Carmel council to reconsider Civic Theatre arts grant

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Two weeks after it held back $200,000 in grant funding earmarked for the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre, the Carmel City Council is poised to swap checks with the not-for-profit organization.

Council members on Monday will consider a resolution disbursing the arts grant—as soon as the Civic makes a $200,000 annual payment on the building it occupies in Carmel’s swanky Center for the Performing Arts.

“When we receive the check, they’ll get their money,” said Councilor Luci Snyder, who chairs the panel’s Finance Committee. “We’ve got to protect the taxpayers.”

Snyder and council President Rick Sharp are sponsoring the resolution after voting with the majority Aug. 5 to delay the grant until they were sure the scheduled payment would be made. Late last year, the Civic renegotiated its purchase agreement with the Carmel Redevelopment Commission, cutting an expected $400,000 installment in half.

“They said they have the money and will make the payment now,” Snyder said.

The council signs off on arts grants from the city’s Support for the Arts Fund every year. Mayor Jim Brainard makes recommendations after an application-and-review process. This year, he asked for $707,756 for 15 arts groups, including the Civic.

But Sharp tabled the measure when it was introduced in April, saying the council would not vote until members understood how the mayor intended to close a seven-figure budget shortfall. Satisfied that the money is available, members approved grants to the other organizations earlier this month.


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