Inner Arbor Money Pit – Part I: The Fleecing of Columbia

The Inner Arbor Trust was set up by the Columbia Association as a separate 501(c)(3) to raise money. Yet, for the fiscal year ended April 30, 2016, the organization raised just $3950 with total income of $2,004,058 – mostly a grant from Howard County. This is just 0.197% of the total.inner-arbor-income-2016

inner-arbor-grants-2016

Source: FY 2016 Audited Financial Statements

Yet, now Columbia Association Board Chair Andy Stack believe that the Inner Arbor needs an annual grant of $75,000 to pay for the upkeep.

This proposal being considered by the CA Board for the FY18 Budget (page 9 of 97)  It is also supported by CA Board Member and IAT Representative Lin Eagan and Board Member Brian Dunn. Dunn suggested at the January 12 Board Meeting that the $75,000 amount was too low and wanted it to be $100,000. All of this money is on top of the millions already given to the Inner Arbor by CA and Howard County. Now the IAT is also asking the State for a $250,000 grant (More about that later).

Andy Stack likens the grant to one provided to the Columbia Festival of the Arts. Stack is wrong in his comparison. The Festival of the Arts is an event program. Many of the events are free to the public and held on CA’s quasi-public open space. Conversely, the Inner Arbor has a physical structure–an income producing property–the Chrysalis.

The IAT has a contract with Merriweather Post Pavilion to use the IAT and pay for the use of the park. Stack’s proposal is flawed in other of ways. If the Columbia Festival of the Arts uses the Chrysalis and pays rent to the IAT, then the IAT will be double dipping from the CA residents–once indirectly from the grant to the Festival of the Arts and second from the direct grant to the Inner Arbor.

Tell the CA Board that the IAT does not need a maintenance subsidy for its new building when CA has a backlog of maintenance and replacement for its own buildings, pools, and open space.

Tell the Columbia Association Board to STOP the fleecing.

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