SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A push by area arts leaders for greater financial backing from the city of San Diego gained tentative support from the City Council Wednesday, though votes on the issue will come later.
Representatives of the city's Commission on Arts and Culture said at a review hearing on Mayor Jerry Sanders' proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year that they want an increase that keeps pace with projected growth in their primary funding source -- hotel room tax revenue.
Sanders projects that room tax income will go up by 5 percent in the fiscal year that begins July 1, and proposes hiking funding for the city's Commission on Arts & Culture by $135,000 over the current fiscal year.
Representatives of the commission, which distributes money to nearly 70 local arts groups, want an additional $310,000, to bring total funding to $7.742 million.
"I am really supportive of doing that, in particular for organizations that have applied (for funding) for the first time," Councilman David Alvarez said.
Councilwoman Lorie Zapf proposed developing a three- to five-year strategic plan to gradually increase financial backing for arts to an even greater level.
"We have a return on investment (in the arts) that's pretty significant," Zapf said.
According to the commission, the arts attracted two million visitors and $170 million of spending to San Diego in fiscal year 2011, employing around 6,000 people. Its statistics also showed that the out-of-town guests who come for arts events stay an average of two days longer and part with twice as much cash as the average tourist.
Councilmen Carl DeMaio and Kevin Faulconer also supported a funding increase, but urged caution because of uncertainty brought about by changes to redevelopment. They fear the state could mandate that debt service for the convention center and Petco Park be picked up by the city's general fund, which would reduce money for basic services.
Jay Goldstone, the city's chief operating officer, said the newfound money from the projected 5 percent increase in room tax revenues has already been allocated. If new figures due at the end of this week show an even greater gain, the mayor's office would not object to increasing arts funding, he said.
The council members did not actually vote on the issue.
Sanders is scheduled to issue revisions to his budget proposal in two weeks, and the council will take its votes next month.
Vice Adm. Nora Tyson, commander of the Navy's Third Fleet, is the scheduled keynote speaker Monday at the annual Memorial Day observance at the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.
One man was killed and another injured when they were struck by a passenger train in Oceanside, authorities said Monday.
Sunday was all about those who laid their lives on the line and with the number of veterans dwindling each year, many present at a Miramar ceremony hope to keep their memory alive.
A Navy Seal team member has died after his parachute failed to open during a Fleet Week demonstration over the Hudson River.
Metropolitan Transit System is scheduling extra service starting Monday for a three-day game series between the San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs at Petco Park, a spokesperson said.
Veterans are being honored across San Diego County during Memorial Day weekend and dozens of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts were among those spending their Saturday placing American flags at burial sites at the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.
Commencement was held Sunday for seniors at the University of San Diego, with ceremonies featuring a pair of distinguished alumni.
Cool and cloudy conditions start off Friday morning, but the sun will break through in the afternoon. Strong winds in San Diego County's deserts are also expected to ease up Friday morning.
A 30-year-old was knocked out and stabbed three times at the Beyer Trolley Station early Sunday morning, according to Officer Robert Heims of the San Diego Police Department.
A bird was responsible for an outage that left thousands without electricity Sunday, a San Diego Gas & Electric spokesperson said.