In wake of bond failure, Mecklenburg commissioners put arts director on hot seat

Refreshing your memory, last November Mecklenburg County voters rejected a quarter-cent sales tax hike that would support the county’s Arts and Science Council. In light of that setback, what do you do if you’re the ASC director? You go to the Board of Commissioners and ask for a 131 percent increase in funding. Naturally.

Commissioners were skeptical when asked about their $5 million share. And I’ll add it most definitely wasn’t a good sign when they asked for director Jeep Bryant’s salary as part of the detailed breakdown of the ASC’s budget:

“I’m concerned about the amount of money you’re asking for when the county (voters) said no” to the sales tax, said commissioner Vilma Leake.

Leake said the ASC had “neglected” her district in the western portion of Mecklenburg County. “You’re not putting the money there, or the programs there,” she said.

Bryant said “clearly we need to do more” in the west side, but said the ASC has hosted 28 “culture blocks” cultural outreach programs in Leake’s district, including 10 specifically for senior citizens.

Hey–all you can do is ask. But ‘no’ still means ‘no,’especially when voters say it.

Sam Hieb / Contributing Editor

Sam Hieb is freelance journalist from Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a contributing editor for Carolina Journal and for Piedmont Publius, a blog that focuses on political a...

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