Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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Cultural and arts organizations call on county lawmakers

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Buffalo: Cultural and arts organizations call on county lawmakers
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Erie County Cultural organizations are calling on the county legislature to pass the County Executive's proposed 2013 budget, which gives five and a half million to culturals. YNN's Kevin Jolly talked with some leaders of the county culturals about the importance of passing the budget.

ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. — More than 50 leaders in the Erie County Cultural and Arts Community gathered at the Erie County Legislature on Friday to call on lawmakers to pass the County executives proposed 2013 Budget.

In his proposed budget, Mark Poloncarz is calling for $5.57 million in funding for cultural; a $148,000 increase over 2012.

"I thought it was important that we continue that trend by investing in our community; not just the Arts and Culture Community, but the community in general," said Poloncarz.

“We asked for a million dollars, the County Executive recommended $830,000 dollars which is slightly higher than last year,” said Daniel Hart.

Hart is the Executive Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, just one of 58 cultural organizations seeking funding from the county. He says, in this economy, all “culturals” need help.

"All the arts are struggling day-to-day to make their budget work, and again, the great thing about Erie County is that this operating support has provided a base that has given these organizations longevity that's almost unheard of in other communities," said Hart.

In previous years, “culturals” were threatened with dramatic cuts to their funding cut to help balance the county's budget. Legislator Lynn Marinelli, who chaired Friday's meeting, says although the total funding recommendation this year isn't significantly different than last year, the process has changed.

"The previous administration, it was probably more where the executive himself made the sole decision. This one as we saw from the testimony was a reinvigoration of an arts board of volunteers who had no conflict of interests that reviewed things very thoroughly," said Marinelli.

Marinelli say the legislature will now have a series of budget hearings, a public hearing and then has until the first Tuesday of December to make any amendments to the County Executive's proposed budget.

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