Victoria City Council budgets $562K for arts, history, sports groups

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

July 2, 2013 at 2:02 a.m.

Victoria City Council hopes to drive tourism by setting aside more than a half-million dollars in funding for area nonprofit groups.

A seven-person committee composed of Victoria residents will decide by August how to divvy up the dollars among arts, history and sporting organizations. The City Council will vote whether to approve those recommendations before the budget is adopted for September.

The city received 17 applications from 14 groups totaling $787,567, said City Attorney Thomas Gwosdz, who oversees the program.

Of that, Victoria Performing Arts Center Inc., under film festival and filmmaker incentives, asked for $155,600, the largest request of any group.

The funding, which comes from hotel occupancy taxes, has state restrictions on how it can be spent. Only 15 percent of the total $3.06 million may be spent on arts. That restriction means only $459,682 is available for arts funding, although groups made $691,867 in arts-related requests.

In total, the council approved allocating $562,230 for arts, sports and history organizations.

Mayor Paul Polasek said he expects the committee to disperse the entire allotment.

But just because the city has the money, does that mean it has to spend it?

Polasek said yes.

"It's appropriate," he said. "Rather than accumulate it year to year, let's use it. The community can benefit from it."

The council approved carrying forward an $800,000 reserve for a convention and visitors bureau building and added $350,000 for that project.



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