Lift-Off’s loss, TAG’s gain?

Coun. Maurice Dupelle, seen here in the center during a December 2014 water and sewer budget meeting, is proposing the $12,242 originally expected to go to Lift-Off should go to TAG this year. (Cornwall Newswatch/File)

CORNWALL – Coun. Maurice Dupelle will be asking his counterparts in two weeks to give money originally slated for Lift-Off to The Art Gallery (TAG) instead.

Organizers of the hot air balloon festival announced April 7 the event has been cancelled this year to allow the group to address its debts and reorganize.

Dupelle wants the $12,242 from the grants to outside agency funding to be given to TAG.

“After hearing from artists that have been calling and emailing, you know they seem to have a valid point and we have reduced their funding…I thought this was an opportunity that we can give back to the arts community,” Dupelle tells Cornwall Newswatch.

“It’s not what they’re looking for but it’s certainly something that they didn’t have…I thought there was no harm in directing that funding to TAG,” he added.

Dupelle was asked why TAG should be given the money compared to other outside agencies who received only part of their 2015 requests.

“I think TAG had the biggest impact out of the budget. The only reason they got the installments ($13,500) was because of how far we were into (the) budget so they would have lost $70,000 had we did this back in December,” Dupelle says.

“Will it go anywhere? I’m not sure. But at least the people who have contacted me – the artists – they know there was an attempt made.”

Dupelle doesn’t appear to be worried about the recent issues with the TAG board.

“My original vote on the night of the budget committee was, I voted whether we give this money and I thought with the turmoil that was happening, with the HR issues that were happening, I thought if I vote to give $54,000 to this agency and it ends up in legal fees or a severance package, I don’t think I was spending tax dollars (wisely). I don’t think that this $12,000, that you can base that up against $54,000,” Dupelle says.

And why not save the money until the outside agency funding process in 2016?

“We could do that…we may do that,” he added and says “no” with a chuckle when it was suggested the money was burning a hole in his pocket.

Dupelle’s motion, supported by Coun. Justin Towndale, will be up for council debate April 27.

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