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New fee schedule at Plumas County Museum

The Plumas County Museum in Quincy is raising its fees.

Members of the Plumas County Board of Supervisors approved the raise for public cover charges, research and school tour fees following a brief public hearing. No one voiced opinions, one way or another, during that public hearing.

Museum Director Scott Lawson was before supervisors Tuesday, Dec. 10, making the request. “After completing the required Methodology Worksheet to Determine Fee, Charge or Assessment, the results were presented to the Plumas County Museum Board of Directors at their regular meeting on Aug. 28,” Lawson said.

Those directors also approved the new fee proposal so it could go on to the Board of Supervisors for final approval.

Admission fees for those 12 and older are increased from $2 to $5 per person. Children under 12 are free. Previously the museum charged $1 for youth 12 to 17. Members of the museum are free, Lawson explained.

Archival research fees are now $50. Students, including college students, pay $25 for archival research.

While in favor of the fee schedule, Supervisor Lori Simpson asked if the $50 fee was a one-time fee or if it was per day? Having worked at the museum in the past, Simpson said she knew that researchers could come back several times in a week.

Lawson said that someone from Washington State was recently there to do research and she was just charged a one-time fee of $50.

Simpson said she was in favor of the one-time fee. Lawson said that someone interested in using the museum’s archives is usually interested in seeing files for one to three days.

County Counsel Craig Settlemire cautioned the board that a fee for services is permitted, but anything that looks like a tax is not.

Supervisor Sherrie Thrall said that she does family history research. She said that in a week she could go through local files and find everything her family needed.

Lawson said that, “a lot of the time I feel bad for the person.” They come in spend an hour doing research and they’re done. But the fee is still the same.

What it comes down to is staff time for the researcher. Lawson said they’re available to show individuals where files are located, the system and to answer any questions. They are also there to put things away when the person is finished.

But researchers often share their information, Lawson said, explaining that the system works two ways. This is when staff can pick up new bits of information, learn about someone they don’t have information on, and collect copies or actual photos for the files.

Simpson said that she could see that Lawson was asking to charge for school tours and if that was a good idea.

Lawson said he had talked with several teachers and they thought a fee was a good idea. “It just kind of helps,” he said about the funding. “The last thing I want to do is ding the school district,” he added about a large fee. The new fee is $25 per tour.

County Administrator Gabriel Hydrick assisted Lawson with the new fee schedule. He pointed out that school tours require more staff time.

In additional news, Lawson told the supervisors that the museum wouldn’t close in January or February, as it has in the past. The facility was closed last week while new carpet was being laid.

“This projects annual revenue for 12 months of $10,600,” Lawson pointed out in backup material for supervisors. “This is an increase of $7,100 over last year, although this late in the budget year, revenue will need to be prorated.”

In a resolution, supervisors approved the new master fee schedule beginning Jan. 1, 2020, through April 16, 2022.

The museum has not had a fee change for admission in a number of years, according to Lawson.

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