PA 16-5—sSB 386

Environment Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE FISCAL SUSTAINABILITY OF STATE PARKS

SUMMARY: This act requires the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) commissioner, by January 1, 2017, to provide the Environment Committee with (1) a report on establishing a per-person admission fee at all state parks by July 1, 2017 and (2) copies of responses to a request for information (RFI) on state park concessions, services, and amenities. (DEEP developed the RFI pursuant to PA 15-106. ) The act requires DEEP to forward the RFI to specified parties by September 1, 2016.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

PER-PERSON STATE PARK ADMISSION FEE REPORT

Under the act, DEEP's report on a per-person admission fee to state parks must recommend a fee that (1) when combined with, or in lieu of, any required parking fee, is comparable to admission and parking fees at state parks in New York and other New England states and (2) results in increased revenue.

When developing the recommendation, DEEP must account for the continued availability of (1) parking and (2) free state park admission and parking for people age 65 and older and disabled veterans. Existing law allows such individuals free access to parks if they are state residents.

REQUEST FOR INFORMATION

PA 15-106 required DEEP to prepare an RFI on operating concessions, providing services, and offering recreational amenities at state parks. The law directed the commissioner to post the RFI to the state's contracting portal and send it to any known private vendors who could provide such concessions, services, and amenities.

The act requires DEEP, by September 1, 2016, to additionally forward the RFI to statewide business associations, chambers of commerce, and trade associations representing or including members who may be able to operate or offer concessions, services, or amenities at state parks. DEEP must accept any response to the RFI and, by January 1, 2017, provide the Environment Committee with a copy of each response received.

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