More funds for city arts are urged Baltimore County not doing enough, councilman says BALTIMORE COUNTY


Baltimore's efforts to limit city employment to city residents may be causing resentment among some Baltimore County Council members, but one suburban councilman is a champion for the city in another area -- the arts.

During a public budget work session Wednesday, Towson Councilman Douglas B. Riley, R-4th, chastised his own government and County Executive Roger B. Hayden, a fellow Republican, for not providing more money for arts groups that serve the whole metropolitan area but are situated in Baltimore.

"I am distressed, distraught and upset that we're giving so very little to the city," he said, noting that the county is proposing to give the Baltimore Museum of Art $97,650 next fiscal year, compared with the city's contribution of nearly $3 million.

"If they were [situated] in the county, it would be an embarrassment to give them $97,000," Mr. Riley said. "I truly hang my head in shame."

Statistics provided to the council show that 165,000 Baltimore County residents and 149,680 city residents have visited the art museum in the past year.

"I think we're really missing the boat," Mr. Riley said.

Fullerton-Overlea Councilman William A. Howard IV, R-6th, disagreed.

"We are in fact giving to the city," he said, to nods of approval from Dundalk Councilman Donald Mason, D-7th. "We get 65 cents back for every tax dollar the state collects from Baltimore County."

The state government uses much of that money to support citprograms and institutions, he said.

Essex Councilman Vincent J. Gardina, D-5th, criticized the county's $24,735 contribution to the National Aquarium in Baltimore, a place he dubbed a "water circus" with "a horrible record of inhumane treatment of mammals and whales."

The aquarium's only purpose is to draw tourists to the Inner Harbor and boost the city's economy, which has nothing to do with Baltimore County, he said.

Wayne R. Harman, the county director of recreation and parks, and Council Chairman Charles A. Dutch Ruppersberger III, D-3rd, disagreed. Mr. Harman said parts of the county's first-grade and fifth-grade science curriculum is based on activities at the aquarium, which is visited by thousands of county students.

Mr. Riley and Mr. Ruppersberger disputed Mr. Gardina's contention that what is good for the Inner Harbor has no effect on the county.

The county is proposing contributing $912,361 to area arts agencies next fiscal year, down from $973,174 this year and $1.5 million in 1992.

The city has given more than $7 million to arts agencies this year, including $2.8 million to the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad