Arizona State Parks Board to Consider Layoffs
Facing a $1.5 million budget shortfall, the Arizona State Parks Board is considering layoffs and increased entrance fees, according to the Arizona Republic.
About 25 to 30 full-time positions — about 10%of the park system's staff — likely will be eliminated to balance the $19.3 million operating budget for this fiscal year. The layoffs would affect staff at its downtown Phoenix headquarters, as well as within various parks and programs.
The move would fall in line with the board's decision last month to avoid park closures. However, the board may still have to reduce park days and hours of operation.
Any staffing and park-operations changes would take effect Oct. 1.
Besides considering layoffs, the parks board may hold public hearings to consider a recommendation by the office to raise entrance fees at 27 state parks.
Following the hearings, the parks board would vote on fee increases in November. If approved, higher entrance fees would go into effect next March.
The proposed daily entrance-fee changes range from increases of 15-100%. Weekend and holiday fees at Lake Havasu would increase to $15 daily from $10. The summer entrance fee at Slide Rock State Park would double to $20 a day, and the price for an annual state parks pass would increase to $75 from $50.
In total, park officials estimate that the increases would raise about $715,000 for the office in a year.