Archive for Friday, December 27, 2002

BEST panels’ recommendations vary

December 27, 2002


— The full list of ideas forwarded to Gov.-elect Kathleen Sebelius from five teams she appointed to review state government, with explanations.

Dues, Subscriptions

Argument: State agencies spend more than $15 million per year on dues (for organizations) and subscriptions (for newspapers and magazines).

Idea: Mandate that all agencies eliminate 20 percent of their dues and subscriptions.

Generates: $3,000,000.

Phone Directories

Argument: Each year, thousands of state employee phone directories are printed when this information is available online.

Idea: Stop printing of paper phone directories.

Generates: $45,000.

Debt Collection

Argument: The Department of Administration has an Accounts Receivable Setoff program that is a centralized, computerized method to automatically collect debts owed to state agencies by matching the debts against state payments in process to the debtors.

Idea: Mandate that all state agencies participate in the Accounts Receivable Setoff program.

Generates: $1,500,000.

Direct Deposit

Argument: Direct deposit of employee paychecks and expense reimbursements saves the state money by eliminating administrative costs and postage.

Idea: Mandate direct deposit for all state employees (80 percent already participate).

Generates: $400,000.

Board of Tax Appeals Members

Argument: The Board of Tax Appeals currently has five members each with salaries over $100,000.

Idea: Reduce the Board of Tax Appeals from five to three members.

Generates: $230,000.

Board of Tax Appeals Fees

Argument: Currently the Board of Tax Appeals does not charge fees for those who wish to appeal.

Idea: Authorize the Board of Tax Appeals to charge filing fees (sufficient to fund three Board members) to those seeking tax exemption applications. Average fee per filer would be approximately $115 to $125.

Generates: $345,000.

'Overflow' Long Distance

Argument: Kansas currently hires a secondary telephone company to provide the "overflow" long distance for the state when their primary long distance provider could do it for free with a change in the contract.

Idea: Change "overflow" provider of long distance services.

Generates: $84,000.

Registration Information

Argument: Many third parties currently purchase information on motor vehicle registrations for $8.

Idea: Increase fee from $8 to $10.

Generates: $1,600,000.

Electronic Tax Filings

Argument: Electronic filing of taxes and electronic transfer of funds is significantly more efficient for the state.

Idea: Mandate electronic filing for "large" taxpayers and lower the limit on electronic transfers from $100,000 to $50,000.

Generates: $700,000.

Paper Blueprints

Argument: When the state puts out a bid for a new building or renovation, they send paper copies of blueprints.

Idea: Mandate that all blueprints be sent electronically rather than on paper, unless a fee is paid for the paper.

Generates: $150,000.

Soft Drink Contracts

Argument: Many Regents Institutions have signed exclusive contracts with a major soft drink manufacturer.

Idea: Sign an exclusive contract with a major soft drink manufacturer for the state (excluding Regents Institutions).

Generates: $230,000.

Surplus Automobiles

Argument: All surplus automobiles are sent to state surplus for sale. Currently there are more than 200 automobiles sitting on a lot at Forbes Field (south of Topeka).

Idea: Auction the more than 200 automobiles.

Generates: $600,000.

Quality Review Division

Argument: The Quality Review Division at the Department of Aging had the equivalent of 30 full-time employees to review positions performing program service audits within the state's eleven Area Agencies on Aging. They audit 90 percent of all service transactions when it is not required.

Idea: Reduce staff levels in the Quality Review Division by two-thirds to 10. Determine the level of sampling necessary to be statistically significant and perform that number of audits each year.

Generates: $507,774.

Billboard Fees

Argument: The Department of Transportation charges the same price for billboards along state highways as was set in the 1970s. They currently raise $12,000 in revenue for a service that costs much more. The most KDOT can charge an advertiser is $250 per county under the current pricing structure. Some billboard advertisers are paying less than $10 per billboard.

Idea: Increase billboard space charges to market price. Iowa recently did this and has shown revenue increases of $1 million.

Generates: $1 million.

Highway Patrol Building

Argument: KDOT is currently planning to build a new building for the Highway Patrol's Troop F in Wichita, even though there is office space available in Sedgwick County.

Idea: Do not build the new building and search for available space in the current market.

Generates: $2,376,383.

KDOT Storage Building

Argument: KDOT is currently planning to build a new District Crew and Paint Storage Building in Garden City.

Idea: Do not build the new building.

Generates: 1,084,000.

KDOT Radio System

Argument: KDOT has just completed a new 800 MHz radio system installation that began in the eastern part of the state and has progressed to the western border. Now they are starting a replacement program for the initial equipment purchased during the first conversion in the eastern part of the state.

Idea: Delay purchase until the economic outlook for the state improves.

Generates: $1.6 million.

Highway Advisory Committee

Argument: The State Highway Advisory Committee is a holdover from days when oversight of transportation was performed by the State Highway Commission. After the Kansas Department of Transportation became a state agency, much of the real purpose of the board was lost. It is no longer the primary source of public comment or input.

Idea: Eliminate this group.

Generates: $250,000.

Loan of Highway Funds

Argument: The 2002 Legislature borrowed $94.6 million from the Comprehensive Transportation Plan.

Idea: Do not repay loan in fiscal year 2004.

Generates: $94.6 million.

Note: Outgoing Gov. Bill Graves adopted this proposal last month.

Travel Information Center

Argument: The state recently sold the Kansas Travel Information Center building in Olathe for $1,000,000. The building was replaced with a new building built at the Kansas Speedway, and $200,000 of the proceeds of the sale were committed to furnish a new Belle Plaine travel center.

Idea: Transfer balance of money to the general fund.

Generates: $800,000.

Deferred Compensation

Argument: Cabinet members and staff of the governor's office receive deferred compensation contributions in lieu of pension contributions.

Idea: Eliminate deferred compensation contributions for Cabinet members and staff of the governor's office.

Generates: $392,000.

Value-added Grants

Argument: Value-added grants are targeted to developing post-agricultural production activities for economic development.

Idea: Eliminate funding for program and incorporate activities with other economic development activities.

Generates: $504,000.

Loan Guarantee Program

Argument: The Export Loan Guarantee program is rarely used and similar to guarantees available from the Small Business Administration.

Idea: End the program and use fund balances to meet state financial needs. This is a one-time capture of the fund balance.

Generates: $950,000.

Partnership Program

Argument: The Partnership Program is used to provide funding for building expansion and is rarely used.

Idea: End the program and use fund balances to meet state financial needs. This is a one-time capture of the fund balance.

Generates: $1.2 million.

New Office Building

Argument: The state purchased a new office building at 7th and Van Buren in Topeka, the old Security Benefit Group of Companies headquarters. Costs to renovate the building and move personnel to the building will cost $6 million and leave four floors of the Docking State Office Building empty.

Idea: Delay renovation and re-examine all personnel relocation plans among agencies during the next year to ensure the best usage of space.

Generates: $6 million.

Private Security

Argument: State government has private security firms at some state buildings and Capitol Security at others.

Idea: Privatize security at all Capitol complex buildings.

Generates: $500,000.

Arts Commission

Argument: The Kansas Arts Commission is currently funded primarily through state general fund revenue.

Idea: Eliminate general fund appropriation for the Arts Commission and encourage private funding to replace it.

Generates: $1.5 million.

Improvement, Employment Act

Argument: The Neighborhood Improvement and Youth Employment Act provides summer jobs in only a few communities.

Idea: Eliminate state funding and pursue Federal or private funding to finance activities.

Generates: $110,000.

Water Plan Fund

Argument: The Water Plan Fund has receipts from several sources, including a statutory transfer of $6 million each year from the state general fund.

Idea: Reduce the transfer to $3.8 million, as the Legislature did in fiscal 2002.

Generates: $2,226,400.

State Fair Fund

Argument: The State Fair has a capital improvement balance of $1.2 million. Each year it receives a state general fund transfer.

Idea: Suspend the transfer for one year.

Generates: $300,000.

Information Technology

Argument: The state has numerous information technology systems across the state. There is room for consolidation and efficiencies of these systems.

Idea: Move the Kansas Bureau of Investigation's management of the equipment for the Criminal Justice Information System from the KBI to the Division of Information Systems and Communications in the Landon State Office Building.

Generates: $26,000.

Senior Park Permits

Argument: Residents 65 and older, as well as disabled Kansans, receive a 50 percent discount on vehicle permits for state parks. In a time when services like Meals On Wheels and senior centers are losing funding, the money saved on state park permits may be better spent funding other programs to help Kansas seniors.

Idea: Remove 50 percent discount for Kansas citizens 65 and older. Cost of an annual vehicle permit would increase from $17.25 to $34.50 on smaller vehicles and from $22.25 to $44.50 on larger vehicles.

Generates: $267,000.

Drinking Water Lab Test

Argument: The Department of Health and Environment an $8 fee for a drinking water microbiology lab test when the lowest fee charged by the private sector is $12.

Idea: Increase fee to $12.

Generates: $134,000.

Water Sale Fee

Argument: KDHE collects two-tenths of 1 cent for every 1,000 gallons of water sold at retail by public water supply systems for the purpose of inspection and regulation of public water supplies. The state spends another $400,000.

Idea: Increase collection to $.004 per 1,000 gallons of water to eliminate the need for state funding.

Generates: $400,000.

Water Project Review

Argument: KDHE's Division of Environment is responsible for viewing and approving plans for wastewater treatment and drinking water projects. Plan review costs are currently borne by the state revolving loan administrative funds (75 percent), federal funds (11 percent), and state general funds (14 percent).

Idea: Impose fees to offset the state general fund costs.

Generates: $135,000.

Meth Lab Cleanups

Argument: KDHE's Division of Environment currently performs cleanup of methamphetamine lab sites following raids by law enforcement.

Idea: The federal government will accept this responsibility if the cleanup is not done by the state. This may be a viable option for saving state funds, but additional analysis is needed to determine the full effect the state.

Generates: $427,000.

Special Response Team

Argument: The Kansas Highway Patrol has a Special Response Team that is duplicative of other services available. In the past year, the team was primarily used in Shawnee County, which has its own SWAT Team. Many other cities and counties have their own SWAT Teams that fulfill the same purpose. Kansas is short more than 50 state troopers.

Idea: Eliminate the Special Response Team and put at least two more troopers back on Kansas roads.

Generates: $92,458.

KBI Administrative Agents

Argument: There are currently 16 "administrative" agents in the KBI, outside the civil service system.

Idea: Put those employees in the civil service system.

Generates: $130,933.

Commuting from Home

Argument: Some administrative KBI employees use state vehicles to commute from home to the office.

Idea: Disallow administrative employees to commute from home to the office.

Generates: $12,942.

Prison System Accreditation

Argument: State prisons are accredited by the American Correctional Association. This accreditation does not protect Kansas from any lawsuits. There are one or two full time positions dedicated to accreditation at many of the prisons.

Idea: Continue to follow the ACA accreditation guidelines, but allow the accreditation to lapse and eliminate the positions dedicated to accreditation.

Generates: $476,074.

Deputy Corrections Secretary

Argument: When public safety is taking serious funding cuts, the state must focus its funding on positions that directly protect Kansas citizens from harm.

Idea: Eliminate one deputy secretary position from the Department of Corrections.

Generates: $93,044.

Indigents Defense Fee

Argument: Currently there is no application fee for the Board of Indigent Defense, which pays for legal services for poor criminal defendants.

Idea: Enact a $100 application fee to cover the part of the costs of assigned counsel and public defender services. If a person cannot pay the application fee, the judge may waive the fee.

Generates: $2.1 million.

Parole Board Members

Argument: The Parole Board currently has four members each with salaries over $100,000.

Idea: Eliminate one member of the Parole Board.

Generates: $122,898.

Bingo Enforcement

Argument: The Department of Revenue handles licensure and enforcement of bingo. There are enough field agents at the Racing and Gaming Commission to handle this responsibility.

Idea: Transfer licensure and enforcement of bingo to Racing and Gaming. Eliminate two Tax Division Field Agents.

Generates: $84,000.

Senior Nutrition

Argument: The Department on Aging annually spends $1.9 million more than is mandated for meals for people over 60, their spouses and certain people with disabilities. The federal funding source prohibits states from screening for financial need.

Idea: Lobby Congress to re-evaluate the 37-year-old legislation specifically to raise the age of eligibility and allow for means testing. Reduce the state general fund match from current $2.3 million to the required $450,000.

Generates: $1,800,000.

Aging Marketing

Argument: The Department of Aging performs marketing and outreach even though services are delivered locally through eleven Area Agencies on Aging. The eleven local AAAs also engage in marketing and outreach using resources available to them.

Idea: Reduce the marketing and outreach commission to a core staff of two positions, eliminating the equivalent of eight full-time and one halftime employees.

Generates: $220,814.

Services for Frail Elderly

Argument: In-home services for the frail elderly are administered by the Department on Aging and are offered to persons who are at least 65 years of age and who qualify for Medicaid qualified.

Idea: Create a hard freeze on persons entering the system through June 30, 2003. Raise the entry score on the eligibility assessment to 40. Revise the waiver to delete services such as sleep cycle support, assistive technology and respite care.

Generates: $4,003,131.

KDHE Appeals Section

Argument: KDHE has a staff of three in an administrative appeals section even though a centralized office exists to perform this activity.

Idea: Move administrative appeals function to the Department of Administration's Office of Administrative Hearings, eliminating two positions in the process.

Generates: $111,070.

Environmental Statistics

Argument: The Center for Health and Environmental Statistics gathers information and manages the Office of Vital Statistics. The volatility of state funding interferes with the ability of the Office of Vital Statistics to provide reliable, consistent services.

Idea: Make the center fee-funded in 2004 and raise the fee for each document obtained through the Office of Vital Statistics by $1.

Generates: $235,395.

Parsons, KNI Hospitals

Argument: The two state hospitals for the developmentally disabled, Parsons and the Kansas Neurological Institute in Topeka, operate at minimal capacity.

Idea: Consolidate into one hospital by December 2003.

Generates: $2,664,015.

Children's MH Beds

Argument: The state provides mental health beds for some Kansas children under 12, when there are programs to provide funding for children and keep them in a community setting rather than a state hospital.

Idea: Eliminate all of those mental health beds by July 1, 2003 and provide in-home services for children with serious emotional disturbances.

Generates: $75,000.

State Hospital Billings

Argument: All state hospital facilities bill patients separately.

Idea: Consolidate all state hospital billing operations in one location.

Generates: $191,200.

SRS Area Offices

Argument: The Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services implemented the first phase a major integration and consolidation plan for area offices and county offices based on client needs.

Idea: Consolidate the 11 area offices into five and focus on creating multiple access points for clients through doctor's offices, nursing homes, and senior centers.

Generates: $1.2 million.

Assessment Centers

Argument: Five regional alcohol and drug assessment centers provide many of the same services provided at regional prevention centers.

Idea: Eliminate the assessment centers and use the prevention centers to provide oversight for services.

Generates: $209,829.

Voc-rehab Tuition, Books

Argument: The state pays expenses for vocational rehabilitation clients including college tuition and reimbursement for books. Many clients resell the books at the end of their class and pocket the money.

Idea: Establish revolving funds with college bookstores.

Generates: $40,000.

Interest Earnings

Argument: State law requires that interest earned on state moneys shall be credited to the state general fund unless otherwise required by law, contract or bequest. Statutory authority for several KDHE fee funds provides that interest earnings be credited to the fee funds rather than the general fund.

Idea: Remove that last provision. The action could also be applied to other fee funds across the state.

Generates: $93,000.

Empty Government Jobs

Argument: There are more than 3,000 full-time positions that have been vacant for more than 24 months. Not all of these positions have been funded, but they are still on the books.

Idea: Eliminate all full-time positions that have been vacant for more than two years.

Generates: Unknown.

Tobacco Securitization

Argument: Some states have issued bonds to capture the full amount of their share of a 1998 legal settlement among states and large tobacco companies, all at once instead of over time. The bonds are paid back as the settlement funds come in each year.

Idea: Issue bonds for part of the tobacco settlement, such that the remaining balance would allow existing programs financed with the funds to be held harmless.

Generates: Unknown.

KDOT Technology Projects

Argument: Multiple information technology projects are underway for KDOT, the benefits of which need evaluation.

Idea: Freeze two active projects and two inactive projects. Freeze all pending and planned information technology projects across agencies until reviewed for cost-benefit.

Generates: Unknown.

More Commuting from Home

Argument: Estimates from the Department of Administration show that there are approximately 2 million miles put on state vehicles commuting from employee's homes to work.

Idea: Eliminate all personal use of state vehicles for commuting.

Generates: Unknown.

Personal Phone Calls

Argument: Current state practice is to allow state employees to make personal phone calls on state phones and reimburse the state.

Idea: Consider eliminating the practice.

Generates: Unknown.

KDOT Bidding Process

Argument: On construction projects, KDOT uses the low and best responsive bidder in lieu of the low bidder only as a standard policy. The Department of Administration accepts bids on state building contracts using the lowest bidder process. Some contractors are being sued by the state for nonperformance but are allowed to bid again on future contracts while they are being sued.

Idea: To save on legal fees and other costs on non-performing contracts, the Department of Administration should implement prequalified bidding, similar to the process used by KDOT. KDOT saves an estimated $425,000 annually.

Generates: Unknown.

Snail Mail Costs

Argument: The state should review its use of traditional mail. The fiscal 2004 postage budget for the Department of Information Systems and Communication is $4.8 million.

Idea: Evaluate where electronic mail can be used as a substitute to reduce postage expense.

Generates: Unknown.

Year 2000 Positions

Argument: During work to make the state's computers ready for the year 2000, a large number of information technology positions were created. Many of those positions are still available while the amount of work for the state may have decreased.

Idea: Freeze hiring in all or most information technology areas until the state can evaluate the overall need.

Generates: Unknown.

Computer Redundancies

Argument: Hundreds of computer system servers are being operated in multiple locations. The state also has numerous redundant e-mail systems.

Idea: Review state needs and evaluate the possibility of a centralized data center to improve reliability, flexibility, and overall cost effectiveness of information technology. Consider an integrated e-mail system also.

Generates: Unknown.

Revenue Auditors

Argument: There are currently vacant positions for auditors in the Department of Revenue. Aspiring CPA's could work in those positions (with their superior being a CPA) and gain work experience that will count toward the requirements to become a CPA. Corporate income tax auditors have a $22 to $1 return on investment; sales-use tax auditors have a $12 to $1 return on investment.

Idea: Authorize the Department of Revenue to fill vacant audit positions. Hire a CPA as the head of the audit to attract better talent of aspiring CPA's.

Generates: Unknown.

Government Web Sites

Argument: There are more than 50 state government web sites that are individually designed and managed.

Idea: Consolidate all web development, construction, and ongoing support and management into a central group to ensure consistency of product and to leverage buying power for software and related hardware.

Generates: Unknown.

IT Approval Process

Argument: Currently the state requires the Information Technology Advisory Board and the Chief Information Technology Architect to approve all information technology projects over $250,000.

Idea: Change the spending limit to $50,000 and require all information technology projects over that amount to submit a reasonableness test of show the expected return on the investment.

Generates: Unknown.

State Printing Plants

Argument: The state has 10 full-scale printing operations -- one at the Department of Education, one at the Division of Printing, two at Kansas State University and one each at the five other universities and the University of Kansas Medical Center. Many of these are not working at full capacity and could be merged . Unknown. Some purchasing agents in the state have shown that they can purchase office products direct from retailers for less than the price negotiated by the Division of Purchasing.

Idea: Review purchasing system for inflexibility and areas where the volume purchasing is not a savings for the state.

Generates: Unknown.

Direct Deposits for Vendors

Argument: Direct deposit and wire transfers are more cost-effective methods of vendor payment than generating checks.

Idea: Mandate direct deposit of state generated payments to vendors and clients.

Generates: Unknown.

Multiple Water Agencies

Argument: The state has many different agencies and boards that deal with water.

Idea: Appoint an independent official charged with developing a water agency reorganization plan.

Generates: Unknown.

KDHE Regulatory Functions

Argument: There are many additional regulatory functions within the Department of Health and Environments' Division of the Environment that have potential for increased fee support in order to reduce use of state general funds.

Idea: Consider increasing fees for wastewater/stormwater regulation, confined animal feedlots and radiation device inspections.

Generates: Unknown.

Meat Inspections

Argument: The state spends $1.5 million for the state inspection of interstate meat processing plants.

Idea: Consider stopping the state inspection of meat processing plants. To reduce impact on many small meat packing plants and consider offering other options such as a loan program to help them make necessary capital improvements to meet federal standards.

Generates: Unknown.

Animal Health Department

Argument: The Animal Health Department performs many regulatory functions, most of which relate to agriculture.

Generates: Unknown.

Idea: Consider consolidating the Animal Health Department with the Department of Agriculture.

Generates: Unknown.

Longevity Bonuses

Argument: When state employees have worked for the state for more than 10 years, they are eligible for a longevity bonus based solely on how long they have worked for the state and not the productivity of their work. The state is becoming increasingly uncompetitive about total compensation. This trend will make excellent service increasingly difficult if it prevents the state from attracting and retaining top-quality human resource talent.

Idea: Initiate a comprehensive compensation review for all state employees and consider eliminating the longevity bonus instead of a bonus based on productivity.

Generates: Unknown.

Boards and Commissions

Argument: There are 186 boards and commissions. These entities are generating significant per diem expenses and other costs.

Idea: Explore reduction and consolidation.

Generates: Unknown.

Paying Back Taxes

Argument: Many state licenses are renewed without first checking to make sure that person or entity has paid all back taxes owed to the state.

Idea: Require payment of all taxes before issuing any kind of new or renewal license.

Generates: Unknown.

Cash Grants, Awards

Argument: The state has many grants and cash awards that are distributed by state agencies.

Idea: Freeze all nonessential state grants and awards of cash by state agencies.

Generates: Unknown.

Dillon House

Argument: The state owns the Dillon House near the Capitol, which is in need of repair.

Idea: Sell the Dillon House to eliminate maintenance and operating costs.

Generates: Unknown.

Community DD Groups

Argument: There are 28 Community Developmental Disability Organizations providing services.

Idea: Consolidate into a lesser number for maximum efficiency based on client population and regional delivery of service. The groups shouldn't provide services directly, only oversight.

Generates: Unknown.

Community MH Centers

Argument: There are 29 community mental health centers.

Idea: Consolidate into a lesser number.

Generates: Unknown.

Payroll Agents

Argument: In programs providing in-home services for the frail elderly and physically disabled, participants are allowed to direct their care. When they choose a caregiver, they sign up with a payroll agent, either a center for independent living, or a home health agency. The main function of a payroll agent is to process the caregiver's time sheets. For this function, they are receiving approximately $4 an hour worked by the caregiver.

Idea: The payroll agent function should be put out for competitive bid to accounting firms or other business entities.

Generates: Unknown.

Public Safety Agencies

Argument: Kansas has many different public safety agencies that do not always work together as one agency.

Idea: Create a single Public Safety Agency like 60 percent of the states have. This agency would include the KBI, Highway Patrol, Department of Corrections, Juvenile Justice Authority, Fire Marshal, Board of Emergency Medical Services, Adjutant General, and many other boards and commissions.

Generates: Unknown.

Miscellaneous Suggestions

Other ideas, all with unknown savings:

  • Sell advertising space on state web sites and other state property.
  • Consolidate Rainbow Mental Health Facility in Kansas City, Kan., into Osawatomie State Hospital.
  • Consider consolidation of forensics labs in Pittsburg and Topeka.
  • Decrease the number of "exceptions" granted for costs associated with assigned counsel from the Board of Indigent's Defense.
  • Fractionalize ownership of the executive aircraft.
  • Examine the 10 aircraft for the Highway Patrol and KBI for necessity.
  • Impose a per-ticket fee on tickets to the Kansas Speedway and other events to help pay Highway Patrol expenses related to the events.
  • Develop a standard for facility maintenance staff size and expenditures.
  • Consolidate field services for the Department of Corrections.
  • Restructure prison health contracts to cut down on costs.
  • Examine the surplus property process and Kansas Correctional Industries.
  • Redefine expectations of the Juvenile Justice grant process and outcomes before making disbursements.
  • Restructure the system of grants to local governments for community corrections.
  • Clarify the roles of the Juvenile Justice Authority and SRS in certain juvenile matters.
  • Determine the most appropriate placement of Homeland Security responsibilities.
  • Make the Motor Vehicle Fund of the Highway Patrol permanent.
  • Eliminate the Highway Patrol's dog unit.

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