The Town of Port McNeill has declined a request from the society that operates the Port McNeill Heritage Museum (PMHM) to take over its bookkeeping.
“The museum board is concerned about rising costs and budget restrictions from ever-increasing inflation,” wrote PMHM secretary Lois Williams in a letter to town council. “As a board we try to streamline and maximize efficiency in an effort to reduce costs at every opportunity.”
The museum’s 2016 costs for payroll and bookkeeping were $708.
The museum has also asked the town for $13,000 in funding from the 2017 town budget.
Williams asked council to review these expenses, and “perhaps the town can see an opportunity here to make more efficient use of funds.”
“I think we have to be careful with this money that we’re handing out,” said Coun. Graham MacDonald. “I think we are moving ahead on the museum, but people need to start to recognize we can’t just keep doling money out. This budget for $13,000, I’d like to see it go down.”
Town treasurer Dan Rodin said the museum’s budget in 2015 was $17,000 and in 2016 it was $11,000, so the amount tends to fluctuate yearly.
“The largest amount of the funds that go to the museum is for the staffing of it,” said Mayor Shirley Ackland. “It appears the society isn’t as robust as it should be. It looks like they need to have some members that have a vision for some marketing… We had our 50th anniversary last year and there wasn’t a huge amount of people attracted to the museum.”
Coun. Shelley Downey then spoke in defence of the society.
“This museum is not located curbside, it’s blocked by brush and there’s very little visibility,” said Downey.
She added she supports the $13,000 request, “but this time next year there has to be more recognition of what it’s going to look like going forward.”
Rodin spoke next about the bookkeeping issue, stating the town would have to put the society on a separate payroll, which would “cost us what it’s costing them. It’s not something the town could absorb without paying for it.”
Ackland agreed, saying the town “can’t take over the bookkeeping because of the costs.”
As for the $13,000 in funding, Rodin said it’s already been listed in the budget.