Sign the petition to preserve arts funding in Fulton County. The commissioners are voting tomorrow!
A $1-million cut in arts funding has been proposed by the Fulton County Commission. At its January 8 meeting, the tentative budget (found here) was put forth with the decrease for the Arts & Culture department, taking it from $4.7 million to $3.6 million, or 22 percent of its budget. (The tentative budget is a step beyond the proposed budget, which took place last fall.)
The final vote on the 2014 budget will be at 10 AM on Wednesday, January 22 at the Board of Commissioners meeting in Assembly Hall, Fulton County Government Center, 141 Pryor Street SW, Atlanta.
Joe Winter, deputy director for C4 Atlanta, attended the hearings and said that his was the only arts organization in attendance, whereas other targeted groups were well represented. Other county services under the knife are Family & Children, Health, Grady Hospital, and the Public Library, none of which are mandatory according to state law.
Conversely, increases are proposed for virtually every other agency, including the Board of Commissioners itself.
The tentative budget for the county still reflects a $36.4 million shortfall. The majority of Fulton County’s budget is derived from property taxes, says Commission spokesperson Ericka Davis, “and it’s well known that we’ve had a high foreclosure rate in Atlanta.”
C4 is working to get the word out. The hope is to restore funding to the 2013 level or to ensure that the arts are not disproportionately affected, because “once funding is cut, it’s hard to get back,” says an official who wished to remain anonymous.
It’s time to take action. Contact your Board Commissioner from the list below. Don’t know who yours is? Here’s a map.
Dwight Ferrell – County Manager