Las Vegas Sun

December 22, 2014

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Las Vegas City Council:

Proposed change targets mandatory aspect of Percent for Arts program

Las Vegas could do away with its dedicated funding for the arts under a bill that will be introduced Wednesday at the City Council’s meeting. Council members also will vote on downtown redevelopment grants and revive a discussion on drones when they meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday at City Hall.

Potential cuts to city art fund

Since starting its Percent for the Arts program in 2003, the city has distributed $1.1 million to art projects around the city, including the metallic paintbrushes that welcome visitors to the Arts District downtown.

The program is funded using 1 percent of the city’s annual capital improvements budget. But with the city still struggling with budget deficits, Councilman Bob Beers has proposed a bill that could defund the program.

The bill would make the city’s mandatory 1 percent contribution to the art fund optional, giving council members discretion on how much is spent.

Beers said he’s fine with the city funding the arts, but he wants to make sure the money goes to local artists.

The council will introduce Beers’ bill Wednesday; it could be back up for a final approval in a month.

Downtown restaurants get city aid

The city’s redevelopment agency will be reimbursing two downtown restaurants for improvements they made to their buildings.

Recently opened Radio City Pizza, 508 Fremont St., will be eligible for $69,000 through two grants offered by the city to help cover the costs of bringing older buildings up to code and improving the building’s facades.

Farther east at 1126 Fremont St., owners of the planned PublicUs restaurant also will be applying for grants from the redevelopment agency.

They will be eligible for $80,000 to help improve the restaurant site, which sits in a vacant storefront near Maryland Parkway.

The city has spent more than $600,000 in the last year on redevelopment agency grants, which require recipients to make matching contributions of up to four times the award amount.

City debates support for drones

Proponents of an effort to win a federal designation to test unmanned aircrafts in Nevada have spent the past month pitching local governments on their plan and asking for support.

Winning the designation is seen by many as the first step toward bringing the potentially lucrative drone industry to Southern Nevada. The Clark County Commission unanimously voiced its support for the efforts in March.

But when asked for its support last month, the Las Vegas City Council balked amid protest from audience members and lingering questions from several council members.

Mayor Carolyn Goodman attributed her hesitancy to the newness of drone technology and raised concerns about what rules and regulations would govern their use.

The representatives agreed to discuss the issue further with the council and will be back again Wednesday asking for a formal resolution of support.

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  1. Is there no end to how foolishly politicians throw our tax dollars around? $69,000 here. $80,000 there. $1.1 million! To paraphrase Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois, "Soon, it will add up to real money." Why does any of my property tax go to the "Arts," anyhow? There's nothing special about the "Arts" except it apparently has good lobbyists. The "Arts." like all other enterprises, should stand or fall on its own merits by pleasing as many folks to participate by opening their wallets; not the taxpayers!