Attempt at sidestepping cultural funding norms provides teachable moment for budget watchers
A grant promised by Mayor Nutter to the Philadelphia Orchestra earlier this year is raising questions about the role of the Philadelphia Cultural Fund.
With all that's going on today with the libraries it was easy to overlook this piece by the Inquirer Cultural Writer Stephan Salisbury that appeared in print in the Daily Magazine section. In it, Salisbury reports on a $250,000 grant that Mayor Nutter promised to the Philadelphia Orchestra Association back in the spring. Apparently, such a grant goes outside of the "approved" method for distributing city funds to cultural organizations:
Some members of the Cultural Fund, all of whom spoke anonymously, were concerned over this break with the rules.
But the quote that caught the attention of our newsroom this morning was this gem that only budget wonk could love (but is important to every taxpayer):
Ok. Some definitions are in order. Salisbury explains:
Salisbury also talks to Gary Steuer the recently appointed head of the Mayor's Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy. Steuer explains that some special circumstances may occur in the future that make it necessary for the mayor to use Cultural Fund money but that the Fund would continue to exist due to what one can only imagine were some interesting uses of Class 500 money prior to 1991.
Finally, some budget numbers for the Cultural Fund: