CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Senate took a step Wednesday to provide critical funding to the West Virginia Parks system.
The Senate passed SB 346 that will take $48.5 million from state Lottery profits and allocate $6.5 million to the park system. More than half of that total, $3.7 million, will help Canaan Valley State Park and Resort. The remaining $2.8 million would fund day-to-day operations of the parks system.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Roman Prezioso told fellow senators the rest of the money, more than $41 million will go toward Medicaid, senior services, and the Lottery’s senior citizens fund. Prezioso said the funding for Medicaid is needed because of a revenue shortfall in the current state budget.
“Actually what this supplemental does is it makes Medicaid whole again in this year’s existing budget,” Prezioso said.
State Revenue Secretary Bob Kiss told MetroNews earlier a number of issues have combined to put the parks system in a budget crunch.
“They simply have not had the resources to run the park system the way they are running it,” Kiss said.
He said the legislature would have to approve the additional money by the end of January to avoid shutdowns and layoffs.
State Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette said the funding at Canaan Valley is needed because of the delay in finishing the new lodge.
Canaan Valley Resort General Manager David Herscher said the money would be a big help.
“We were delayed a little bit just from weather conditions early in the process and the renovation and this is going to help supplement us as we move forward,” he said. “It will help us provide wonderful service that repeat guests have come to know and the new ones will enjoy.”
The bill now goes to the House of Delegates for consideration.