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NC Transportation Museum cutting jobs

By Emily Ford
eford@salisburypost.com
SPENCER ó After the state cut its funding, the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer will eliminate five full-time positions Jan. 1, almost a third of its staff.
One position will be vacant Jan. 1 and will remain unfilled, while four employees are being offered severance packages, said Mark Brown, museum spokesman, in a press release. Brown said he did not want to list the cut positions until employees, who found out Thursday afternoon, have a chance to tell their families.
The museum ó one of the most popular tourism attractions in Rowan County ó has 17 full-time positions.
The state slashed the museumís $1.2 million funding in half this summer and will give no funding to the facility next year. The museum, which used to be free, started charging a $10 admission but still faces a revenue shortfall.
ěFive months into this fiscal year, it has been determined that revenues are not meeting expected levels,î he said. ěEmployee salaries and benefits are the largest cost incurred by the museum, resulting in the reduction in force.î
Wherever possible, jobs will be offered at other locations within the N.C. Division of State Historic Sites, he said. Existing staff, volunteers and part-time employees will take over duties performed by laid off workers.
Visitors wonít notice the change, Brown said, and the museum will continue regular operations and popular events during the holidays.
The museum began the transition to a self-sustaining facility July 1, operating as an enterprise fund. Under this new structure, the museum must raise needed revenue through admission charges, special events, site rentals and other sources to fund operational costs.
The state has provided funds to cover half the museumís operations in fiscal 2011-12. The museum will be responsible for funding all revenues in fiscal 2012-13.
The museum offers visitors a unique look into the history of transportation in North Carolina, operating on the 57-acre site of the former Spencer Shops locomotive repair facility.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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