- Associated Press - Monday, April 17, 2017

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Alaska’s capital city and borough are considering closing a museum, gym and educational facility to balance its 2018 budget.

Juneau needs to find nearly $2 million to balance its budget, the Juneau Empire reported (https://bit.ly/2oFNRnj) Friday.

Finance Director Bob Bartholomew has proposed taking $1.4 million from the city’s fund balance and reducing spending by $500,000.

Juneau-Douglas City Museum, Mount Jumbo Gym, the Eagle Valley Center and more are in jeopardy of being closed to properly balance the budget.

The city’s priority-driven budget process, which allows residents to rank various services in the area, might be used to decide what will close.

These rankings showed the museum, gym and Eagle Valley Center to be the least desirable facilities.

“The reason (the museum) scored the lowest is, compared to other facilities, it serves fewer Juneau citizens and there is an available alternative in the brand-new State Museum,” City Manager Rorie Watt said. “Granted, the State Museum doesn’t focus on local Juneau history and culture.”

Officials say cutting the museum from the budget could save about $228,500.

City Museum Director Jane Lindsay, who has been at the museum for 15 years, found out about the proposed closing on Tuesday. She said this is the first time a closing has been talked about.

“Certainly it’s not a good feeling to hear something like that,” Lindsay said. “We work very hard to do the best job we can, to present local history.”

No official decisions have been made yet on what to close, Watt said.

“I’m not saying it’s my priority to close the museum,” Watt said. “It’s my priority to do two things. It’s my priority that everything that the city does, we run well and we give adequate resources and we staff adequately and . We provide good programs.”


Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, https://www.juneauempire.com

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