was discussed, and it was noted that this budget was prepared covering the full 12 months of the fiscal year. Because the Commission was now projected to sunset midway through the fiscal year, both income and expenses were overstated. It was noted that income from Travel Montana should change to reflect $100,000, not $200,000. The Commission expected repayment of the $50,000 from the Legacy Project in FY07, and license plate revenues were projected at $56,098, which was revenue for 6 months only at a 15% reduction from the previous year. Under expenses, personnel costs would reduce by half, but would need to be adjusted to cover a termination package. The committee discussed the possibility “stay pay” or a termination package for staff. A subcommittee was formed to address the “stay pay/termination package” issue, and included Betsy, Arnie and Doug as chair.
Recommendation to the Executive Committee: To support the formation of a subcommittee to address the “stay pay” or “termination package” options for Commission staff.
Clint noted that he and Arnie had already discussed the need for the Commission to share its Grants Guidelines and Application process with the Society in preparation for them assuming the management of the outstanding grants, in addition to implementing a community grants program to disburse the 50% split of license plate revenues beginning Jan. 1, 2007. MTTA was identified as a possible entity for continued funding under the Society’s grant program. The Committee agreed to provide some guidelines to the Society regarding the entities they would like to see funded with the 50% split of plate revenues, i.e., interpretive signs, MTTA, signature events, etc.
Doug Monger suggested that as of Sept. 1, 2006, the Commission should review the status of its income, expenses, and reserves and project its financial picture through the end of the calendar year. Based on those projections he proposed doing one final grant distribution of available funds to close out any remaining fund balance.
The Committee next discussed what legislation was needed related to the future of the license plates. Arnie’s draft legislation was reviewed which proposed transferring the license plate funds to the Society effective 1/1/07. His proposal included a 50/50 split of the revenues between MHS and “community” L&C projects through Jan. 1. 2013, after which time the total plate revenues would be retained by the Society. From Jan. 1. 2007 through Dec. 31, 2012, 50% of the revenue would go to L&C Community grants and 50% would be directed to L&C projects at the Society. Betsy Baumgart suggested including an effective date for the change of revenues within the body of the bill and Arnie agreed. Doug Monger suggested making the effective date 1/1/07 and striking any references to the Commission and add the Montana Historical Society. Arnie agreed to work with Legislative Fiscal Division staff to develop an official “bill draft” that incorporated the following: removing the cut off date of 12/31/06 for license plate sales and renewals, redirecting the funds to the Society effective 1/1/2007 and adding the 50/50 split through 1/1/2013. Clint Blackwood had already approached Senator Tash to secure a “place holder” bill and Arnie Olsen said he would continue to work with Senator Tash. The Committee supported Arnie’s draft and agreed that a separate bill draft would not be necessary. Because of the timing of drafting the bill and getting it filed, it was agreed a draft could not be sent immediately to the full commission; however the spirit of the bill would be conveyed in a memo and the filed draft will follow later.
Note: Following the Nov. 4 meeting of the Transition Committee, Betsy requested that the Commission’s Executive Committee review and approve the draft license plate legislation prior to it being filed.
Recommendation to the Executive Committee: That the Commission support Arnie Olsen’s draft license plate bill utilizing the Commission’s request for a bill draft through Senator Tash, and that a separate bill draft would not be necessary.
Clint agreed to draft a memo to the Executive Committee outlining the committee’s recommendations; contact Darrell Martin, obtain consensus of the Executive Committee on those recommendations, and send an e-mail memo to the full Commission seeking their approval of the Executive Committee’s recommendations.
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