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QUALITY CONTROL MARK
TREASURY-POSTAL SERVICE-GENERAL GOVERNMENT
APPROPRIATIONS FOR FISCAL YEAR 1976
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16, 1975.
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
WITNESSES KANUS J. FISH, JR., DIRECTOR, NATIONAL CAPITAL PARKS ELMER S. ATKINS, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, WHITE HOUSE LIAISON,
NATIONAL CAPITAL PARKS FLOYD P. BOUGE, DIVISION OF PROGRAMING AND BUDGET, NATIONAL CAPITAL PARKS Mr. STEED. The committee will be in order. The subcommittee is in session this afternoon to take up the 1976 budget request for the Executive residence. Operating expenses for fiscal year 1975 were $1,695,000 and the supplementals pending are $49,000 raising the 1975 total to $1,744,000. The budget estimate for 1976 is $1,826,000, an increase over fiscal year 1975 of $82,009. The transition period request is 8457,000.
We are pleased to have Mr. Fish, the Director of the National Capital Parks with us. If you would like to identify your associates for the record, we will be glad to have your statement.
Mr. Fish. My name is Manus J. Fish, Jr., Director of the National Capital Parks. On my right is Elmer S. Atkins, Associate Director, White House Liaison, and on my left is Floyd P. Hough, Division of Programing and Budget.
Mr. Chairman, I have a short statement.
Mr. Fish. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you to present for your consideration the fund requirements for the maintenance and operation of the Executive residence for the forthcoming year. The appropriation request for the Executive residence for fiscal year 1976 is $1,826,000, an increase of $82,000 over the amount available for fiscal year 1975. The increase includes the usual built-in costs totalling $21.800 for pay increases and $60,200 for the increased cost of supplies, materials, equipment, and contractual services.
The funds requested for fiscal year 1976 will provide for the routine Operating and maintenance needs for the residence at the present level of activity. There are no new programs or personnel proposed in this badget.
A change in the appropriation language is proposed to restore the authority which was deleted last year in anticipation of passage of a general authority bill for the White House.
The fiscal year transition period, July, August, and September 1976, operating level is proposed at the same level as that for fiscal year 1976. The method of computation used in determining the amount was a straight line 25 percent of the amount requested for 1976. No increase for staffing is proposed for this period. The amount requested for this period is $157,000.
We are happy to report that the residence is in good condition structurally.
Mr. Chairman, I shall be pleased to attempt to answer any questions you and other members of the committee may have about the operation of the Executive residence and the 1976 estimates before you.
Mr. STEED. You have made reference to the $82,000 increase and the reasons therefore. Couid you furnish for the record a breakdown of lollar amounts per major item?
Mr. Fisii. Yes, sir, we certainly will.
Bicakdown of increases by major items
rates which became effective. October 27. 1974.----
mates which became vifective October 27, 1974.. Increased cost of all other objects based on increases in the consumer
price index from July 1973 to September 1974 (From 132.7 to 151.9 new base)
82,000 YOTE.--The increased cost of electricity alone has increased 72 percent with a 10 percent reduction in consumption, resulting in a net increase to this activity of approximately $15,000. All other items have increased about 17 percent.
Vir. STEED. You are still working with the same work force. I believe that is 86 positions.
Wr. Fisi. Yes, sir. If you recall, we increased that by 11 last year and that has worked out very weil. That was the transfer of the 10 GSA and one Nationai Park Service employees.
Jr. STEED. What has been your visitor record? Since there is a recession, does this cause people to stay home. Has your visitor flow indicated that?
Mr. Fisi. Actually I think it increased a little bit last year. The figure for the total year was 1,349,633. We were open 8 more days, 218 days last year. But I think the average per day is the figure that we need to look at, and that was 5,442 people per day as against 5,079 in the year before. So there has been a slight increase. We have noticed so far this year there seems to be increased visitation in the White House over the same period last year.
Mr. STEED. Everybody is talking about the Bicentennial year and the increased flow of visitors that is apt to generate. Do you of your own accord or in consultation with other interested people analyze what the indications are with regard to this increased flow of visitors will be? Can you give us some information about what you plan to do to cope with this increased workload?
Mr. Fish. Yes, sir. We are using figures that have been compiled by the council of governments in a report last year. And the figure they came up with for visitation to the Washington area was 35 million visitors. That would be compared to perhaps 20 or 22 million last year. So that would be a very significant increase.
As we mentioned last year, Mr. Chairman, we, as a followup to your suggestion of the year before for doing something for the visitor to the White House as against standing in the long line around the fence, have developed some plans and we brought them and thought perhaps you might like to take a look at them.
Mr. STEED. Yes; we would like to.
Mr. Fish. We hope to effect this, Mr. Chairman, in September of this year. We will not be able to do it this particular visitor season, but we would want to try it out this September, and it will be ready for 1976.
This (indicating] would be the White House over here. This is the Ellipse area, and your hand would be along Constitution Avenue. That would be 16th Street. The proposal is to put bleachers around the periphery of the Ellipse here and to have some sort of an interpretive program that would be going on in this space out here in the Ellipse where we have the Pageant of Peace in that general area.
Incidentally, that is the national Christmas Tree here.
What would happen is the visitor would be given a ticket and then they would be called at a particular time to go over across E Street and line up at the East Gate. We think this will work very well.
Mr. STEED. What would be the seating capacity of this facility ?
Mr. Fish. Yes, sir. What we propose there would be awnings over the bleachers.
Mr. STEED. To protect them from the sun and/or the rain ?
Mr. STEED. Is this about as many as you have standing in line under crowded conditions !
Mr. Fish. Actually it is probably a little bit more. But we think too that visitation in the area, general visitors and visitors from the Washington Monument might walk over here. What we thought would occur would be perhaps some military band that would perform. We rork very closely with the Military District of Washington. We have s number of requests from high school bands from all over the country to perform in the parks of the Nation's Capital. We would hope to have these high school bands perform here.
Perhaps we might have some arts and crafts activity that would go on there, and certainly some of the interpreters that could tell the Hory of the White House and make a more quality visit by having this information before you go into the house.
Mr. STEED. Does the funding for this activity come out of the Natonal Parks budget!
Mr. Fish. Yes, sir, it does. We have put that in the Bicentennial progam, again as a result of your discussions last year and the year before.
We are going to try this summer something very similar, not in this scope, at the Washington Monument, because you have a very similar situation there where you can only get so many people through the structure given a certain amount of time. That we will try to do this summer.
Mr. STEED. Obviously there will be an increase in the number of peopie that will come to visit because you know a lot of people see the big crowd around the White House and just walk off. This is going to encourage more people to stick around and wait their turn because they will be more comfortable while they are waiting.
Mr. FISH. That is right.
Mr. STEED. Do you have an estimate as to what you think this contribution would do by itself, in addition to the increase the Bicentenmal year might impose!
Mr. Fisi. It is difficult to indicate or estimate what this would inirease, because the constricting factor is reaily the house itself and the number of hours that we can keep the house open. As you know, Mr. Chairman, we keep it open from 10 to 12 Tuesday through Saturday and that is because of the other official functions that go on there. That is the real constriction there.
There was a time, about 10 years or so ago, when the average per ay was about 7,000. I think that perhaps by an interpretive program out here on the Elipse we would be able to give out some more information about the house. We don't want to speed people through the home, but it may be that we could increase the numbers that go through there per day. You are probably right, there probably would be some sort of an increase there that might figure in terms
Mr. STEED. What about pamphlets or anything of that sort that have to do with the White House? I suppose you have certain materials that people can buy to take home with them, but do you have any additional materials you would want them to have and will give to them for free?
Mr. Fish. Yes, we do. We have pamphlets in six foreign languages we pass out.
Mr. STEED. Would this sort of a new arrangement down there make this a more effective way to distribute this material ?
Mr. Fish. I really think so: yes, sir.
These books that we have with the White House Historical Association would still be handled inside the house.
Mr. STEED. What is the demand for those ? Has it been in keeping with this unexpected and very unusual demand we find for the same type books here at the Capitol ?
Mr. Fish. Yes. We have been able to keep up with that demand, but it has been very helpful to us to have the White House Historical Association performing that duty. In fact these are sold right here, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. STEED. I can be completely wrong, but I adhere to the oldfashioned idea if people buy this type material to take home with them it must indicate they still have a little bit of love and affection for the country, its Capitol and its historic shrines. Doesn't it seem that way to you?
Mr. Fish. I believe that. I very sincerely do.