Arizona privatization report not done yet

[Source: KVOA.com]

Governor Jan Brewer’s Commission on Privatization will miss its deadline to recommend what the state should do to cut its budget.

The Governor hoped for a final report by December 31st. But a spokesman says the report isn’t done.

One of the options the commission is investigating is the idea to privatize state parks.

Visitors at Catalina State Park have mixed opinions.

Jim Clarke is a regular at Catalina State Park. He says he hiked here before it was a park.

“I think this park works very well the way it is,” Clarke says. “The old cliché {says} if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Clarke opposes privatization. He says, “I don’t like it, mainly because privatizing to me means for profit.”

Canadian Roy Moor camps at Catalina State Park every winter. He also stays at private campgrounds.

Moor says, “Private parks tend to offer more amenities and tend to be more expensive. State parks offer an opportunity to really experience nature.”

Faced with a big budget deficit, Governor Brewer created the state cost cutting committee called COPE, the Commission on Privatization and Efficiency. Its initial report discussed privatizing state parks.

Park users like Chris Hanson are we’re still waiting to see what the final report says. He says, “I’m not against it conceptually. It would depend completely upon the details of it, how they’re going to actually run the park, what it would entail, what would be privatized, how it would affect the use.”

Commission Chairman Mark Brnovich says the group is looking at questions including, “Is there a better way to fund the parks and is there a better way to make sure the parks are kept open and providing the public the maximum amount of services possible.”

Digging deeper, already many Arizona parks have public-private partnerships.

Arizona State Parks have 30 properties. But only nine of them are fully operated and staffed by parks staff. Nine others are operated by parks staff with support from a nonprofit or local government. Others have been totally turned over to local governments or nonprofits. Others have been closed.