City reschedules arts-tax extension meeting for Wednesday, April 25

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TCA’s Disrupt FEST features the Bitter Game, a one act performance. Photo by Jim Carmody 

Tempe community members are invited to learn more about a November 2018 city election question on a dedicated sales tax for arts and culture.

A public meeting about the ballot measure previously scheduled for March 28 has been rescheduled for Wednesday, April 25, at 6 p.m. at the Tempe History Museum, 809 E. Southern Ave.  

The current city sales tax increase (one tenth of one percent), authorized by Tempe voters in 2000, expires in 2020. It has funded the construction and operations of the Tempe Center for the Arts sponsored by Northern Trust, as well as other arts and culture offerings in the city.

The city council directed in May 2017 that city staff pursue a future ballot proposition to request a permanent arts and culture sales tax of the same amount (one tenth of one percent) to fund arts and culture in Tempe. Visit the city website to view the background materials (http://bit.ly/2GAofjr) and video (http://bit.ly/2phnfZ9) from that discussion.

In 2015, the city finalized its Arts and Culture Plan, which was crafted over many months of research and collaboration with nearly 1,000 community members from residents and artists to businesses and students. Since then, Tempe has been working to execute the recommendations of the plan, which include initiatives like developing more after-school and summer arts programs for youth and bringing art of all kinds into neighborhoods to enrich quality of life. The plan is available at www.tempe.gov/arts.

At its May 2017 meeting, the council decided to advance to voters an option for an extension beyond 2020 that would maintain the current additional sales tax level of one-tenth of one percent, which would allow the city’s Arts and Culture Division to fully implement the recommendations of the Arts and Culture Plan.

The April 25 public meeting also will cover a future ordinance that will be considered by the city council that would be a companion to the ballot resolution. The ordinance would authorize the existing Tempe Arts and Culture Commission to advise the council on the management of the tax funding and the realization of the Arts and Culture Plan, if the tax measure passes. A similar arrangement is in place with the Tempe Transportation Commission and its advisory role related to the 1996 dedicated tax for transportation in Tempe.

Tempe Forum, the city’s online feedback portal, will be used to collected input from community members. Visit www.tempe.gov/forum to fill out a survey regarding the proposed arts tax ballot measure. The survey will be available from April 25 to May 9.

The proposed ordinance and resolution will be discussed by the city council at its April 19 work study session. They then will be placed on a future regular council meeting agenda for consideration and votes.

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