Live Music Fund headed for final Council vote next month

Monday 9 January 2023 Chad Swiatecki

The city’s live music fund is expected to receive final approval from the city council in February. This is almost three and a half years after it was created using millions of dollars of hotel lodging tax revenue.

At last week’s music committee meeting, music and entertainment department staff said the purchasing department was finalizing some of the deals. This allowed the Long Center for the Performing Arts to handle the administration of the program, distributing grants from $5,000 to He $10,000 to performers and promoters of live music. The program currently has a budget of $3 million, but staff from the Department of Economic Development said he plans to ask Congress to increase the budget in January.

The Live Music Fund was scheduled to be presented to the Board at its November 17th meeting, but that meeting was canceled and the deal was not put back on the agenda before the end of the year. One possible factor in the wait is that the Long Center, the only organization to respond to an open call from the former city vendor, has a program for cultural arts and historic preservation funded by hotel taxes. It was the purchaser’s decision to ask to manage the

The delay in enacting the Live Music Fund was so unusual that former Council member Cathy Tovo posed the question during budget work last summer. Created in 2019…. His starting balance is $6,122,155. ”

EDD staff said part of the delay was due to a citywide staffing shortage, and that an outside organization had to be sought to manage the various city-funded programs.

At a meeting last week, city staff said the Live Music Fund would be the first of the three programs to launch, with an application portal opening and grants distributed by late spring or summer. .

Commissioner Nagabari Medichala was one of the members who expressed concern about the timeline for the start of the programme, and also questioned the Long Center’s track record and fees for carrying out such work.

“Are we saying summer, or are we further ahead because we were really committed to putting this program in place earlier this year,” she said. . “There are some concerns about multiple subsidies and bandwidth issues being managed…. What is being done to ensure that music continues to be prioritized, or prioritized if it isn’t? I want to know if

The Commissioner discussed sending a recommendation to the Board to approve the Long Center’s contract, but that motion was withdrawn due to questions about the criteria used to determine administrative fees. It is likely to appear on the committee’s agenda prior to the Board’s February 9th meeting.

Ann Charlotte Patterson, chairman of the Music Commission, said the city’s staffing shortages appear to be creating pressure to integrate outside contracts into purchasing staff wherever possible.

“When the Long Center was selected as its partner and assumed the role of administrator, I assumed that I had no idea they were discussing undertaking a cultural arts program. It essentially tripled and a lot of the waiting time was squared off all the details,” she said. “Certain details seemed to be finalized prior to making the selection rather than essentially after selecting the bidders. The range was considerably reduced, but the music was at the forefront. I am grateful for what you said.”

The Long Center’s position as the sole bidder for the contract means that if the city council doesn’t vote in favor next month, the city will have to reset the entire proposal and qualification process.

In recent years, the nonprofit has become available as a sort of administrative clearinghouse for local arts groups that need help with their own administrative and human resource tasks.

Long Center’s Bobby Garza said the music program could be spun up soon after the council’s vote, after a final discussion on the city’s eligibility priorities.

“We are ready to do something as soon as the city is ready and the first thing that has to happen is for the council to vote in favor of[the deal]. And I’m going to do everything I can to keep it moving forward with enthusiasm.”

Photo made available through a Creative Commons license.

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