PA 15-106—sSB 1061

Environment Committee

Transportation Committee

Appropriations Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE FISCAL SUSTAINABILITY OF STATE PARKS

SUMMARY: This act requires anyone who has a contract with the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) for the operation of a food service facility, vending machine, or stand in a state park to report to DORS annually, by December 1, the revenue generated under the contract. DORS must submit the reports to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) commissioner, who must compile certain information about the generated revenue, including if any must be paid to the state.

The act also requires the DEEP commissioner to (1) develop a request for information (RFI) on operating concessions, providing services, and offering recreational amenities at state parks and (2) provide the Environment Committee a written evaluation of the responses by December 1, 2015.

Additionally, the act requires the DEEP commissioner to (1) establish fees for renting state park property for special events of limited duration (e. g. , weddings and receptions) based on the number of people in attendance and (2) amend the Adopt a Park program to recognize those who make charitable donations of at least $2,500.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015, except for provisions relating to state park concessions, which are effective on passage.

1 – STATE PARK CONCESSION REVENUE REPORTS

The act requires anyone who has a contract with DORS for the operation of a food service facility, vending machine, or stand in a state park to report to DORS annually, by December 1, the revenue generated under the contract.

By January 1, annually, DORS must compile the reports and give them to the DEEP commissioner. Each year, by January 30, the commissioner must compile information on the:

1. number of food service facilities, vending machines, and stands in state parks, and the locations of the parks;

2. amount of revenue generated by the facilities, machines, and stands;

3. contractual agreement or statute that (a) requires a portion of the revenue to be paid to the state or (b) prohibits or limits such a payment;

4. amount of revenue paid to the state in the prior calendar year; and

5. how the state used the revenue, if he can determine it.

2 – STATE PARK CONCESSION REQUEST FOR INFORMATION

The act requires the DEEP commissioner, by August 15, 2015, to develop an RFI on operating concessions, providing services, and offering recreational amenities at state parks. This must include concessions that are year-round and share revenue with DEEP through a revenue sharing formula. Services must include parking options such as advanced reservations and curbside parking.

The act requires the DEEP commissioner, by September 15, 2015, to forward (1) the RFI to the administrative services commissioner for posting on the state's contracting portal and (2) a copy of the RFI to any private vendor he knows that provides such concessions, services, and amenities.

By December 1, 2015, the DEEP commissioner must forward to the Environment Committee a (1) copy of the responses the RFI generated and (2) written evaluation of the responses, including any recommendation for offering concessions, services, and amenities at state parks that were not offered as of the act's passage.

3 – SPECIAL EVENT USER FEES AT STATE PARKS

The act requires the DEEP commissioner, by July 31, 2015, to establish fees for renting state park property for special events of limited duration (e. g. , weddings and receptions) based on the size of the event.

By law, such fees must be deposited into the “maintenance, repair, and improvement account” in the General Fund, unless the commissioner specifically agrees otherwise (CGS 23-15b). Account funds are used to make improvements to state parks.

4 – ADOPT A PARK PROGRAM

The act requires the DEEP commissioner, by July 31, 2015, to amend its “Adopt a Park” program to recognize those who financially sponsor a park through charitable contributions of at least $2,500. The commissioner must recognize a sponsor by putting up a placard at the adopted park that shows the person's, organization's, or corporation's name and level of sponsorship. He may establish multiple tiers for sponsorship.

OLR Tracking: JKL; JO; PF; BS