The following is a press release from January 22nd by the Governors office to explain the State position on the supposed closing of State Parks, including the Harriman Ranch, other wise known as Railroad Ranch, on the Henry’s Fork.
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 22, 2010
|CONTACT: Jon Hanian
GOVERNOR, PARKS AND RECREATION ANNOUNCE MONEY-SAVING MANAGEMENT PLAN
(BOISE) – Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter joined Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation Director Nancy Merrill today
in announcing a plan for reducing the agency’s General Fund by $4.5 million in Fiscal Year 2011.
Governor Otter challenged Merrill to develop a plan that would get Parks and Recreation off the state’s General Fund while keeping Idaho’s State parks open.
“We will remain the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, by changing our management philosophy and operating more like a business,” Merrill said. “The emphasis as we move forward will be balancing expenditures with revenues.”
“This was never about shutting down parks or doubting the value and importance of those parks to the people of Idaho. This was a budget process that involved tough decisions and a lot of people who care deeply about the resource as well as Idaho’s taxpayers,” Governor Otter said. “I’m proud of Nancy and her crew for stepping up to the challenge and putting together a solid business model.”
The plan presented to the Governor reduces operations to functions that are essential to the agency’s mission, implements agency-wide efficiencies, and identifies partners within other State agencies to eliminate duplication of services. It also calls for using money from the RV Registration Fund to help offset the costs of personnel and operations within State parks that have a direct relationship to the RV use, such as Farragut, Ponderosa and Bruneau.
In addition, the agency will reduce its Full Time Position (FTP) count by 25 personnel. To protect positions within State parks, most of the FTP reductions come from the headquarters in Boise.
“Our goal is to keep our parks open and protect programs and access. To do so, we’re going to use available cash balances until new revenue from recently implemented fee increases and cost savings can be realized,” Merrill said. “This plan will not be an easy one to implement; changes in business and operational philosophies never are. But IDPR is committed to its mission and to our customers.”
The plan is subject to legislative approval.