Dear Chairman Kavanagh and members of the JLBC:
The Arizona Heritage Alliance’s mission is to protect and educate about the Heritage Fund, its purposes, potential, and accomplishments, and to ensure that the Fund’s money is spent as it was established by initiative statute concieved for and by the people in 1990.
With that mission in mind, we respectfully request that you review favorably the Arizona State Parks Board’s budget transfer request which includes the return of Heritage Fund grant money to its rightful grantees from the 2009 grant cycle. That grant money already awarded and in process of going on the ground was “frozen” by the Board in February 2009 following deep cuts made by the Legislature to the Arizona State Parks Budget. The Legislature then permitted the Parks Board to use “other funds” (including Heritage Funds) to make up for the sweeps. Heritage Fund grant awards were therefore “frozen” in February 2009 by the Parks Board. This action caused great hardship to the grantees, their projects which included many historic monuments, and to their communities. At the August Parks Board meeting, its members voted to “unfreeze” that grant money pending a positive review of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee.
The Arizona Heritage Alliance is hereby adding its voice to that of the Arizona State Parks Board in requesting that you permit them now to restore that funding so that they can release it to the awarded grantees at long last.
We appreciate this opportunity to share our concerns with you with the hope that the Arizona State Parks Board will be able to honor its commitments to those many grantees.
Elizabeth T. Woodin
Arizona Heritage Alliance