Moffat County Library And Museum Get A Funding Lifeline

Stephanie Wolf/CPR News
A sculpture outside of the Museum of Northwest Colorado in Craig on Aug. 14, 2019.

A museum and the library in Moffat County that are struggling to survive got unexpected funds from county commissioners this week. Each received $150,000 in the 2020 budget, according to the Craig Daily Press.

The county had more revenue than expected and was able to restore funding it had cut to the institutions in recent years, the Craig Daily reported.

But that doesn't mean they are on solid financial footing. Both institutions still face possible closure because the Craig has cut their funding as well. The budget increase from the county is about half of what the museum and library officials say they need to operate.

Craig voters will decide in November whether to allow marijuana sales and put a 7 percent tax on those sales. The Craig City Council has said that revenue could restore the city support for the library system and the museum.

The Museum of Northwest Colorado had relied solely on county funding for years. That dropped to zero this year when the county earned less revenue than projected. This summer, Assistant Museum Director Paul Knowles told Colorado Public Radio News the museum has been operating on reserves and expected to run out of money next year.

The county library system had drastic cuts to its budget for the past two years. Keisha Bickford, interim director for Moffat County Libraries told CPR in August the library system has pared down hours and might have to close altogether.

The money the county allotted for next year still leaves the library system short half of the budget it had when fully funded.