Joint Budget Peer subcommittee

Jan. 25, 2023

Sen Boyd: Alright, we are going to get started here. Welcome to Peer Review Subcommittee of the Joint Budget Committee. I am Senator Justin Boyd looking forward to chairing this committee with Representative Lynch. Do you have anything you want to say?

Rep Lynch: Good morning, everyone. I noticed something odd in the sky this morning when I left home and I finally figured out it was daybreak. I hadn’t seen it so long I didn’t know what it was, so good morning. 

Sen Boyd: With that said, we are going to get rolling. We’ve got a long agenda today and we are going to get through it just as quickly and efficiently as we can. So, we are going to start with Item B, various temporary appropriation requests. 

BLR Staff: Thank you Mr. Chair. This section has requests from agencies to increase their spending authority when activities that are supported by general revenue, special revenue, trust funds, or miscellaneous revenue. The request for additional appropriation, that is to increase their spending  level above what was authorized and their operations act for the current fiscal year. They have sufficient funding, but do not have enough authority to spend those funds. Requests are first approved by DFA and they come to ALC or JBC for legislative approval. The first item is a letter from the Department of Agriculture that is B1  and it’s for $314,000 dollars in appropriation. This is to replace the Clarksville District Office in the Forestry Division. The letter notes that this project is now anticipated to be completed sooner than was planned. The next item, B2, is a letter from the Department of Public Safety. It’s for the Division of Arkansas State Police. This is for a $100,000 in appropriation and it’s to purchase equipment for the Used Motor Vehicles Division and cover unanticipated operating costs. The next item is B3 and it’s a letter from the Department of Parks Heritage and Tourism. It’s for the Division of Heritage and is $400,000 dollars in appropriation and it’s to pay for the increase operational costs of multiple Heritage Division sections. The next item is B4 and it’s a letter for ASU system. It’s on behalf of Henderson State. It’s for $5 million dollars in appropriation and is to use salary savings for operating expenses. 

Sen Boyd: I understand that there might be a question on that one, do you want to have someone come to the table?  So, if someone is from ASU or Henderson State will you come to the table for questions? 

Broadway (ASU): Good morning, Mr. Chair and members. Shane Broadway with ASU system. 

Rep Springer: Good morning and thank you Mr. Chair. Good morning Mr. Broadway. How are you? 

Broadway (ASU): Good morning Representative. I’m here. 

Rep Springer: Okay. I am too. It was an early morning trip this morning. 

Broadway (ASU): Now I know why I never asked to be on this committee when I was a member. 

Rep Springer: Would you give a little bit more of an explanation as to what’s taking place here? As an alumni, I have had some phone calls, so if you would please. Thank you. 

Broadway (ASU): As you may recall, the ASU system has been involved with Henderson for the last several years during their financial difficulties. This past May our board of trustees approved a financial exigency plan to try and get Henderson States financial house back in order. In doing so, we eliminated around, I’m looking at here to remember, around 88 positions. So that is obviously salaries that we will no longer be paying. There are still some faculty members who have this academic year before their positions will end because of the way tenure works, but there will be 88 positions. So we no longer have those salaries that we are paying in order to try and get our financial house back in order, which I would say in the time that I have been involved, our financial position has not been better. Difficult, tough, hard, gut-wrenching are just a few adjectives to describe the last few years for the people on that campus, but also those of us who have dealt with it each and every day because we know so many people and worked with them for years. So, we reduced the amount of salaries that are being paid and so this is, we no longer need this appropriation in the salary line because we are not paying that. This is more of an accounting DFA procedure for drawing down Henderson’s funds, so we need to move this to the operation line. Only way we can do that, is to come to Peer and ask for additional appropriation. As I was telling Chairman Jean a little bit ago, we will then come with an amendment during the budget process. This is for this fiscal year. We will then come up with an amendment to fix this going forward and drop the appropriation for the salary line for Henderson’s budget going forward and move it to the operations line. It is more for cash and to being able to draw down state funds when DFA sends those to Henderson every month for operations. 

Rep Springer: Mr. Chair one follow up question? 

Sen Boyd: Yes ma’am. One. 

Rep Springer: Thank you. Can you state whether or not that means the elimination of any certain colleges within the system and these 88 positions, what colleges if any? 

Broadway (ASU): There are more, I don’t know if I would say colleges.  I can get you back that information that has been obviously May since I dealt with a lot of it, but mainly teaching out of certain degree programs that were no longer financially sound. So, it is mainly more of degrees, and not necessarily colleges. There has been a restructuring of colleges where you combine certain things into one college instead having separate ones, but I will get you that information. 

Rep Springer: Thank you, Mr. Chair. 

Sen Boyd: Representative Jean you have a question? 

Rep Jean: Shane I’m over here. 

Broadway (ASU): Yes sir.

Rep Jean: Several questions. On the $5 million dollars when you get into operations. Do you have any idea, that could be capital improvement, that could be a lot of things. Do you know what the goal is and what they are going to spend it on? 

Broadway (ASU): It’s not going to be capital improvement. It will be just on the actual operations, the cash in terms of operating the campus, paying bills, all those things. We did not have enough on that side of the house and that’s why the request is for the operations side. 

Rep Jean: Follow up? 

Sen Boyd: Yes, follow up. 

Rep Jean: The loan, the $6 million dollars, what’s the outstanding balance on that? 

Broadway (ASU): Let’s see, $6 million dollars, so we paid $250,000.00  dollars and I will let you do the math. 

Rep Jean: Okay. $5,750,000 dollars? 

Broadway (ASU): That is correct. 

Rep Jean: Would any of this money help pay that loan down? 

Broadway (ASU): There is no– this is just appropriation only. So, no. 

Rep Jean: But if you gotta reroute it that could do that couldn’t you? 

Broadway (ASU): It would be a route that it could yes. Could be used to do that, yes sir. 

Rep Jean: And do you know if they have any plans on? 

Broadway (ASU): Fingers are always crossed every year when we get to June 30th Mr. Chairman. First off the fingers are crossed that we balance at zero and if there is anything left over, there is a celebration. 

Rep Jean: Fair enough. Thank you. 

Broadway (ASU): Our plan is to pay off that loan in time as the financial condition gets better and we have several things in the pipeline that will hopefully help with that. 

Rep Jean: Alright appreciate it. Thank you Mr. Chairman.

Sen Boyd: Senator Hickey. 

Sen Hickey:: Yes. Of course, Representative Jean literally asked what I was going to ask but personally I would like to have some more specifics on that because what we are actually going to use the money for, because if we hadn’t cut the salaries, are we sitting here saying that we were going to be operating at a deficit? 

Broadway (ASU): No. 

Sen Hickey:: Okay. So.

Broadway (ASU): I guess we just need the appropriations so that we can draw down the funds from DFA and it doesn’t need to go in the salary line anymore. 

Sen Hickey:: Well, that’s what I’m. 

Broadway (ASU): We don’t have enough appropriation in the operations line to be able to accept the money, as I understand it. 

Sen Hickey:: Okay. Well here’s, respectively Shane, here’s the way I am seeing it. If everything had been left the same it could have been paid to salaries, correct? The way that we had the appropriation set up. 

Broadway (ASU): Correct. 

Sen Hickey: So, all you are doing is your actually taking the $5 million dollars now since you don’t have it there, and you are going to put it in the other line items and increase those. Because you are actually going to draw the money. 

Broadway (ASU): Right.

Sen Hickey: Okay. So that’s what I am asking. If we hadn’t done anything, you were going to be able to operate or they were going to be able to operate without going into the red. 

Broadway (ASU): I think, bit I’m no expert on this, but if we had drawn down into the salary line it would have had to go into salaries that we no longer are paying. 

Sen Hickey: I understand. 

Broadway (ASU): So that’s why we are moving the appropriation to the operations of the campus. 

Sen Hickey:  Right. We now have $5 million more dollars to spend on operations.

Broadway (ASU): In appropriation only. You’re not transferring the actual dollar. 

Sen Hickey: But that’s the intention. 

Broadway (ASU): Yes, but I need to find out how much actual dollars we are actually talking about and I can get that for you. 

Sen Hickey: Okay. Is there any rush or could we do this at the next meeting so we can get a little more specifics?  I mean that is if the rest of the committee wants that also, I am just one member here. Thank you. 

Sen Boyd: Alright we are going to move on to–any other questions? Alright Item 5. Office of the Governor. 

BLR Staff:  Thank you Mr. Chair.  D5 is a letter from the office of the Governor. It is $447,000 dollars in appropriation. It’s to purchase computer equipment and maintenance services for staff. Mr. Chair, there are 2 more items on the agenda and they are in the held section, that’s in a separate packet marked B, held items. B6 is for DHS and B7 is for Game and Fish. They were originally held by ALC in a separate packet, and at the last ALC meeting these items were referred to JBC Peer review. At this time DFA requested we pass over the items. Mr. Chair, those were all the various appropriation requests. 

Sen Boyd: Thank you. Without an objection from anyone then we are just going to approve them as items 1-5. Oh, okay, sorry, Senator Dismang. 

Sen Dismang: Thank you and I think on items–and we may want to ask DFA to be sure, but items B6 and 7, I actually think there may be a request to withdraw those from DFA. Can y’all confirm that or do you want to continue to pass over? I would just like to try clean up the agenda the best we can if these things are just going to stay on there indefinitely. Or maybe it just takes a new letter from the new administration. 

Breck (DFA):Robert Breck, DFA. If these items, and I believe they may be, if these items are tied to ARPA requests, then they would be withdrawn. The Game and Fish Commission, if that’s tied to a restrictive reserve request, then it needs to stay. I think for the held items for today I would leave those on the held agenda. We have asked that the ARPA held items be withdrawn, but to the extent that the various temporary appropriation may be needed for something else. 

Sen Dismang: And if you don’t mind, so they are dated August 31st, and then the other one is dated October 13th.  It may be cleanest, and we can leave them on for now, but I think that it may be cleanest that if you want them to stay on, maybe we could request a new letter that is under the current administration. 

Breck (DFA): I believe those items can be withdrawn. We can withdraw them today and then put them back on the agenda. 

Sen Dismang: That’s what I was thinking too. That way we just clean things up and they are not always hanging out there. With that I would like to make a motion to withdraw Items B6 and 7. 

Sen Boyd: So we have a motion and a second to withdraw Items B6 and 7. All in favor say aye.  Any opposed?  Hearing none, motion passes. Alright so back to B1-5. Without objection we are going to vote all of those as a batch, so any further questions on B1-5? Hearing none is anyone willing to make a motion to approve B1-5? Okay. So, moved. Do we have a second? Seconded. All in favor say aye. Any opposed? Hearing none, motion passes. So, moving on to C1, the ARPA appropriation requests the direct federal awards. Hang on. Senator Hickey. 

Sen Hickey: Okay, so did we do Arkansas State University also? Okay. Is there any way for me to back up? I would like for us to get the other information on that, and I apologize. You asked for that. If so, I would like to make a motion to expunge the vote on that because I would like to get more information on what that money is going to be used for in operations. 

Sen Boyd: Okay. 

Sen Hickey: Especially since we have used state money to provide a loan for them, I think that this needs a little bit more due diligence. I do understand it’s just the appropriation at the time, but we are looking to get other funds. 

Sen Boyd: Okay. So I have a motion to expunge the vote for approval of items B1-5. Do I have a second on that somewhere? Second. Okay, so I have a second. All in favor of expunging that vote say aye.  Any opposed? Alright, motion expunged, so. 

Sen Hickey: And now I make a motion to approve the other items that are remaining. 

Sen Boyd: Okay, so we have a motion to approve items B1, B2, B3, and B5. I have a motion from Senator Hickey. Do I have a second? I have a second. All in favor say aye. Any opposed? Hearing none motion passes. So we have approved items B1, B2, B3, and B5. We are moving on to C now. Thank you. 

BLR Staff: Thank you Mr. Chair, we’re efficient. We’re in the American Rescue Plan request, this is section C. The American Rescue Plan Act is a federal spending package to contain Covid and provide economic support. Some ARP awards come to a state agency or institution directly from a federal department or office, those are items C1-C7 on the agenda. This spending plan also provided $1.57 billion dollars in state fiscal recovery funds and that’s for the state to have discretion awarding within a frame work of certain eligible uses. Those are items C8-C22. Special Language requires ALC or JBC approval of spending authority for any award from funds that originated in the American Rescue Plan. The first item, C1 is for Southern Arkansas University Tech and is for $251,000 dollars and it’s to provide financial aid grants to students for the spring 2023 semester. The next item is C2 on Pg. 5, and is the Department of Health Maternal Infant Early Childhood Home Visiting grant program. It’s for $1.9 million dollars appropriation to spend those ARP funds. This is to support home visiting activities that address the needs of families and staff during the pandemic. Those needs have been identified as new technology and data collection to improve service delivery. 

Next item is on Pg. 7, is C3. This is for the Department of Health and is for $1.7 million dollars. It is to develop a disease intervention specialist training curriculum to expand efforts regarding STD’s, tuberculosis, and Hepatitis C, and for program implantation with partners across the state to establish community imbedded disease intervention specialists. 

The next item is on Pg. 9., C4. This is for the Department of Health. This has been pulled down by agency request. 

The next item is on Pg. 15, C5. This is the Department of Health. This is for $543,000 and is to meet the department’s core public health needs and to support the redirection of resources to confront rapidly emergent situations. 

The next item is Pg. 17. C6. This is for the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope/Texarkana. This is a request to reallocate previously awarded appropriation. They would like to move $128,000 from grants and aide to capital improvements and operating expenses. According to the letter, the transfer will accommodate the rising costs of HVAC upgrades. 

The next item is on Pg. 19, University of Arkansas at Ft. Smith. This is also a request to reallocate previously awarded appropriation. They would like to move $32,400 from operating expenses to extra help and match. The transfer will allow the cost of higher students to assist in imaging computer workstations and laptops as part of the campus upgrading computer labs. 

The next item on the next page, Pg. 20. This begins the discretionary awards and C8 is for the Department of Commerce and is Arkansas Economic Development Commission and is for $55 million dollars. This comes from a separate pot of money from the other state discretionary awards. Arkansas was allocated $158 million dollars from the Capital Projects Fund program and that is dedicated to broadband projects and related administrative expenses. 

Today’s request is for $55 million dollars and it is to address the 8 proposed projects in round 3 of the Arkansas Rural Connect program. Those projects are detailed in a report beginning on Pg. 22 and will take place in Ashley, Baxter, Clark, Columbia, Hot Spring, Logan, and Lonoke counties.

The next 14 items, C9-C-22 were originally held by ALC per the testimony from Mr. Breck this morning. The governor has issued an executive order that is going to make these items be pulled down, so they are pulled down by DFA request. Mr. Chair, those are all the ARP requests. 

Sen Boyd: Okay. It looks like I have got a question by somebody by I don’t see a light? Oh Senator Dismang? 

Sen Dismang: Thank you Mr. Chair. Just a question on those items. I understand the direct federal awards, and it’s looked like we backed off of one of them, I am talking about C1-7 at this point. I just want to confirm that DFA or the agency or whoever with the current administration comfortable with moving forward with those, has had a chance to review these and that sort of thing, or do we need to hit a pause. We can meet anytime to come and take these up. I just want to make sure we know what we are doing. 

Sen Boyd: Mr. Breck,  you are recognized. 

Breck (DFA): All of those items are direct funded to those agencies, so they were in a different category. They would not have gone through the ARPA Steering Committee and the executive order deals with those items where there was state funding that went through the Steering Committee, so I don’t see any conflict with those going forward. 

Sen Dismang: I understand but at the same time, I am assuming that not all direct federal awards will be accepted and I just want confirmation then that those have been reviewed. We are comfortable with those direct federal awards and we are going to move forward. 

Breck (DFA): Those have been reviewed by my office, yes. 

Sen Dismang: Okay. Thank you. And then on C8, so that is round about ARPA as far as the capital projects fund, is that something also that new administration has reviewed? Or is it going to be part of the executive order? 

Breck (DFA): I believe they…

Sen Dismang: I think that’s, let me get it pulled up. 

Sen Boyd: Senator that is broadband, if that helps you any. 

Sen Dismang: Yes sir, I am aware. 

Breck (DFA): The difference with that, that was capital projects and so that is okay to go forward with that one. It was not in the same pot as the ARPA Steering Committee dollars, it was capital projects. It was moved to that item. 

Sen Dismang: So, then would it be just from this point in the money that was coming out of capital projects which will be for broadband. The administration is not going to have any adjustments to those moving forward, or how do we plan on, how should we address those? 

Breck (DFA): We don’t anticipate any changes to that and then this item was approved to go forward. 

Sen Dismang: Alright. Thank you. 

Sen Boyd: Okay. Any further questions on items C1-C7? Okay, Representative Rose.

Rep Rose: A rather simple question. I just missed the amounts on C6 and C7? 

BLR Staff: Yes sir.  C6 is for the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope/Texarkana. There is not an amount total. This was an award that previously came to ALC Peer and from that amount that was previously awarded, they would like to make a budget change. So they are reallocating appropriation from a grant and aid  line item, to capital improvements that total budget moves of $128,000 dollars and again this budget change is to accommodate the rising costs of HVAC upgrades. Then the same for C7, this is also a budget change. They are just reallocation previously awarded appropriation and it’s about $32,400 dollars from operating expenses to extra help in match and that’s because they would like to use their students on campus to do imaging for computer workstations. 

Sen Boyd: Representative? Okay. You don’t have a–okay. Senator Dismang. 

Sen Dismang: Yes sir.  I would like to be recognized for a motion. 

Sen Boyd: What would your motion be? 

Sen Dismang: Make a motion that we approve items C1-3, 5, 6, and 7, and that we pass over item C8 and we withdraw items C9-22. 

Sen Boyd: Okay. So we have a motion for accepting items C 1,2,3,5,6,7, and passing over C8 and withdrawing held items 9-22. And I have a second. Do you have a question? 

Rep Lynch: Senator Dismang. What was the reason for passing over item C8? 

Sen Dismang: I think that at this point, just to make sure that we are having the discussion we need to have about those funds. This committee can come in and meet at any time to approve those. We are here all the time and it’s not like we got to wait a month for Peer to meet to approve something to come before budget, so again just to kind of hit the pause button and make sure that we are doing what we are supposed to do. I fully anticipate that there will be funded. I think that we just want to make sure that there is enough dialogue between the administration and legislative leadership. 

Sen Boyd: Okay. We have a motion and a second. Any further questions? Seeing none all in favor of the motion say aye. Any opposed? Hearing none, motion is approved. Moving on to items D, 1-3. Infrastructure investment and Jobs Act appropriation request. 

BLR Staff: Thank you Mr. Chair. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is another federal spending package. This one focused on infrastructure. Similar to ARP funds, Special Language requires ALC or JBC approval of spending authority for any award from funds that originated in this spending package. There are only 3 on today’s agenda and all are from the Department of Agriculture. The first one D1, is for volunteer fire assistance, it’s $80,915 dollars and is to support rural fire departments with modern handheld and mobile radios. The next item, D2 is for natural resources and it’s $1.7 million, and it’s to advance the gulf hypoxia plan through a neutral reduction strategy. The next item D3, is regarding dam safety and it’s $46,000 in appropriation and it’s to provide staff and technical service for the National Dam Safety Program. The program does outreach on dam risks and actions that need to be taken and risks prioritization and rehabilitation and removal projects of high hazard dams, inspections and technical workshops for dam owners. Mr. Chair those are all the infrastructure requests in today’s agenda. 

Sen Boyd: Thank you. Any questions on these? Seeing no questions would anyone like to make a motion? Okay, so we have a motion to accept the group of D1, 2, and 3. Do I have a second. 

Sen Hickey: I have a question. 

Sen Boyd: Okay. Senator Hickey, you are recognized for a question. 

Sen Hickey: Just maybe for DFA. Wasn’t the Infrastructure, was that part of the executive order? Just like the other one that we just discussed or are we missing something? Just trying to get a grasp of all this. 

Breck (DFA): Yes it was part of the executive order. The Steering Committee and also the IPAC the Steering Committee for the IIJ funds, those no longer in existence. On these items, since you may meet more often then monthly, we can put these items off as well. The idea with these items is not to hold these up but let these get through PEER, but we would not disperse the funds until the governor approved those projects. 

Sen Hickey: I think that is the most prudent thing. We can literally meet at any time down here if we just be consistent, we will just hold these. Mr. Chair that would be .. are you making the motion Senator? If she is making a motion, I will second it. 

Sen Boyd: Okay. I have a substitute motion to hold items D1, 2, and 3. Do I have a second? I have a second by Senator Hickey. All in favor say aye?  Any opposed? Alright motion to hold items D1,2, and 3 approved. So we are moving on to E. Restricted reserve funds transfer requests. 

BLR Staff: Thank you Mr. Chair. We are in section E1. It’s a letter from the Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education. It is a request to receive a transfer of $50 million dollars from the school safety set aside within the restrictive reserve fund. Funds will be used to make school safety grants. This what was determined in Act III of the third extraordinary session of 2022. There are 2 more items in this section. They are held. E2 is for DHS and E3 is for Game and Fish. They were originally held by ALC. They are in a separate packet marked restrictive reserve items held. At the last ALC meeting these items were referred to JBC to review and at this time, DFA requests that we pass over the items. 

Sen Boyd: Okay. Any discussion on items and E? Senator Dismang? 

Sen Dismang: I apologize, Mr. Chair. This is kind of all new based on the executive order yesterday, but we do have a couple of requests for an increase in preparation. We have done away with most of everything that was tied to those. I don’t see anything that prevents the current administration from issuing new letters and moving through the process. My goal, just so you all understand too, is to clean this list up. We have had a large number of these items on our Peer report for a long time and I would like to know, it would seem easiest to me that if there is a priority to the new current administration, that they issue a new letter and we move forward and don’t hang on to old letters and let them stay on the agenda. I would like some confirmation if that’s what y’all would like to do too, or not, or they can stay there. 

Breck (DFA): I think it’s entirely appropriate to just issue new letters, if that’s the wish of the administration we can just pull those items down, too. 

BLR Staff: And Senator Dismang, just as a note. Since the first 2 items in the various temporary      appropriation withdrawn, those are tied to these fund transfers, so they don’t have the appropriation since those are withdrawn to spend this money, so it does make sense to have these items withdrawn as well.

Sen Dismang: Great. Thank you. So do we have a motion out or where are we on things now? 

Sen Boyd: So do we have a motion to withdraw these items? 

Sen Dismang: So are we going to motion to approve item E1 and withdraw items E2 and 3? Is that what we are looking for? 

Sen Boyd: Yes, that’s what I’m looking for. You want to make that motion? 

Sen Dismang: I make that motion. 

Sen Boyd: Okay that motion to approve item E1 and withdraw items 2 and 3 has been made. Senator Irvin has seconded it. All in favor say aye. Any opposed? Hearing none, motion is approved. Alright, so now we are moving onto items that don’t require approval. They require review and we are going to start with item F1. 

BLR Staff: Thank you, Mr. Chair. This is the appropriation and refund transfer request section of the agenda. F1 is a letter from the Department of Education Division of Higher Education. Special Language in the divisions appropriation bill allows appropriation transfers among financial aide programs after review by ALC or JBC. In the request, it shows a transfer of $3.1 million in spending authority from the higher education teacher opportunity and teacher education item and that appropriation be transferred to National Guard tuition waiver, POW, MIA, KIA dependent scholarship and law enforcement dependents line items. 

Sen Boyd: Without objection, we will consider F1 reviewed. Hearing none reviewed. Moving on to items G1-7, cash appropriation requests. 

BLR Staff: Thank you Mr. Chairman. Section G these are cash appropriation requests. This section has requests from agencies to increase their spending authority on activities that are supported by cash revenue funds. Examples of cash revenue are tuition for colleges, license, and fine revenue from regulatory boards, grants, sales, and products of services by agencies. These activities are not funded through general revenue or special revenue taxes. They are requested for additional appropriation, that is to increase their spending level above what is currently authorized in their operations act for this year. They have sufficient funding but do not have the authority to spend the funds. Requests are first approved by DFA and then come to ALC or JBC for legislative review. The first one is a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs, this is G1 and its for $250,000 in appropriation. It’s to spend the grant from the Attorney Generals Office on covered sword systems, wreaths, flags, and to perform various upkeep. The next item is G2. It’s for the Department of Public Safety, Division of Arkansas State Police. Its for $99,000 in appropriation. It is to purchase body cameras with funding provided by the Public Safety Equipment Grant Program. G3 is a letter from the Department of Parks Heritage and Tourism and it’s for Old State House Museum and it’s for $76,000 in spending authority. It’s to pay for event exhibits, educational programing, operations, and to attend conferences. The next item is G4. It’s a letter from the Department of Correction,  Division of Correction. It’s for $2.38 million dollars in spending authority. It’s to purchase (inaudible) do roof repairs, warehouse replacement, and costs for studies on their horse barn, a study on expansion in Northwest Arkansas, and a Tucker school study. Next item is G5. It’s a letter from the Department of Commerce, Division of Work Force Services. It’s for $1.8 million, and it’s to promote training and certification programs across the state for adults with less than a high school education. Next item is G6. It’s a letter from the office of the Prosecutor Coordinator. It’s for $50,000 dollars and is to aid in prosecution of the Barry Walker Case with funds provided by the Attorney General’s Office. 

Next item is G7. It’s a letter from the Department of Commerce, Economic Development Commission and it’s for $100,000 dollars in appropriation. This is to replace vehicles in a manufacturing extension network of AEDC. Mr. Chair those are all the cash requests. 

Sen Boyd: Thank you. Any questions on any of these cash appropriation requests? Hearing none, without objection we are going to consider Items G1-7 reviewed.  Next we are going to cover budget classification transfer requests. Items H1-4. 

BLR Staff: Thank you Mr. Chair. Arkansas code allows agencies to transfer appropriation among the 5 subclassifications of maintenance and operations after review by ALC or JBC. H1 is from the Department of Education, State Library. This item was pulled by agency request. We learned that late yesterday, and also Item H2 was also pulled by agency request. So we move to H3. This is for the Department of Public Safety Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training. It’s $12,000 dollars and it’s a transfer from conference and travel to operating expenses. It’s to pay for increased utility costs and operational expenses. H4 is for Department of Commerce, Insurance Department. It’s a transfer from professional fees to operating expenses of $78,000 in appropriation. It’s to align the (inaudible) budget with a no cost extension that was submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services on the federal level. Mr. Chair those are all the BCT’s on todays agenda. 

Sen Boyd: Thank you. Since Items 1 and 2 are held, we are reviewing. Any discussion or questions on H3 or H4? Hearing none, without objection we are going to consider items H3 and H4 reviewed. Moving on, we are on I, miscellaneous federal grant appropriation requests. 

BLR Staff: Thank you Mr. Chair. This section has requests from agencies to increase their spending authority on activities that are supported by a federal grant. They had secured a federal grant require the authority to spend the funds, requests are first approved by DFA and then come to ALC or JBC for legislative review. The first item, the only item, is for the Department of Public Safety. This is the Victims of Crime Act. It’s a little over $1 million dollars, and it’s grant from the US Department of Justice to enhance victim compensation payments to eligible crime victims. 

Sen Boyd: Any questions on I? Seeing none, without objection we are going to consider Item I, 1 reviewed. Moving on to J. Methods of finance. 

BLR Staff: Thank you, Mr. Chair. These are capital expenditures over $250,000 that have not already been approved by the general assembly. There are 3 items on the agenda. The first one is for ASU Mountain Home and it’s revised MLF for expansion renovation of their technical center. The amount is $1.7 million dollars. The reason for the amendment is to increase their MLF, this increases because of construction costs using their original work force grant. They are also using private funds and a grant from the Arkansas Office of Schools Development. The second item is for ASU Mid-South It’s an original method of finance for chilled water system replacement. The amount is $1.5 million dollars. They are using milage and rental center endowment funds. The third item is for SAU Tech. It’s a revised method of finance for HVAC needing a replacement for 20 units in their engineer building. This will be for $320,000 dollars and they are using a regional work force grant. The increase is due to increased construction costs. 

Sen Boyd: Any questions on Item J, methods of finance?  Seeing none, without objection we are going to consider Items J 1-3 reviewed. Moving on K. Discretionary grants. 

BLR Staff: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Item K. These are grants for $10,000 dollars or more that need reviewed from the review subcommittee. These are all 100% federally funded. K1 are from the Department of Health. There is only 1 grant in this section and it’s an amendment to a grant for Direct Housing Subsidy and Support Services for clients for HIV services. We will move on K2. This is on the next page. This is for DHS, they are 10 grants and 1-6 are amendments to Triple A’s to improve quality of life for adults with disabilities. 7 is a grant amendment to continue infant and toddler foster care training in Pulaski County for Safe Babies (inaudible) projects. Numbers 8 and 9 are original grants for increasing the availability of quality early care and education in communities with an identified shortage of services for infants, toddlers, and school age children. Then number 10 is an amendment to a grant for providing state wide training for the Arkansas Community Action Network. 

Sen Boyd: Okay. Any questions on Item K?  Seeing no questions, we are going to consider Items K1 and 2 reviewed, without objection. Hearing no objection, Items K1 and 2 are reviewed. Moving on to L, General Contractors construction projects exceeding $5 million dollars. 

BLR Staff; Thank you Mr. Chair. This is an alternative delivery construction project. These are construction projects of $5 million more that are not awarded in the traditional design, bid, build, method. The first one is for Community Correction L1, but this has been pulled from the agenda per agency request, so we are not going to review that item. L2 is on Pg. 3. It’s for Arkansas Tech. It’s a student union/recreation center. This is a new project in their central location is to be a hub for student life. They received 6 proposals and interviewed 3 before selecting Kinco Contractors. The total estimated project costs is $49.3 million dollars with $29.8 million coming from bonds and $19.5 million coming from unrestricted reserves. 

Sen Boyd: Any questions on Item L2? Hearing none, we are going to consider L2 reviewed, without objection. Hearing no objections, Item L2 has been reviewed. Moving on to Item M, M as in Mary, service contracts. 

BLR Staff: Thank you Mr. Chair. These are contracts over $50,000 that must be presented to ALC or JBC before execution. M1 are the construction related contracts. The first item, number 1 is a correction. This is an amendment to the contract for design services for recreational yards. Number 2 is SAU Tech, and it’s an amendment to the contract for architectural services for their administration building. Number 3 is State Police. It’s an amendment for architectural design services for projects at State Police locations throughout the state. Number 4 is UA Fayetteville, and it’s an original contract for design services for Razorback Fieldhouse at the new soccer facilities. Number 5 is also Fayetteville. It’s an amendment for 1 call services. Number 6 is Fayetteville. It’s an original contract for design services for Bogel Park renovation expansion, I’m sorry that is for softball T-building. Number 7 is for UAMS. It’s an amendment for engineering on call services. 

Sen Boyd: So, any questions on Item M1? Hearing none without objection, we are going to consider M1 reviewed. Hearing no objections, M1 is reviewed. Let’s go to M2. 

BLR Staff: Thank you, Mr. Chair. M2 are intergovernmental contracts. The first one is for education with ASU. It’s an original contract for evaluating Arkansas Aware Program. Number 2, the agency has asked to have this item pulled, so this will not be reviewed today. Number 3 is DHS with UALR. It’s an amendment for continuing substance abuse block grant prevention services across the state. 

Sen Boyd: Alright. Items 1 and 3 and M2. Any questions on those? Seeing no questions, without objection we are going to consider those items reviewed. Hearing no objections, items are considered reviewed. Let’s move to M3. 

BLR Staff: Thank you, Mr. Chair. M3 are out of state contracts. The first one is for Arkansas Tech. It’s an original contract for executive search services to support the identification and selection of Higher Ed administration and faculty. Number 2 is for education. It’s an amendment for IT and computer services to perform maintenance and support. Number 3 is for Education. It’s an original contract for computerized maintenance management systems. Number 4 is the Department of Health. It’s an original contract for education training and support for Nurse Home Visitors program. Number 5 is also Health. It’s an original contract for clearing house services done as a special procurement to avoid any billing and claims processing delays and any downtime. Number 6 is DHS. It’s an amendment to continue information technologies infrastructure support. Number 7 is DHS. It’s an amendment for qualified residential treatment program services. And 8 through 9 are both for DHS, and they are both for continuation of comprehensive residential treatment services under the age of 21. Number 10 is DHS. It’s an amendment for state wide electronic benefit transfer services systems for cash and SNAP benefits. Number 11, again DHS. It’s an amendment for independent verification and validation services for the inter gradient eligibility and benefit management solution and child welfare information system. Number 12 is DHS. It’s an amendment for decision support and management administrative reporting system services. Number 13 Public Service Commission. This is an amendment for legal services for the Commission. Number 14 is for ULAR, and it’s an original contract for staff for the work day support team. 

Sen Boyd: Any questions on Item M3? Seeing none, without objection we are going to consider M3 reviewed. Hearing no objections, M3 will stand reviewed. Moving on to M4. 

BLR Staff: Thank you, Mr. Chair.  We are in in state contracts now. This is M4. Numbers 1 and 2 are both for Community Correction. This is an amendment for comprehensive community based treatment services. Number 3 is for Correction. It’s an amendment that adds time to the contract for energy savings performance and adds solar service agreements. Number 4 is for Parks, Heritage, and Tourism. It’s an amendment for mailing services. Number 5 is disability determination. It’s an original for medical consultants making disability determinations. Number 6 is for Environmental Quality. It’s an original contract for janitorial services. Number 7 is for the Department of Health. It’s an amendment to the contract for armed security guard services. Numbers 8-23, those are all for DHS for qualified or comprehensive treatment services, that’s 8-23. We will move to Pg. 24, and on that page 24, item #24, is also for DHS. It’s an amendment for dental treatment services. Number 25 is for Information Systems. It’s an original contract for providing service hours for building data one week solution. Number 26 is for Insurance. It’s an original for digital marketing and advertising strategies. Number 27 is for the Natural Resources Commission. It’s an amendment for CPA auditing services. Numbers 28 and 29 are both for the Nursing Board. It’s an amendment for private investigation services. Number 30 is for Public Defender Commission. It’s an amendment for indigent appearing council, representation services. Number 31 is Public Service Commission. It’s an amendment for consulting services to address energy pause issues. Number 32 is UA Community College, Morrilton. It’s an original contract for grounds and landscape maintenance services. Number 33 is for UALR. It’s an original contract for professional prevention services. And number 34 is for UALR. It’s an original contract for entrepreneurial and small business services consulting, training, and outreach. 

Sen Boyd: Okay, any questions on Item M4? Seeing none, without objection we are going to consider M4 reviewed. Hearing no objections M4 stands reviewed. We are moving onto N, semi-annual report.

BLR Staff: Thank you, Mr. Chair. All of the items in N and O are reports and those are filed for informational purposes for the Committee. If any members have any questions they can come to me and I will get those questions to the agencies for answers. We are going to move now to section P. There was a late submission for a method of finance for UAPB, so section P is a very last staple packet in your Peer Review Subcommittee packet. 

Sen Boyd: Okay, so Item P, other business, method of finance, UAPB. 

BLR Staff: Thank you Mr. Chair. This is a method of finance for UAPB for hazard gym repairs. It’s revised for $2.9 million dollars to complete the project with additional costs and funding comes from the Natural Cultural Resources Council and University reserves. 

Sen Boyd: Okay. Any questions on this method of finance review? Seeing no questions, without objection Item P, method of finance UAPB will stand reviewed. Without any further business, Mr. Co-Chair, do you have anything you would like to add before we adjourn? Okay. We will be with the Governor’s executive order and how things are, we might have a meeting more frequently than what otherwise Peer would do, so just be watching for that. This meeting stands adjourned. Thank you.