Museum tax to appear on ballot |

Museum tax to appear on ballot

Susie Vasquez

STATELINE – An advisory question will be placed on the 2006 primary ballot for a tax increase to fund the Douglas County Historic Society.

Approved by Douglas County Commissioners at their Aug. 18 meeting in Stateline, the measure would provide about $240,000 a year to cover expenses for the private, nonprofit organization.

“I want to emphasize that this is not an endorsement from the commission,” said Commissioner Doug Johnson. “This measure simply puts the question on the ballot.”

The society, which operates both the Genoa Court House Museum and Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center, spends an estimated $200,000 a year. That amount includes one part-time and two full-time positions, according to County Manager Dan Holler.

“This could fully fund the museums with money left for capital improvements,” he said.

Currently financed through fundraisers and other donations, the museums have been struggling.

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Museum officials depend on volunteers to handle acquisitions and they have no director, primarily due to lack of funding, said Hap Fisher, planning commission chairman for the society.

Housed in the former Douglas County High School building on Gardnerville’s Main Street, the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center opened 10 years ago, on Aug. 19, 1995.

The museum includes a Basque exhibit and Native American Murals. The country doctor’s office, a farmer’s telephone and telegraph exhibit and The Record-Courier newspaper exhibit offer a peek at pioneer life in the Carson Valley.

The Genoa Courthouse, which was used as a school from 1916 until 1956, opened as a museum in 1969.

In addition to the antique nursery exhibit, the museum includes a courtroom exhibit using original oak furniture from the Genoa and Minden courthouses.

Washoe baskets, including Dat-So-La-Lee baskets regarded as some of the finest examples of Native American basket weaving in the world, are also on display.

The historical society finances its operations through fundraisers, society memberships, a trust fund, memorial gifts and other donations, according to society officials.

In other business:

n Commissioners authorized the filing of an application to the Nevada Division of State Lands for Question 1 grant money to purchase the Adams Canyon property, 725 acres along the slope of the eastern Sierra including wildlife habitat, a riparian area and trails.

Question 1 funds will be used for 75 percent of the acquisition and Sierra Nevada Public Lands Management Act funds will be used for the balance.

The property value is estimated at just over $4 million.