Glenwood Historical Society referred to Financial Advisory Board for additional funding
The Glenwood Springs Historical Society has requested an additional $60,000 from the city budget just to stay open.
“We are not talking about excess, we are talking about keeping the lights on,” Historical Society board member Nick Daly said. “Insufficient funding is a realistic and immediate threat to our existence.”
Although the Historical Society requested $60,000 in additional funds as a bare minimum, City Council voted unanimously Nov. 17 to let the city’s Financial Advisory Board decide necessary funds from the Acquisitions and Improvements (A&I) fund that won’t take away from other projects that might require higher urgency.
Councilmember Tony Hershey, a history major in college, said he wanted nothing more than to support the Historical Society better, but felt this would be better hashed out with the city’s appointed financial advisors.
“I think this is more appropriate for the Financial Advisory Board,” Hershey said, motioning for the matter to be taken to the advisory board.
Councilmember Marco Dehm seconded, and Mayor Jonathan Godes changed the motion to let the advisory board decide to prioritize the amount necessary to be taken from the A&I fund.
“They know if they take $100,000 out of A&I what street projects won’t get done, what youth programs won’t get funded, and they need to weigh that,” Godes said.
He said that the current motion was too black and white, either funding the full amount or no funding at all.
“I think if we restate the motion to say, give us advice and ask for increased funding,” Godes said.
Each year, the Glenwood Springs Historical Society aggressively pursues grant funding, said Executive Director Bill Kight. But much of that funding is used for its larger-scale projects like restoring the Cardiff Coke Ovens.
The Historical Society receives a revenue of about $87,000 throughout the year. That helps to pay staff, including Kight, who is due for a salary raise to $65,000 without benefits.
“By comparison, the executive director of the Aspen Historical Society has a compensation package of over $118,000,” Daly said.
Kight added that the only person qualified to replace him as a historian works at Whole Foods with better pay and benefits and is unwilling to leave that.
“All would be gone if we are not funded at the appropriate level of $120,000, which is the minimum amount necessary to enable us to continue operations,” Daly said.
Daly said that the Frontier Museum and the Historical Society require the additional funds for necessary expenses like the salary raise, average expenses and larger repairs to the museum itself.
“The building is in dire need of repairs, new roof, foundation issues and a need for a new sewer line,” Daly said.
The Historical Society has 124 paying members, and serves about 6,000 to 10,000 people a year with its various programs, he said.
“Without us, there would be no more Doc Holiday Collection, no more Ghost Walk, no more work done on the Cardiff Coke Ovens,” Daly said.
The Financial Advisory Board is scheduled to meet on Dec. 7.
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