The Pine County Historical Society will be asking for more financial support from the county in 2014.
About 12 historical society members appeared before the county board last week to ask for more financial support. Last year, the group received $20,000 from the county, but this year the amount was trimmed to $10,000.
Arla Budd of Askov, speaking for the organization, said there have been more than 5,000 visitors at the new museum in Askov and there are more than 30 weekly volunteers, along with 100 regular volunteers.
Budd said she researched what other counties give to their historical societies and found Pine County’s support less than others.
“I know we are not as wealthy as these other counties but they (county government) do provide the most to these historical societies,” Budd told the board.
Budd said if $20,000 had been given this year, the board would have been in pretty good shape.
Gary Koland of Sandstone, also representing the group, said it was important to preserve the county’s history. They received a $6,500 grant to investigate the possibility of a ground source heating system, which he said would bring their expenses much lower.
Koland did say the restaurant on site, which has helped pay some expenses, does have some paid employees.
Koland noted the heating expense over the winter was the big reason they were asking for help.
“It was pretty tough on us. We are doing the best we can, but we need some help,” Koland said.
Koland said, if the county just gave the organization what it pays the average county employee, it would greatly help the organization.
Grant writing has not been a problem, organization members said, but grants do not help pay for operating expenses.
When asked by Commissioner Steve Chaffee of Hinckley about other support the museum receives, Koland said that cities have also been supporting the museum. Ten cities in Pine County each have a 6-foot by 6-foot display they can present at the museum, he said.
Koland said they had to borrow $30,000 from an area bank for operating costs but need more support. The organization also has a piece of property donated a few years ago in Hinckley but thus far has not been able to sell it.
Another board member, Richard Lindig of Pine City, also noted the support of the entire county.
“This is just not a party for us 12 people who like old stuff,” Lindig said. “It is amazing how many people work for absolutely free. We are running this thing on pennies and volunteers.”
Chairman Steve Hallan of Pine City said the board will discuss the matter at an upcoming budget meeting.
“We have a lot of considerations as you know,” Hallan said. “Preserving history is part of our job.”
In other business, new Commissioner Matt Ludwig of Sandstone appeared at his first board meeting as an elected official. District 5 had been without a representative for several months following the death of longtime Commissioner Doug Carlson.