Arts board approves three-month budget: Vote comes after Frisco representatives kill funding for land appraisal
The board of directors for the Arts Center of North Texas approved a $56,000 budget for the remaining three months of the fiscal year. But not before disagreements between representatives from Frisco and the remaining two owner cities of Plano and Allen caused the budget to be amended.
The final decision came after a vote on the original $62,000 budget failed to get the necessary 75 percent approval from the six board members in attendance. Frisco representatives John Classe and Paul Gosnell voted against the original budget because it contained $6,000 earmarked for an appraisal of the art center's property. The only board member to vote against the amended budget was Betty Bell Muns, who has served on the board since its inception and -- with her husband -- has donated more than $1 million to the project.
"The city of Frisco doesn't feel like any excess expenditures at this time are warranted," Classe said. "While [the survey] is probably appropriate, I don't feel like this is the right time."
While the agenda item that authorized Board President Bobby Baggett to work with the Pyles-Whatley Corporation to appraise the land was passed with a 4-2 vote, Baggett said no action would be taken since the funds were not approved. The appraisal would have been the first since the land, which is currently valued at $22 million, was donated in 2005.
Prior to the vote, Baggett, a Plano representative, said he felt the appraisal was necessary.
"We are potentially in the process of some reorganization and it would be commonplace in business -- and think it would be prudent -- for us to know the value of the assets. I think it could have a bearing on a number of things including the structure and our options. I think it would be useful information for the cities."
Baggett added that the $22 million land valuation could be outdated. Since the original donation of 124 acres, portions of the property have been donated to the city of Allen for the construction of Exchange Parkway, as well as the construction of a portion of the Six-City Trail. The contract with Pyles-Whatley would have assessed the 90 acres still under the board's control, he said. While there are now fewer acres, the improved infrastructure surrounding the property as well as the trail could have increased its value, Baggett noted.
Interim Executive Director Mary Vail-Grube said no action will be taken on a 2012-2013 budget until direction was received from the three owner cities. The cities have retained outside legal services to determine the project's assets and options regarding spinning the project off into a separate nonprofit, or dissolving the project altogether.
The approved budget contains $30,000 in final staff settlements, administrative fees totaling $10,000 to the city of Allen, $15,000 in legal fees and $1,000 in website support costs.