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Adult visitors to the museum pay $7.50 for museum admission.

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Last year, the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History ran a deficit of $416,458, as its total expenditures were $764,188. The museum only made $347,730 from admission fees, gift shop sales, rental fees and donations.

The museum has nine full time employees while the gardens employ three full time employees, including a newly Nike Stefan Janoski Max L White

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a new education center, which is expected to be matched by the Museum Foundation.

The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History began as The Big Shanty Museum in 1972, when Georgia obtained The General locomotive from the state of Tennessee.

Finances off track Kennesaw museum gardens expected to run deficit two years in a row

"I've had grave concerns for years about the cost, that we haven't been able to find ways to increase the revenue stream against the cost to the taxpayer. It's been very difficult. We need to look at some serious, serious answers to get this in a better position for us financially," Jenkins said. "The late councilman Bill Thrash and I would constantly bring this up every year."

"It's basically a huge debt we have to pay for this thing every year," Councilman Bruce Jenkins said. "I think the original idea was based on assumptions, that it would serve as an anchor to the downtown and be an economic engine for growth. But what they failed to take into account was Nike Sb Janoski Grey Black that the economy would tank and people would have less money for vacations and take their vacations closer to home."

During a City Council meeting last week, Kennesaw resident Patricia Powers expressed concerns that taxpayers were heavily subsidizing the activities of the museum and gardens.

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To keep these facilities afloat, "residents are paying a lot of minimal fees, and they need to be funded by the people who use them," Powers said.

KENNESAW The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History and the Smith Gilbert Gardens continue to operate in the red and are costing city taxpayers more than half a million dollars per year to keep open.

Grant to partially fuel new expansion

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The museum is expecting to receive a $500,000 grant next year from the TEA Federal Highway Administration to build Nike Sb Janoski Grey

Jenkins said he voted against this year's budget, largely because of the museum and gardens becoming a huge burden on the taxpayers.

How the museum grew its exhibits, and its debt

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That means fewer railroad buffs are making the drive from Pennsylvania or New Hampshire to visit the impressive little museum in Kennesaw.

The gardens rely heavily upon volunteer support, which is considered vital to the running of the gardens, said Carrie Camden, who works at the gardens.

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Kennesaw's top tourist attraction, the museum, has been running annual deficits for more than a decade, and is expected to operate at a deficit again next year, according to the 2014 budget that was approved Sept. 16.

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To help the museum and gardens balance their books, the city has been transferring money to them each year from the city's general fund, which is fed by fees and taxes paid by Kennesaw residents.

cost the city $314,189 to operate last year, and only brought in $173,000. Next year, the city has $379,274 budgeted for the gardens, but they are only expected to make $180,260.

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2013 budget alone, city officials transferred $557,643 to the gardens and the museum. That figure is expected to rise to $616,322 in the 2014 budget, which was adopted by a 3 2 vote of the council.

Twelve years later, the city still makes payments totaling about $435,000 per year to retire the bond debt, with $3.2 million still remaining to be paid back, said Pam Davis, the city's spokeswoman.

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The bond, which was not put before voters for their approval, could be paid off early if the city chooses to do so, Davis said.

The gardens also host weddings, school groups, and tours of the property, which do not make enough to cover the budget shortfall.

appointed executive director, and three part time employees. Dr. Richard Banz, the museum's executive director, earns a salary of $64,722.

It was housed in the old Frey cotton gin, and continued to grow, as more locomotive and Civil War history were added to the exhibits.

The museum's first big growth spurt took place in 2001 when it received the proceeds of a $4.9 million bond and joined the Smithsonian Affiliations Program, which enabled it to display Smithsonian exhibits and artifacts.

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While some residents cite the positive impact tourists have had on the city, others are concerned that the city is not handling its finances with their tax dollars in mind.

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Gardens not breaking even, either

"I have always felt that this museum should be free to the residents of Kennesaw. You'll still get residual income, from family of residents and out of town visitors," he said. "But I feel like they've already paid for this facility once and I don't feel like taxing them twice is right."

The new education center is expected to cost between $900,000 to $1.1 million, said Davis.

What irks Jenkins most of all, he said, is that residents have to pay "twice" for the museum first on their tax bill and second if they choose to actually visit the facility.

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