ALBANY, Ga. -- In what has become an annual rite, Flint RiverQuarium CEO Sanders Llewallen, board chairwoman Emily Jean McAfee and RiverQuarium CFO John Leonard made a pitch Tuesday during an Albany City Commission work session for funding to get the struggling facility to March of next year.
"We are in trouble, we need help and are asking the city to consider funding the RiverQuarium this fiscal year," Llewallen told commissioners. "We've taken $343,000 out of the budget and raised nearly $600,000 in private donations, but we'll still have a problem getting to spring of next year."
"We've cut a quarter of our original staff and reduced expenses anywhere we could," Leonard said. "But if we are going to continue to operate that facility, we will need a little help to get us beyond where we are today."
"We cannot operate into 2013 without help," she said. "We are actively pursuing new business and, because of the demographics of the area, we are in prime position for some grants.
"But we need help now."
The RiverQuarium is seeking $50,000 a month from the city for the next three months.
"For the record, I am in favor of saving the RiverQuarium," City Manager James Taylor said. "What I want to know is is it for six weeks, six months or six years? ... I don't have a clue. But I do know we don't have a printing press, and this is not in the budget."
Commissioner Roger Marietta made a nonbinding motion to provide the requested funds and was seconded by Commissioner Ivey Hines.
Commissioners Bob Langstaff, Jon Howard and Tommie Postell voted against the measure.