Alderwoman Elly Tierney tells WNAV that during this Monday’s City Council meeting the issue of removing funding for the Commission for Arts in Public Places in future city budgets will be considered. Ms. Tierney says that as a result of State Legislation the Commission is set to receive $200,000 from the state’s Hotel Tax. And, that the Commission would be effectively double-dipping from public coffers if they get an allocation from the city’s budgets in the future.
This comes after, this past May, the Annapolis finance commission issued an unfavorable report on the city’s fiscal 2023 operating budget and raised doubts about the city’s ability to pay its bills in two years when the federal aid package it received during the COVID-19 pandemic runs out. With all the warning shots about the city’s budget, Tierney tells WNAV that it makes sense for a conservative cut in the city’s budget, that will not hurt the Arts Commission. Tierney’s s ordinance would eliminate language from the city code that says the council will allocate funding for the commission.
Tierney says her ordinance has caused angst between her and a fellow, Democrat, Maryland State Senator Sarah Elfreth. It was Elfreth’s legislation that made it through the State House, which effectively triples the commission’s budget, but also put more checks and balances to account for what that money is paying for In a spiderweb-like series of communications between the Annapolis Arts in Public Places, Elfreth reportedly endorsed the commission getting money directly from the City in order to protect the commission’s budgets in the future. During fiscal 2022, it received $67,500 from the city budget. But the hotel tax is projected to provide more than $200,000 to the arts commission in fiscal 2023. In anticipation of the hotel tax disbursement, the City Council did not allocate any additional money to the commission in fiscal 2023. Tierney says she’s sorry that Senator Elfreth is put in a hard position of having to address the potential cut of Arts Funding from the City.
Ms. Elfreth is set to open her re-election campaign office tomorrow. Her Facebook post says it will be a joint campaign office that will be shared by the campaigns of County Executive Steuart Delegate Shaneka Henson, Delegate Dana Jones, and Councilwoman Lisa Rodvien.