Wednesday, July 23, 2008

AZ grants lost due to state budget cuts

[Source:] -- The Arizona State Parks department received 12 grant applications this spring requesting approximately $6.5 million from the State Lake Improvement Fund (SLIF). Unfortunately, because of legislative budget sweeps, those monies must be released to the legislature by August 15, 2008, so the Arizona State Parks Board reluctantly had to release those monies back to the General Fund.

According to Bill Scalzo, Chair of the Arizona State Parks Board, "The State Lake Improvement Fund bill was passed so that tax monies from boat fuel could be used for safety improvements on the lakes, for better law enforcement and boating access. These safety improvements now cannot be made and we are forced to move the money to the General Fund for other uses." "We had no choice but to cancel these grants as the funds were swept from the accounts by the legislature," he said. "The State Parks department has struggled since the last round of sweeps in 2002. At that time the agency was forced to use its capital improvement funds from SLIF ($2.3 million) to operate the parks. Now the parks are facing many crises as the historic structures and the infrastructures at the parks are deteriorating and we can't make any improvements." [Note: To read the full article, click here.]