CFN – What a busy week. Congratulations first off to YAC. City Council decided to give the group nearly $1,000 cash per member for this year. That gives hope for the arts community as TAG has nearly 200 members. Could a big cheque be on the way to the city’s public gallery soon?
Yes, I jest. The farce that was the funding circus this year has been mystifying from CAG giving council a passing grade for raising taxes a Kilgeresque +2 % points.
Some said it’s only $50 per home, but frankly $50 per year times 4 years compounded adds up to more of those that can afford it moving out to South Stormont and South Glengarry like so many of the movers and shakers of this community.
The tipping point isn’t as some councilors suggesting our fire, police, and ems services, but the cash drain to the counties. Those people simply laugh at how we in Cornwall essentially subsidize their lifestyles. Think about this for a moment. Our very well paid police chief while stumping for higher budgets as crime numbers decline lives in Glen Walter which is policed by the OPP which clearly has a lower cost per door than the CCPS.
If one was to amalgamate Long Sault, Glen Walter, St. Andrews, and a few points in between our numbers would look dramatically different.
As for our public gallery? Well one insider suggested to this writer that there were three councilors acting like high school delinquents fighting for zero funding for the gallery because yours truly is on the board. (that’s disclosure for a certain party that insists I make a full disclosure in any story I write about the arts although this is certainly not on behalf of the board or gallery) There were a few elected officials that are honest in that they don’t give a boot about the arts, and the few that wanted to make some sense out of this mess simply didn’t want to stick their neck out and not win a vote.
One councilor off the record stated that they didn’t want tax payers to pay any possible costs related to the termination of TAG’s ED. It was pointed out that perhaps tax payers should not remit their taxes in that case because of the payouts given to Robert Menagh, Donna Derouchie, and Paul Fitzpatrick or the fact that the city has to date spent more on legal costs on the t shirt lawsuit than the offer to settle.
But this is Cornwall in all of its weirdness. Pettiness, ignorance, hate, cowardice. The good news is that a lot of people are seeing through this and even better news is that art will triumph mayhem as the gallery is now getting a lot of private support because at the end of the day it’s the city’s only true Arts and Culture asset and for over 30 years has been the place to be shown regionally if you’re an artist.
Hopefully that continues in Cornwall for another 30 years.
Imagine all that talk about cutting taxes and all that seems to be cut essentially was the public gallery. That certainly is a statement that differs with the city’s own Strategic Plan survey. And it wasn’t just cut. It went to zero additional financing. That seems quite the statement. Speaking of statements;
The document, published on the city’s website is dated from 2013, makes multiple mentions of the value of Arts and Culture for a community.
A greener, richer community with lots of trees, more walking paths, cleaner roads (less litter), a University, and resources to help residents clean up their homes (in terms of state of repair). More unique, shopping retail outlets, a better art gallery and water activity development. An innovative City that is not afraid to do things a little differently.
A destination for tourists and young families looking to experience a city that has embraced, supported, and promoted its arts and cultural sector. Our town should be a place people want to visit because of all that it can offer, culturally, artistically, and recreational.
Strengthening the Arts and Culture sector in the cityAccess to Arts, Culture, Heritage and RecreationThese things are not fluff. Report after report shows they increase community involvement, build a sense of identity and pride, and they generate money for the city directly and indirectly (every dollar spent on the arts generates 7 dollars)
Promote economic development and job creation where the City works for good paying jobs in the new green economy, high tech jobs, the decentralization of provincial and federal government jobs to Cornwall and a university for Cornwall. We can also promote tourism by strongly supporting arts and culture, heritage preservation, community festivals, and the preservation of the City’s downtown waterfront parkland for the enjoyment of the people of our community and visitors.
Bring taxes inline. The fire department are over paid. They do not require the same wages as larger cities far more dangerous as far higher buildings. Also the cost of living is much less. They should be required to either live in the city or get paid less as they are not contributing to the tax base.The Police department needs to bring their expenses down as the police board are just figure heads that approve the budget without questioning anything. Why are we paying $250,000 per year for HR (wages and benefits) on top of the City of Cornwall HR especially with the police hiring record.
Dedication to enhancing quality of life for all residents by having a balance of recreational activities; open spaces; arts, cultural and entertainment activities; youth and senior programs and increased accessibility for persons with disabilities.
There is a need to continue in improving the infrastructure for the arts community.It is an area of minimum funding but it would be very important to be a lead with the Arts Advisory Committee in pushing for future development.
Of course it will take the public to put pressure on our elected officials, and actually vote the right ones in.
What do you think dear CFN viewers? You can post your comments below.
Disclaimer: This writer is on the board of TAG Cornwall and is not writing on behalf of the board or the organization. He also is a member of CAG even though they won’t provide any information to CFN.