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Council wants plan on implementing public art

The Claremont City Council will meet this Tuesday, June 12, at 5 p.m. to organize the 2012-2014 city budget. Among items to be budgeted is a potential $25,000 to $50,000 to hire a city art consultant responsible for implementing a Public Art Master Plan.

The Public Art Master Plan was identified as a key city project at the city council’s priority-setting workshop held last December. The goal of the master plan would be to create a framework for the planning and placement and the process used to administer public art within the city. It would additionally serve to address funding sources, as well as review criteria and decision-making processes.

“The hope is that this master plan will provide a unified community vision, clarify key themes and values and provide direction on the selection and placement of public art,” said Melissa Vollaro, community and human services manager.

A community art program and art ordinance were adopted by the city in 1997 in an attempt to enhance Claremont’s aesthetic and cultural qualities, according to Ms. Vollaro.

“It provides opportunities for public exposure to the visual arts and for acknowledging our local artistic community,” she said. “It inspires pride, identity and a sense of place among the rest of the community.”

Public Art Coordinator Francine Baker was hired to carry out the various elements of the art program, which includes tracking the city’s public art inventory, rotating art exhibits and art installations. The city council believes adopting a Public Art Master Plan will more clearly define the process of how this public art is selected and placed in the community.

Depending on the scope of the project, the $25,000 to $50,000 is expected to cover a consultant hired to conduct a needs analysis, solicit community input and conduct research. Based on these findings, the consultant will also develop recommendations for the best practices for the final plan and assist in presenting those recommendations to the city council.

Public comment will be taken into consideration before the budget proposal comes back to the council for budget adoption at the Tuesday, June 26 council meeting. The discussion will begin at 5 p.m. and continue at the 6:30 p.m. regular council meeting. The full list of items to be discussed for the 2012-2014 budget can be viewed on the city’s website.

A proposed rise in the city’s Landscape and Lighting District (LLD) fees is also slated for review following the budget discussion.

The LLD program, first approved by Claremont voters in 1990, involves the maintenance of landscaping and streetlight improvements by the city and private contractors. The LLD budget has recently risen from an estimated $2.57 million in the 2011-2012 fiscal year to about $2.65 million for 2012-2013. The change is due to a rise in utility costs, according to an engineer’s report conducted by NBS Government Finance Group.

Though the rise in utility costs is offset by a decrease in contract costs for city parks and right-of-way maintenance, the city recommends raising the fees to adjust the price changes for each assessment unit from $154.32 to $157.44 for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

The council will also vote on a memorandum of understanding with the Claremont Police Management Association. View the full agenda for Tuesday night’s meeting at www.ci.claremont.ca.us.

—Beth Hartnett

news@claremont-courier.com

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