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 (www.cocanet.org). 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 http://www.cocanet.org/assistance/awards.html.