RALEIGH -- State lawmakers are considering a bill Thursday that would turn over control of the North Carolina Zoo to private management. Currently, the zoo is state run but this proposal would turn it into a public private partnership.
Zoo board officials say they are looking to use private funding to increase the size of the zoo, but keep the property under the ownership of the state and therefore continue to follow state regulations.
Some lawmakers say they believe this could be a win-win for the state.
"Essentially what you are going to do is take all of the cost of operating the zoo, of completing the zoo, building the zoo off the state books completely but we still own it," said Rep. Bill Brawley.
Lawmakers have expressed concerns that currently 280 employees at the zoo are state employees and under this agreement would become private employees. The zoo board says their salaries would remain the same, but benefits package would be slightly less.