Sanders calls for suspension of public arts program
By City News ServiceMayor Jerry Sanders sent a memo Thursday urging the San Diego City Council to suspend a policy that provides funding for public art in certain capital improvement projects.
The policy, adopted in 2004, mandates that 2 percent of the cost of certain municipal construction projects over $250,000 be allocated for public art.
According to Sanders’ memo, the policy can be suspended if the mayor “determines the anticipated revenues in the current or upcoming fiscal year will be insufficient to maintain the current level of city services.”
Sanders said eliminating the public art funding is necessary as the city grapples with a projected $72 million budget shortfall next fiscal year, which could result in additional cuts to public safety.
“While the goals of public art are important and commendable, they must be closely examined at a time when our public safety goals cannot be adequately funded,” Sanders wrote.
The mayor plans to bring the issue before the City Council for consideration within 30 days.
Alex Roth, a spokesman for Sanders, said the number of projects impacted and the anticipated savings are not known yet. He said that information is being compiled and will be made available to the City Council when it takes up the issue.