Candidates and the Arts: Cyndi Stevenson

Question #1

General Fund Revenue will be very difficult to come by for the foreseeable future due to Federal and State mandates, rising costs for essential services and continued mandates for property tax reductions.

The good news is this should return funds to our taxpayers pockets and they will have more money to support great caused like yours!

The county has funded several community centers-it is my intent to continue to support these programs in our new facilities-as we have in our existing facilities. I anticipate these programs would be largely run by volunteer organizations-like boys and girl’s clubs- or largely fee based programs as are other recreation programs in the county.

Suggestions to stream line government and deliver needed services you desire include:

1) County must partner more effectively with our school board-so we have resources to invest in people and programs and not just more public building.

2) Seek grants-public or private- to help people at risk-especially high risk youth succeed in life that could help with this funding.

3) Community supported scholarships could also be developed to cover costs of services where there is no ability to pay. Our generous community would invest in the creativity and hope of our children, at risk & challenged communities young and old.

3) In these tough budget times, we must be creative-I will give-my full support for a major fund raiser at the amphitheater to support SJCCC’s mission. I could help identify patrons-and volunteer to help staff the event.

4) We could add a dollar for arts education boxes at our concession areas at the golf course amphitheater and other venues.

5) Events like a farmer’s market or monthly social with music could be run by a private group for the benefit of the arts-on county property. This is done in St. Augustine Beach and City of Tallahassee.

Question #2

Yes-consistent with the Destination Master Plan under consideration and ordinances of our county.

These expenditures should show a short term or building of equity that will pay long term dividends to the community and the tourism industry.

For example, my father in law was a founding member of EMMA. What a mighty return has come from the early beginnings of that organization.

Building our cultural resources can pay long term dividends in quality of life-and draw high quality tourism to our community.

Question #3

I believe arts are already part of our recreation mission as demonstrated at Trout Creek park-libraries and TPC Landrum Lane Community Centers.

These programs are supported and run largely by 501 (c) (3)’s like Council on Aging and Friends of the Library.

This is analogous to active recreation organizations like Creeks Athletic Association, Ponte Vedra Athletic Association and Ancient City Soccer step up to provide opportunities for our community. I am sure at least 1,000 volunteers join together to make our recreation mission possible.

I will support continued programming of this nature at our-new community centers and parks. I know the NW Business Council and other organizations including the NWSJCCC are working on these types of projects at this time.

It would be the county’s role to coordinate facilities for these groups.

I support a Communities in Schools Program-where small business owners, artists, musicians, and volunteers can provide opportunities for life long learning in existing school facilities and Community Centers.

This can pay dividends by connecting small business owners to future customers.

We need a private sector solution or community support to fund administrative costs necessary for this type of function-I believe, from past discussions, School Board would support the use of their facilities to serve everyone in SJC.

Life long learning programs have a wide appeal and can train consumers to avoid high risk loans, write resumes and marketable job skills-and help create a sense of community and connection we all desire. It is also constructive, low cost entertainment and an opportunity for self improvement-close to where people live.

This would have a broad appeal during this economic time.