CS Budget Will Include Arts Council Funding

Despite the investigation into their former leader, the Arts Council of the Brazos Valley will still be getting funding from the City of College Station.

In a 6-1 vote Tuesday afternoon, the city council agreed to restore $440,000 worth of funding to the Arts Council for the coming fiscal year's budget.

However, a subcommittee of councilmembers will be created to check on how that money is being spent every 90 days.

"I think it is very important that we, as a board, as a council, are diligent in making sure that who we fund and how it's funded, even within our own city, is done in the right way," said Councilmember Lynn McIlhaney.

Ron Gay was the lone voice defiant against the idea of funding the Arts Council of the Brazos Valley in the coming budget.

"I don't see how we can be fiscally responsible to our citizens and to the taxpayers that until we know exactly what has happened with all of the money that has been sent there previous, that we can, in could conscious, continue to send hundreds of thousands of dollars to this group," Councilmember Gay said.

Former Arts Council Director P. David Romei is being investigated, accused of spending arts and city money on himself.

In the end, the council decided to still provide the Arts Council the originally-allotted $440,000, but to create a subcommittee made up of councilmembers who would review the money's use every 90 days.

"I would like to see us reserve the right to rescission of funds if that subcommittee so recommends that they're not comfortable with everything that's going on, that we revisit this issue," said Councilman John Crompton, who had brought up the idea.

The council did not name the members of that subcommittee, though Crompton recommended that Gay and McIlhaney be members of it.

"I think we're kind of in crisis mode to some degree as to how we're continuing to fund the organization and what we're deciding to do," said Councilmember Chris Scotti. "I don't expect to be in this position next year, and I want to see the organization be around next year."

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