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Press Releases

TDEC to Hold Workshops on Recreational Grant Application Process

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation; January 29, 2013:

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has announced a series of helpful workshops in February, designed to explain the grant application process for the department’s Recreational Trails or Tennessee Recreation Initiative programs.

Recreational Trails Program

Kicking off the 2013 Recreational Trails Program grant cycle, TDEC’s Division of Recreation Educational Services will host three workshops on Tuesday, February 12, in each grand division of the state. These workshops are specifically geared toward eligible applicants, such as government officials, parks and recreation departments and non-profit organizations.

Recreational Trails Program grants may be used for non-routine maintenance and restoration of existing trails, development and rehabilitation, trailside or trailhead facilities such as restrooms, kiosks and parking lots, construction of new trails, and land acquisition for recreational trails or corridors. Federal, state and local government agencies may apply, as well as non-profit organizations that have obtained IRS 501(c)(3) status and have a written trail management agreement with the agency that owns the property where the trail project is located.

The February 12, 2013, workshops will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (local times apply) at the following locations:

  • Environment and Conservation’s Jackson Environmental Field Office, 1625 Hollywood Drive, Jackson, Tenn., 38305
  • Environment and Conservation’s Downtown Nashville Central Office, 401 Church Street, L&C Tower, 17th Floor Conference Room, Nashville, Tenn., 37243
  • Environment and Conservation’s Knoxville Environmental Field Office, 3711 Middlebrook Pike, Knoxville, Tenn., 37921
  • Funding for RTP grants is provided by the Federal Highway Administration through the federal Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act. The Department of Environment and Conservation administers this grant program for the state of Tennessee.

The application deadline for the 2013 Recreational Trails Programs grant cycle is May 3, 2013, at 4 p.m. (Central), and may be submitted in CD format (no binders will be accepted). The RTP grant is an 80/20 percent match, with a minimum grant of $20,000 ($5,000 match required) and a maximum grant of $200,000 ($50,000 match required).

For more information about the upcoming RTP application workshop or to register, contact Carol Thompson at (615) 532-0208 or carol.h.thompson@tn.gov; or contact Recreation Educational Services at (615) 532-0748 or tdec.res@tn.gov.

Tennessee Recreation Initiative Program

TDEC also is soliciting Tennessee Recreation Initiative Program grant applications from local governments that do not currently have established parks or recreation departments (or a previously established department). TRIP grants help communities create recreation opportunities for citizens by assisting with the establishment of a parks department. A workshop will be held in Nashville on Wednesday, February 20, beginning at 10 a.m. (Central) at TDEC’s Downtown Nashville Central Office (401 Church Street, L&C Tower) in the 10th Floor Conference Room.

The Tennessee Recreation Initiative Program was created in 1995 by the General Assembly and administered through TDEC. The TRIP program provides grants to hire a professional director, establish a recreation office and to hire other staff as needed. Eligible incorporated cities or county governments may apply for funding through a competitive matching grant process.

During the 2013 grant cycle, a maximum of three grants will be awarded on the basis of need and population for any city or county in Tennessee. The grant is offered over a three-year period. During the first two years of the program, the community will be required to match up to $50,000. The community is responsible for 100 percent of the funding during the third year.

TRIP grant applications are due March 29, 2013, and may be submitted on a CD (no binders will be accepted). For more information about the upcoming TRIP application workshop or to register, contact Carol Thompson at (615) 532-0208 or carol.h.thompson@tn.gov; or contact Recreation Educational Services at (615) 532-0748 or tdec.res@tn.gov.

Information about both the RTP and TRIP grants, along with other recreation or conservation-based grant programs that may be available in the future, can be found on TDEC’s website at www.tn.gov/environment/recreation/.

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Press Releases

State Releases February Revenue Report

Press Release from the Department of Finance & Administration, March 9, 2010:

Nashville – State revenue collections once again fell short of budgeted estimates last month. Overall February revenues were $638.9 million, which is $47.1 million less than the state budgeted.

“This entire fiscal year has brought us negative growth in the sales tax, which is almost two-thirds of our revenue,” Finance and Administration Commissioner Dave Goetz said. “Moreover, the running total is now 21 consecutive months of negative growth in sales tax collections since January 2008, when the downward economic spiral began for us in Tennessee.”

“In spite of the budgetary challenges, we have laid out a plan for balancing the budget and we’re working with the Legislature to end this year and the next with a balanced budget, as our constitution requires.”

On an accrual basis, February is the seventh month in the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

The general fund was under collected by $43.8 million and the four other funds were under collected by $3.3 million.

Sales tax collections were $38.4 million less than the estimate for February. The February growth rate was negative 6.67%. The year-to-date growth rate for seven months is negative 5.84%.

Franchise and excise taxes combined were $1.4 million above the budgeted estimate of $33.0 million. For seven months revenues are over collected by $7.4 million. The year-to-date growth rate for seven months is 8.32%.

Gasoline and motor fuel collections for February decreased by 3.86%, but were $180,000 above the budgeted estimate of $68.3 million. For seven months revenues are under collected by $13.9 million.

Tobacco tax collections were $4.0 million under the budgeted estimate of $23.1 million. For seven months revenues are over collected in the amount of $303,000.

Year-to-date collections for seven months were $232.4 million less than the budgeted estimate. The general fund was under collected by $196.3 million and the four other funds were under collected by $36.1 million.

The budgeted revenue estimates for 2009-2010 are based on the State Funding Board’s consensus recommendation adopted by the first session of the 106th General Assembly in May of 2009, and are available on the state’s Web site.

The State Funding Board met again on December 18, 2009 and adopted revised revenue ranges for 2009-2010. The revised ranges reflect growth rates ranging from negative 1.50% to negative 0.25% in total taxes, and negative 2.35% to negative 0.85% in general fund taxes.

Based on the funding board’s consensus recommendation, the official budgeted estimates for 2009-2010 were revised in late December. The revised estimates are reflected on pages A-70 and A-72 in the 2010-2011 Budget Document. The revised estimates assume an under collection in total taxes in the amount of $161.3 million, and an under collection of $153.2 million in the general fund.

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News

February State Revenue Collections Likely ‘Worse Than We Had Hoped’

Lackluster tax collections could force the state to lower its revenue estimates even further as lawmakers on Capitol Hill debate how to best balance the books, the state budget director said Tuesday.

That’s going to mean lawmakers may have many millions of dollars less than the $10.1 billion they expected to work with this year as they enter the final months of the legislative session. They plan to spend that time finalizing a state spending plan based on expected revenues from gasoline, sales and other taxes.

“I think there’s a good prospect that we may have to lower our revenue estimates some more, but I really cannot tell you how much,” Bill Bradley, state budget director, told members of the Senate Finance, Ways and Means committee Tuesday.

The amount of revenue collected in February for January sales is still being finalized, and those numbers will likely be released next week.

“I certainly would think that the collections, when we close for February, are likely to be worse than we had hoped for,” Bradley said.

February would mark the twenty-first consecutive month revenues have been down in Tennessee.

Revenue from December sales — which were collected in January — were $16 million less than the state projected. The month before, revenues were down $54 million.

The most recent revenue collections indicate that Tennessee has collected $185 million less than it expected since its fiscal year began in July.

If the state lowers revenue estimates for the rest of the current budget year, the state will also have to lower the base budget for the next year, said Lola Potter, spokeswoman for the Department of Finance and Administration.

Otherwise, she said,  “we would be digging an even bigger hole for the state.”

The state will want to start the new budget year assuming the same revenue trend as prior months, she said. If the state has less revenue through June than it expected, she said the state can expect collections to follow that trend.

“To keep the state’s budget in balance we have to lower the budget in line with those revenue projections,” she said.

Estimates on how much the state would collect in tax revenue were first lowered in December to $10.12 billion from $10.29 billion.