Museum budgets approved | SteamboatToday.com
Susan Cunningham

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Museum budgets approved

The Routt County Board of Commissioners has approved museums and historic organizations’ proposed use of revenues from the Museum and Heritage Fund tax, which was approved in 2003.

Pete Wither, chairman of the Routt County Museum and Heritage Fund Advisory Board, gave Routt County commissioners an update Tuesday on the Museum and Heritage Fund tax.

The fund advisory board recommended the organizations’ budgets be approved, which county commissioners did Tuesday. Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said she thought the fund advisory board had done a good job of going through the budgets and identifying any questions.

The Tread of Pioneers Museum expects about $235,000 in revenues for 2005, with $124,000 coming from the heritage tax. Dave Wierman, president of the Tread of Pioneers board of directors, said that the museum’s budget would be similar to that of 2004, with projected expenditures of $265,000.

Revenue from the heritage tax, a 0.3-mill levy to help historical organizations and museums across the county, have enabled the Tread of Pioneers to take on some restoration projects. Last year, the Zimmerman house was painted and repaired, and this year or next, the same work will be done on the Utterback House, the two historic homes the museum uses.

“We’ve been fortunate that the community not only passed the (mill), but that they’ve continued to support us with memberships and donations,” Wierman said.

The budget for the Historical Society of Oak Creek and Phippsburg shows revenues of about $72,000, with $16,000 coming from the heritage tax. All but $12,600 of those funds are designated for specific expenses. Of those expenditures, $35,000 is budgeted for remodeling the Old Town Hall and turning it into a museum. Most of that project will be paid for with a $162,000 grant the society recently received from the State Historical Fund.

The Hayden Heritage Center budgeted for revenues of about $30,000, including $20,000 from the heritage tax. It plans to spend $17,000 to pay for two year-round tour guides and a part-time curator.

The town of Yampa proposed revenues of about $6,000, with $4,000 coming from the heritage tax. Building repair and maintenance, mostly for the little jailhouse next to the museum, could cost an estimated $1,100 this year, and legal expenses could be about $1,000 for the museum to obtain its nonprofit status.

The Hahn’s Peak Area Historical Society expects revenues of about $13,000, with $8,000 coming from the heritage tax. It also is waiting to hear about a separate $20,000 grant. The organization’s current balance is $16,500, making for a total of $30,000 to $50,000. Its proposed expenditures include $6,500 for refurbishing a historic schoolhouse, and about $6,000 for restoring the jail cell. Three thousand is designated for an inventory of site and cultural resources.

Historic Routt County will receive about $22,000 from the heritage tax, or about 10 percent of the total funds the tax brings in, and another 10 percent is set aside for capacity-building grants. Applications for those grants must be turned in by April 1. The remaining 3 percent of the mill levy is used to administer the fund.

— To reach Susan Cunningham, call 871-4203 or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com