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City Council to debate museum spending page 2
Fredericksburg mayor to talk with Slavery Museum officials about how they spent city loan money

Date published: 12/4/2005

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He said he would talk with other members of council, and would probably ask that the issue be put on its Dec. 13 agenda.

"It's a good project, and we'd like to see it done, but there are conditions to this money," he said.

Tomzak said he doesn't have any problem with the museum's report, but because other council members have asked for the studies, he would ask museum officials about them. In particular, he said he's interested in the traffic study.

"I trust the museum. I personally don't feel that I need a detailed analysis, but I respect the wishes of my colleagues," he said.

City Councilwoman Debby Girvan said she doesn't think the city's agreement with the museum entitles it to any more information.

"The city invested this money, and it's being repaid with interest," she said. "We're obligated to uphold the terms of the agreement, not change it now because we want more information."

Asked whether studies paid for with city money should be made available to the council, she said, "If the terms of the agreement required that, I would say absolutely, but it does not."

She added that some information in those studies could be considered proprietary.

In the past, council members Kerry Devine, Billy Withers and Tom Fortune have joined Kelly in asking for more information from the museum.

Tomzak wondered yesterday about the basis of those requests.

"It's puzzling. All the councilmen have told me and have said publicly that they support the museum," he said. "I wonder if they are responding to a group out there that is against the museum?"

Kelly said it's just a matter of keeping track of how public money is spent.

"I am responsible to the citizens of Fredericksburg," he said. "That money could have been used for schools, to pay down debt service--there's a lot of things it could have been used for. Now all we've asked for is an accounting."

To reach EMILY BATTLE:540/374-5413
Email: ebattle@freelancestar.com


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