Parish budget cuts affect Dorcheat Historical Museum

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The Webster Parish Police Jury’s 2018 budget sheds a few items from previous years, and one such cut will leave an impact on the Dorcheat Historical Museum.

The entire $15,000 allotment to Arts/Museums was struck from the new budget Tuesday. Museum director Schelley Brown Francis said the depth of the cut was something of a surprise.

“The 100 percent cut was a big disappointment for the Dorcheat Museum,” she said. “We were cut by 25 percent last year and were aware of a possible future cut, but a total cut was not expected. We were in hopes of a gradual decrease if necessary.”

Francis said the loss of funding will most likely hinder upcoming plans for the museum.

“A few years ago, we were able to purchase the adjacent building with hopes of one day having a museum twice the size of what we have now,” she said. “Those plans of expansion will be put on a shelf for a long time unless alternate funding is secured.”

Despite delays to future plans, Francis said current museum programs will continue as usual.

“We are the official parish museum and have striven for the last ten years to offer free programs, tours, and information to young and old in our area,” she said. “While we will not be spending any extra money, we will protect what we have already striven so hard to create. We will never jeopardize what we have already built up.”

As reported Wednesday, the police jury struck a total of almost $42,000 over several items from the budget as part of cost-cutting efforts. A public hearing concerning the budget was held before final voting, and no one in attendance made comment. The budget passed unanimously.

Francis expressed the museum’s gratitude to the police jury for their support throughout the years, especially juror Nick Cox of District 8.

“Nick Cox has fought for us along the way, and we are so appreciative of what has been done for us through the years,” Francis said. “Without the help of the police jury funding over the past years, we would not be where we are today.”


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