HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Michael Ables with STRATACA explains that even though they only get a small part of the quarter cent sales tax, it means a lot to their budget.
"We receive 5%," Ables said. "That equates to just under 10% of our overall budget. What we use that money for, over the last several years, you can actually see some of those improvements on our facilities. We actually started to take a look at the exterior. Obviously, we needed to just kind of hold on, hold on, hold on during the pandemic. Then, when we started to see the light at the end of the tunnel, we were able to pull the trigger a little bit better."
In addition to investing in infrastructure, STRATACA also invested in its people.
"We actually did something that was pretty unheard of during the pandemic, we actually started to look at our employees," Ables said. "We knew that we needed to take a strong look at our employees and help them out during the hardest time in our history. We actually did pay wage increases, so we can actually improve our retention rate."
Now, the museum is looking ahead.
"We're actually starting to work on new exhibits, interactive exhibits," Ables said. "We actually want to continue to work and improve the facility underground, that will actually allow the kids to have a lot more fun, and the adult kids, as well. What we're talking about doing is bringing down cranes and mini excavators so they can play as if they were miners themselves."
The quarter cent sales tax will be on the general election ballot in November.