Bossier City Council delays vote on slashing funds for Bossier Arts Council

Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 10:45 AM CDT
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BOSSIER CITY, La. (KSLA) - During Tuesday’s (Oct. 4) meeting, the Bossier City Council decided to continue a vote that would have cut funding to the Bossier Arts Council.

The proposal seeks to slash the Bossier Arts Council’s (BAC) funding by $50,000 for the 2023 budget. It will be brought up again at Oct. 18′s city council meeting.

District 2 Councilman Jeffery Darby recommended the delay, and it passed unanimously.

According to the agenda, the money was originally given to the BAC so the organization could manage the growing East Bank District. According to the agenda, the “management services of the Bossier Arts Council are no longer needed.”

Corbett said that $50,000 is one-fifth of their annual budget.

“We have had no warning whatsoever,” she said.

During the city council meeting, Darby said the continuance should give the administration more time to better plan and include city council on those plans.

KSLA has reached out to Mayor Tommy Chandler’s office to get more details on the new management. Chief Administrative Officer Amanda Nottingham sponsored the proposal; Mayor Chandler recommended it.

In an email from East Bank Plaza Cultural District officials, they say the council was “blindsided” and they “cannot fathom why this would change.”

New Executive Director Brittainy Pope said they plan to come back to city council with facts. “There are a lot of facts that need to be taken into consideration,” she said, mentioning the growth of East Bank and the required planning for events and upkeep.

Since its revitalization process in 2014, previously known as “Old Bossier,” the East Bank has become an entertainment space. Within the past two years, new restaurants and facilities have moved into the area. Announced on Oct. 4, the Red River Brewpub @ the Garage will open at East Bank in mid-October.

On the East Bank’s official Facebook page, BAC Board President Mollie Corbett asked the community to come together “to push for the city funding needed for the BAC’s CONTINUED role in faithfully managing, providing, and marketing/advertising the consistent, quality, family-friendly, arts-forward programming that YOU, our community, have come to expect, enjoy, love, and engage in. The East Bank Plaza and ALL its events and programs you love are now SUBJECT to DEFUNDING if we do not SHOW UP for our beloved BAC & East Bank and show our city leaders how much we care for our growing area.”

The proposal was listed for its first reading at Tuesday’s city council meeting.

Below is the full, 318-page agenda for that meeting: