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Council to discuss funding for the arts and historical preservation

By DAVID TEWES
March 26, 2010 at 11:02 a.m.
Updated March 27, 2010 at 10:28 p.m.


Requested funds

Non-city agencies and the funding they request:

Children's Discovery Museum, $7,500.

Victoria Ballet Theatre, $10,000.

Victoria Regional Museum Association, $30,000.

Victoria Bach Festival, $10,000.

Theatre Victoria, $61,400.

Texas Settlement Trails Inc., $4,000

Cultural Council of Victoria, $40,000.

Quilt Guild of Greater Victoria, $3,150

Victoria Symphony Society, $15,000.

The economy cut into Victoria's hotel-motel tax income, which helps to fund nonprofit agencies. The cut leaves those groups scrambling for a piece of the pie.

Nonprofit groups might learn Monday how much funds, if any, they will receive. The Victoria City Council will have a special meeting at 5 p.m. in the Council Chamber to discuss options and vote on them.

"The law that regulates the hotel-motel tax allows 15 percent of the money collected to be disbursed to arts causes and groups," Mayor Will Armstrong said. "It's, I believe, close to $100,000 all together."

The request from the nine nonprofit agencies total $181,050. Armstrong said it appears the bed tax will bring in about 20 percent less this year than last year because of the economy.

City Attorney Thomas Gwosdz said once the council decides on the numbers, it will have a chance to vote Monday on an ordinance to adopt them. A second vote will be required before it becomes final.

"The meeting is for the council to work on this subject and I'm not soliciting comments from the nonprofits," Armstrong said. "But if they're there, of course, we won't cut them off."

The mayor said he called a special meeting to settle the funding issue as quickly as possible so the non-city agencies will know how the council's decision will affect their budgets. He said they should have had an answer months ago.

But he said extended council discussions about buying sewer plant property and bidding on a new fire station helped cause the delay.

Armstrong said with seven council members, he's unsure the group will be able to come up with a final decision Monday.

"I'm not sure that this will be the meeting to end all meetings," he said. "But that's the start and I think we'll have some resolution about some of the business before us."

If not, the council will continue to meet until it does, he said. "These nonprofits depend on us and we're way way behind schedule."

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