By Jeff Shultz
The Pauls Valley Tourism Board sent the Toy and Action Figure Museum back to the drawing board Monday night after the museum sought funding from the board for monthly operational funds in the wake of curator Kevin Stark’s departure.
Stark recently announced he is leaving the museum, but keeping his collection of action figures on loan to the museum.
With his departure, the museum board of directors will need to fill a financial void as Stark often donated his artistic services to the museum.
“We’re going to have to pay someone now to build our ads, design our billboards and produce other materials that Kevin did for free,” Museum Board President Brandon Rolan told the tourism board Tuesday night.
The museum board was seeking a monthly stipend in the amount of $6,802 from the tourism board to aid the museum with some operational funds so the museum can make the transition once Stark leaves in October.
The funding request brought out a lengthy discussion from both parties concerning items the museum board would like help with and the future of the museum.
The museum board was seeking funding for such items as office supplies, utilities, gift shop merchandise and future acquisitions for the museum.
“I really have a problem with us providing money for gift shop merchandise,” said Tourism Board member Randy McGee.
Rolan responded by stating he felt the gift shop merchandise was a business investment and the city would reap the benefits from the sales taxes generated by the sale of items in the gift shop.
“Still,” McGee said, “I don’t think the tourism board should be in the business of buying merchandise for businesses.
“Suppose the shoe store down the street came to us and said ‘We want you to buy us some shoes to sell.’ I just don’t think that would be right.”
Tourism board members questioned why the museum wasn’t asking for help with advertising and promotion of the museum.
“We believe if we get help in these other areas we can handle that part of our budget ourselves,” Rolan told the tourism board.
McGee, who did most of the talking for the board, praised the museum for being a unique attraction for Pauls Valley.
“I was in there today looking at your guest book. You had around 40 people in there today and all of them were from out of state. To have that many people in one establishment on a Tuesday is amazing,” he said.
McGee questioned the museum’s $7,500 request for future acquisitions to be displayed at the museum, stating he felt the number was too low.
During the discussion, Rolan admitted the museum was hurting financially at the moment and was asked what would happen to the museum if it didn’t get any funding from the tourism board.
“I would have serious doubts we would still be open by the end of the year,” Rolan said.
After more discussion on the funding request, the tourism board voted to table the item and give the museum board more time to refine their request.
The tourism board said they would reconsider the request next month once the museum board provided a more detailed request along with financial statements.
“I don’t know where anyone thinks we don’t support the museum,” McGee said, referring to some e-mails various people had sent the tourism board prior to Tuesday night’s meeting.
“But the board has given thousands of dollars to the museum over the years and we want to see you thrive.”
In other business:
•Board members were introduced to the new Tourism Director, Jason Selman, who will be taking over for Erin Creach, who is leaving the city for another position.
Selman was hired as Tourism Director last week and his first day on the job was Monday.
Selman is also the manager of the PV Golf Course and will be fulfilling both roles for a while, according to City Manager James Frizell.
•Board members denied a request from the Pauls Valley Golf Course for a 2-man Scramble. The request was for $2,500.