The money needed to transition the N.C. Zoo to a public-private partnership did not make it into the final budget, likely ending legislation on the issue this session.
David Jones, director of the zoo, says he's not going to waste time by pushing forward with the bill, which is currently on the House calendar for consideration Monday. "It's not fair to anybody in a busy season to take this forward, knowing theres no money for it," said Jones.
Under the bill, the state would retain property and ownership of zoo, but the Zoo Society would manage it and raise money from the private sector to help defray state costs.
The zoo needs $30 million in backlog maintenance and behind-the-scenes work. The state hasn't been able to keep up with all of that in the last 15-20 years.
"We're following suit as other states have taken this new avenue of thought," said the bill's sponsor, Rep. Tim Moffitt, an Asheville Republican. "We'll certainly pick the bill up next year."
--Rosella Age, staff writer