The Saugerties village board has been considering including the Saugerties Historical Society in its 2018 budget. The board will formally consider funds for the group, which lost $1000 in funding from the town this year, when it discusses the village budget next year.
“There is a possibility that we might provide funding [for the historical society],” said village clerk Lisa Mayone.
According to Marjorie Block of the historical society, the group received $12,000 from the town “years back.” That sum has dwindled down to $5000 in the town’s 2018 budget. The group is considering cutting back on free events at the newly renovated Dutch barn at the Kiersted House, and, Block said, will need to “substantially cut back” on outside groups using the space.
“We are just trying to decide what to cut,” explained Block. “We have committed to having an exhibit on Augusta Savage this February, but at this point I am not sure how we are going to pay for it. We were trying to bring back youth programs that we had before construction of the barn, but that is now in jeopardy. We also do not charge admission, but we are looking at that also.”
The historical society spends about $4000 a year for insurance and about $3000 for oil. “Funding from the town helped with that and everything we have to raise. All the rest of the utilities, programming, maintenance has to be raised by the society. We need about $20,000 a year to get by, with volunteers running everything.”
Many historical societies have endowments, she added, “but our society has not had enough time to have any. Places like the Bevier house have been around over 100 years, but we have only existed about 20.”
The town board has also cut funding for the Saugerties Athletic Association and the Boys and Girls Club. “The decision was made a few years back that we would try to not use taxpayers to support the historical society to the same level that we have in the past,” said supervisor-elect Fred Costello. “Now that they have the barn and other revenue, they can sustain themselves without that.”