Unanimous approval of Building for Culture program
The Metropolitan King County Council gave its unanimous support for a program that will provide a financial boost to arts, cultural and heritage capital programs and landmark preservation throughout King County by using a portion of the proceeds of the county’s hotel-motel tax.
“King County’s heritage and cultural organizations come in all shapes and sizes and I am proud to be sponsoring a proposal that will help all types of these groups,” said Councilmember Dave Upthegrove. “The Building for Culture Program will help organizations from Federal Way to Snoqualmie and everywhere in between.”
“As a proud supporter of arts and culture in our region, I am pleased to help launch King County’s Building for Culture program,” said Council Chair Larry Phillips. “King County is growing rapidly and this program will help invest our region’s current economic boom back into the cultural, heritage, and arts organizations that retain and shape our quality of life by providing them with the needed places to work and grow.”
“I am excited that our commitment to sound financial policies has resulted in a surplus to support the ‘Building for Culture’ program,” said Vice Chair Jane Hague. “This windfall will benefit our local arts, cultural and historic preservation projects while further enhancing, economic development, livability efforts and tourism.”
“The early payoff of the Kingdome bonds gives us this unique opportunity to fund much needed capital projects for arts, culture, and heritage,” said Council Vice Chair Joe McDermott. “These investments couldn’t come at a better time for our communities.”
The adopted motion approves the Building for Culture Program, a partnership between King County and 4Culture (King County’s cultural services agency). The program would use bonds backed by the hotel-motel tax to build, maintain, expand, preserve, and improve new and existing cultural facilities.
“King County is a community of cultures, and this is an opportunity to assist both large programs and neighborhood projects in celebrating the heritage, history and art that makes up those cultures,” said Councilmember Larry Gossett.
“With the early payoff of Kingdome bonds King County has the opportunity to support many art, culture and heritage program needs,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn. “I am proud that the county can now expand, preserve, and improve new and existing cultural projects for all our residents to enjoy.”
The bonds that will be used to support these projects are made possible by early retirement of the Kingdome debt. State law requires that hotel-motel tax revenues King County collects this year after repayment of the Kingdome debt be directed to arts and cultural programs. Based on recent estimates, the Council expects there will be approximately $20 million available for Building for Culture.
The Council’s action today approves the concept of the program and allows 4Culture to begin soliciting proposals for funding (www.4culture.org). Future Council action will be needed to approve appropriation authority for the program and to issue bonds to fund the projects.