The city council, as we reported last week, cut taxpayer funds to the Art of Beer event that raises money for NACC while it promotes Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster's Tonawanda beer business, Niagara Tradition. (The NACC will still hold the event through ticket sales on Feb 22.)
We neglected to mention that the event also promotes alcohol consumption with public money.
While we are not prohibitionists, we do feel that taxpayer money should not go into the promotion of beer.
Alcohol is the number one abused drug in the nation.
Besides not promoting beer drinking, taxpayers will get to keep $30,000 more this year and the NACC, a nonprofit agency that rents studios out to some 70 tenant/artists, ought to be able to do what most not-for-profits have to do: get voluntary contributions and operate at a break-even level through sales, rents, grants or any other legitimate means to get income, rather than depend on the hardworking taxpayers of this city.
Still, we recommend that, since the city has given the NACC $30,000 a year for 11 years ($330,000, plus an additional $500,000 for a new roof), the council majority should “drill down" for more information on how NACC operates: What did they do with the hundreds of thousands of dollars taxpayers already paid to them?
The council majority could:
•Request individual event budget breakdowns (Art of Beer being number one to break down).
•Request a total inventory and history of every person or company that has space in the building (are these family and friends, are these real artists, or are they for-profit businesses?).
•Request the names/addresses of the board of directors and employees. The executive director, for example, lives in Lewiston...exactly who are these people?
•Request the operating expenses.
•Request the operating budget and any and all grants they received (how hard have they worked and how successful have they been in landing grants, patrons, etc.)?
With this information, the majority could contrast the operating cost of the building and programs with what would have been brought in through taxes if Benderson would have developed the land as first suggested.
It is long past time when a broken down city with a dwindling base of struggling taxpayers should have to fund private not-for-profit corporations.
And these, too, without accountability.