The Legislative Budget Board met on August 29 to hear from Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board concerning the agency’s Legislative Appropriation Request for the 86th Session and key exceptional items.

This report is intended to give you an overview and highlight of the discussions on the various topics the committee took up. It is not a verbatim transcript of the hearing, but is based upon what was audible or understandable to the observer and the desire to get details out as quickly as possible with few errors or omissions.


Agency Presentation

Jose Dodier Jr, TX State Soil and Water Conservation Board

Rex Isom, TX State Soil and Water Conservation Board

Kenny Zajicek, TX State Soil and Water Conservation Board

John Foster, TX State Soil and Water Conservation Board

  • We are committed to be open and transparent
  • The current biennial budget was reduced in half by veto proclamation, therefore the program is being phased out
  • Those remaining dollars have been repurposed by the State Board to meet two goals:
    • Protect and enhance water supplies
    • Abatement of non-point source pollution
  • The State Board has chosen to repurpose remaining funds to assist flood control dams
  • Exceptional Item 1
    • Renewed funding of the water supply enhancement program
    • This funding will complete two ongoing projects and begin 11 new projects targeted to be most beneficial to public water supplies
  • Exceptional Item 2
    • This item addressed the backlog of flood control dam maintenance and repair needs
  • The base request is around $37 million for each year of the biennium
  • Around $2 million from the phased-out program was included in the Board’s base amount and has been repurposed to meet the following needs:
    • Around $400,000 will meet staffing needs
    • Around $400,000 will address a backlog of water quality management requests
    • Around $400,000 will address the flood control dam grant program for maintenance activities
  • The backlog on flood control problems is a major issue for the state
  • There are repair needs that do not qualify for federal funding
  • The Board’s 10% biennial reduction option amount is around $4 million
  • The Board’s biennial budget is 85% grants and passthrough
    • The reduction option is a reduction to those grants and passthrough amounts with any associated support costs


Questions from Joint Legislative/LBB Panel

  • Question – You said the backlog on the flood control program is $1.5 billion in current need, $14 million in maintenance, what was the other figure?
    • Structural repair of $29 million
  • Question – Have the appropriations made to help mitigate that backlog been outpaced by the number of new applicants?
    • Steve Bednar – Yes, because the state is growing so fast.
    • We know around 2,000 dams in the state need thousands of dollars for maintenance per year
    • Natural disasters increase that cost
  • Question – Can you explain your role with the federal government?
    • I’m not with the fed anymore, I’m with the state
    • The flow of money depends on Congress
    • We contract that money with sponsors
    • We add an agreement with sponsors for state money
    • The sponsors contribute 2% of the cost
  • Question – How much is the federal percentage?
    • The fed pays 65% of a rehabilitation project
    • We pay 95% of the sponsors cost
  • Question – Rehabilitation dams are based on classified as high hazard?
    • Yes, they must meet the standard
  • Our state funded program has attracted a lot of the federal money.
  • Question – Are there any issues that have limited the Board’s ability to maximize federal awards?
    • We have had issues in the past. It is easier for the money to go to us and then us to go to the sponsor
  • Question – Do you see any problems with the Crusoe-Cain program? Within your LAR you are anticipating a decrease in treated acres
    • The main reason for fewer acreage is that the cost is increasing
    • We are also anticipating security concerns along the border
  • Question – How is the exceptional item different from the old program?
    • The program itself is the same


Public Testimony


Todd Kercheval, TX Conservation Association for Water and Soil

  • We support the Board’s efforts