YAC gives council update on how tax money was spent

YAC board chairwoman Betty Healey and facilitator Richard Salem make a presentation to Cornwall council on Oct. 13, 2015 about how it has used a $35,000 grant given to the organization this year. YAC has worked as a facilitator or local arts groups on various projects and also coordinated the recent Apples & Arts Studio Tour. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – When it comes to one arts group, city councillors have been given an update on how taxpayers money has been spent.

Your Arts Council of Cornwall & The Counties gave council a mid-year review of how it’s used a $35,000 grant it received from the city.

The money came to YAC in March after the city pulled its share for an airport fuel depot at the Cornwall Regional Airport and used some of that money to top up the YAC funding.

“It was very clear from the beginning we couldn’t continue having a full time executive director,” YAC board chairwoman Betty Healey said Tuesday night. That position was replaced with a part-time position.

“We became very aware the money was coming from the pockets of the taxpayer…and with paid membership…we realized we were double-dipping.” said Richard Salem, facilitator for Your Arts Council.

YAC has become a free membership though there are user fees for special services.

Salem also shared fresh data with councils from their Apples & Arts Studio Tour which he called a “resounding success.” Of the artists reporting data, they had a total of 3,100 visitors and spent $15,000 on art.

He said that doesn’t include the money that may have been spent in the community.

Among the other things YAC has spent the money on is a digital graphics lab through St. Lawrence College, a circulating gallery for more venues and art.

Salem said they are trying to continue the level of service until the end of the year and work with the city to coordinate and help with the arts center study.

The balance sheet for YAC shows the organization will be in the black by $600 by the end of the 2015.

“It makes me feel very comfortable we made the right decision,” Coun. Andre Rivette said about giving the grant in the spring. He commended the depth of the report, a presentation that took nearly 20 minutes.

YAC is also applying to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for a grant but the group doesn’t expect to hear anything back until the new year.

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