Leaders of the Cabarrus Arts Council have drafted a resolution asking county commissioners to reinstate a recent $26,000 funding cut.The county has provided cash support to the arts council annually since 2000. The $26,000 represents 4 percent of the arts council’s budget. Without it, staff positions, programs and services could be cut or downsized.Commissioners on June 17 voted to cut arts funding during some last-minute changes made while adopting the county’s $213.5 million budget, which increased slightly from the previous year. Commissioners Liz Poole, Jay White and Chris Measmer voted to cut the funding; Larry Burrage and Steve Morris voted against it. “The loss of the county’s cash support is a big hit for the arts council budget,” said Cabarrus Arts Council president and CEO Noelle Rhodes Scott. “This will not only be a huge hit for us, but for all of the programs and organizations we support. We will have to look closely at what to cut since we cannot absorb this reduction.”Arts council representatives delivered a resolution on June 26 to Cabarrus County Manager Mike Downs, requesting commissioners reinstate the funding. The resolution could be considered by commissioners in an upcoming meeting, but nothing has been put on the agenda yet.The art council’s cash budget for fiscal 2011-2012 was roughly $606,000 and $619,000 the following year, Scott said. Depending on how much funding is secured from the state and county, the arts council’s fiscal 2014 budget could see a slight increase again.The arts council depends on individual, corporate, state and local government funding. It’s fundraising efforts for fiscal 2012 increased by 4 percent because of a one-time matching grant – without that, fundraising efforts would have decreased 3 percent, said Scott. Final decisions on state funding have been announced as early as June and as late as November, said Scott, and decisions about what programs or staff positions could be cut can’t be made yet.The Cabarrus Arts Council reaches 300,000-plus participants each year through grants, programs and services. Its Students Take Part in the Arts program brings professional performances to 30,000 students and teachers annually, and The Galleries offer free educational tours for schools, youth groups and others. “Our responsibility is to create an environment that supports cultural arts across Cabarrus County – to positively affect the local economy and provide education to assist in tourism efforts,” Scott said.White said the county has been providing more than its fair share to support the arts council. In-kind contributions range from providing various services and renting the 11,635-square-foot Historic Cabarrus Courthouse to the arts council for $1 per year. This year, the county will provide more than $215,000 to support the arts council, said White. It will provide $30,000 for school-related programs and pay for utilities ($13,624), custodial services ($3,944), maintenance needs ($18,631) and a capital improvement project to upgrade a HVAC system ($10,000). The rent value of the historic building is estimated to be about $140,000 per year. “I supported the arts council cut since the county provided over $200,000 in in-kind and financial support,” said White. “Also, the arts council received a 35 percent increase in donations this year, along with a $25,000 matching donation.”Steve Morris, county commissioner and general manager of Gem Theatre in Kannapolis, said providing the funding is a great investment for taxpayers. “Every student in the county is touched by their programs – not to mention the thousands of adults that enjoy programming they support throughout the year,” said Morris. “Support of the arts is another tool in our economic development toolbox that we use to show potential businesses and industry that Cabarrus County is a great place to live, educate our children and do business.”Scott praised the county for its 30-year partnership with the arts council, adding that the county’s annual cash contribution enables the arts council to make significant upgrades to its the galleries, theater and cultural offerings.“This has been a model to other communities across the state as a public-private partnership, which benefits all residents of the county,” said Scott. “We are tremendously grateful for the in-kind partnership with the historic courthouse, but a 4 percent cut in our cash is huge.”
Monday, Jul. 01, 2013
Cabarrus Arts Council asks county to reinstate funding
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