Manassas Journal Messenger | County ponders artists’ funding

‘Tis the season for Prince William County to decide how to dole out $14.6 million, an extra chunk of money deposited into the county’s coffers by unanticipated property taxes.

A one-time payment of $26,000 to Vpstart Crow performing arts group prompted the county to reconsider and develop a new method of assigning leftover money from the 2003 fiscal year to art groups.

The new funding to the arts plan would establish a grant system that could provide organizations the ability to even grab a line item in the county’s budget after a few years.

The Arts Council, established in 1992, will continue to steward carryover funds from the county to the hands of art organizations, no matter their size.

If the art funding plan is approved by supervisors Tuesday, the Arts Council would award grants for operational costs or single projects. Art organizations could also compete for “stability funding.”

The art organization, after three consecutive years of receiving operational grant, would be eligible to receive the stability funding, or their own line item in the county’s budget.

Vpstart Crow’s direct designation of $26,000 is considered an operational grant, according to the county’s art funding plan.

County Supervisors on Tuesday also vote to hand out money to civic, health and literary organizations. The extra dough comes from expenditures that weren’t spent or revenues that hadn’t been anticipated, such as increased property assessments.

Most contributions have already been designated by supervisors, who committed a total of $3,408,743 to the American Red Cross, Vpstart Crow, Potomac Hospital indigent care, the Coalition for Human Services Project and others.

The Human Services Project is a county-wide funding mechanism to offset one-time funding shortfalls incurred by civic organizations when the regional United Way chapter suffered a cut in its donations.

The supervisors also have their choice to approve $6.5 million in discretionary one-time carryovers. Big ticket items on that list include fire and rescue equipment and money for criminal and prosecution expenses related to the sniper trials in Virginia Beach.

Supervisors are expected to vote on these one-time contributions on Aug. 5 at their 2 p.m. meeting at the McCoart Administration Center, One County Complex Court.

Lillian Kafka can be reached at (703) 878-8091.

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