2005-2006 budget numbers from the St. Joseph Museums show an organization in declining financial health. Numbers last year show revenues dropped significantly.
The museums dipped into its own endowment and borrowed from a line of credit at the bank. They took in St. Joseph tax dollars, but donations for the year came in at less than a third of projected revenue.
Museums staff had hoped for $60,000 in donations, when less than $15,000 actually came in. Grant monies were also way off projections. The museums received grants totaling $9,200 compared to a budgeted amount of $25,000.
Revenues through membership fees, education programs, special projects and the museums` "Round the Town" program also fell way short of projections.
To make up for the deficit, the museums took $113,000 from its own endowment. This came after $53,000 of endowment money was used the year before to make up for a similar shortfall.
At the same time revenues were falling short, some expenses in key areas were growing. The museums have spent more than $70,000 on legal fees since controversy over the Wyeth-Tootle mansion erupted in December 2004. $50,000 went to lawyers representing the museums last year alone. Also, costs of the museums` sponsored Platte Purchase Publishing company went up 50%, along with marketing and development fees.
Looking ahead, the financial future of the museums appears cloudy. To keep the doors open, another $30,000 withdrawal from the endowment is planned. It also line-items another $440,000 in tax money...money some city council members have threatened to withhold. Also, there`s no mention in the budget of a projected new heating and cooling system needed to protect the artifacts. Apparently, the museums had air conditioning troubles this summer and has invested a lot already in the antiquated steam heat system.
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