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The council removes incentives for libraries, refuses to freeze the arts

Mayor Naheed Nenshi is in the cells, as advisers continue budget negotiations in Calgary on Wednesday, November 28, 2018. Darren Makovichuk / Postmedia

Weeks after the opening of the landmark new Central Library, city councilors voted to reduce the proposed increase in the budget of the public library, while increasing funding for the Calgary public arts agency.

As discussions for the next four-year municipal budget were leaked on the third day, counselors conducted several surveys on Wednesday to cut costs for the art and culture of Calgary, as well as the library.

Given that the city is proposing to increase aid to libraries in the amount of $ 2.8 million, the ambassador. Ward Sutherland submitted a motion notice freezing additional expenses. Sutherland argued that the library budget had already been increased by about $ 7 million. USA to host the new Central Library, as well as new branches in Seton and the Simons Valley.

“You have made tremendous growth, and you have not returned with any effectiveness in how you are going to manage your business,” Sutherland said on Wednesday. “We ask each organization to tighten the belt.”

Coun. Evan Woolley, who sits on the library board, finally stepped back, saying he would not support a reduction in operating dollars for space. Calgary "quickly fall in love."

“We cannot open a new 246 millionth library and not have enough operating dollars to launch it,” said Woolley. “It was an incredibly farsighted decision of the previous council (to build) this library. We must have enough people to be able to run it. This is a huge space.

Supporters of the library argued that the extra money is needed to combat the growth of social disorder in various industries and to expand hours of operation in popular industries.

The Board ultimately voted 10-5 for canceling the extra money. Only Nenshi and advisers Woolley, Druch Farrell, Ray Jones and Gian-Carlo Carr voted against this movement.

Mayor Nahid Nenshi called the council’s decision “strange”, stating that it was made without a clear idea of ​​what impact it would have on the libraries.

“The council felt in their wisdom that they did not need extra money. I think they do as the library offers more and more services, but ultimately it’s a decision of the council, ”Nenshi said.

Three other proposals aimed at freezing or reducing the budgets of arts, failed on Wednesday.

In 2019, the city proposes to provide another $ 5 million to the Calgary Arts Development Authority (CADA), increasing the operating budget from $ 6.4 million. US to 11.4 million dollars. USA.

Increased funding will allow Calgary to refuse to ensure that the lowest per capita spending on art in the country is in second place after Winnipeg.

Coun. Sean Chu sent a motion notice on Wednesday to eliminate a $ 5 million increase, arguing that the city should not subsidize artists.

“I’m not asking for reductions, I’m just asking for a sizeable increase in this economic time,” said Chu. “We have to show the public and the thousands of people who have lost their jobs that we mean business.”

Counselor Sean Chu in the wards as the advisers continue the budget negotiations in Calgary on Wednesday November 28, 2018. Darren Makovichuk / Postmedia

But most of the councils opposed the proposal on Wednesday, and some believe that there is a “business example” for the arts, since the creative sector is seen as one of the ways to diversify the Calgary economy and an important factor in attracting entrepreneurial talent into the country.

Others, including Nenshi and Carr, noted that reducing art would mean little savings in the city, at a painful cost to organizations of art.

“This is crazy. In jealousy of cutting, you follow the heart of an organization that has been frozen for almost a decade, and this is the lowest figure in the whole country,” said Nancy.

“This is the moment when we have to put it in the (existing) base, otherwise they will come back here, demanding more money so that these cornerstone (art) organizations will not go bankrupt, and I think it is completely untenable,” said Nanshi.

The Board ultimately voted 10–5 against the proposal to freeze the CADA budget. The vote in the minority was Advisors Chu, Diane Colli-Urquhart, Jerome Farkas, Shane Keating and Joe Maglioccus.
Twitter: @mpotkkins

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