The following question was asked at our June 11, 2015 public listening session at Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park.
Where does the money go?
Funding – Budget
Our annual operating budget in fiscal year 2014 was approximately $12.3 million: $8.1 million in federal appropriations and $4.2 million in retained receipts.
The budget structure determined by Congress for Land Between The Lakes provides two sources of annual funding: 1) An appropriated amount and 2) retained receipts also known as revenue. By design, one-third of all annual costs are covered by revenue in order for Land Between The Lakes to operate. This framework ensures that funding for Land Between The Lakes will remain relatively stable as long as the visiting public is willing to pay for products and services provided.
Each January, the President submits a budget request to Congress for the next fiscal year which includes funding for the Forest Service. Congress determines the actual amounts that are then included in the annual Appropriations Bill for the Forest Service. Once approved by Congress, the final bill is sent to the President for signature.
Congress discontinued the use of “earmark” funding for specific purposes which eliminated the line item funding Land Between The Lakes received for the first ten years of Forest Service management. Now our funding is like all National Forest units within the US Forest Service. Our annual budget is determined by the US Forest Service and no longer pre-determined by the line item. For reference, the initial Fiscal Year 2001 line item appropriation was $7.8 million. Now, 15 years later, our appropriation budget is $7.6 million in fiscal Year 2015.
The likelihood of declining federal budgets, particularly related to maintenance functions, will increase the need to work closely with the public and partners when making difficult decisions.
These discussions will be reminiscent of the “Budget Reduction” meetings held in 2012 when the first budget shortfalls were realized. Since these meetings our Facility Maintenance and Recreation funding has decreased by a combined $1.2 million. We have been able to navigate this challenge thanks to a public that provided constructive comments when making difficult decisions.
As we move forward it has become increasingly challenging to make large scale facility improvements without the help of other funding sources. For example, we recently constructed 8 new bath houses at Piney Campground due to a federal grant ($2.7 million) we successfully competed for. We also rely heavily on the Federal Highways Administration who reimburses both Kentucky and Tennessee for maintenance on our paved roads.
Unlike other National Forest Units, Land Between The Lakes is responsible for keeping all revenue received from charges, use fees, and natural resource utilization, including timber and agricultural receipts. We are the only forest service unit that has been granted this ability. If you would like to crosswalk each dollar collected in FY14 to where it will be utilized in FY15, you can find the spread sheet at https://landbetweenthelakes.us/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/RevenueSpread.pdf.
Combined funding of programs in Fiscal Year 2014.
Land Between The Lakes Budgeted Dollars for Fiscal Year 2014
|Fire & Fuels Management||$404,652||3%|
|Recreation, Heritage, Env Ed||$6,912,275||56%|
|Planning, Inventory, Monitoring||$194,210||2%|
|Wildlife & Fisheries Management||$674,621||5%|
|Vegetation, Water, Timber||$1,077,297||9%|
|Cost Pools & Admin||$1,358,785||11%|
|*Includes recreation and environmental education maintenance dollars|
Volunteers provided 89,243 hours of service in FY2014 while our Public Land Corps Program for our apprentice and intern program provided 25,784 hours of service. The total of 115,027 hours, or 64 people annual work hours, provided a $2,593,860 value to Land Between The Lakes.
Partnership with the Friends of Land Between The Lakes provided an additional, in-kind assistance valued at around $985,000 plus direct cash contributions of another $350,000. When we combine volunteer hours with all other in-kind assistance and cash contributions from partners, the value of total savings to the taxpayer in FY2014 reached over $3.9 million.