Most Viewed Stories
Art fees reviewed
Orland will be looking to equalize its arts assessment fees so both commercial and residential builders pay a similar amount to fund city art projects.
The City Council suggested the 0.5 percent fee charged new commercial properties might discourage some builders from coming to Orland during a review of the fees Monday night.
Residential builders are charged 0.25 percent of the home's value for residences.
The arts fee is designed to pay for public artwork in Orland and its installation, water works, lighting, pedestals and other items commissioned from an artist or used to display public art.
These fees also help with projects like the gazebo in Library Park, the lighting on the promenade there and with the Orland Art Gallery on Fourth Street.
However, many of these projects also have been funded through donations by private citizens and businesses such as the bronze sculpture of a horse and cowboy by Carl Ciliax of Napa which is set to go up on Fourth Street in May.
A clock in "Welcome to Orland Centennial Park'' was donated by a local family to the city in 2009 during Orland's centennial celebration.
Arts assessment fees were established by the City Council in 2005, according to City Manager Peter Carr.
He is charged with looking at the income raised by the fees if they were both set a quarter of one percent.
Also, Carr will look at charging a fee by the square footage of homes instead of by housing value.
"Homes house people," Councilman Dennis Hoffman said. "People are the ones who will use the art gallery for the most part."
Mayor Charles Gee said the city has worked hard to bring businesses here and does not want to turn them off by high fees.
"I agree with you," Arts Commissioner Rae Turnbull said. "The fees should be more even."
But she added the fees do not just fund the art gallery, but things like the gazebo and the Welcome to Orland sign on Highway 32.
"I like the idea of having it be the same for both residential and commercial," Turnbull said. "We should still come out about the same without penalizing business."
However, she said the art gallery's presence downtown also benefits local businesses such as Farwood Bar and Grill that sees more diners on Friday nights when artists' receptions are held, and Alta Marie's Bakery that supplies food to the receptions.
She said the gallery generates about 46 percent of its needs through the art shows and classes, but larger projects still require money from the city's public arts fund.
Turnbull also noted the gallery provides outreach to local educators. One instructor from Butte College brings her art appreciation class to the gallery and Orland High art teacher Molly Wallace also takes her students there to see the shows. Plus young musicians play during the receptions.
Gee said the arts commission may have to rely primarily on donations anyway if building does not pick up.
But Turnbull asked that the fees remain on the books for future projects when things do improve.
"Businesses do benefit from the arts through employment and making people come visit," Councilman Bruce Roundy said.
The city also has not been charging the arts fee on remodeling projects, and it has not decided whether to begin doing that or to let it go.