Q1: How is the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) financed?
- A1: DAS receives a General Fund appropriation to cover leadership functions. All other expenses are covered by revenue generated from billings to customers for DAS utility and marketplace services.
Q2: How does DAS set prices?
Utility services are those most efficiently provided through a centrally-managed resource in order to maximize efficiency and/or capture economies of scale, such as Capitol Complex space management. Other state agencies are required to purchase utility services from DAS. Rates for utility services are recommended by DAS and reviewed by a Customer Council, which is similar to a board of directors in the private sector. To determine utility rates, DAS enterprises analyze and project the direct and indirect costs of providing a service based on history and known changes in costs. DAS enterprises then propose utility rates to the Customer Council. The Customer Council reviews the financial information and receives comments from other agencies. The Customer Council sends comments regarding rates to the DAS director who then finalizes utility service rates for the fiscal year.
Marketplace services are those services for which customers have a choice of vendors inside or outside state government, such as human resource training. DAS can offer marketplace services to any governmental entity and to non-profit 501(c) 3 organizations. To set marketplace rates, enterprises analyze the direct and indirect costs to provide the service. Since agencies have the option to purchase marketplace services from either DAS or another vendor, they have input into marketplace pricing through their buying decisions.
- A2: DAS provides a wide range of utility and marketplace services encompassing general services, information technology, human resources and state accounting functions for State agencies. Rates for utility services are recommended by DAS and reviewed by the Customer Council. Rates for marketplace services are also set by the DAS enterprises.
Q3: How is rate setting timed?
Rates for Marketplace services are set by DAS and are reviewed regularly to stay current. Customers are given a thirty-day notice of any rate changes for marketplace services.
- A3: DAS works with the Customer Council annually to review utility rates. Proposed rates are sent to all agencies for a thirty day comment period. The Customer Council reviews all comments and makes a final determination on the rates. The review process begins in May, and new rates are established by September 1. New rates are not effective until the following July. This allows agencies time to prepare their budgets based on the updated rates and to submit them to the Governor’s office for review and approval prior to presentation to the legislature.
Q4: How do customers oversee utility expenses and revenues?
- A4: A Customer Council, comprised of representatives from large, medium and small agencies, oversees DAS utility services by analyzing revenue and expense reports and by reviewing the rates for DAS utility services. The Customer Council acts as a liaison between DAS and the other agencies. Revenue and expense reports are available to all agencies.
Q5: What basic reporting tools assure adequate oversight for DAS?
- A5: DAS produces monthly financial statements that are available to all agencies. There are a number of programs that DAS manages and provides financial reports to the corresponding oversight committee. In addition, the State Auditor’s office reviews our reports, analyzes our procedures and ensures that data is secure and accessible to only authorized staff. To ensure DAS is providing quality and timely service at a competitive rate, quarterly surveys are sent to customers and the results are published for customer review.
Q6: What role does the General Assembly play in setting and approving DAS rates?
- A6: DAS and its Customer Council has responsibility to set rates. The General Assembly reviews annual business plans and financial reports summarizing DAS activities.
Q7: Is there an appeal process if customers disagree with rates?
- A7: DAS is required by mandate to establish an appeal process to handle customer complaints, including disagreements with rates. The Customer Council has established an appeal process.
Q8: How many revolving funds does DAS have, and for what purposes?
- A8: DAS currently has many revolving funds of various fund types and groups. Most operational revolving funds are primarily internal service type fund, such as statewide purchasing, motor pool, mail, human resources and facility services . Others, such as art preservation and restoration and monument maintenance are special fund types.
Q9: How are new revolving funds established?
- A9: DAS is authorized to establish any needed internal service fund (revolving fund). The process begins with a recommendation to the Department of Management, who must approve the application, with concurrence of the Auditor of State also required. At least ninety days before the fund is set up, the DAS director provides written notice to the General Assembly; including the legislative council, legislative fiscal committee and the legislative fiscal bureau.