Wildlife Park loses $8K in Legislature
One State Legislature cannot be bound by the promise of a previous one, which is how the State House last year took $8,000 that rightfully belonged to the Maine Wildlife Park.
The story began in the early 1990s, when the then-Game Farm was in serious financial difficulty-so serious that the State contemplated closing it. A small group of dedicated citizens, among them Jeannie Adams and Joe Jones, of Gray, fought hard to keep the facility alive.
In the end, the State kept the Game Farm open, with the stipulation that it become self-supporting. And it said that all income derived from the Farm would be dedicated to the Farm.
In 2004, though, the Maine Wildlife Park budgeted $8,000 for an expected expense that was subsequently avoided. Although the Park needed the money for other costs, the Legislature ignored the promise of the previous Legislature and snapped it up for its own purposes.
Gray's State Representative, Susan Austin, was unable to do anything for the Park, which was close to reaching the goal of self-sufficiency.
Joe Jones, president of the Friends of the Maine Wildlife Park, was upset enough to write a letter to The Portland Press Herald. "The Park is a tremendous asset to the Town of Gray and the State of Maine," he said, "and losing that money is a blow-especially since the State promised to return all money collected by the Park for Park operations."