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Thread: Theft of $5 Million in CO OHV Funds at Stake!!!

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    Exclamation Theft of $5 Million in CO OHV Funds at Stake!!!



    From COHVCO

    Theft of $5 Million in CO OHV Funds at Stake!!!
    It has come to our attention that the Colorado Joint Budget Committee is looking at rescinding all or part of funding for the OHV program in response to the COVID outbreak. This is the fund that is created from your OHV dollars and it will be used for other purposes despite the fact it is not general tax revenues. This would mean millions of your registration dollars would be lost if the rescission happens!!! While we are all concerned about the COVID issues and response, redirecting the OHV fund is not the way to solve this problem. We need you to email the JBC members (politely) and let them know this is not acceptable. Here you can cut and paste these points but we would still encourage you to rewrite them or add personal experiences with the program.


    Our thoughts for comments in opposition to the rescission:


    1. The OHV is a voluntarily collected fund for the benefits of the trails community and should not be reallocated for other uses as the program benefits all trails uses, both motorized and nonmotorized; in fact, it outstrips all funding from other sources set aside for trails by a factor of 5! This is motorized money that is protected by Colorado law. This is not general tax revenues.


    2. The Governor has repeatedly stated COVID response is a statewide issue and response should be unified across all residents of the State. It is unfair to place additional burdens or costs on certain user groups simply because there is money available. This recession would do just that.


    3. The funding challenges are being encountered in the trails’ community at record levels, given the record visitation to the many dispersed recreational facilities after recreational activity was allowed in the Governor’s COVID orders. This money will be critical to maintaining these facilities in response to the record usages that have resulted from the Governor’s exceptions to the stay at home orders for recreation. It will create another year’s backlog for trail maintenance.


    4. The OHV program hires more than 400 seasonal employees for shovel ready maintenance projects protecting natural resources, through federal, state and local agencies. These jobs are critical to the recovery and have already received dozens of applicants for each position as result of the record levels of unemployment.


    5. OHV grants are contractual obligations and must be honored as most require the grantee to outlay money and then apply to be reimbursed from the grant. This reimbursement process can take time and as a result much of the fund may have already been spent and simply awaiting reimbursement from the program. Failing to reimburse grantees is a “double lose” situation as money has already been spent and then could never be reimbursed.


    6. OHV grants are contractual obligations and governed by Federal, State and Local procurement statutes and have taken decades of effort to align. Once a reimbursement does not happen these laws are violated and returning the money does not cure these violations in the short term and it will take decades to reestablish the partnerships around the contracts that make the OHV program work if there are violations.


    7. JBC members should be asking is not “How do we redirect the OHV fund?” but rather “How do we get the OHV program funds on the ground faster?”

    Email JBC members (politely) at the addresses below:


    Senator Dominick Moreno
    dominick.moreno.senate@state.co.us


    Representative Daneya Esgar
    Daneya.esgar.house@state.co.us


    Representative Julie McCluskie
    Julie.mccluskie.house@state.co.us


    Senator Bob Rankin
    bob.rankin.senate@state.co.us


    Representative Kim Ransom
    kim.ransom.house@state.co.us


    Senator Rachel Zenzinger
    senatorrachelz@gmail.com

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    Default Re: Theft of $5 Million in CO OHV Funds at Stake!!!



    Actually got a real response on a Sunday afternoon. Besides this one, I got an undeliverable message from Daneya and an "out of office due to COVID" messsage from Rachel.

    "Dear Chris,

    I agree with you, and will oppose any "sweep" from the OHV fund. For the record, I also oppose sweeping any other fund that consists of fees similar to the OHV fund. Unfortunately, a ruling of the Colorado Supreme Count disagrees and the majority party is pursuing these sweeps. By the way, there were cash funds that were spent for general fund expenses during the last recession, so this is not a new issue. See the below paragraph, part of the JBC document, admitting the problem with existing obligations. I hope you'll contact all of the JBC members (if you haven't already) and also your State Representative and Senator, explain the source and intent of the fund, and give them your input about why the balance should remain in the fund for the intended use.

    From the JBC document

    Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Fund Primary Revenue Source(s): Fees collected from the registration of off-highway vehicles and fees collected from the sale of off-highway use permits. balancing Fund Purpose: The fund supports the Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Program, which is responsible for the administration of OHV registration and grants. The program provides promotes the availability of OHV recreational opportunities, and encourages safe and responsible use through brochures, news releases and other media. The program is also responsible for OHV safety awareness through the promulgation and enforcement of rules and regulations. Impact of 50.0% Transfer: According to the Department, the fund appears to have a large balance, but much this balance is obligated for specific projects. As of April 2020, approximately $5.0 million of the balance has not been obligated as grants or operating funds. If 50.0 percent of the fund’s net current assets, or approximately $9.0 million, was transferred to the General Fund, the fund would not have a balance sufficient to pay its outstanding grant and operating obligations. Leaving the fund without sufficient reserves to cover existing obligations would jeopardize OHV grant projects statewide, including capital equipment purchases, trail development, maintenance, and rehabilitation, and temporary staffing supporting these activities.

    Best,
    Kim
    Kim Ransom
    Colorado State Representative
    House District 44
    303 866 2933 "

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    Default Re: Theft of $5 Million in CO OHV Funds at Stake!!!



    I just sent an all-members e-mail regarding this topic.

    I wish my wording of the SUBJECT line would have been slightly different. It's perhaps incorrect.

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    Default Re: Theft of $5 Million in CO OHV Funds at Stake!!!



    This is an interesting topic....and I don't know the details of how the 're-allocated' money is being spent. I am also bodering on political topic...so feel free to say this does not belong on the forum. More than anything, I am initially a bit conflicted as to how I feel about the issue and am kind of thinking my way through it by writing. In short, I am a supporter of OHV funding, and recognize that money collected through those fees has a specific purpose, and was almost entirely paid for by users - of which I am one. Under normal circumstances I would feel something was not right if those funds went in another direction. But given the current situation is not normal, and tax revenue will be hit hugely, there might be some need for shifting how money gets spent based on ciritical priority...and that might very well be where 'politics' becomes the issue as we each potentially have a different priority for what govt expenses are priority. I think in such circumstances there might be a benefit for flexibility in how money is spent....especially when you consider that the state budget must be balanced every year. I don't know what the best answer is....but thinking of my personal budget, there is money that I would have allocated for jeep work, recreation, etc that just isn't going to be used to jeeping this year and instead is going to be used in place of lost income to cover other expenses that I would say are 'priority' over jeep expenses. In other words, keeping OHV access and maintenance is important, but given what is most likely to a brutal year for tax revenue, is there a better way to spend that 5 million for this particular year only? And of course, maybe the biggest issue - we all have a different idea of what that priority would be, and it appears that the gov't can re-allocate use of those funds without much oversight of the public (which I think might be the part that catches our attention). But there is some impracticality as to how would we taxpayers approve a different use of those funds - the cost to get a referendum etc would be more than the funds are worth. No answers from me....but the idea of state budget and expense is at the forefront of my thoughts as on average, most schools will have to lay off 2-3 teachers for the upcoming year (or figure out a way to cut the school based budget by the equivalent amount)....Even if education is not everyone's priority, I would think many of us have a priority of what to spend that money on over OHV use in this unique situation...But i also understand the precedent that gets set when this occurs, and then how would you keep it from happening in future years when the tax budget doesn't necessitate such unique actions? Anyway, I do thank the OP as being aware of what is happening is most important....how we choose to react or support becomes individual (is that a nice way to avoid political), and its worth some thought.
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    Default Re: Theft of $5 Million in CO OHV Funds at Stake!!!



    Well said James.
    ___________
    Tom
    -.- . ——- .— - -.-

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    Default Re: Theft of $5 Million in CO OHV Funds at Stake!!!



    FINOCJ previously posted:
    "This is an interesting topic....and I don't know the details of how the 're-allocated' money is being spent. I am also bodering on political topic...so feel free to say this does not belong on the forum. More than anything, I am initially a bit conflicted as to how I feel about the issue and am kind of thinking my way through it by writing. In short, I am a supporter of OHV funding, and recognize that money collected through those fees has a specific purpose, and was almost entirely paid for by users - of which I am one. Under normal circumstances I would feel something was not right if those funds went in another direction. But given the current situation is not normal, and tax revenue will be hit hugely, there might be some need for shifting how money gets spent based on ciritical priority...and that might very well be where 'politics' becomes the issue as we each potentially have a different priority for what govt expenses are priority. I think in such circumstances there might be a benefit for flexibility in how money is spent....especially when you consider that the state budget must be balanced every year. I don't know what the best answer is....but thinking of my personal budget, there is money that I would have allocated for jeep work, recreation, etc that just isn't going to be used to jeeping this year and instead is going to be used in place of lost income to cover other expenses that I would say are 'priority' over jeep expenses. In other words, keeping OHV access and maintenance is important, but given what is most likely to a brutal year for tax revenue, is there a better way to spend that 5 million for this particular year only? And of course, maybe the biggest issue - we all have a different idea of what that priority would be, and it appears that the gov't can re-allocate use of those funds without much oversight of the public (which I think might be the part that catches our attention). But there is some impracticality as to how would we taxpayers approve a different use of those funds - the cost to get a referendum etc would be more than the funds are worth. No answers from me....but the idea of state budget and expense is at the forefront of my thoughts as on average, most schools will have to lay off 2-3 teachers for the upcoming year (or figure out a way to cut the school based budget by the equivalent amount)....Even if education is not everyone's priority, I would think many of us have a priority of what to spend that money on over OHV use in this unique situation...But i also understand the precedent that gets set when this occurs, and then how would you keep it from happening in future years when the tax budget doesn't necessitate such unique actions? Anyway, I do thank the OP as being aware of what is happening is most important....how we choose to react or support becomes individual (is that a nice way to avoid political), and its worth some thought."


    You choosing how to prioritize your money is not the same as the government changing where money is spent that was dedicated to a certain cause without consent of the people that contributed. OHV users are the only people that pay into the OHV fund. I agree that the government should decide how to allocate the general fund but any funds that already have a designation by law should stay where they are.

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    Default Re: Theft of $5 Million in CO OHV Funds at Stake!!!



    I concur with much of James O's response especially to consider the context of the pandemic and the extreme impact on revenues. I have two points. I do think it's a relevant topic because it affects us all directly. The second thing is I would like to see the actual letter or documentation behind the subject at hand because this is at best someone else's interpretation of the issue and facts and at least third hand information from what I've seen. I'm not at all implying that it's invalid but I personally like to base my opinions and actions on what I believe to be a complete set of facts from a known and reliable source.

    I spent a little time googling the source information but was unable to find it. Anybody else?

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    Default Re: Theft of $5 Million in CO OHV Funds at Stake!!!



    I am very interested in this topic, I would like to share my initial thoughts and do some further research. Do you have a link for where this information about the JBC reallocation of OHV funds came from? I am mostly interested in where it is proposed to be put to use. Colorado Parks and Wildlife is the agency which oversees OHV funds for colorado. CPW is a user funded agency, drawing about 90% of its budget from hunting and fishing licenses, OHV and snowmobile registrations, and State Park passes. I am curious if this change is proposing to allow OHV funds to go to the general fund within CPW, or if they are proposing to obsorb it into the overall state budget.

    Full disclosure, I work for CPW so some of my points may be biased. Furthermore, I have not seen any internal emails regarding this so I don't have any additional information at this time, just putting my personal thoughts out there for the purpose of sharing information, NOT speaking for the state.

    IF the funds are staying within CPW's general fund, I am conflicted on this topic. On one hand, I fully believe in the need for OHV registrations and want to see the money go back to the user group directly. I used to work in the trails program as an intern, the ~400 seasonal employees mentioned above are not directly hired by the state but are funded via grants from CPW using the registrations money. The registrations system really does some great work for our trail systems both motorized and non motorized. On the other hand I am curious if the proposed action is unlocking the money to be used within CPW's general fund. If it is, this means that it will still go towards protecting Colorado's public lands in some form. As I mentioned above, CPW is nearly entirely user funded and has been hit hard just like any other area of business; for example the park I work at is losing roughly $10k per day solely from the Governor's order to keep campgrounds closed. If the proposal shifts money to CPW's general fund, it would go to a plethora of things, all related to outdoor recreation in Colorado. A few off the top would include: State Park operation and maintenance (to include necessary items for visitor safety); seasonal employee wages throughout the agency; big game species management; fish hatchery operations; emergency/rescue operations, and many more.

    I guess my overall opinion is that weighing the options as both a trail user and an outdoor recreation enthusiast in other areas, shifting funds from primarily focused on trail maintenance, towards helping protect other public land and wildlife resources during a year of financial hardship doesn't seem like such a terrible thing. But that's only if the funds are staying within CPW. I am not an economist, I can't speak for what is best on using OHV funds outside of the agency to help balance tax based programs elsewhere. However, I would say that as an outdoorsman, I am fundamentally opposed to the funds being reallocated outside of the scope of natural resource protection and preservation.

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    Default Re: Theft of $5 Million in CO OHV Funds at Stake!!!



    Kabra previously posted:
    "I concur with much of James O's response especially to consider the context of the pandemic and the extreme impact on revenues. I have two points. I do think it's a relevant topic because it affects us all directly. The second thing is I would like to see the actual letter or documentation behind the subject at hand because this is at best someone else's interpretation of the issue and facts and at least third hand information from what I've seen. I'm not at all implying that it's invalid but I personally like to base my opinions and actions on what I believe to be a complete set of facts from a known and reliable source.

    I spent a little time googling the source information but was unable to find it. Anybody else?"

    As posted in the OP it is from COHVCO, specifically from their Facebook page. I did not link to theri FB post as I know many here do not use Facebook.

    Based on the responses I have received from two of the JBC members it is true they are looking at taking the money and there is likely nothing we can do about it as the majority is in favor of it.

    The recommendations from the JBC will come out tomorrow.

    https://www.facebook.com/COHVCO/post...361?__tn__=K-R



    Riotcake previously posted:
    "I am very interested in this topic, I would like to share my initial thoughts and do some further research. Do you have a link for where this information about the JBC reallocation of OHV funds came from? I am mostly interested in where it is proposed to be put to use. Colorado Parks and Wildlife is the agency which oversees OHV funds for colorado. CPW is a user funded agency, drawing about 90% of its budget from hunting and fishing licenses, OHV and snowmobile registrations, and State Park passes. I am curious if this change is proposing to allow OHV funds to go to the general fund within CPW, or if they are proposing to obsorb it into the overall state budget.

    Full disclosure, I work for CPW so some of my points may be biased. Furthermore, I have not seen any internal emails regarding this so I don't have any additional information at this time, just putting my personal thoughts out there for the purpose of sharing information, NOT speaking for the state.

    IF the funds are staying within CPW's general fund, I am conflicted on this topic. On one hand, I fully believe in the need for OHV registrations and want to see the money go back to the user group directly. I used to work in the trails program as an intern, the ~400 seasonal employees mentioned above are not directly hired by the state but are funded via grants from CPW using the registrations money. The registrations system really does some great work for our trail systems both motorized and non motorized. On the other hand I am curious if the proposed action is unlocking the money to be used within CPW's general fund. If it is, this means that it will still go towards protecting Colorado's public lands in some form. As I mentioned above, CPW is nearly entirely user funded and has been hit hard just like any other area of business; for example the park I work at is losing roughly $10k per day solely from the Governor's order to keep campgrounds closed. If the proposal shifts money to CPW's general fund, it would go to a plethora of things, all related to outdoor recreation in Colorado. A few off the top would include: State Park operation and maintenance (to include necessary items for visitor safety); seasonal employee wages throughout the agency; big game species management; fish hatchery operations; emergency/rescue operations, and many more.

    I guess my overall opinion is that weighing the options as both a trail user and an outdoor recreation enthusiast in other areas, shifting funds from primarily focused on trail maintenance, towards helping protect other public land and wildlife resources during a year of financial hardship doesn't seem like such a terrible thing. But that's only if the funds are staying within CPW. I am not an economist, I can't speak for what is best on using OHV funds outside of the agency to help balance tax based programs elsewhere. However, I would say that as an outdoorsman, I am fundamentally opposed to the funds being reallocated outside of the scope of natural resource protection and preservation."

    The JBC will likely be recommending that the law be changed, hopefully temporarily, to allow the reallocation of $5M from the OHV fund to the state's general fund. We will find out tomorrow exactly what their recommendation is.

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    Default Re: Theft of $5 Million in CO OHV Funds at Stake!!!



    Thank you

    For bringing this to the attention of everybody I have also written the senators

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    Default Re: Theft of $5 Million in CO OHV Funds at Stake!!!



    newracer previously posted:
    "As posted in the OP it is from COHVCO, specifically from their Facebook page. I did not link to theri FB post as I know many here do not use Facebook.

    https://www.facebook.com/COHVCO/post...361?__tn__=K-R



    The JBC will likely be recommending that the law be changed, hopefully temporarily, to allow the reallocation of $5M from the OHV fund to the state's general fund. We will find out tomorrow exactly what their recommendation is."

    Unfortunately, that Facebook post didn't provide any further detail or cite any sources. I'm not saying it's not accurate, but I am interested in which specific statutes or regulations they are proposing changes to and the exact wording of the changes. I'll do some research.

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    Default Re: Theft of $5 Million in CO OHV Funds at Stake!!!



    newracer previously posted:
    "You choosing how to prioritize your money is not the same as the government changing where money is spent that was dedicated to a certain cause without consent of the people that contributed. OHV users are the only people that pay into the OHV fund. I agree that the government should decide how to allocate the general fund but any funds that already have a designation by law should stay where they are."

    I support your first sentence in most all conditions. But I am also open to the idea that the govt could in unusual circumstances, and where getting public approval to change the usage is impractical at this time, have some leeway in making necessary, one-time, this year only, budgetary changes even to pre-determined tax revenue. In some ways, its the definition of a representative democracy. I don't know if the budgetary decisions that anyone made - whether personal or public money - earlier this year should be held fast without some re-evaluation for what our spending priorities are now in a vastly different situation (and this is less a reflection of any health concern, but rather the huge loss of personal income and tax revenue). And if someone had a good solution for how we taxpayers could be involved in re-evaluating that budget directly, then that would be the way to go. I am just not sure there is any reasonable, practical way to get public choice on re-allocating money (and would that input only be from OHV fee payers?) that is timely and cost effective right now - again, part of the reason we have a representative democracy. In many ways, the only immediate input we have at this time is to contact our govt representative and voice our thoughts - be it in any direction of support. Again, I don't know if using this money for another purpose is truly a better use for it in this circumstance: some may feel that its originally intended use for OHV work is still the best use, others may feel otherwise, or maybe feel okay with allowing the gov't some flexibility with re-allocating cash flow and budgets in unique circumstances - and again, it would only be in such unique circumstances as this year, and my biggest fear is that the one time privilege of re-allocating money in this circumstance could set a bad precedent....

    I do appreciate the conversation and have been motivated to do a bit more digging about what exactly is being proposed....
    ___________
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    Default Re: Theft of $5 Million in CO OHV Funds at Stake!!!



    newracer previously posted:
    "As posted in the OP it is from COHVCO, specifically from their Facebook page. I did not link to theri FB post as I know many here do not use Facebook.

    https://www.facebook.com/COHVCO/post...361?__tn__=K-R

    The JBC will likely be recommending that the law be changed, hopefully temporarily, to allow the reallocation of $5M from the OHV fund to the state's general fund. We will find out tomorrow exactly what their recommendation is."


    What I would like to see is the actual documentation from the JBC. What's posted here and elsewhere is someone's (from COHVCO?) interpretation of JBC's intentions and it would be good to read that documentation directly. Riotcake made the same point hoping to see the JBC documentation.

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    Default Re: Theft of $5 Million in CO OHV Funds at Stake!!!



    FINOCJ previously posted:
    "I support your first sentence in most all conditions. But I am also open to the idea that the govt could in unusual circumstances, and where getting public approval to change the usage is impractical at this time, have some leeway in making necessary, one-time, this year only, budgetary changes even to pre-determined tax revenue. In some ways, its the definition of a representative democracy. I don't know if the budgetary decisions that anyone made - whether personal or public money - earlier this year should be held fast without some re-evaluation for what our spending priorities are now in a vastly different situation (and this is less a reflection of any health concern, but rather the huge loss of personal income and tax revenue). And if someone had a good solution for how we taxpayers could be involved in re-evaluating that budget directly, then that would be the way to go. I am just not sure there is any reasonable, practical way to get public choice on re-allocating money (and would that input only be from OHV fee payers?) that is timely and cost effective right now - again, part of the reason we have a representative democracy. In many ways, the only immediate input we have at this time is to contact our govt representative and voice our thoughts - be it in any direction of support. Again, I don't know if using this money for another purpose is truly a better use for it in this circumstance: some may feel that its originally intended use for OHV work is still the best use, others may feel otherwise, or maybe feel okay with allowing the gov't some flexibility with re-allocating cash flow and budgets in unique circumstances - and again, it would only be in such unique circumstances as this year, and my biggest fear is that the one time privilege of re-allocating money in this circumstance could set a bad precedent....

    I do appreciate the conversation and have been motivated to do a bit more digging about what exactly is being proposed...."

    If the money for the OHV fund came from the general fund I would agree that it could be reallocated anywhere that the legislature see fit. My issue is that those funds only come from the users, some voluntarily, and are supposed to only be used for the good of the community. If it was say a fuel tax or a sales tax that everyone contributes to than I would not have an issue.


    Kabra previously posted:
    "What I would like to see is the actual documentation from the JBC. What's posted here and elsewhere is someone's (from COHVCO?) interpretation of JBC's intentions and it would be good to read that documentation directly. Riotcake made the same point hoping to see the JBC documentation."

    I do not think that documentation exists, yet. I assume someone on the JBC or close to them tipped off COHVCO. The JBC report comes out tomorrow, that is when we will see exactly what they are recommending. As I posted above, based on two of the responses I have received from JBC members it is true.

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    Default Re: Theft of $5 Million in CO OHV Funds at Stake!!!



    newracer previously posted:
    "I do not think that documentation exists, yet. I assume someone on the JBC or close to them tipped off COHVCO. The JBC report comes out tomorrow, that is when we will see exactly what they are recommending. As I posted above, based on two of the responses I have received from JBC members it is true."

    Oh that makes sense. Maybe from a meeting where it was initially discussed. Could be a good idea to hold off on letters to our elected officials until the report comes out.

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    Default Re: Theft of $5 Million in CO OHV Funds at Stake!!!



    You can still contact the JBC now.

    I asked COHVCO where they got the information and they said they were contacted by CPW who was informed of JBCs intentions. CPW asked COHCVO for help and to spread the word. COHVCO also sits on many commitees and advisory groups.

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    Default Re: Theft of $5 Million in CO OHV Funds at Stake!!!




  26. #18
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    Default Re: Theft of $5 Million in CO OHV Funds at Stake!!!



    Isn't the state raking in millions in marijuana taxes?

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    Default Re: Theft of $5 Million in CO OHV Funds at Stake!!!



    The MJ money might be paying for labor and state jobs require a lot of it apparently. This was taken last Friday, a CDOT job, they were pouring a fill for a single triangle median. Masks were optional apparently. It is hard to want to help fund waste with any money.
         

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    Default Re: Theft of $5 Million in CO OHV Funds at Stake!!!



    newracer previously posted:
    "My issue is that those funds only come from the users, some voluntarily, and are supposed to only be used for the good of the community."

    99.9% of the time I agree...I think this is the .1% exception....so thinking about this more i have a proposal - which generally means its useless, but....I will write my letter in support of re-allocating my contribution to the OHV fund but ask they not use my letter in support of re-allocating someone else's money or contribution.....would those on the opposite side of the fence do the equivalent and recognize that those of us who 4 months ago thought this was an appropriate use of funds then, might think otherwise now and agree to changing priorities? probably crossing the line and becoming too political....maybe we should just ask for a refund of our contributions.

    More seriously, the voluntary (above and beyond fees) donations should be more protected from re-allocation. I understand not all of the $5 million is voluntary contributions (donations), and some of it is from license and use fees, so it would make sense that the voluntary donations to the OHV fund is handled differently in terms of re-allocation restrictions....

    So maybe I should say it this way - and kind of what I was trying to say at the top with humor: If an individual honestly believes the best use of the money at this time is to support OHV trail work, then by all means be active and communicate with the govt reps. But just as a member might ask us to support that idea, I might ask that as a dedicated trail user, volunteer and leader for this group's adopt a trail and volunteer program, that you also consider if there could be a better use of that money in the greater picture for this year, and in that case, go ahead write your letter to the govt as well. I've said, and honestly mean it, I don't know what is the best use of $5 million dollars right now... but am having trouble justifying that my contributions could not be spent in a better way right now.
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