2015 Economic Evaluation of Florida’s Investment in Beaches
Office of Economic and Demographic Research: Economic Evaluation of Florida’s Investment in Beaches (January 2015)
At the request of the Legislature, the Office of Economic and Demographic Research completed an economic analysis of Florida’s statewide Beach Management Program. The scope of the evaluation included the following:
Identify the strength of the relationship between Florida’s beaches and the state’s attractiveness as a tourism destination, including the impact on the state’s brand.
Calculate the state’s overall return on investment from its current expenditures on beach management and restoration projects.
Assess the impact of the potential shocks such as major storm damage or other disasters, including a discussion of the state’s economic risk.
Evaluate the return on investment as a project selection criterion.
According to the report:
“[Office of Economic and Demographic Research] determined that the state’s brand is made up of nine features that attract visitors. Beaches are the most important feature of Florida’s brand, accounting for 25.5% of the state’s attractiveness to visitors. The state appropriates funds yearly to repair storm damage and ensure the high quality of the beaches.
The state’s investment in the Beach Management and Restoration Program generated a positive return on investment of 5.4. The [return on investment] was estimated using tax revenues resulting from visitor spending induced by the state’s investment in beaches. A return of greater than 1 means that the tax revenue generated by tourists to the state of Florida more than covers the state’s expenditure on beaches.”
Office of Program Policy and Government Accountability (December 2014)
At the request of the Legislature, the Office of Program Policy and Government Accountability (more commonly known as OPPAGA) completed an evaluation of Florida’s Beach Management Funding Assistance Program. The scope of the evaluation considered:
Current rule and statutory criteria.
Funding request application process, information requirements and timelines.
Use of ranking criteria in the annual project ranking for funding consideration.
The report concluded with the following:
“To address the prioritization of projects, the Legislature could consider separate project lists for federal-state funded projects and state-local funded projects. To increase focus on the value of projects, the Legislature could consider directing DEP to revise how it considers various administrative criteria. The Legislature could also consider options to simplify the application process as well as alternatives to account for storm damage occurring after applications have been submitted.”
Auditor General’s Operational Audit Report 2014-064: Beach Erosion Control Program
The Florida Auditor General has completed an audit of the Beach Erosion Control Program (former name of the Beach Management Funding Assistance Program).
The audit resulted in two recommendations for the program.
Recommendation 1: We recommend that department management establish a standardized review process and develop Program guidance for local sponsors addressing the selection of contractors. The review process and guidance should address the identification of potential conflicts of interest and require that project monitors be independent of the Program project phases they are to monitor.
Recommendation 2: We recommend that department management establish guidance, including contractor hourly rate guidelines, addressing specific project costs allowable under the Program. To improve management and oversight of the Program and better ensure that projects are economically and efficiently completed in compliance with applicable laws, rules and grant agreement provisions, we also recommend that the department establish a mechanism for tracking project costs by expenditure type and strengthen its process for reviewing local sponsor project contracts and requests for reimbursement.
2012 Florida Department of Environmental Protection Office of Inspector General Audit Report
Office of Inspector General Report A-1112DEP-058: Beach Restoration Project Funding Scoring Process (2012)
The Office of Inspector General conducted a review of the beach restoration project scoring process that was handled at the time out of the Division of Water Resource Management's Beach and Coastal System Program (now the Beach Management Funding Assistance Program). This review was initiated as a result of the fiscal year 2011-2012 Audit Plan. The scope included an assessment of the scoring process used within beach and coastal system for projects submitted under the FY2012-2013 funding cycle. The objective of this review was to determine whether the scoring process documented a consistent, objective and transparent application of project information submitted by local sponsors for consideration.
The audit resulted in the following recommendations of the Office of Inspector General:
The program to clearly establish documentation retention procedures, which include a listing of documentation required to be in project funding files be implemented and enforced. It is important that this list of required documentation include relevant information which supports the awarding of points to projects, as well as any other important information regarding the overall ranking process or special conditions experienced by a particular project.
The program implement control steps into the process to document an equal and consistent process. To demonstrate independent review of project information, we recommend project management staff independently score projects prior to attending the project scoring meeting and that this step be adequately documented. These steps should be documented for each project in the scoring process. To demonstrate that all participants are under equal consideration and governance of the process, reasonable deadlines should be enforced within the process. Furthermore, we recommend that the scoring meeting be adequately documented and the processes of that meeting have clearly articulated standards.
The program develop, implement, and publish documentation which accurately conveys the steps of the project scoring process such as a specific project scoring process map and/or general procedures.
In order to address the audit findings and recommendations, the following steps have been taken:
The ranking process is fully transparent and all documents used in the annual prioritization process are available to the public on department’s webpage.
Project assessment forms have been drafted for each project, documenting each assessment date, project details and justification for the award or denial of each ranking point. Project assessments are posted online with other documents used during the annual project ranking process. Additionally, all program deadlines are strictly enforced.
A process map timeline was published in the fiscal year 2013-14 Proviso Report, submitted to the Legislature on Dec. 30, 2013. Documentation of the ranking process is in draft and should be available online at the beginning of fiscal year 2015-16 to be used as a reference during the processing of the fiscal year 2016-17 priority ranking.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.