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County Board OKs historical coordinator on split vote

The McLeod County Board on Tuesday — and on a 3-2 vote — approved $12,945 to fund a new position for the McLeod County Historical Society. The new position will coordinate a collaboration between the county and other historic organizations in the county, such as Historic Hutchinson and the Glencoe Historic Preservation Society.
The County Board had originally considered a request for funding for the position in May, and had tabled the request until Tuesday’s meeting.
The request had originally been for $20,267, but McLeod County Historical Society Executive Director Lori Pickell-Stangel said her group was able to pare that figure ot $12,945 by reducing the proposed wage to $15 per hour from $20 per hour. That will fund through the position through February 2017, at which time the county could consider whether it wants to continue the position.
“We’re confident that we can still achieve the goals we’ve set — write grants, do research and manage programs,” said Pickell-Stangel.
But even a reduced wage didn’t sway Commissioner Doug Krueger, who said the county’s contribution to the historical society has increased each year since 2013. In 2013, the county budgeted $39,000 for the historical society, an amount that grew to $49,000 in 2014, $50,000 in 2015 and reached over $57,000 in 2016, according to Krueger.
Krueger said the county has asked many of its departments to cut spending by 5 percent for 2017.
Pickell-Stangel said that while the historical society has increased its budget, it also is pulling in money into the county by landing grants for projects. She suggested the county look at the proposed position, which began last year with a one-year grant, as an investment.
Pickell-Stangel also said that Commissioner Paul Wright had asked for a “punch list” of proposed projects that would be accomplished if the position was hired.
She said she hoped the position would bring enough funds back into the county to make it worthwhile.

For more, see the June 22 print edition of The Chronicle.