Wednesday, March 16, 2011

OTRD not broke

Well, the movement to save the Runestone State Park has developed more into a mud slinging battle between the Democrats and Republicans and comments on how Heavener needs a good spring cleaning.

Thanks to alert reader Cody Smith, it appears like the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department isn’t exactly hurting for money.

According to a recent story by The Daily Oklahoman, the OTRD only has, uh, $39,256,883 set aside in a revolving fund.

In case you missed it, that was $39 million, not thousands. So the OTRD really needs to save that $4,000 it will realize by closing the Runestone.

The OTRD is not mentioned in the story, but if you look to the graph which I just happened to copy and post here, all state agencies are broken down.

And there is a link below the story to check out the individual agencies. Since I am a curious person, I hit the link and was more than surprised to find that the balances for a couple of different funds for the OTRD has increased over the last two years, instead of shrinking, which is what you would expect from a state agency needing to close seven state parks.

In the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Fund, there was $2.4 million in the account in December of 2008. In December of 2010, that fund has grown to $5.7 million.

The State Park Improvement fund grew from $423 thousand to $544 thousand. There is $13,911 million in the Oklahoma Tourism Capital Improvement Fund.

In case you missed it, the state closed seven state parks, but got Carl Albert State College to take over operations of the park. But a private organization has been formed to raise what is expected to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000 a year to run the park.

No state funds or money from the bloated OTRD will be used to operate the park. It will come from the good people and businesses from LeFlore County.

Also, as has been mentioned, the state rushed to close the parks before the state governing bodies had a chance to discuss the issue and see if something could be done.

This isn’t about who is democrat or republican, or the condition of a small, rural community in southeastern Oklahoma. Money is available and should be used to save the Runestone along with the other six state parks.


  1. Now you need to find out for us who controls these revolving funds. There is alot of money sitting around with the State in a financial bind. We don't want to spend the money just because its there, but revolving funds needs some light shed on them.

    Cody Smith

  2. We the people pay these people to oversee our state and this park closing is the best way they can come up with to save money,seems to me we are wasting OUR money but we can fix that next election!!!!!!

  3. That's right Mrs Fallen there is another election coming around you were not elected to a life long term ,represent the people of all of Oklahoma.We country folk might not be as smart as you big city folks but we do VOTE.We have an expression in the country, (Don't pee down my back and tell me it's raining)

  4. never heard that i can say it doesnt represent us all

  5. at least there is a plan in place....and if the legislatures can get the money for it to remain a state park then great!...but we are covered just in case....afterall we cannot let the park close, its too important to all of us!

  6. Great find, Cody and good job on the blog, Craig. It is people like you that keep us, the readers and citizens, informed. Fallon and Allen will be hearing from these same people in the next election. Anyone missing Neil Brannon about now?

  7. When you have shortfalls in some of your personal budgets and plus in other part of your budget, you take from the plus and give to the shortfall area. However, first you evaluate the overall budget and cut in all areas where possible to make that budget balance. Example: Stop eating out and take that money and put it in your "gasoline" budget. However, it still means that you have to "cut" somewhere to make the budget balance,. Sounds like we need some lessons in good old fashioned budgeting. I would hazard to say less than 5% of the people in LeFlore County even know what budgeting is, let alone living within their means. We elected these folks to balance Oklahoma's budget, but when it is "our ox getting gored, we squeal loudly." We can't have it both ways.

  8. So I guess now we all think we know how to balance the state budget. I guess there are a lot of people in Leflore County that need to throw their hat in the ring for the next Governor's race. Well, I guess if they find the money to keep the Runestone park open we won't mind if the money to pay pensions and infrastructure isn't there. This has turned into nothing but a partisan battle. Ridiculous!! The Governor promised to balance the budget and that is what she is doing! Shame on her for keeping her promises! Governor Fallin, you have my support completely when it comes to balancing the state budget. We don't want to become another bankrupt state like California.

  9. I am a city girl from OKC, but when I heard about the Runestone as well as the other parks I was just devastated! I first visited the Runestone when I was in high school for our Oklahoma History class. I was there three years ago with friends who were visiting from Europe.

    I think it's ironic that after only being in office for a month, Mary Fallin is vacationing in the Bahamas. That's right. It's legislative session and she is in another country. For those of us who cannot afford lavish vacations, the state parks serve provide a nice get away that doesn't require getting on a plane or spending a month's paycheck on just getting away. I think if Mrs. Fallin really needed a get away, she could have invested some money in her own state and saved the Bahamas for the summer.

  10. I don't think where anyone vacations is anyone elses business. It is spring break in Oklahoma and I am sure she is with her family. I also don't think what she does with her own money is any of our business. I can safely say that there are plenty of people around here that go on vacations that don't include our local state parks. I am sure that includes some of those who have been so vocal about the Runestone and about Gov. Fallin's job performance.

    I am sure Gov. Fallin and her family invest plenty in our state. If you are going to expect that of her then I hope you will be calling out any other state official who vacations outside of Oklahoma.

  11. the above comment is the reason we have people like Fallin even running for office. because the average Okie is too clueless to know the difference.

    There was no reason to close the parks in the first place, the money is there. The way in which they went about it stinks of conspiracy in that it was done without open communication. If you support this kind of fascist governance, be honest with yourself first.

  12. FYI...The Oklahoma state constitution requires a balanced budget! Therefore, we cannot become another California! I want to thank Rep. Lockhart for always responding to phone calls and emails in such a timely manner. I wish I could say the same for my senator.

  13. There is a lot more going on at OTRD than you could ever know. A lot more. You would be shocked to learn where they make and lose money and what they have decided to keep and what they are expanding compared to what they are getting rid of. More state parks are on the death list.