You’re going to see something unusual this year on the March ballot. The Kingston Budget Committee is not supporting the Town’s operating budget. It might seem confusing at first, but I’m hoping this article will sort things out.
The Kingston Community Library opened last year, leaving the Nichols Building vacant. It became evident that the Nichols Building would make a perfect, climate-controlled resource museum, able to house documents and artifacts for community viewing year round. The Board of Selectmen brought together members of the Historic District Commission, Historical Society, Library Trustees, and interested citizens to form the Museum Task Force.
Starting up a resource museum requires some professional help, someone who knows how to properly catalog what is there and to decide what needs to be restored and preserved. An archivist was found right here in Kingston and under his guidance, a group of volunteers would be able to help him organize and catalog the wealth of items in the Historical Society’s care.
The expenses for the archivist and supplies for one year would be $17,500. The Historical Society was able to put up $7,250 for the first year. The Kingston Community Library volunteered to put up $3,000. This left $7,250, and so the matter was brought, first to the Board of Selectmen, and then to the Budget Committee, to ask for the town’s support and help.
The Budget Committee recommended that the $7,250 be raised through a warrant article, and so Warrant Article #19 came into being. The Board of Selectmen supported adding the funding to the Town’s operating budget. At the Deliberative Session,a majority voted to add the $7,250 to the budget in Article 8 and Warrant Article #19 was changed to a value of $1.00.
Why then, is the Budget Committee not choosing to support the budget? It isn’t because they feel that the Museum is not a worthy cause to support. After all, they were 100% behind the warrant article. It’s because they want to make sure that this is something the public is fully aware of and in support of. They worked hard putting together a fair budge, but they feel it is their duty to allow you, the community, to vote whether this $7,250 for an archivist should be in the budget, and recommending against the operating budget as amended was the only way they felt they could give you that vote.