“It is not necessary for park budgets to be threatened during state fiscal crises.”
Good news. The vast majority of states now endure tightened budgets and panicked scurrying to rescue their finances from frighteningly bloody conditions of red.
In this financial environment, cutting non-essential services sometimes seems like a no-brainer. Park funding tends to get hit hard.
Not full privatization, mind you. That’s too tough for most people to take.
Private management of publicly owned parks, on the other hand, makes a kind of obvious sense.
Fretwell looks at Recreation Resource Management, the largest park management operation in the country. The company leases rights to run state and federal recreation sites, managing more than 175 such units in twelve states. In arrangements such as RRM’s, lessees pay “an annual lease, or rental fee, in addition to a percentage of the total fees earned.”
When run by businesses, parks “are not subject to the same political appropriations process” as government-run parks. By leveraging the profit motive — and its associated economies — parks can serve the public without over-taxing us at a time when we are sorely pressed for money. Contracts with private firms can avoid at least some of the problems of bureaucratic incentives.
The bottom line advantage, she insists, is “consistent, quality stewardship.”
Which is surely what we all want.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.