OLYMPIA – April 1, 2013 – The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission will convene a special meeting in Olympia to review 2013-15 budget proposals and to consider delegating authority to the agency director to enter negotiations with the union over employee issues related to governance at Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend.
The special meeting is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 3, in the Moran Conference Room of the State Parks Headquarters Building, 1111 Israel Road S.W., Tumwater. Time for public comment will be provided.
The Commission will meet to discuss the agency’s 2013-15 operating budget request and Governor Jay Inslee’s proposed 2013-15 State Parks budget. The Governor’s budget, announced March 28, includes $23.7 million General Fund for State Parks.
The Legislature had indicated in 2011 that State Parks should prepare to become self-supporting through the Discover Pass. In 2012, the Commission took the position that it was not possible for State Parks to become fully self supporting if it is to meet its broad mission of providing parks, recreation, natural resource stewardship and historic preservation – and that a “right mix” of funding, including General Fund, is needed to sustain the park system.
The Commission subsequently requested $27.2 million in General Fund. Before leaving office, former Governor Gregoire proposed zero General Fund in her “Book One” budget, the version of the budget that would be in place without additional -evenue sources – and $18.7 million in the “Book Two” budget version, in the event that new taxes or other revenue sources would be identified.
A final budget will not be known until the Legislature adopts and the Governor signs a final budget at the end of the legislative session.
In other business, the Commission will consider providing authority to the agency director or designee to negotiate on their behalf with the Washington Federation of State Employees on employee issues related to a new pending governance approach at Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend. The Commission directed staff in December to move forward to negotiate an agreement with the Fort Worden Public Development Authority to manage the campus portion of the park.
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The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages a diverse system of more than 100 state parks and recreation programs, including long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation. Washington State Parks turned 100 years old on March 19, 2013, and invites the public to celebrate at events in parks all over the state, all year long. For more information, visit www.parks.wa.gov/events/.
Support state parks by purchasing your annual Discover Pass today, and enjoy a whole year of outdoor fun on Washington’s beautiful state-managed recreation lands. For more information, visit www.discoverpass.wa.gov.