Trimming the Budget

I have not had a chance to work through the proposed budget yet – that is saved for this weekend, so as to prepare in advance of some meetings next week- but it is worth a quick comment on the proposed cuts to arts funding.

Now, city funding might be needed for such organisations to look for funding from other levels of government, and some organisations (I’m looking at you, Bluesfest), are probably large enough to survive without direct subsidy, even if it means reducing the profile of some of the acts. If it goes, I will miss Centretown movies, but admittedly have seen exactly one show in the last 3 years (Khaaaan!).

But, as it is with most of the proposed cuts, it is worth figuring out what the actual per-household costs of such programs actually is. In 2006, there were 350,917 households in the city. So, with $4.1 million in proposed cuts, that works out to a per-household cost of $11.68.

Let’s say that again, but this time in bold: $11.68.

Obviously, that’s assuming each home pays the same, the vagaries of property taxes would mean that something different. But I think that the question should be whether an extra 12 bucks a year per household (or a little more than $4/person) is worth having the sorts of arts programs we are about to cut. I also think that is a fair question as we look towards other cuts and, more importantly, as we look towards other spending. The game shouldn’t be getting the budget to a magic number, it should be about making sure that we are getting value for our money.

With these arts programs, I’m comfortable with the cost.

Thursday Evening Happy Thoughts

And there are three of them:

1) Reevely gives a shout out to OCTranspo head Alan Mercier’s meeting with the Citizen’s editorial board. I haven’t listened to the audio yet, but will (and so should you), but there is a reason for cautious optimism: ” [H]e wants to make sure everyone knows diesel fuel is neither environmentally sound nor likely to stay cheap.”  See, someone gets it.

2) Further to my post, Watawa Life takes a very detailed look at the Somorset Mural. His is a good photoblog, and his post is a reminder of the detail in the things we walk past every day.

3) OttawaStart publicizes next tuesday’s meeting on the future of Centretown Movies, which sadly announced a couple of months ago that its current core of volunteers is moving on and is in search of new blood. I’m one of the “several people” that has expressed interest in keeping the project going, but am unsure of how much time I will be able to commit, especially since I may not even be in the province for much of August. In any case, the film festival is one of the city’s hidden gems, encouraging people to come out and mingle, reminding them that public spaces have a value beyond to let the dog run, and a chance to see some really great movies.