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Reed Gold Mine Wants To Keep Its Cash

http://66.225.205.104/JR20110314.mp3

The state agency that runs the Reed Gold Mine in Cabarrus County wants lawmakers to let the site keep more of the money it generates Every year, thousands of people pay $2 for a chance to slosh around with a shallow pan looking for treasure at the Reed Gold Mine. But there's a leak in the mine's own treasure chest. Any money the mine raises above a certain target set by state lawmakers goes back into the state's General Fund for other uses. Last year the Reid Gold Mine had to give back about $12,000. Melanie Soles of the State Division of Historic Sites says the system sends the wrong message to staff at the gold mine. "They're penalized for working hard and trying to make the site better and bring in more proceeds," says Soles. A measure slated for consideration in the state Senate this week would put all of the money raised through gold panning and special events at the Reed Gold Mine into a special fund. That money would help stabilize the mine's budget and pay for improvements that otherwise don't fit into the basic funding provided by the state. Soles says the Division of Historic Sites hopes to amend the bill so all 24 historic sites in the state get their own special funds. She points to another example - Horne Creek Farm north of Winston Salem - which has a large apple orchard. "Those apples fall onto the ground and there is no incentive to go out there and pick them up and they literally sit on the ground and rot," says Soles. Currently, Soles says state historic sites can't keep any of the proceeds from selling products of the land, such as fruit or timber. Changing that is also part of the measure lawmakers will consider this week. Senate Bill 186 is sponsored by Senator Fletcher Hartsell and scheduled for consideration in the Senate Finance committee at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, March 15. Read the bill here.