Saturday, March 03, 2012

Peoria Riverfront Museum Endowment Fund

A recent press release from the museum folks claim that all but about a million dollars has been raised to meet endowment fund goals. If you recall ex-mayor Dave Ransburg claimed that he would personally raise $10 million dollars. I believe if Ransburg did raise this money from the PRIVATE sector, announcements would have been made in our local newspaper. If big donations were made by the private sector and made public, I admit I might have missed them.

But I suspect this what happened. In December of 2010, the endowment fund showed approximately $2 million in cash and pledges. But if you recall, one of blogs about that time, reported that the county administrator was pushing a deal in which approximately $6 million could be taken out of the sales tax collections and given to the museum people to use as they wished, including funding the endowment. So add up $2 million on hand plus $6 million transferred and tranferred again; this six million taxpayer funded, makes $8 million plus the million still needed with a request again by the taxpayers to buy bricks, etc., would indicate Ransburg raised a million or so, not $10 million he promised.

Or was it more government money?

Also I might remind my readers, that the local major bank president said the endowment would need to be $16 million and with today's smaller rate of return on investments, I suggest the figure needed to be nearer $18 million.

Even with Pro-Bass and possibly a new hotel, I still stand by my predictions. Maybe with more transparency from the museum committee headed by Ransburg, we would not have to guess, even educationally, about what amount the taxpayer is funding for this yearly 360,000 visitor project. Again, a reminder, museum backers claimed that most of the money for the museum would be raised by private donations. Last figure available indicate that approximately 72% of the cost is and will be funded by the public.

A last reminder. The museum backers raised over $600,000 to support the referendum and with hardly any strong opposition still won by only 400 votes out of 30, 000 votes cast.


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