Arts center seeks significant boost in funding from Glenwood
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. A fast-growing Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts is looking for some stepped-up financial help from the city.Center Executive Director Gayle Mortell is asking that the city forgive some $10,000 in debt and increase the annual funding it provides the center by $15,000.That would put its city funding at $50,000, the same the city gives the Frontier Historical Society.Both nonprofit organizations’ current amounts of funding were provided for as part of a 1-cent sales tax extension passed by voters in 1998. The tax also has generated $50,000 a year in city discretionary funding, and money for purposes including building City Hall, the Community Center, the Municipal Operations Center and water system improvements.In a February letter to the city, Mortell wrote that the art center has grown as an organization considerably in the last seven years. Membership has quadrupled from 300 to 1,200, and classes have more than doubled, now running from 65 to 75 classes per year.”However, the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts remains a fragile organization. Funding is always a challenge,” Mortell wrote.Renovations have continued on the center building, which is owned by the city and once was a hydroelectric plant. But portions of the building don’t qualify for historical designations, making them ineligible for Colorado Historical Society funding.”We completed renovation of these areas nonetheless, at a cost of $55,000. The renovation project and growth have left us financially vulnerable,” Mortell wrote.City finance director Mike Harman said Mortell is on the payroll of the city, which has deducted her salary from the $35,000 a year it gives to the center. But in recent years her wages and payroll taxes have exceeded that amount. The art center has yet to reimburse the city for about $5,000 per year in excess payroll expenses over the last two years.”The arrangement was supposed to be that the arts center was supposed to pay that back; that was my understanding,” he said.Raising the center’s funding to $50,000 is aimed at preventing the center from incurring future debts to the city.Council is scheduled to discuss the center’s request at its meeting Thursday night.Contact Dennis Webb: email@example.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO
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