Tallahassee’s approval of additional COCA funds could set a precedent

Tallahassee’s approval of additional COCA funds could set a precedent


Dendera Dancers Studio performs a sword dance at Springtime Tallahassee.  This year's performance schedule focuses heavily on dance.

The Council for Culture and the Arts will get an additional $300,000 to direct toward programs that are not eligible for other funding, but a city commission’s decision to do so could open the door to other groups seeking money.

The city will have to retool its $1.031 billion budget for next year to accommodate the additional appropriations, and is likely to run a growing deficit, close to $1 million, while crafting its 2024 spending plan.

The commissioners opposed the staff recommendation not to approve the request of the Central Organization for Control and Accountability, and voted unanimously to approve the increase in funding. COCA takes advantage of city and county funding each year to administer a grant program for other organizations related to the arts.

The CAA is already getting $192,000 from the city, $150,000 from the county and one cent from the five-cent tourism tax, expected to reach $1.4 million next year, above pre-pandemic levels.

COCA Executive Director Kathleen Sphar smiles as county commissioners speak in favor of continued funding toward COCA.

from 2020

Most of the requested funding is for organizations that are “still stumbling” from a financial perspective because they are not eligible for tourism development tax money or any other government funding, said Kathleen Sphar, executive director of the Central Organization for Control and Accountability.



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