The Arizona Game and Fish Commission has approved
a proposal that would increase fees for most
hunting and fishing licenses, tags, stamps
and permits for use in 2007. The department
sought the increases through the Arizona
Legislature and a public rules review process.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department has
now set the dates for public input on the
proposal, which will not become law until
the department obtains final approval from
the commission and the Governor’s Regulatory
If approved, the new fees would help the department
to meet increasing operating expenses and to
address program priorities. The proposed changes
- Increased fees for resident and nonresident
big game hunt permit-tags, adoption of Class
J and K family hunting and fishing licenses,
and adoption of the Class L, M, and N super conservation
hunting and fishing licenses.
- An equal increase for resident and
nonresident guide licenses.
- A new class of junior hunt permit-tags
for elk, deer, javelina and turkey at an equal
cost for resident and nonresident youth.
of the proposed Class A premium hunt permit-tags
for deer and elk.
Examples of the new pricing structure include
a general resident fishing license going from
$18 to $23.50, a resident elk tag increasing
from $78 to $114, a resident deer tag going from
$19.50 to $34.75, a resident combination hunt
and fish license increasing from $44 to $54,
and a youth combination hunt and fish license
going from $25.50 to $26.50.
The department is also proposing rule changes
to address the separate issue of hunter harassment.
The proposed changes would allow the Game and
Fish director to take preemptive law enforcement
measures to prevent hunter harassment.
The department will accept written comments
on both of these proposals from Jan. 6 to Feb.
6. The department will also accept oral comments
at the Arizona Game and Fish Commission meeting
tentatively scheduled for Feb. 10 and 11 at the
Shilo Inn at 1550 S. Castle Dome Road in Yuma.
If you have any questions or comments, contact
Carlos Ramirez, the department’s rule writer,
at (623) 236-7288 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
did the commission and department ask for fee
fee increases sought to provide the department
with revenue to meet rising costs of business
and to address commission-identified priorities
for the department. The department receives no
share of state General Fund revenues. Licenses,
stamps and tag fees constitute the department’s
primary sources of revenues and are the foundation
of a formula used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service to determine Arizona’s federal funding
for wildlife conservation.
are some of the cost issues?
Fuel costs have gone up dramatically. Gas prices
in the Rocky Mountain region rose 36 percent from
2002-2004, and have gone up significantly again
this year. Game and Fish Department employees
drive more than 4.5 million miles per year on
ranger training and field costs
There are 74 wildlife manager districts in Arizona,
with an average district size of 1,137 square
miles. Training new officers takes 10 months and
costs approximately $71,000 per officer.
Rising retirement costs have a big impact on
the Game and Fish Fund budget. From fiscal year
2003 to fiscal year 2004, state-mandated retirement
contributions rose from $399,520 to $970,555--an
increase of 143 percent. In fiscal year 2006,
retirement and health insurance costs to the
agency will increase again by nearly another
$1.1 million. Most state agencies receive money
from the state's General Fund, so when the retirement
contribution is increased, the state budget office
typically increases those agencies’ budgets
by the amount needed to cover the retirement
costs. The Arizona Game and Fish Department receives
no general fund money, so it has to come up with
the retirement contributions out of its own funding.
Development costs range from $10,000 to $65,000
per catchment, depending on location and design.
Material prices have gone up substantially in
the past year.
are some of the priorities that revenues from
the fee increase will be used for?
of the priorities that the Arizona Game and Fish
Commission has identified for the department include:
A top priority for the department is to raise
employee salaries to a more competitive level.
Arizona Game and Fish Department employees make
15 to 20 percent less than market averages, and
also make significantly less than their counterparts
in many other municipal and county public agencies.
Arizona state workers are among the lowest paid
state government employees when compared to the
other 49 states. The few salary increases that
have been implemented over the past five years
have primarily been given to offset increased
medical and retirement costs. Turnover among department
employees has increased due to salary issues.
A pay increase for employees is essential to retain
valued employees and their knowledge, reduce training
costs, and maintain high levels of customer service.
Another top priority is to continue the department’s
work with public and private landowners, and at
state-owned wildlife areas, to improve habitat
for wildlife. Examples include water developments,
habitat improvement projects to help deer populations,
and habitat treatments on public lands.
access and hunt opportunities
Resolving access issues to public land that is
accessed through private land is a major focus
of the department. The department will continue
to work with landowners to negotiate easement
agreements to assist with wildlife management
and to provide access for hunters and anglers.
management and game species introduction
The department will continue stewardship and cooperative
projects with private and public landowners to
stabilize or increase pronghorn populations and
reintroduce game species such as Gould’s
turkey, Merriam’s turkey, and bighorn sheep.
Investments would be made to improve fishing opportunities
and quality for Arizona anglers. Activities would
include necessary hatchery improvements at Silver
Creek Hatchery in Navajo County, Canyon Creek
and Tonto Creek hatcheries in Gila County, Page
Springs Hatchery in Yavapai and Coconino counties.
Funds would be used to acquire, grow and stock
fish, and for angler recruitment programs.
The department would look at an expanded program
for estimating predator populations, such as coyotes
and mountain lions, to ensure population stability
and to minimize conflict with humans and adverse
impacts on other species.
Funds would be invested in shooting range development
and improvements statewide. The Flagstaff and
Tucson areas would be targeted for accelerated
development efforts, with improvements planned
in eastern, northwestern and southeastern Arizona.
Customer service improvements would include hardware
and database support for law enforcement, additional
field officers, and facilities repairs and improvements
necessary to support field operations in regional
offices and rural areas. The goal: greater officer
field presence and facility efficiency.
and youth recreation
Money would be invested in support of local sportsmen’s-and-women’s
clubs to support youth programs and hunter recruitment
efforts. Investments may take the form of direct
support, expansion of sponsored youth events,
or support for club involvement in the Scholastic
Clay Target and Archery in the Schools programs.
there any price breaks for youth and families?
The department proposed no increases for youth
license fees. In addition, there are some new
family hunting and fishing licenses that provide
a substantial price break to families.
do hunting and fishing prices compare with other
forms of recreation?
Hunting and fishing in Arizona will remain an
outstanding value. Your licenses can be used all
calendar year. Compare the cost and duration with
other forms of recreation and entertainment:
|Arizona resident general fishing license
||$18 (current fee) or $23.50 (proposed
||Up to 365 days
|Arizona resident general hunting license
||$25.50 (current fee) or $32.25 (proposed
||Up to 365 days
|Arizona Cardinals single game
||$15 to $235
|Golf (18 holes)
||$25 to $175
||Four to five hours
|Dinner at restaurant
||$20 to $50
||$7.50 to $8.50
||Two to three hours
Arizona Game and Fish Department Cost Saving Measures
In accordance with our vision
of meeting or exceeding the expectations of our
customers, the Arizona Game and Fish Department
has instituted several cost saving measures the
last five years. Below are some of these savings.
Communications: Enhancements to the department's
Web site have facilitated the electronic distribution
of several department newsletters, including the
Fishing Report, Wildlife News, Urban Fishing News,
Shooting Sports, and Endangered Species Update.
Cost savings have come from reduced costs for
layout and design, printing, and postage and mailing,
resulting in a total annual savings of $256,710.88.
License Sales: By using the department
Web site to allow customers to purchase licenses,
stamps and tags the department in 2002 saved approximately
$110,803 in saved staff hours, postage and refund
Based on recent replacement and monitoring data
at various department facilities, new and more
efficient equipment has realized a 7 to 10 percent
cost savings in annual electrical usage. Completing
upgrades at the department's state headquarters
and remaining regional offices will result in
a $12,000 to $15,000 annual savings.
As a part of its normal business practices, the
department works to obtain federal monies whenever
possible to fund its operations. This is especially
critical since the department receives no General
Fund monies and cannot go back to the Legislature
for additional funding to address revenue shortfalls.
For example in 2002 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service granted the department $13,440,497.
In order to streamline the procurement process,
the department initiated the small purchase authorization
(SPA) process several years ago. This process
allows for the purchase of small dollar items
without the need to generate a requisition or
purchase order. The SPA and billing receipt are
sent directly to the Accounts Payable section
for payment, saving both time and the costs associated
with generating a requisition/purchase order.
This process has reduced the number of requisitions
generated by approximately 70 percent along with
associated costs. The cost to generate a requisition
is $75. The cost to generate a SPA is $37.50.
The annual cost savings by using the SPA process
is approximately $206,000.
Since 2001, all invoices have been
paid within the terms of the invoice to take advantage
of discounts offered by the vendor. The discounts
range from 1 to 5 percent, and in three years,
the department has saved $50,219.66.
In the last three years, the department has reduced
the number of cell phones by 17.5 percent and
the costs associated with these phones by 20 percent,
resulting in approximately $12,200 in annual savings.
The department has replaced its analog telecommunications
circuitry with Primary Rate Interface (PRI) technology
and instituted several other changes in its telecommunications
resulting in $98,280.36 in savings.
All out-of-state travel requests are evaluated
first by programmatic supervisors and then by
branch chiefs before going to the director for
approval. Each request is evaluated for time,
cost and value to department mission, specific
program, and funding source. In-state travel is
also being reviewed, and any travel that is not
mission critical is also being eliminated. Phone
meetings are being held to reduce travel, and
local employees are covering workshops, events
and other activities to reduce the travel need
for Phoenix-based employees. The department recognizes
that fuel costs are rising and has established
a plan to coordinate carpooling, biking and other
cost saving measures to reduce gas consumption.
Many out of state travel trips have been cancelled
and the department has saved money by reducing
helicopter rentals and reducing mileage on agency
As a part of its ongoing efforts to reduce training
costs, the department regularly takes its training
programs to regional department offices, which
reduces in-state travel and time away from the
job for employees. For example, in the fall of
2002 and spring 2003, the training office delivered
computer training to regional personnel in Kingman
and Yuma rather than bringing employees to Phoenix
for the training, resulting in a cost savings
of several thousand dollars.