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 Vehicle sticker fee could help Park Ridge community groups

Published 2010-11-30 18:52:00 - Stickers

Park Ridge wants to offer its residents a novel option for funding community arts groups whose municipal support fell victim to austere fiscal times.
The city is proposing some sort of recognition for those willing to chip in a little extra when buying a vehicle sticker.
What form that recognition might take remains to be seen.
City Manager James Hock had suggested offering a voluntary $10 donation option on the city’s vehicle sticker renewal forms. Those who wish to contribute to cultural arts groups would pay $55 instead of the regular $45, and get a special sticker.
Last week, though, Hock said that idea was deemed too expensive, since vehicle stickers cost $1 apiece, and suggested a separate sticker be sent to donors. Aldermen debated the merits of that versus a “premium” vehicle sticker (not unlike the state’s myriad special license plates). Aldermen also discussed how to introduce the program, and how any funds raised would be distributed.
The elected officials are scheduled to revisit the idea at the committee’s Dec. 13 meeting.
After arguing through most of 2010 whether the city should contribute $190,080 to 13 community groups, aldermen in September sustained 10 of Mayor David Schmidt’s vetoes, restoring funding to three human services agencies — the Park Ridge Center of Concern, Meals on Wheels, and the Maine Center for Mental Health.
Arts groups whose funds were vetoed include the Park Ridge Civic Orchestra ($13,200), Park Ridge Fine Arts Society ($13,200), Brickton Art Center ($11,000), Park Ridge Historical Society ($8,800), Cultural Arts Council ($4,840) and the Kalo Foundation ($4,400).
“For many of them, the money from the city was the largest, or one of the larger sources of support,” said Perry Fisher, president of the Park Ridge Cultural Arts Council, which enthusiastically supports the sticker plan. “All of them needed the money for general operating purposes. We’ve lost a half a year of money that would have been supporting the groups.”
Fisher said the council and its constituent groups are hopeful that the sticker program could replace a significant chunk of what’s been lost.
“We’re hopeful 6,300 stickers will be bought, but it’s a tough call in these times,” he added.
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