Zionsville Times Sentinel

Local News

March 12, 2014

SullivanMunce makes plea to council

SullivanMunce Cultural Center is a well-known resource in town for genealogy and history.

However, problems with the trust fund that provides revenue for the cultural center are causing severe budget shortfalls. Volunteer Museum Director David Ruffer appeared before the town council Monday morning, Feb. 24, to ask the council to consider pledging $10,000 to help the museum operate. Ruffer said the trust is based in Virginia, and despite their efforts, nobody with the center has any influence on the trust.

“It’s an understatement to say the trust has suffered from inept management,” Ruffer said.

He said in the early years, the trust generated upwards of $100,000 per year, and the center received payments twice per year.

“Our January payment this year was $1,” he said.

Ruffer said in 2013, the museum had a revenue of $37,000, most of which was income from two properties SullivanMunce rented. He noted some of that did cover the expenses of those rental properties.

Ruffer said total expenses for the museum in 2013 were $56,000.

“We charged no management fee, and we have no paid employees,” he said. “The deficit was made up by SullivanMunce.”

Ruffer asked for $10,000 from the council for the museum portion of the center since it does not have a prohibition from the trust to receive funding from a tax-based agency.

“We ask for your support for a few reasons,” he said. “First, the museum holds records of town memory that should be preserved for the future. Second, the exhibits and programs engage citizens in an understanding nature of community. Third, it contributes to the rich fabric of the community in the same way parks do. Lastly, your support will enhance the importance of the museum and encourage the support of others.”

The center made a request several months ago for $30,000, which would have also helped with programs the center organizes.

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