County will not fund museum director


The Dubois County Museum’s request for funding for a director has not been allotted in the county’s 2020 budget.

“We don’t have a budget for it,” Dubois County Council President Jerry Hunefeld said during the council’s meeting Monday. “So we can’t do anything about it.”

Had the Dubois County Commissioners put the money in it’s line item for the county museum, the council could consider the request, he said.

But most of the council didn’t seem too keen on the idea of adding the funding.

“I don’t like that it’s tied to a person’s wage,” Councilman Mike Kluesner said. “If they don’t get a grant for this, do they lay off the person? That’s my concern.”

Museum officials had approached the council and commissioners requesting that the county give $50,000 each year for two years so that a director can be hired. The director’s main focus would be fundraising, including finding grants and other revenue to cover the director’s salary in the future.

The commissioners left its contribution to the museum at $10,000, which is what they contribute each year.

Commissioner Elmer Brames requested that the museum ask other municipalities about helping to contribute to the cost.

Commissioner Chad Blessinger told the council Monday that he did not favor the additional contribution because the county does not do similar funding for all nonprofits in the county. Commissioner Nick Hostetter said at the commissioners’ June 3 meeting that he agreed with Blessinger’s assessment, but understood the museum’s need.

Councilwoman Becky Beckman said Monday that in years past, private industries had foundations that would cover funding requests like this. “But that’s changed,” she said. “Now, they are coming in for tax abatements.

“We may see more of these requests come through,” she said about the museum’s request. “Government shouldn’t be responsible for that. Private businesses won’t. We, as the community should work together to find the money for it. But it shouldn’t be the government’s responsibility.”

The council also:

• Heard that its August meeting will include reviewing 2020 budget requests, so the council will not have time to discuss other matters. The daylong budget review will start at 8 a.m. Monday, Aug. 12, in the commissioners/council room, on the second floor of the Dubois County Courthouse Annex, 602 Main St., Jasper.

• Heard the Dubois County Soil & Water’s request for making the part-time administrative assistant position into a full-time position. The council will consider the request when it reviews the department’s budget in August.

• Learned that the council can change how members of the Dubois County Park Board are appointed. The current structure is that two members are appointed by the council, two by the Dubois County Circuit Court judge and one by the Dubois County Commissioners. County Attorney Greg Schnarr explained that a new state law states that the appointments can be changed so that two are done by the council, two are done by the commissioners and one is done by an elected office the council chooses. Circuit Judge Nathan Verkamp does not oppose making the change, Schnarr said. Since the August meeting is for reviewing budget requests, the council will discuss the matter in September, Hunefeld said.

• Approved County Recorder Jackie McPherron’s request to transfer $50,000 from her office’s redaction fund to the perpetuation fund. She will use the money to hire a company to scan all the office’s deed books. The scans will be available for public use, she said.

• Appropriated $100,000 to cover the costs for repairing the hill slide and deteriorated St. Anthony Road West, which is closed from its intersections with County Road 350 South to County Road 450 South. Additional equipment is being rented to fix the road, County Highway Supervisor Steve Berg said.

• Appropriated $152,000 for bridge materials. The money will be used to the cover the cost for bridge work being done on Wernsing Road and work that was recently done on a bridge on Jasper-Dubois Road, Berg said.

• Designated $45,000 for stone that will be applied to roads that have been washed out, and for equipment to repair a bank on Dubois Cuzco Road.

• Appropriated $20,000 for insurance on items the county owns, like buildings and automobiles.

• Heard that a public meeting about the Mid-States Corridor project will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8, at Jasper High School’s cafeteria.

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