DEP losing money on State land leases
Oil & gas companies, luxury boats/Marina’s subsidized while Park Visitor Fees Increase
Today’s Asbury Park Press and Morris Daily Record are reporting that the Department of Environmental Protection’s management of leases, easements, and concessions is in disarray, and losing lots of money.
This news comes after Governor Corzine threatened to close state parks and raise parking and entrance fees:
State loses money on leases – DEP’s lease program disorganized — but at what cost?
BY MICHAEL RISPOLI â€¢ GANNETT STATE BUREAU â€¢ AUGUST 3, 2008
Tenants know how it works: Rent goes up every year, and if it’s not paid they get evicted.
But for years when lessees did not pay New Jersey for using the state’s parklands, they didn’t even get a slap on the wrist. As the value of the land they occupied went up, some kept paying the same rate.…
The DEP has 232 leases currently on file — which include family homes, education centers and utility lines — but no complete list is available. Staffers currently are combing through state park files to find the total number, which they estimate to be upward of 300. A review of records from the State House Commission, the state panel that oversees such agreements, shows at least 10 agreements approved since 2006 that are not included on the list.
…Raising park user fees may wind up plugging the park’s budget hole, but Wolfe says the state is going after the wrong people.
“(Gov.) Corzine’s willing to raise park user fees, but he’s not willing to say the corporations who are using these lands have to pay up,” Wolfe said.
Look DEP – in case you can’t find it in your files. This is an easement – Texas Eastern Pipeline across D&R Canal State Park