Johnsburg Town Board restores some museum funding, approves 2012 budget

— Councilman Eugene Arsenault, who is also a member of the Hudson Headwaters board, took issue with Nessle’s comments.

“I think if you surveyed the community,” Arsenault said, “good access to quality health care would be No. 1.”

Of all the issues, funding for the Depot Museum proved most contentious. Several audience members spoke on behalf of the museum. Bill Bibby, a self-proclaimed “railroader” offered a rambling, history-laden, emotion-filled justification for the funding request, saying the train depot embodies the history of North Creek and the Depot Museum is the manifestation of that history for all who visit. The town wouldn’t be the same without the museum, Bibby said.

Museum board member Helen Miner reminded the board that the museum is totally nonprofit and completely run by volunteers.

Nessle called the museum the iconic center of town and said the building was irreplaceable. He showed the board a copy of Adirondack Explorer magazine that featured a photo of Supervisor Vanselow standing on the train depot platform.

“That says it all,” Nessle said.

Even Councilman Peter Olesheski, who has been a vocal opponent of continued funding for the museum in the town budget, said he finally has realized the value the museum brings to the town. Yet he said he couldn’t support funding the museum with money from the budget, because, he said, he wasn’t certain that it was legal. And he said he was concerned about the precedent it sets for other nonprofit groups he might need town funding down the road. Still, Olesheski said, if the town attorney could provide a letter stating that it was legal, he would support it.

After a lengthy back and forth, Councilman Arnold Stevens abruptly put forth a motion to approve $5,000 in funding for the museum, $2,500 from bed tax funds and $2,500 from the General Fund. Stevens also included in his motion an increase for Hudson Headwaters from $24,000 to $28,000. After some additional discussion, Vanselow called the vote. Arsenault abstained from voting because he’s a member of the Hudson Headwaters board. Councilwoman Kate Nightingale, Stevens and Vanselow all voted in favor of the motion and Olesheski voted against the motion. By a 3-1 margin with one abstention, the motion was approved.

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