Glenwood Springs Historical Society still working to obtain additional funding to ‘keep the lights on’
The Glenwood Springs Historical Society and Frontier Museum sent out an email requesting supporters to write to City Council urging approval of an additional $60,000 in funding.
“Despite our successful grants, events, museum entry fees, memberships and donations, we have roughly six months of operating income remaining,” the email states.
This happened after the Historical Society presented to the Glenwood Springs Financial Advisory Board and was told to come back with more documentation of financial reports.
“There has not been a decision on this funding yet,” Bryana Starbuck, public information officer for the city, wrote in an email. “At the last (FAB) meeting, members requested additional financial information from the Historical Society before making a recommendation to the City Council, who will ultimately make the decision.”
Once the Historical Society produces those documents, the matter will be presented back to Council, she said.
FAB indicated there would be enough funding in the Acquisitions and Improvements tax fund for the request, but it asked to see the historical society’s financial reports before awarding it. The A&I fund is a 1 cent tax created to help fund projects like the historical museum and to subsidize the Glenwood Community Center, along with bigger projects like South Bridge and Sixth Street improvements.
Voters reauthorized the tax in 2016 to sunset after an additional 30 years.
The A&I provisions state that either 2% of annual collections be earmarked for history, or a minimum of $35,000 annually, at the discretion of the city council.
“The A&I legislation, as written, was, ‘subject, however, to supplemental appropriations at the discretion of the City Council,’ the Historical Society email states. “The Glenwood Springs Historical Society has yet to receive any supplemental funding, and the annual $60,000 that the council has chosen to award has not been adequate.”
The Historical Society is now requesting $120,000 total for the year.
Although Historical Society Executive Director Bill Kight was able to generalize where the funding was required, there have not been any documents presented to support the necessity.
“One council member asked for a five-year-plan,” Kight said. “We put out a strategic plan back in 2017, and so we’re more than glad to update that strategic plan, because they need to be updated every five years.”
He said he intends to finish the documentation by Friday, and that he is working to answer about five in-depth questions from the Mayor Jonathan Godes, as well.
“They’re important questions he asked,” Kight said. “And so I’m hoping that we can answer all of them to their satisfaction before we meet.”
Kight said during a Nov. 17, 2022 City Council meeting that the Historical Society aggressively pursues grant funding. But much of that funding is used for its larger-scale projects, like restoring the Cardiff Coke Ovens, he said.
They receive a revenue of about $87,000 throughout the year. That helps to pay staff, including Kight, who the Historical Society’s governing board said is due for a salary raise to $65,000 without benefits. In prior years, Kight’s compensation has been recorded at about $35,000, according to the Historical Society’s 990 forms from the last three years.
Colorado Historical Society director compensations average about $50,000, while many comparable cities are volunteer based, according to ProPublica Nonprofit Explorer. The executive director of the Aspen Historical Society makes $113,393 a year, while the executive director of the Leadville Historical Society makes $43,500 annually.
Kight said that the rest of the funding is necessary for other employee compensation and for daily operations, like electric bills.
Post Independent reporter Cassandra Ballard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-384-9131.
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