Mo. Conservation Department cutting positions

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Conservation Department plans to leave more than 10% of its staff positions vacant to make up for declining revenue.

The agency regulates hunting and fishing, manages forests and nature centers and promotes habitat conservation efforts. It's funded by a dedicated sales tax and fees.

But the department says its tax revenues have declined each of the past two years.

As a result, conservation commissioners have approved a staff reduction plan that could save about $7.5 million annually.

Most of the savings will be realized by leaving vacant positions empty. The department has been holding 39 full-time positions vacant since early this year. It expects an additional 134 vacancies over the next 20 months, largely through retirements.

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