To increase arts funds, especially in Central, orders start by looking at hotel and pot taxes
Efforts to increase the city’s arts funding from the current $1.1 million have come roaring into the new year with three ideas from city councillor Alanna Mallon, who led the first meeting of the Mayor’s Arts Task Force on Dec. 13.
The ideas, co-sponsored by Mayor Marc McGovern, call for: allocating at least 15 percent of the city’s projected $14.4 million in hotel and motel tax revenue for the 2020 fiscal year to the arts, along with some of a 3 percent municipal tax on recreational marijuana; updating the “1 percent for arts” ordinance to see if more money could be coming from construction projects citywide; and setting up a Central Square Improvement Fund to supplement money for the square’s state-designated Arts and Culture District – to which the state provides just $4,500 annually. Developers would be able to waive minimum parking and loading requirements if they makes cash contributions to the fund equal to half the saved construction costs, with a quarter of that money going to the arts.
“State funding is helpful but not sufficient in funding cultural district initiatives in Central Square,” Mallon wrote in her order. “For example, the recent and very popular mural project that was sponsored by the Central Square Business Association in partnership with the Cambridge Community Foundation had a total cost of over $140,000.”
The council meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square.