State park officials warn of cutbacks, layoffs if funding loss occurs

Alabama state parks officials warn that budget, staff and services cuts can happen if they lose funding from the State.

Parks director Gregory Lien sent a letter about the impact of a loss of revenue to elected officials this week. Focus @ 4's Marissa Mitchell also obtained a copy.

In the letter, Lein says the Alabama State Parks system has loss $12 million in the past two years due to legislation that changed the cigarette tax and the cap on the use tax. Before then, the funds were used for park maintenance and operational costs. However, that{}money was set to sunset in September 2013, but a few bills seek to keep the money moving but instead move it to other services associated with the State's General Fund, not parks.

Furthermore,{}Lien says the Parks system is already stretched "beyond our financial means" and can no{}longer support its parks at the same rate it did over the last four decades. Lien also says the park patrons contribute about 90 percent of the annual revenue for park operations. He says the loss of business over the Gulf Oil Spill, the April 2011 tornado damage at Guntersville as well as other legislative cuts have hurt the Parks services.

Tune into Focus @ 4 for details on this story as well as reaction from park goers.