Council receives history lesson

Brown bag lunch heads to Tread of Pioneers Museum

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— City Council members will get a history lesson this afternoon as they tour the Tread of Pioneers Museum during their monthly brown bag luncheon.

The Museum's Executive Director Marty Woodbury said it is a chance to show the city all of the things the museum does as a professionally accredited museum.

"We are the collective memory book and scrape book (for the community)," Woodbury said. "We do behind-the-scenes (work) that not everyone sees as incredibly important. Those are the things we are showing the City Council."

It is a lesson the museum hopes sinks in before the next round of council budget hearings this fall.

In early May, the museum learned it would receive $15,000 less than the traditional $35,000 the city had given in past years. That money had been the museum's lifeline for operating costs, museum officials said in May.

Without it, the museum was looking to close its doors by summer's end if a stable source of funding was not found.

Two months later, Woodbury said the museum will be able to stay open through fund-raising, but it is still looking for a stable funding source.

"What we are doing right now is looking for a long-term solution. It is going to take time to create and implement one," Woodbury said. "We want to sustain (fund-raising) long enough to come up with a plan to allow us to secure a reliable and adequate source for operating funds for the museum."

Woodbury said although the museum is continuing to survive on a frenzy of fund-raising it needs a permanent solution and has been working with City Council members.

But the Tread of Pioneers is just one of the many non-profits that have been knocking on the City Council's door for funding.

At Tuesday night's council meeting, they discussed what nonprofits to fund, for how much and for how long.

During their presentations on community support, councilwomen Arianthe Stettner and Nancy Kramer asked fellow council members how they would like to fund nonprofits.

While council members agreed that funding nonprofits was important, questions were left as to if that funding should be a set dollar amount or a percentage of the city's budget.

They also discussed how long certain organizations should be funded and debated if money should be given on a declining basis over a period of years to encourage self-sustaining organizations.

The council also discussed having a separate review board to determine what organizations should be granted the money, and having local organizations with the same goals work to obtain and share one grant.

City Manager Paul Hughes said determining funding for nonprofits is the hardest part of the budget and he would like to see criteria set before budget talks begin this fall.

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