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Board chair: Rockpile’s budget increase should exceed 4%


GILLETTE, Wyo. — Campbell County Rockpile Museum Board of Directors Chairman Lucas Fralick said May 12 that the board decided against decreasing its budget requests to the level that commissioners requested.

Commissioners will meet at 9 a.m. May 15 to attempt to finish creating a preliminary full draft of the county’s fiscal year 2023-2024 budget. They’re seeking to “hold the line” regarding each department’s funding.

The commissioners said they wanted the Campbell County Rockpile Museum to cut budget requests from an 18% increase to a 4% increase over the prior year’s budget, Fralick said. The fiscal year 2022-2023 budget was $529,001. The museum originally asked for $655,368 for the upcoming fiscal year. A 4% increase over last year’s budget would be $550,161.04.

Commissioners approved cost of living increases for all county employees’ salaries for the upcoming fiscal year.

The museum’s original budget request (Campbell County Clerk)

After a good discussion in a quick meeting May 9, the Rockpile Museum board decided to only make a couple of minor budget cuts, Fralick said. They decreased board and committee expense requests from $3,500 to roughly $1,500 after deciding they didn’t need a laptop, and they scaled down special program event funding requests from $25,000 to $20,000. Commissioners had recommended lowering the programming budget by $7,500.

“We just want to make it clear that we’re still the lowest funded county department. And even with this, with our requested budget, we’re still the lowest funded,” he said. “So 4% for us goes far further than 4% for a different place.”

Fralick said he’s anticipating commissioners will still cut each budget item that they’d recommended declining, like new exhibit cases and additional movable stacked shelving.

Moveable stacked shelving at Rockpile Museum (Mary Stroka/County 17)

The board’s hoping that the commissioners will at least allow the museum to add a part-time staff position for the next year to allow that person to train in museum procedures ahead of Camporee so Museum Director Robert Henning can take a step back from day-to-day tasks, Fralick said. For example, Henning typically is called on to do front desk reception and admissions.

“With a part-time person, that’ll just help relieve some of that day-to-day pressure so he [Henning] can focus on being a director of the museum and not always be the front face,” Fralick said.

The part-time staff person would also help with data collection, narrowing down collections and spreading the workload around for staff, Fralick said.

“The commissioners have been very cooperative with us, and I want to make it clear that we’re not doing this to push back against them,” Fralick said. “We understand that it’s a very stressful time with budget stuff, and they’ve actually been very helpful in this process.”

Commissioners have been very responsive and understanding of the board’s concerns, he said. Working with the commissioners has been positive, not antagonistic.

“It’s more of a ‘stick it to the system.’ … We are dedicated to this museum, and we understand that they’re facing a really challenging budget year,” he said.

The next Rockpile board meeting is at 6 p.m. May 16 at the museum, 900 W. 2nd St., Gillette.

Campbell County commissioners are due to release a provision budget by the end of May and approve a final budget in June.