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Our word on the bond

Monday, June 11, 2018 by Chad Swiatecki

It appears Austin’s Arts and Music commissions are backing away from their ambitious plans to ask voters for up to $40 million to create two new facilities to provide space and resources for local artists. That was the message at Monday’s Music Commission meeting from members of a working group dedicated to pushing for more money in the cultural portion of a bond election slated to take place in November. The $40 million would have come on top of $67.5 million already recommended in the bond to pay for modest expansions at the city’s four existing cultural centers. The working group’s first meeting found there’s not enough agreement between its members on how to best ask for an increase to the cultural bond request, with up to $77 million extra required to meet all the additional needs for the arts community and especially the city’s three ethnic cultural centers. With City Council expected to vote on a resolution Thursday that would begin the process of determining the size and composition of the total infrastructure bond package – currently recommended at $816 million – members of the working group and commissions planned to gauge the appetite for bond expansion with their respective Council members. Council’s final decision on the bond package is expected to come in August. Also discussed during Monday’s meeting was exploring public-private partnerships that could possibly direct municipal funds toward existing arts centers such as the Museum of Human Achievement and Mosaic Sound Collective, rather than spending money to build and staff new facilities the city would be responsible for maintaining.

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