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Museum funding may be cut with new budget | News

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Museum funding may be cut with new budget

"These are things that impact the quality of life and we need to keep them both," Commissioner Mallory Jones said of the Tubman Museum and Museum of Arts and Sciences.

Macon-Bibb County commissioners say in a perfect world, they'd continue to fund Macon's museums forever. Some say that can be done.

"I think you could make up that 450,000 dollars in several ways so that you could restore the full budget to the Tubman and the Museum of Arts and Sciences," Commissioner Mallory Jones said.

Both museums currently get 250 thousand dollars from the county.

Gary Bechtel, chairman of the commission's operations and finance committee, says maintaining that might require some sacrifice from taxpayers.

"It would probably result in a millage rate increase or going in defund balance and neither option is preferable," he said.

Instead commissioners are considering cutting funding from 250,000 to 187,500 dollars.

But leaders at the Tubman African American Museum say that could mean they'll have to cut back programs and exhibits and possibly close its doors until they find new revenue.

The Museum of Arts and Sciences has no other source of public funding and a small endowment.

To stay open they say they'll have to raise their admission price.

"I'm not sure that if it stays proposed like it is than we can possibly have a budget that will pass," Commissioner Al Tillman said.

But keeping the current funding for the museums may mean something else gets cut.

"The medical center is required to fund indigent care, and they've got it in there in the budget and it's being cut from 500 to 333,000," Jones said. "I just think that they'll continue to do that because they're required by law, and I think they can afford to do that."

Commissioner Mallory Jones also says planning and zoning funding could also return to 2012 levels.

He says slashing the museums' budget and their educational programs is the wrong move.

'"They're too important to this community," he said. "We need that quality of life to keep people here and attract more people to move here."


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