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Tuesday’s big cuts will mean big changes

On Tuesday night, city funding for arts and cultural organizations, community access television and a key human service organization was cut to zero.

A total of $763,000 was cut community service organizations by a sharply divided City Council.

The cuts mean no funding for public art, no more BITV-televised city meetings and possibly no more Health, Housing and Human Services Council.

No doubt there larger repercussions. It’s a sure thing that jobs in these and possibly other organizations will be lost, and that popular and important programs will be reduced or disappear completely.

Funding for the various organizations that provide assistance to disadvantaged residents, including Helpline House, the Boys & Girls Club, Bainbridge Youth Services and the Bainbridge Island Special Needs Foundation, was reduced from $320,000 to approximately $240,000.

Read more about the cuts HERE.

I’ve put in some calls to the affected organizations and hope to follow up with stories this week.

A few arts groups and their supporters have sent out messages today urging islanders to boost their contributions to One Call for All to help fill the funding gap.

One community service spending element that actually came out of Tuesday’s meeting with more money than expected was a “communication” fund to help downtown businesses affected by the planned Winslow Way reconstruction project. The fund rose from $35,000 to $40,000. How the fund will be spent will be decided by the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association (which had its entire $29,500 funding request denied on Tuesday). Mayor Bob Scales said BIDA may spend the Winslow Way fund on signs, temporary parking and various other strategies that encourage shoppers to patronize Winslow shops during the project.

“We’re imposing a vary worrisome event next year,” Councilman Barry Peters said of the Winslow Way project. “We need to communicate to our island to support our downtown in a year of great stress.”

City cuts arts and social service funding

Big cuts for the Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council last night, leading the organization to layoff its director. Social service groups were also not spared the budget ax, but the impact is less clear.

See my coverage of last night’s council meeting below….

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