Rapid City Arts Contingency Fund slated to be cut by almost 25% in proposed budget

RAPID CITY, SD — Some of Rapid City’s arts community could be losing a large chunk of funding if the city’s proposed budget is approved as-is.

Mayor Steve Allender’s proposed budget cuts the funding for the Arts Contingency Fund by almost 25%, from $99,000 to $75,000. Last year the Arts Contingency Fund was cut by 2%.

Overall, the arts funding in town increases about 1.6 percent in the proposed budget however.

“The ripple effect of that cut into the organizations, sixteen of them and into the community, there’s no measure of what that’s going to affect” said Gigi Lage Allied Arts Executive Director.

Allied Arts say for every dollar invested into the arts, about $13 is returned by organizations to the economy. This year’s arts funding makes up about 1% of the general fund.

The Journey museum, Performing Arts Center and the Dahl are all getting a boost. Funding of those organizations and others in town increases 1.6 percent, or about $11,324 total.

Mayor Allender said with an increased need for human services in Rapid City, it puts a strain on the budget.

“The dollars invested into the arts and culture by Rapid City has increased, says Mayor Steve Allender, “But the cost of these other organizations going up make it necessary to pull down that arts contingency fund.”

Allender says going forward that he plans to keep the funding ratio the same so when city revenue grows, the contributions will increase proportionally.

“To give everyone the money they’re asking for would mean that we would have to falsely re-prioritize these categories and the money would have to come from somewhere else.” continued Allender.

But Allied Arts leaders say with a cut in their funding,  the quality of arts and culture will suffer.

“Students will be affected in public schools, seniors will be effected in assisted living because those programs will have to be cut 30%.” said Lage.

The city has until October 1st to pass a budget.

The city is holding a public hearing on the budget Thursday, 8/15, at City Hall. It starts at 5:30.

Categories: Local News, Politics & Elections