Public Doesn't Want to Cut
Oregon Fish & Wildlife Budget
Oregon Fish and Wildlife officials clearly heard a message at nine public meetings held recently: Maintain field staff, provide effective law enforcement, keep hatcheries open, and assist landowners with damage caused by wildlife.

Most attendees at the town hall meetings also said they would be willing to pay more for their hunting and fishing privileges to allow the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to maintain current services.

ODFW staff that attended the meetings took the public recommendations to an External Budget Advisory Committee held on Saturday, May 18. The committee, which represents a broad array of fish and wildlife interests, will make a final recommendation to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission on how to fill an $8 million budget gap for the 2003-05 biennium.

The Commission will, in turn, finalize the budget proposal that is sent to the Governor's Office for inclusion in the Recommended Budget to be considered by Legislature starting in January 2003.

Several options were presented at each of the town hall meetings held throughout the state in late April and early May. They included cutting services and positions to reduce costs, and increasing revenue through an increase in recreational license and tag fees. At the meetings, ODFW staff received additional revenue and cost-cutting ideas.

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