City council voted 9-5 against a motion by Coun. Peter Demong that would’ve frozen Calgary’s public art budget.
Demong made the motion stating among other things, the economy has been impacted by low oil prices and considering the Public Art Policy allocates up to $4 million from any single capital project that all funds, that those funds “not expended by public art during this time frame be tabulated and that administration return to council with recommendations for projects that could be funded with this revenue.”
The motion stirred up supporters of public art in the city:
In council this morning, Demong said he’s been “vilified” in the last week over the motion, which prompted Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart to suggest council have some sort of “mechanism” where members of council could present budget saving suggestions to administration rather than coming through a notice of motion process.
“I’ve probably got 10 or 12 [ideas] myself,” she said.
City manager Jeff Fielding said administration presented six strategies “several weeks ago” with a commitment to generate savings in the area of $20 million. He encouraged councillors if there were anything they’d like to add to the “pile” as far as potential saving ideas, now was the time as administration will be presenting the details of a savings plan in March.
“We’re certainly aware of the impact the economic downturn has had on this community,” he said.