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The Wichita City Council heard protests Tuesday from supporters of the Old Cowtown Museum who are unhappy with a proposed cut in city funding for next year.
City Manager Robert Layton is proposing a cut of $80,000 for 2013. He told the council that the intent is not to weaken Cowtown, but to look at changes in its business practices. He said he wants to look at making it a more robust museum and outdoor facility.
David Crockett, president of Historical Cowtown, Inc., told the council that the museum has already made a 35 percent cut in its budget, including staff reductions. He said even an $80,000 reduction would be "a devastating blow to this reduced staff that is trying to do so much at Cowtown."
He said the cut is unfair when other museums are not taking a similar reduction.
Layton compared this to the recent restructuring of the city's park and recreation services. He said everything is on the table. He said if discussions lead to a proposal that makes Cowtown more independent and allows them to have more control over their revenue sources and their expenses, he's open to that.
The council held a public hearing on the proposed city budget for 2013. They are planning a final vote on the budget next week.