OLYMPIA – The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission will meet in Olympia for its regular meeting this week. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 23, at
OLYMPIA, Wash. - The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission is calling a special meeting next week in Olympia to discuss its spending plan for the remainder of the current budget cycle and to begin identifying priorities for the agency’s 2013-15 budget request, due in September.
The meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, June 18, at the Washington State Parks Headquarters, 1111 Israel Road S.W., Olympia, in the Environmental and Land Use Hearings Office on the third floor. A Commission meeting agenda is available online at www.parks.wa.gov/agency/commissionmeetings/. Time for public comment will be provided.
In the 2012 session, the Legislature transferred $4 million to State Parks from a state Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account, for operations and maintenance of parks as the Commission works to implement a new funding structure, which relies significantly upon sales of the Discover Pass.
Foreseeing a large State budget deficit, the Parks department has been asked to trim ten percent of it's budget, equating to 10 million dollars, State Parks planner Brian Hovis told the crowd "Parks has already cut $3.5 million out of headquarters and regional office budgets, and it has come down to reducing state parks." The department is also considering extending seasonal closures, and shelving needed repairs. The 3.5 million dollars trimmed so far does not help for the 2009-2011 budget, that covers shortfalls in the Parks department's budget ending in 2009.
Hovis, and Regional Director Steve Brand answered hand-written questions after a short presentation on the department's budget. Handouts explained how over 800-thousand dollars in operating expenses would be saved if the state were to either transfer or mothball both Lake Sylvia and Schafer State parks.
The regular Commission meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Thursday, March 5, at Commission Headquarters, 1111 Israel Road S.W., Olympia. The budget proposal agenda item and public comment are scheduled for no earlier than 1 p.m., beginning with a budget report. A full meeting agenda is available online at www.parks.wa.gov/commtg.asp.
The Commission will hear a report on the status of agency work to potentially transfer 13 parks to other public operators as part of the Governor’s proposed 2009-11 budget, announced in December. The budget proposal, based on revenue forecasts predicting a state revenue shortfall of approximately $5.7 billion, would require State Parks to reduce expenditures by 10 percent or $10 million in General Fund support.
State Parks participated in the Governor’s freeze in August and early autumn expenditure reductions to save money in the current budget. To meet requirements of the Governor’s budget proposal for next Biennium, the Commission will make other cuts first in order to mitigate park transfers or closures.