State Historical Society's budget to be cut 25 percent

Friday, October 30, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — A 25 percent budget cut is the latest setback that the State Historical Society of Missouri has suffered over the past year.

The society, located in Ellis Library at MU, learned that $364,401 would be taken from its annual budget of $1,457,605, Associate Director Lynn Wolf Gentzler said. The cuts are part of the $204 million in state budget cuts announced by Gov. Jay Nixon on Wednesday.

"It will have a widespread effect on our ability to do programs we have been doing and on providing research assistance," Gentzler said.

Gentzler said they have not made a decision about which programs to draw the money from. She said it would significantly affect personnel costs, which include salaries and benefits of the society's 24 staff members.

Mayor Darwin Hindman said he regrets that the society is having financial issues.

"I think the State Historical Society is a valuable asset to the state and to the people of Columbia," Hindman said.

In the past year, the society has experienced an unfortunate series of events. In May, it was denied federal stimulus money after requesting $30 million for a new building for the society.

In late September, a malfunctioning fire sprinkler head damaged duplicate copies of government documents and publications.

Gentzler said she is not surprised about the funding cut and was expecting further cuts after this year's budget was reduced 10 percent from last year's budget.

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