Niagara County lawmakers may hold a special session next month to discuss funding for local state parks.

The move comes amid questions about the potential impact of decisions made in Albany and what they may have on services at state-run recreational sites in the area, including Niagara Falls State Park and Artpark in Lewiston.

“This is one of those issues a lot of people have had questions about,” said Majority Leader Richard Updegrove, R-Lockport. “Maybe it’s time to start asking those questions.”

Earlier this week, members of the Legislature’s Republican-led Majority once again criticized Democratic state lawmakers for their support of a transfer of $550 million in surplus revenue from the New York Power Authority to the state’s general fund. They referenced a memorandum of understanding between the state and the power authority that was discussed at a Feb. 3 meeting of the authority’s board. The MOU granted relief of the authority’s obligation to pay $8 million per year to state parks between 2011 and 2017 in exchange for the so-called “sweep” of authority funds into the state’s coffers. GOP leaders expressed concern that the provisions of the MOU would result in cuts in programming for area parks, including Falls State Park and Artpark in Lewiston.

State Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte, D-Lewiston, who along with state Sen. Antoine Thompson, D-Niagara Falls and Buffalo, received the brunt of the criticism from county GOP members, said the Legislature’s concerns about state parks funds are unfounded. DelMonte said the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has not lost a single dollar of the $8 million that the authority owes to state parks each year. DelMonte said the annual payment will still be made, although it will now come from the state’s general fund instead of the power authority itself.

“I can’t restore funds that were already restored,” DelMonte said. “The money’s not gone. It was restored through the general fund. There is not a loss of funding.”

While state parks have been impacted by cuts in funding, DelMonte said they are due to a 15 percent cut in the Office of Parks overall operating budget and have nothing to do with the MOU between the state and the power authority.

“To insinuate otherwise is just wrong,” she said.

DelMonte added that cuts in parks funding from the state do not impact performances at Artpark as those are handled by Artpark and Co., a private non-profit organization that contracts with the state to provide summer concerts and events.

Updegrove said the county would still like to try to set the record straight about state parks funding in Niagara County by inviting someone from the parks system to a future meeting.

“We know the funding has been reduced,” he said. “We have to figure out why it’s been reduced.”

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