The Department of Parks will end the fiscal year with slightly more than $3 million left over in its allotted budget, Commissioner George Ward announced today.
“When we took office, we acted immediately to control costs in areas such as personnel, construction, and administration,” Ward said. “We have reduced our payroll through attrition and have eliminated a construction program using contract workers that was costing far more than the private sector charges. With these reforms, we have taken the first step toward stopping the flow of red ink in the Department of Parks.”
The department also received a boost in revenue, including a nearly $363,000 increase in golf receipts during the fiscal year, compared to last year. The state opened four new courses last year. Campground revenues also saw an increase, Ward said.
The department plans to return $1 million of the unspent money to the General Fund. Another $600,000 will be used to pay for improvements in lodge guest rooms, such as replacing old mattresses, bedspreads and drapes. Existing 19-inch TV sets will be replaced with the industry-standard 27-inch sets in lodge rooms, Ward said.
The balance will be returned to a parks fund used for emergency maintenance projects.
The upcoming fiscal year, which starts July 1, will see even more improvement in the department’s financial picture, Ward said.
“We’re determined to put the park system on a firm financial footing,” Ward said. “We will continue to look at prudent ways of curbing expenses and raising revenues. We have already saved millions of dollars and we plan to save millions more in 2004-2005, while improving the overall quality of the customer experience.”