HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) — Taking the awe out of two wonders of Kansas. Some said that is what could happen if funding is cut to the Cosmosphere and Strataca.
Right now, the two tourist attractions get some money from Hutchinson’s quarter-cent sales tax. It expires in two years, but the work to extend it is underway.
Leaders of both of the museums said they bring thousands of people to Hutchinson and those people spend money. They said losing money from the sales tax could impact their bottom line.
“It would force us to look at the operating budget and really look at the programs we provide, the admissions that we provide, and it would cause us to take a look at our revenue, and we would have to change things significantly,” said Jim Remar the President and CEO of the Cosmosphere.
From the night sky to deep underground to the roads and property tax relief in Hutchinson, the quarter sales tax helps pay for it all.
City Councilmember Sara Bagwell raised concern if that money is being allocated correctly.
“A lot of people vote for it for the roads, and they feel they are not getting that, and even though we do use it for that, if we add a little bit more, that could help us too with our budget,” said Bagwell.
In the next two weeks, the mayor of Hutchinson said the City Council will be talking to voters about how this money would be spread out.
“We have had it this way for many, many years. That doesn’t mean that it can’t change, but I am, as I mentioned, hopeful that we can continue to support these two world-class institutions,” said Jade Piros de Carvalho, the Mayor of Hutchinson.
In an economic study, the executive director of the Reno County historical society said that 95% of people who visited Strataca came from outside of Reno County and 74% out of the state.
“It’s important the city council members realize the significance of those percentages and what that truly can mean to not only our organization but our community,” said Michael Ables, the Executive Director of the Reno County Historical Society.
Ables said the 5% they currently receive from the city is actually equivalent to 10% of the Stratacas overall operational budget. He said any cuts could be significant to the operations.