Museum exhibits money woes

The Mesa County Commissioners may have believed their plan for contributing to the Museum of Western Colorado next year would be viewed as generous.

After all, by designating $500,000 for museum operations and another $100,000 for capital needs, the commissioners would slightly increase the total amount of county money going to the museum, compared to the past two years.

But museum officials are less than thrilled by the proposal, and understandably so. The $500,000 for operations is actually a decrease of $75,000 from operational funding this year, and it would establish a new baseline for future operational funding.

The $100,000 in capital funding is one-time spending, and similar money may not be available next year.

We certainly understand the commissioners’ argument that the museum, like other entities, must tighten its belt in difficult economic times. And the museum has already begun to do that.

Although the museum was spun off from the county more than a decade ago, it remains an important cultural amenity that began as a county asset. We believe the county has an obligation to help it survive.

That’s not to say the county has suddenly become Scrooge-like regarding the museum. It hasn’t.

But the county needs to work with the museum to come up with a more flexible plan for the $600,000 it plans to spend on the museum next year.


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