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Front Page » Top Stories » County Proposal Would Require Arts Program To Spend On Maintenance

County Proposal Would Require Arts Program To Spend On Maintenance

www.miamitodaynews.com
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Written by on October 4, 2007

By Wayne Tompkins
Miami-Dade County’s Art in Public Places program would be required to reserve as much as a third of its annual funding for maintenance, restoration and repair of its existing collection under a proposed county ordinance.

The subject of an audit and recently merged into the Department of Cultural Affairs as part of the county’s $225 million in budget cuts, the popular 34-year-old program has faced questions in recent years over missing and damaged art work within its 700-piece collection.

The ordinance, which Miami-Dade Commissioner Javier Souto is sponsoring, addresses criticism that Art in Public Places has never designated a division between dollar amounts spent on maintenance of art work and on administration. Such a clear division could provide funding needed to improve inventory management and preventative maintenance.

The Arts in Public Places program, funded by a 1.5% set-aside on the cost of building county facilities, is undergoing an audit updating one performed in 2000, when a number of pieces turned up damaged, missing or misplaced. County Auditor Kathy Jackson said recently that the audit is still under way but has not given a projected completion date.

Mr. Souto’s office said it deferred the proposed ordinance from this week’s county commission meeting for consultations with Cultural Affairs director Michael Spring over the plan’s details.

The Recreational and Cultural Affairs Committee has scheduled a public hearing on the proposal for its Nov. 9 meeting.

Mr. Souto’s ordinance currently proposes that at least 33% of funds collected in the 2007-08 and 2008-09 fiscal years be reserved for maintenance, restoration and repair of existing pieces, with reductions to 25% for the following two years and 20% thereafter.

"The funds in this reserve maintenance account may not be used for the acquisition of new works of art or for the educational and administrative functions of the program," Mr. Souto said. The program lost three of its six positions when Cultural Affairs took over the program on Monday (10/1).

Art in Public Places’ $33 million collection has been installed countywide at sites including Miami International Airport, Metrorail and Metromover stations, the Port of Miami, MetroZoo, fire stations, libraries, police stations, public housing developments and community health centers. Three pieces were recently installed at the airport’s new South Terminal.