The Illinois Senate's rejection of a measure intended to help deteriorating state parks raises the question of whether some would have to close. The legislation would have increased the annual license plate fee by two dollars. IPR's Amanda Vinicky has more.
Over the past 13 years, the Department of Natural Resources has seen its budget sliced by more than half. Director Marc Miller says as a result:
"We have sewage treatment plants, we have roofs, buildings, chemical containment areas, water towers. All of these areas are nearing failure."
Although the legislature did not come through with new funding for DNR, Miller says he doesn't want to scare anyone with threats of park closures. But he can't say it will not happen.
"As much as we can do it we're going to keep everything open and we will try our best to provide services. The fact is, however, that because we do not have the money that we need, and that we were counting on, we will be faced with the unenviable task of trying to prioritize where our resources are going to go."
Miller says DNR may give the fee hike proposal another try later this year. The General Assembly did easily approve a separate measure to save the agency money by freeing it from outdated mandates.
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