News Release 11-055
Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission
1111 Israel Road S.W., P.O. Box 42650, Olympia, WA 98504-2650, (360) 902-8500
Don Hoch, Director
Virginia Painter (360) 902-8562
Sandy Mealing (360) 902-8559
Wash. Telecommunications Relay Service:
State Parks Commission has special meeting to discuss supplemental budget request
Sep. 13, 2011 –
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission announces a special meeting Friday to discuss 2011-13 budget reduction options and a 2012 supplemental budget request.
The meeting is scheduled to begin at noon Friday, Sept. 16, in the Environmental Hearings Office, on the third floor of the Washington State Parks Headquarters Building, 1111 Israel Road S.W., Olympia. A meeting agenda is available online at www.parks.wa.gov/agency/commissionmeetings/.
The agenda item asks the Commission, per instructions from the Governor’s Office of Financial Management, to adopt General Fund reduction options equal to 5 and 10 percent of the agency’s General Fund appropriations. The agency’s General Fund appropriation already was drastically reduced in order to decrease government expenditures and make the park system self-supporting. The 2011 Legislature then passed legislation adopting the Discover Pass to generate operating revenues. The Discover Pass is now required for the public to access state parks and other recreation lands managed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Natural Resources. State Parks’ 2011-13 budget provided $17.3 million in General Fund tax dollars to help the agency transition to a fee-based operation.
Within a month after the 2011 legislative session ended, the State Forecasting Council lowered its General Fund-State forecast for the biennium. At the time of this release, analysts were predicting a Sept. 15 forecast with even further revenue losses of up to two billion dollars in the current biennium. The Office of Financial Management has requested all agencies to submit General Fund reduction scenarios of 5 percent ($867,000 for state parks) and 10 percent ($1.7 million for state parks).
At the special meeting, the Commission will discuss a reduction approach that would take multiple small cuts throughout the agency, identifying reductions that would have the least impact in service to park users overall, while not jeopardizing key resources or placing impractical burdens on park staff.
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages a statewide system of more than 100 state parks, long-distance land and water trails and programs such as winter recreation and boating safety. The seven-member volunteer citizen Commission sets policy direction for the agency and has regular meetings six times a year in predetermined locations around the state. The next regular meeting is scheduled for October 6, in Tri-Cities.