State officials are reversing a decision to transfer responsibility for the Old State House, which has been closed since June due to budget restrictions, from one state department to another.
In an Aug. 5 letter to legislative leaders, Gov. Dannel Malloy said that responsibility for the Old State House, which was supposed to move from the Office of Legislative Management to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, will remain in OLM’s hands. Malloy said this is partially because the cost to operate the site is greater than initially projected.
Officials initially estimated the cost to run everything around $400,000, and that money was to be transferred from OLM’s budget to the DEEP budget. However, further investigation revealed that in Fiscal Year 2016 it cost at least $902,000 to fully operate the facility and its public programs, according to the letter.
DEEP has already suffered a $10 million budget cut and was scaling back on public hours at several department-run parks and locations. When officials first discovered they would be responsible for the Old State House, DEEP officials said they did not have the ability to maintain the Old State House collections or continue to run the public programs.
The plan was to return the items from the Old State House collection to various historical societies around Connecticut. However, in the letter Malloy said that leaders agreed to “pause” these plans until the 2017 legislative session.
For the time being the responsibility for the Old State House, and all money meant to go toward the site will return to OLM. All art and artifacts associated with the Old State House will remain with the building.
OLM and DEEP will work together to create a Memorandum of Understanding that lays out the details.
The governor also expressed hope that this agreement will lead a solution that will continue operations and public access at the Old State House to continue as before.