City of Tallahassee to Consider $300K Increase in Arts Spending

City of Tallahassee to Consider $300K Increase in Arts Spending

At the next Tallahassee City Commission meeting, elected officials will consider a request by the Council on Culture and Arts (COCA) for additional $300,000 in funding.

COCA is currently slated to receive $192,036 in general fund dollars from the City in FY23. Approval of the funding would bring the total contribution from the City to $492,036 for FY23.

COCA is also allocated $150,000 of general revenue from Leon County, and one cent of the five-cent tourist development tax (TDT). This one-cent revenue for COCA is projected to be $1.42 million in FY23, higher than pre-pandemic levels.

COCA provided a breakdown of its plans for the additional $300,000 requested, which includes $200,000 for current community arts organizations and $100,000 for new programs that have not qualified for funding and are not eligible for other City programs.

The $200,000 is for 16 current programs; four will meet an immediate need for support, and 12 others do not qualify for TDT funding. Of these 16 programs, ten have received funding through one or more of COCA, the CRA, City special events, and Visit Tallahassee special events in the past year. Examples include the Cool Breeze Jazz Festival, Southern Shakespeare, and the John G. Riley Center. COCA has not provided program detail for the $100,000 funding for new activities.

City staff researched comparable cities across Florida to see how local arts and culture funding is coordinated locally compared to Tallahassee/Leon County. The financials of comparable non-governmental agencies to COCA—those designated as local arts coordinators and receiving support for its local government(s)—were analyzed to compare their source of funding, including from local governments and private funding.

The comparison revealed that four comparable cities have an arts agency within their county that is designated as the local arts coordinator or receives direct funding from that city government, similar to COCA. These include Lakeland and the Polk Arts Alliance, Orlando and United Arts of Central Florida, Pensacola and ACE (Arts, Culture, Entertainment Inc.), and West Palm Beach and the Palm Beach Cultural Council.

According to the staff’s analysis, the City of Tallahassee exceeds all but one city (Orlando) among comparable cities, outpacing all other cities in the state in prioritizing and investing in local culture and arts program.  

In addition, City staff notes that the City Commission took action at prior meetings to balance a projected $4.67 million General Fund deficit for FY23. COCA’s request for an additional $300,000 of funding would again put the General Fund in a deficit position for FY23 and require a further acceleration of American Rescue Plan Act funds to cover this gap. This action would also increase the projected General fund deficit in both FY24 and FY25.

13 Responses to "City of Tallahassee to Consider $300K Increase in Arts Spending"

  1. The Spider,

    Good catch on BLM! Their supporting BLM should be dissolved and taken out of their mission statement as BLM is a fraud organization. This is very concerning and thank you for noticing this; this is a huge issue in my opinion.

    They are so adamant about accepting all, so they should include conservatives, also

    This topic should be discussed and no money until they remove stating that they support an organization that has been determined to be fraudulent.

  2. COCA’s mission statement explicitly says they support BLM (marxism), transgenderism and they discriminate against Caucasian Christian artists. In short if you don’t tick off all the cazy liberal boxes they don’t want you. So of course, Tallahassee will be glad to spend millions on this wacis liberal organization. WE need a CONSERVATIVE Arts council for real counter point. IMHO.

  3. I might be inclined to consider supporting this 100+% increase in a handout of our taxpayer dollars if… those who seek this handout, and/or the politicians who might approve it, can demonstrate – with empirical data mind you – how this expenditure will lower the increasing crime rate, fill potholes, lower utility bills, lower rent, lower gas prices, lower food prices, improve trash collection services, create high-paying career jobs, increase ever-declining high school graduation rates, or improve “at grade level” reading, writing and arithmetic proficiency among our students.

    … take your time… I’ll wait…

  4. When COCA becomes a promoter of the arts and not a cliquish insider’s club promoting post-modernistic ugliness, and scratching each others backs, then maybe they deserve some funding.

  5. I say YES!

    …With the proviso that they provide more details for $100,000 for new activities.

    The benefits of art are immeasurable.

  6. I can think of 20 other issues that money could be used for, and they would all be more meaningful to more people. Why doesn’t COCA get money from its patrons…

  7. It’s stunning for it to even be a consideration for funding with people right here in the city being homeless and hungry. This is how we wreck our economy on a Seattle level. Pick something that should be paid for by it’s patrons and make the rest of the tax base pay for it. Just like NPR, big Pharma, GMC(still considering paying back some of that gubmint money for sure), etc.
    This should be an automatic NO but it is Tallahassee.

  8. “According to the staff’s analysis, the City of Tallahassee exceeds all but one city (Orlando) among comparable cities, outpacing all other cities in the state in prioritizing and investing in local culture and arts program.”

    Notwithstanding the historic level of inflation – et al – we’re all suffering with… that’s all any fiscally responsible Mayor and Commission needs to see to deny this request for a 100+% increase in handout of taxpayer dollars. As is the case with the Blue Print FAMU/FSU/TCC handouts… where are the patrons, and why are they not stepping up to the plate for a cause they profess to support?

    … the answer is a respectful NO.

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