FY 2009-10 Budgeted Appropriations: $452 million (including federal funds)
FY 2008-09 Estimated Actual Expenditures: $534 million
NER’s total budget for FY 2009-10 marks a year-over-year decrease of 15% from last year’s actual estimated spending. Buttressed by federal funds of $15 million this year, however, NER’s budget has still climbed 32% in the last five years. And in spite of being in the middle of what we are told is a “budget crisis,” the NER budget allocates over $100 million in questionable items (see below).
- $6.4 million to North Carolina’s Division of Forest Resources for wildfire management.
- $5 million to the Green Business Fund, which provides grants to small businesses and nonprofits that “encourage the growth of a green economy in North Carolina.”
- $4 million for the Biofuels Center of North Carolina to help implement their “Strategic Plan for Biofuels Leadership.”
- $177 million directed to off-budget “special funds,” including:
- $80 million to a Commerce special fund in the form of Workforce Investment Act funds
- $46.9 million to the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund
- $43.8 million to the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund
- A total of 184.42 full-time equivalent positions (FTE) are cut from the NER budget. Only 27 of them, however, are actual filled positions being eliminated. The rest are vacant positions being cut, or being switched to receipt-supported or other departments.
- A total of 112.72 FTE position cuts come from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). 69.82 of those are vacant positions and 25.4 are switched to receipt-supported.
- Appropriation to the Clean Water Management Trust fund is cut in half to $50 million.
QUESTIONABLE SPENDING INCLUDES:
- $4.7 million for a “special zoo fund,” a “grassroots initiative,” and for the “adopt-a-trail” program
- $3.55 million for “plant protection”
- $1.9 million for shellfish sanitation
- $9.4 million for marine fisheries research
- $11.1 million for “tourism, film & sport development”
- $1.94 million for welcome centers
- $1.5 million for commercial feed, pet and fertilizer analysis
- $252,000 for a “cemetery commission”