AP NEWS

Longmont Museum Could Receive $180K More in Grants Through Transfers Proposed in 2019 Budget

October 3, 2018

Connor Holguin and his mother, Chelsea Holguin, walk through a treehouse in the TreeHouses: Look Who's Living in the Trees exhibit at the Longmont Museum and Cultural Center in June.

Changes to the 2019 budget proposed by staff at Tuesday’s Longmont City Council meeting included a transfer of money from the general fund to the Longmont Museum so the facility could receive as much as $180,000 more in outside grant revenue next year.

The additional grant money would come from the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, a regional taxing entity created in 1988 that allocates funding — drawn from a one-cent sales tax for every $10 spent within the seven-county district — to organizations that advance history and science exhibits as well as visual and performing arts.

Currently, the Longmont Museum is a “tier three” facility within the district’s allocation schedule and receives between $15,000 and $20,000 annually, Longmont Museum Director Kim Manajek said.

But the museum is on the brink of managing enough revenue to apply to move into the district’s second tier, which would allow it to receive between $150,000 and $200,000 the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District every year.

City Council members received the idea favorably, as Manajek and Longmont Budget Manager Theresa Molloy explained the move would not require taking funding away from any other city service or department.

Rather, there are now funds being spent on the museum — for facility maintenance, for example — coming out of out of other areas of the city budget, such as the general fund.

Molloy and Manajek have proposed moving money directly spent on the museum to boost the museum revenue and provide a cushion between the current budget and the amount required to earn the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District’s tier two designation.

“We have ensured it’s a structural and accounting change,” City Manager Harold Dominguez said.

City staff has yet to identify exactly how much money will be transferred to the museum.

This year, the museum]s budget is about $1.7 million, Manajek said, with $864,000 coming from the city, and the rest from grants and other revenue streams such as donations, sponsorships and educational programs.

The Scientific and Cultural Facilities District this year required $1.64 million to be budgeted for facilities in its second tier, and Manajek anticipates that requirement to rise by 2 percent for 2019 allocations, which is the rate it rose from 2017 to this year.

How the additional funds from the district, if Longmont Museum qualifies for them, would be spent has yet to be decided.

“Our current budget actually meets the threshold for tier two, but barely,” Manajek said. ”... If we are able to qualify, the museum will work closely with the budget office to determine how the additional funds will be used. Our biggest need is staff.”

Questions also remain on whether additional funding from the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District would go straight to the museum, or to the museum via Boulder County government, which is the entity that currently acts as a middleman between the district and local facilities it benefits.

“Our museum is an incredible resource And with trying to bump up summer programs and programs all throughout the year, if we could get into the upper tier, that would be a wonderful thing for the city,” Mayor Pro Tem Polly Christensen said.

The city’s total proposed $362.8 million spending package, with the appropriate transfers between funds to the museum, will come before council for a vote on first reading later this month on Oct. 23.

Later in the meeting, when residents were invited to comment on the budget proposal, only one resident, Kevin Zapp, spoke, and it was in opposition to the creation of a new food tax rebate program next year.

That program calls for the city budgeting $100,000 for reimbursing money spent on the city’s 3.53 percent sales tax by low-income, elderly and disabled residents buying food for cooking at home, and another $20,000 to administer it.

Zapp contends the demographics the food tax rebate program would serve already have resources such as the Longmont OUR Center to help them find reduced cost groceries.

“I don’t think the city should be getting into a place where the city is giving back money,” Zapp said.

Sam Lounsberry: 303-473-1322, slounsberry@prairiemountainmedia.com and twitter.com/samlounz .

AP RADIO
Update hourly