OCC Budget and Allocation Committee 2010

image of OCC budget committee
The Budget and Allocation Committee members are, from left, standing OCC Commissioner George Stunkard, OACD Vice President Kim Farber; seated, OCC Commissioner Mike Rooker, OACDE Past President Bradley Hamilton, and OACD President Trey Lam.

The Oklahoma Conservation Commission Budget and Allocation Committee held its first meeting at the Agriculture Building in Oklahoma City on May 21, 2010. The committee was authorized at the May Commission meeting to make recommendations to the Commission on how best to fill the general revenue budget cuts experienced last fiscal year and the one scheduled for FY 2011, which begins July 1, 2010.  The first goal of the committee is to provide input to the Commission on the conservation district allocations for FY 2011. Those allocations are scheduled for Commission review and approval on July 1.

The Challenge — the size of the budget hole: The Commission’s general revenue appropriations were reduced by $614,902 from FY 2009 to FY 2010.  During FY 2010, the current fiscal year, another $642,914 was reduced from the budget as rescissions.  In the FY 2011 budget, another $307,307 of general revenue reductions is anticipated (As this is being written, the general appropriations bill has passed both houses and sent to the governor for signature).  So, the Commission has lost over 1.5 million dollars of general revenue appropriations over two years.  The Budget and Allocation Committee will look at ways to fill this hole through cuts and/or recommending use of other sources of funds.

The authorization for the committee set out that it would consist of two OCC commissioners, two members of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts and one representative from the Oklahoma Association of Conservation District Employees. The authorization also called for support from four OCC staff members, one OACD employee and one USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service employee.

Commissioners Mike Rooker and George Stunkard represent OCC on the committee. OACD President Trey Lam and Vice President Kim Farber represent that organization and OACDE Past President Bradley Hamilton represents the district employees association. Staff support will come from Mike Thralls, Ben Pollard, Steve Coffman and Lisa Knauf for OCC. Clay Pope will represent OACD and Gary O’Neill will represent NRCS.

The committee is authorized through June of 2011 and will also provide input into the FY 2012 budget.  By most accounts, the FY 2012 state general revenue appropriations will be at least as challenging, if not more so, than the past two years.