Museum assistance decision deferred

A request for financial support from a Central Otago museum and art gallery will be considered as part of restructuring proposal later this year.

A hardship grant application from Alexandra District Museum Incorporated (ADMI) has now been tabled until after the Central Otago District Council considers its long-term plan.

Council community development officer Nikki Aaron told a full meeting of the council in Alexandra earlier this week that she recommended the application be declined.

ADMI, operating as Central Stories Museum and Art Gallery, had requested a hardship grant of $12,242 plus GST.

Ms Aaron said hardship grants were an opportunity for organisations to apply for funds to tide them over until contestable funds were available after the council’s 2021-31 long-term plan.

In the case of the museum, she believed it had enough money in the bank.

Her report states the museum has applied for a total of $30,606 in hardship grant funding to cover operating costs for three months from July through to September: $12,242 from the council and $18,364 from the Vincent Community Board.

According to its three-monthly profit and loss report, the average monthly cost to keep the doors open and staff paid is about $10,675.

The museum’s financial balance sheet as of March 31 states the group has $215,429 in the bank.

The trust’s accountant said the museum had $180,000 in the bank, which was tagged to the Elizabeth Heafy Bequest, where money was retained as a capital investment, the interest being accumulated to buy a specific artwork or artefact for the museum collection.

The trust chose not to use these funds for operational expenses, the report says.

Crs Lynley Claridge and Shirley Calvert said the council should support the museum and not refuse grants on the basis it had money in the bank.

Complicating matters was a proposal by the council to move the delivery of the district museum function in-house, which was a key element of the long-term plan consultation.

Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan said that needed to be taken into account and questioned whether a decision had to be made now.

Cr Stephen Jeffrey moved to have the matter lie on the table, which the council agreed to.

Crs Claridge and Calvert were against the motion.

jared.morgan@odt.co.nz

 

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