Milam County Historical Commission
Milam County, Texas
Museum director retirement will save money
by David Barkemeyer
Rockdale Reporter - 2016-01-28
One of the things that Milam County has going for itself is its many historical features.
To some extent these things are a result of what took place here historically like the Spanish missions or the El Camino Real trail passing through this area.
But really the fact that we now have something left to feature regarding our past is a result of the efforts put forth by the many dedicated citizens who have worked so hard to develop and preserve our historical assets.
We need to continue to thank them for this every chance that we get.
The point that I particularly want to stress to you is the importance of the need for our continued support for the preservation of these historical assets.
They are important to us and to future Milam Countians in terms of preserving our past. I don’t want to discount the importance of this aspect in any way.
But also they can be important assets for us economically if we’ll utilize them in a positive way to promote the local economy.
For example, Charles King of the Milam County Museum reported to me that the museum averages over 1,250 visitors each year.
Over the years we’ve had visitors from all 50 states and from many foreign countries, recently including Germany and Japan.
The new museum location has attracted a number of local club and organizations with meetings and parties of over 1,200 in attendance in 2015.
The El Camino Trail Trade Days event is another example.
With all of that said, we’re still faced with the reality of having to deal with the continuing challenge of the county’s shrinking tax base.
Therefore, in preparation for the next round of budget planning, I am taking the necessary steps to change the way the county will be supporting the county owned museum operations next year.
Charles King will be retiring at the end of March and will not be replaced as a county employee.
Instead, with the Commissioner’s Court approval, the county will plan to discontinue the Museum Operations budget of some $41,000 and instead will allocate $22,000 to the Historical Museum Board and they have agreed to oversee the day-to-day operation of the county-owned museum and will operate with parttime and volunteer workers.
The county will continue to be responsible for the county owned building maintenance and utilities.
A key point here is that the museum volunteer organization has agreed to take on the additional responsibility, but they need some taxpayer financial support in the form of this annual budget allocation in order to have a viable operation.
I believe this arrangement will work out well and we’ll have an excellent museum operation under the Museum Board’s direction at a reduced cost to county taxpayers.
However, without a reasonable amount of taxpayer support, it’s doubtful that they would be able to keep the museum in operation at this point.
All credit for this article goes to
Milam County Judge David Barkemeyer