Monday, November 29, 2010

Peoria Riverfront Museum Funded at Last!! Or is it?

A week ago Thursday, Peoria County Administrator, Patrick Urich, when questioned by the writer as to how the funding of the PRM was coming, stated that PRM Committee Chairman and former Mayor, Dave Ransburg, advised that he plans to not only raise the missing $10 million or so but he intends to raise $20 million. When I had earlier asked Ransburg where this money is coming from, he declined to comment.

It was only 2 years or so ago that Chairman Mike McCord said he would have no problem raising $10 million. As last I heard the situation is this:

The PRM Committee and Lakeview had spent $14 million of the funds raised to date. That the Committee, I hear, is asking that outstanding pledges, $16 million or so, be paid.

That the actual federal pledged money, $3.6 million, had not come in from the federal government to help fund the underground parking lot that is under construction.

That the $5 million pledged by Pat Quinn and the State of Illinois was still a pledge.

The paperwork committing the Federal and State funds are allegedly in town but no checks as of 10 days or so ago.

That many pledges had been considered non-collectible; $1.2 million known by the end of fiscal year 2009, 17 months ago. (PRM's fiscal year ends June 30) So much of the $16 million pledged is still in pledge form.

Where will the new $20 million Ransburg is promising come from? It is always possible that the wealthy elite will shed some big dollars to avoid income taxes this year. Jim Owens, former CAT CEO, owns 445,000 shares of CAT stock, so he could be good for another million or so. Or, more likely the money will eventually reach town from the stimulus funds, earmarks committed earlier or some type of grant.

It is also possible that the County Board will increase the $41 million from the approximately $72-80 million they plan to collect from the Facility Tax; remember, this is the tax that will only cost each person living in Peoria County just $17 a year for 20 years. An astounding $72+ million taken out of our regional communities.

Yes,after fees and interest of around $16 million, this money will create a short window of jobs and materials before it continues as a tax-collector and takes charitable funds away from worthy social projects.

Since the museum is going to be a reality, I thought I might give you an upgrade. You won't get it from the local news media.

For all of you who wanted this museum and now see that the cash you gave has mostly been spent, I say have a merry Christmas, but dig a little deeper. The taxpayer has already contributed 70% plus to this tax money sucker-upper. Meanwhile, Bonnie Noble is designing the old Lakeview Museum into a new 33,000 sq. ft. PPD Administration offices while the Children's Playhouse folks are still trying to figure out where to get the missing $2.5-3 million to move into the then vacated PPD Pavilion.

I continue my quest; "show me the money" and I don't mean more tax dollars.

When the $5 million, the $3.5 million, the $10-20 million come in in check form, I'll cheer, but not until the checks clear the bank.

Don't forget; we residents of Peoria County get a 15% admission discount while those folks over in Tazewell County, etc., who are help paying to fund the museum will pay the full fee.



Vonster said...

The museum isn't funded yet but they've got the foundation half done. Hmmmm. Something fishy going on here.

Rick said...

Riverfront Museum Explained:

Merle Widmer said...

Here is the video you can click on to see. It's a good one: