CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Tomblin administration official said Thursday West Virginia state parks need an immediate influx of cash or the parks will have to close and people will be laid off.

State Revenue Secretary Bob Kiss said a number of issues have combined to put parks in a budget crunch.

“They simply have not had the resources to run the park system they way they are running it,” Kiss said.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin introduced two supplemental budget bills Thursday. The first would provide $2.8 million for the day-to-day operations of the state parks including meeting payroll. The second, for $3.7 million, would help Canaan Valley State Park and Resort out of a hole created when there was a delayed opening to the new lodge.

State Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette said the financial struggles of the park system are nothing new. He said a system that usually barely makes it was hit hard by the Derecho and Superstorm Sandy in 2012. He said the delay at Canaan Valley, one of the system’s biggest money makers, was also a big hit.

“While these are large numbers and we certainly appreciate the attention they’re getting, they are not new numbers. We have been trying to keep the legislature up to date for quite some time,” Burdette said.

Commerce hopes to give lawmakers detailed information before the legislative session is over on each park’s financial situation. Burdette said only one state park, Chief Logan, generates enough money to pay its own bills and helps pay the bills of other parks.

State Budget Director Mike McKown told members of the Senate Finance Committee Thursday the park system has enough money to meet one more payroll.

The funding of state parks has been an ongoing issue for the last several years, prompting some calls that the state charge an entrance fee like many other states.

That’s an issue for the state Department of Commerce and the legislature, but Kiss added, “They need to come up with a long-term plan because you can’t keep coming back every year and looking for additional subsidy to keep from laying off a large number of employees in the state park system.”

He said the legislature would have to approve the additional money by the end of January to avoid shutdowns and layoffs.

 

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Comments

  • Shadow

    Words right out of the Obama Playbook. They must think the citizens are idiots.

  • jm

    part of the issue with some of the parks is that the rates they charge for hotel lodging is not inline with the state and federal per diem rates. And most will not grant a discount to meet them. Causing the state to lose many of those state and federal employees traveling on official business to patronize the state owned business.

    Seems that to keep state money, they would want to have as many of those in there that they can get. Especially in the slow times of the year.

  • knows

    Leroy j gibbs u couldn't have said it better !!
    They need to scrap and start over on all the welfare programs then maybe they would have $$ for parks and raises not to mention roads. I know a few ppl that really need it and some truly lazy bastards that claim disability and get it but do whatever the hell they want including under the table jobs etc. NOTHING BUT A JOKE

  • ron "from morgantown"

    "Almost purgatory West Virginia , Blue Ridge Mountains Shenandoah River .... "

  • Wowbagger

    I'm not sure, but the park with a new facility might be Cannan Valley as I understand they just opened a new lodge and had some delays.

  • Mike

    Not a problem. Simply walk out to that money tree known as the Rainy Day Fund and grab $3 million to take care of the problem. That's how the teachers are getting their pay raise.

    • Wowbagger

      If you can't take money from a "rainy day" fund when times are hard why have one?

  • leroy j gibbs

    So sad we lose parks because we have to pay for a bunch of freeloaders

  • Benthere

    Close the parks that are losing money. They have to be run like business.

    • Larry

      That is all of them, none make money.

  • Larry

    This is just scare tactics and propoganda, you can rest assured that the democrat leaders in this state would never allow places that operate from the taxes paid by the few people in this state who still actually work to ever close.

  • cutty77

    Our WV State House Clowns,have spent money over The Years like a Drunken Sailor. Now its starting to show,and it will continue to get worse. They have lived of Coal for to Long. It maybe Parks this week,next week it will be something else.

  • sam

    so close, them if you have too. They should go to volunteer staff only.

    • sam

      What a joke, this week its the parks, next week maybe look at WVDOH making up jobs and giving promotions under the good ole boy system.

  • Charleston,WV

    I am curious if anyone knows which state parks Sen. Bob Kiss is referring?

    • ron "from morgantown"

      Kiss isn't a Sen anymore , he is the Tax and Rev Secretary . But the Q is still valid , and should have been part of the story .

    • Charleston,WV

      Correction: I am curious if anyone knows which state parks State Revenue Bob Kiss is referring?

  • TheFungoKnows

    I would bet the ranch that the Chief Logan Lodge and state park will not suffer any closures or layoffs. Not with the Earl Ray Tomblin Center located there.

  • why

    Why do we keep coming up short on state funds even though our governor continues to propose tax cuts? This gov looks and acts more like GOP.

  • justme

    Maybe everyone can hang out at a Dog Track. It seems to get funding when needed.

    • ron "from morgantown"

      Well , it would be nice to know which state parks are in trouble of closing . That seems to be an important fact that wasn't revealed in the story . It seems to me that state parks are designed for enjoyment of the general population and is one of those "quality of life " issues that make West Va a nice place to live . They are not designed to make a profit and should be subsidized by the legislators yearly to keep them open . 3m $ yearly investment is well worth the cost to keep these parks open and free to the public .