The City of Tallahassee Funds Cultural Events With Tax Dollars Through “Outside Agencies”

Questions to Ponder While Reading

  • Do You Think City Tax Dollars Should Support Cultural and Arts Organizations?
  • What Organizations Do You Think Deserve Tax Dollars?
  • Should the City of Tallahassee Cut Spending for Cultural and Arts Grants During Tough Economic Times?

For the fiscal year 2008, the City of Tallahassee provided “Outside Agencies” with approximately $2.8 million in funding. The FY2009 budget is recommending a level of funding on par with 2008. This amount is approximately 2-2.5% of the City’s 2008 General Fund Revenue.

The part of the budget that deals with “Outside Agencies” is divided into six categories: Cultural, Social Services, Neighborhood Preservation, Economic Development, Historic Preservation, and Environmental. Over 70% of the $2.8 million in funding to “Outside Agencies” is allocated to the Cultural ($890,732) and Social Services (1,545,000) categories. (Tallahassee Reports will address the Social Services category in the days to come.)

Tallahassee Reports has found that under the Cultural category the bulk of the $890,723 goes to the Council on Culture and Arts ( This group has a process in place for evaluating grants for organizations that must have “arts or culture activity as their primary mission.” The City has the final say on the amount of funding for each grant. Mayor Marks serves as a non-voting member of the Board of Directors.

Approximately $340,000 of the $890,732 the funds went to operate the Tallahassee Museum and the Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science in 2008.

Tallahassee Reports also found that the City is providing money to both Florida State University and FAMU. FSU, with an operating budget of just over $1 billion, received $7,000 from the City of Tallahassee to help with a K-12 program at the FSU Museum of Fine Arts. In addition, FAMU with a budget just over $400,000,000 received $2,200 for a poetry event sponsored by the FAMU English Department.

One of the more interesting groups to receive a grant was the Mickee Faust Alternative Performance Club. Other groups receiving money include the Tallahassee Little Theatre ($25,000), 621 Gallery ($14,300) and the African Caribbean Dance Theatre ($18,434). To see the complete list of grants supported by your tax dollars visit

5 Responses to "The City of Tallahassee Funds Cultural Events With Tax Dollars Through “Outside Agencies”"


    To: County Commissioners and Tourist Development Council

    Re: Green [Ecotourism] Cheeks in Seats = Heads in Beds

    Please don’t raise bed taxes to cover the $500,000 airline subsidy. Don’t double dollars going to a performing arts center that may never be built. You don’t need to raise taxes. Simply put all cultural and non-tax regenerating programs, “Cheeks in Seats” programs on a $600,000 per year budget. Use the 4th cent for “Cheeks in Seats.” Use the rest for “Heads in Beds” tax regenerating expenditures. Don’t eat the seed corn.

    “Cheeks in Seats” for the airline subsidy is not authorized by statute. “Cheeks in Seats” is authorized for building a performing arts center. But, it is not authorized for lobbing efforts to raise taxes by the PAC organization.

    Ice Capades, French Horns, Mama’s, Spouse’s and Pivot Points aside, commissioners have done enough to “jump start” private contributions for the PAC. Over ONE MILLION DOLLARS have been spent to “jump start” private donations. Another million remains to be spent. Let the wonderful PAC organizers now raise some real private money.

    Direct future 4th cent collections and the existing $1M reserve if you wish to “Cheeks in Seats” if you must. But, keep the remaining dollars focused on tourism marketing “Heads in Beds” and regeneration of the bed tax dollars for future marketing. Just say Ecotourism.

    May I suggest that you redirect the 4th cent to Ecotourism “Heads in Beds”? I think one could make a case that a targeted airline subsidy could be designed around Ecotourism that might fit into the “Heads in Beds” tax regenerating model and statute.

    Pace Allen, Tallahassee native, Attorney, CPA, former Chairman – Tallahassee Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

    General Partner, Paden Properties, LLC
    Professional Green Hotel Management,
    Mobile: 850.556.0709

  2. $58,250 of taxpayer’s money goes to the African-Carribean Dance Theatre? What kind of group is this and what do they really do for all that money?

  3. These are tough financial times. There are real people who are selling off things to pay their electric bills. These are hard working lower income folks who have no choice about the electric rates they pay.

    The also do not have the time to attend cultural events,they are working two jobs.

    My view is that while they are worthwhile, the private sector should be funding most of these enrichments.

    Merry Ann Frisby

  4. While most if not all of these cultural events and charities are worthwhile it seems that government has taken on a great expense (taxpayer dollars) without the public having any voice or oversight in the matter. If we can not adequetely fund public safety and K thru 12 education we should not further deplete the budget by spending on poetry and Carribean dance.

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