Las Vegas Sun

December 18, 2014

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Museums hit under proposed cuts to state budget

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CARSON CITY -- Budget cuts could result in some of Nevada’s top tourist attractions being closed and the state Parks Division could revert to selling bottled water and snacks to deal with the cuts.

Gov. Jim Gibbons has ordered state agencies to slice 10 percent from their proposed upcoming budgets for the next biennium. Four state museums, including the Lost City Museum in Clark County, could be shut down, and the Parks Division could start charging an entrance fee.

Gibbons is working on the proposed budget, his office said Monday. There is a reported $3 billion shortfall in the budget and Gibbons has pledged not to raise taxes.

He said a balanced budget would require using dramatically reduced tax collections, which in turn would lower state spending on all but essential services to citizens.

But it will be up to the incoming governor to make the final decisions on what cuts will be made in the budget presented to the Legislature in February.

To meet the proposed 10 percent reduction, the state museum division is suggesting eight staffers at the Lost City Museum in Overton be laid off. The museum would be closed in August next year.

The state Department of Cultural Affairs says a closure would be a “perilous action.” It’s in a remote area, which would put it at high risk for thefts, the department said.

The Nevada State Museum in Las Vegas and the state museum in Carson City would stay open. But facing closure would be the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City, the railroad museum in Ely and the Nevada Historical Society in Reno.

The historical society is the oldest Nevada museum and has been open since 1905. It has a large collection of historical artifacts, archives and photographs.

The Parks Division is taking a different approach to the budget crisis. It is suggesting a $2 user fee at many of its parks, including the Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort in Southern Nevada.

The Parks Division also says the opportunity exists at several parks for installing vending machines to dispense bottled water and other beverages, snacks and ice. This could produce an estimated $17,150 a year.

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  1. contract out with private companies to operate the parks and museums. Takes the expense off our books and turns it into a money making venture (Nevada collects a % of the fees collected).

  2. So speaks the voice of NPRI for the Las Vegas Sun, Patrick R. Gibbons. Tell me Patrick, do these "private companies" know the history of Nevada like the long-time public employees who have worked there for years and studied the history? You think state historians like Guy Rocha can be replaced with someone who is paid minimum wage so an out-of-state company can make more profit? No, just treat our history like just another turnkey operation, thats the NPRI way. Your company, like you, just does not care about the quality of life, you just want to race to the bottom like every other Republican.

    Admit that you're getting paid to push lowering our quality of life down our throats. Say "Hi" to Sherman Fredericks and Thomas Mitchell for us when you get a chance.

  3. If Harry Reid cared a hoot about Nevada - this would not even be an issue. Harry Reid gave 70 million to a private company - the Napa Valley Wine train. Harry Reid gave 30 million to a California East Bay Mouse. Harry Reid gave money for a tunnel for earth worms...

    and if Harry was half the candidate he claims he is:
    He would keep our museums open. It is so clear that he no longer has his roots in Nevada but lives high on the hog in Washington DC./

    Shame on Harry Reid - Vote Reid out of office....
    and yes, this is a state issue - but it is only a state issue because Harry Reid has led to major national unemployment; under water Home values; and so much more. Shameful Harry - worse of the worst....

    Friends don't let Friends vote for Harry Reid.

  4. Where is John Ensign, the mighty Bulwark for family values? What has Ensign done for schools? He voted against the stimulus package and is in Washington today fighting to give the super wealthy a tax break and to shut the Government down before saving the schools and museums.

    Now what was that about Harry Reid?

    The 'so called' Conservatives want to turn America into one giant Shopping Mall where a few in the moneyed class determine the value of all things - history, science, speech and people.

    To exist, you will be required to make someone on top money or there won't be any reason for your citizenship. Don't get sick either because another is there to take your job and house.

    "If it doesn't turn a buck, it isn't History", and if the private museums can't turn a profit, they will still disappear. Keeping working - and work harder next week.