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Legislative Update on State Parks budget

With the end of the 2015 session - finally! – occurring the second week in July, State Parks leadership has had to scramble quickly to fully understand the financial resources available to us and come up with a program and spending plan for the 2015-17 biennium. The good news is that the Governor and Legislature - and park visitors through the fees they pay and the donations they generously give to State Parks - have provided resources that allow the agency to make some modest but significant investments to basic park operations. 

Below you will see an overview of the extent and direction that those additional resources are to be used.

  • Converting about 14 seasonal Park Ranger 2 positions to year round. This will be done by investing some of the new resources and by eliminating vacant positions caused by the difficulty of recruiting and filling seasonal positions.
  • Converting six project construction and maintenance positions to permanent, year round; adding a new construction and maintenance position; and extending the duration of maintenance mechanic positions to address preventative and custodial maintenance in parks.
  • Adding and/or extending of administrative support positions in the field to streamline administrative processes and improve the ability of other staff to focus more on direct customer service.
  • Adding and/or extending hours of seasonal park aide and other non-permanent positions in the field to improve park custodial maintenance and provide customer service.
  • Investing in three new positions to address tree risk, forest health and other statewide stewardship needs.
  • Committing more staff hours for capital project scoping and support of operations project planning and permitting; and hiring a new facilities manager to coordinate the assessment and overall care of park facilities.
  • Hiring an internal auditor to improve internal controls and ensure compliance requirements due to increased revenue and program changes.
  • Adding three technology staff to support agency business and improve data collection and management.
  • Investing some additional staff hours in communications and human resources to support agency business.
Because the budget passed by the Legislature is based on ambitious revenue projections and use of cash reserves, we are making many of the staffing investments in seasonal or project positions rather than in permanent staff.  This allows us to take advantage of revenues we are earning now in order to spend where it will help most now.  This strategy also protects the agency and staff in case of a revenue downturn later in the biennium.

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