Councilman David Alvarez on Wednesday called on Mayor Kevin Faulconer to add $1 million to support San Diego’s arts and culture programs in his budget proposal, which will be considered for adoption by the City Council next week.
So far, the mayor has committed $11.1 million in hotel room tax revenue to support arts programs in his spending plan for the 2015-16 fiscal year, which begins July 1, according to Alvarez.
The City Council three years ago, however, committed to a funding blueprint that would have led to a much higher spending level this year.
“While it might not be possible to get to the goal of funding fully the blueprint in 2016, I believe that we can make a significant increase,” Alvarez said.
Ginger Shulick Porcella, executive director of the San Diego Art Institute, said the arts and culture budget should be several million dollars higher by now.
The city funds the Commission on Arts and Culture, which funnels the money to organizations citywide.
Michael Rosenberg, managing director of the La Jolla Playhouse, said he appreciates the efforts that have been made so far. However, the city is missing an opportunity to create jobs, increase tourism and promote arts education for children, he said.
Hours after Alvarez held his news conference, the city’s Independent Budget Analyst’s Office recommended boosting arts and culture spending by $500,000. It was among a slate of IBA suggestions for additional funding when the City Council considers final approval of the spending plan at a Monday afternoon meeting.
The IBA said that would bring the total to $11.6 million. If the formula in the 2012 arts funding blueprint was followed to the letter, the total would be nearly $16.7 million.
— City News Service
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