During the February 25th Leon County Board of County Commissioners meeting the Board approved a five-year contract with the Council on Culture and Arts (COCA).
Moving forward, the five-year agreement will continue the “same operational and programmatic” FY2020 funding formula. COCA will continue to receive once-cent of TDT revenue as well as $150,000 in general revenue. The five-year agreement will facilitate opportunities to collaborate with COCA on the implementation of the Cultural Plan, and will include COCA’s participation and coordination with the County for the Tallahassee-Leon County Bicentennial in 2024.
Previously, the Board requested an analysis to provide alternative structures in order to continue to administer cultural programming and grants to the community. Many COCA advocates feared this option could result in the de-funding of the organization.
During the meeting the Board heard from dozens of citizens, business owners, and organization members who expressed support of continuing the contract with COCA.
The Board was unanimous in its vote to approve the continuance of the COCA contract. Commissioner Rick Minor remarked on the great programs COCA is able to fund as they further bring arts and culture to the Leon County community. Minor also stated the contract should be continued with COCA, “as the Division of Tourism and COCA have two very different missions,” though he respects what the Division of Tourism does for the local tourism economy, as they had an economic impact of $1 billion in 2019.
The County’s support of local culture and art programs helps to advance the FY2017-FY2021 Strategic Plan Bold Goal, which is to continue the five-year growth of Leon County’s tourism economy to $5 billion. Also, according to the Board’s Economy Strategic Priority it advances the growth of the County’s tourism “diversity, competitiveness and economic impact.”
Leon County allocates funding using revenue from the Tourist Development Tax (TDT) and general revenue to support the cultural arts through COCA, who’s contract is managed by the Division of Tourism.
COCA strives to develop and implement the Community Cultural Plan and annually sub-grants funding on behalf of Leon County. COCA manages and evaluates grant applications and the distribution of grant guidelines which are revised annually, as well as, award recommendations.