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Councilman: nonprofits are a burden in town

"People do not want to live in a community without churches or schools," Hudson Headwaters Executive Director Dr. John Rugge said Friday. "Life is about more than revenue - it is about a full community life which includes public health, education and religion."

Rugge said that the Hudson Headwaters Health Network, which includes the health center, employs 115 local residents and directly generates approximately $6 million in revenue for the community.

Furthermore, Rugge estimates that indirect local annual revenue linked to Hudson Headwaters exceeds $10 million annually, as well as offering considerable convenience and savings in time and money to area residents.

"Hudson Headwaters is the kind of enterprise that brings traffic through town," he said. "60,000 cars a week come to our facility and while they are here they often do business in town as well-we have also saved a few lives along the way - public health is fundamental to a community."

Hudson Headwaters pays approximately $20,000 annually to the town government in lieu of taxes to help pay for town government services, although they are not obligated to pay anything, officials said.

Warrensburg Supervisor Kevin Geraghty said he also believes non-profits are an essential part of the community, but within acceptable limits.

"There is a need for nonprofits; they provide important services to people who would otherwise be without," Geraghty said. "I don't agree with non-profits buying up large chunks of land and running a summer camp - but if people want to go to church, they have a right to worship."

Other non-profits in town include the Warrensburg Volunteer Fire Company, the Warrensburg Cemetery, the Warrensburg Central School District, numerous churches and the social welfare organization North Country Ministries.

"We assist working people with everyday problems like paying for heat or having enough food," said North Country Ministries Executive Director Brother Jim Posluszny. "We also pay salaries to our staff, providing jobs and revenue."

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