RACC will share funding advice role

Carson City’s Cultural Commission, around since 2008, finally gets to recommend spending of seed money for the arts thanks to the Redevelopment Authority and that authority’s citizens committee.

The Redevelopment Authority Citizen Committee (RACC) voted unanimously Monday night to recommend 40 percent of authority funds from a small pot of discretionary money go through the cultural panel while RACC retains say regarding 60 percent, a decision complying with previous direction from the Redevelopment Authority. The authority basically is the Board of Supervisors, though the chairperson is Supervisor Karen Abowd rather than Mayor Robert Crowell.

Despite the unanimous RACC vote, not everyone sounded content with the percentage plan coming from the top down rather than from the committee up. Garrett Lepire, the most vocal member on that, after the tally said “it’s a waste of time for me to come here” and make a decision that he characterized as already made for him.

On a motion by Supervisor Brad Bonkowski last Thursday, the authority voted for the 60-40 split plan and sent it on through Community Development Director Lee Plemel to RACC. Plemel told RACC members before they voted if they had some other percentage split to recommend, it was an option for them to consider. No other split, however, was proposed in the form of a motion during discussion.

Plemel offered language to revise the RACC guidelines for financial assistance for special events, but he had left the percentage split portion blank should some alternate be proposed and adopted. His language, which also dealt with procedures, was amended only slightly, mainly to make it clear the cultural panel or RACC would make recommendations on special events depending on the type,

Ronni Hannaman, RACC chairperson, said changing “and” to “or” made it clear that each unit would handle different types of special events and the cultural panel’s recommendations would move directly to the authority, not back through RACC before final governing board approval or denial.

Elinor Bugli, chairperson of the Cultural Commission, appeared both in that capacity and as one of the driving forces behind Jazz & Beyond, a musical event in August each year. She said seed money for arts and culture will be the first time since the commission was formed that it would have such direct influence in decisions on funding. She also voiced the hope Jazz & Beyond eventually can span a month rather than about two weeks.


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