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Eye On Boise

Fri., Jan. 22, 2010, 9:58 a.m.

Otter and Merrill: Won’t eliminate parks dept, but will find $4.5M in savings next year

Gov. Butch Otter and state Parks Director Nancy Merrill announce a plan to trim costs at the state parks department, but not eliminate it. (Betsy Russell)
Gov. Butch Otter and state Parks Director Nancy Merrill announce a plan to trim costs at the state parks department, but not eliminate it. (Betsy Russell)

Gov. Butch Otter and state Parks Director Nancy Merrill have announced a plan to save $4.5 million at the state parks department next year - but not to eliminate it. "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."  Said Otter, "The whole idea that we were going to eliminate the parks department was dead wrong." He said his proposal to eliminate most of its state funding and merge it into the Department of Lands was just "conceptual."

"The end game was how do we minimize the impact," Otter said. The new plan calls for trimming some functions, agency-wide efficiencies, partnering with other agencies, and using money from the state's RV registration fund to help offset operations at state parks with a direct relationship to RV use, like Farragut, Ponderosa and Bruneau. "Our goal is to keep our parks open and protect programs and access," Merrill said. The plan calls for 25 positions to be cut at the Parks Department.




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Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.