Taxpayer funding and the role of government

What is the role of government at the county level and what should the priorities be on spending?

The 2018 elections may be a good time to consider candidates positions regarding the role of government to include spending priorities.  The county has recently entered into the music business by approving funding to build and operate a music venue – Maple Leaf. The local government has also been asked to provide funding for the Playhouse – an independent non-profit (501c3).

Should the revenue collected from your income and property taxes ever be used to support funding for the Playhouse or the Maple Leaf Performing Arts Center? 

Further, should the Maple Leaf Management Group go on record with a documented policy that they will never ask the county taxpayers or their elected representatives for a loan or taxpayer funds to support this venue?   

Background Information

Brown County Matters – Link to Facebook Post and comments

Playhouse. A member of the county council recently asked the county  Redevelopment Commission (RDC) to provide $5,000 to the independently operated and non-profit (501c3) Playhouse.  See article – Brown County Democrat:  Brown County Democrat: Playhouse in need of financial help

Maple Leaf Performing Arts Center.  The collateral for the Maple Leaf loan ($12.5) is future profits and revenue generated from the innkeeper’s tax.  Commissioner Diana Biddle has stated that no taxpayer funds (other than $30K the county has already incurred for legal fees), would be used for Maple Leaf.  The President of the County Council Dave Critser, prior to approving this project, was adamant that no taxpayer money would be used to fund or bailout this project.  In a follow-up conversation on the funding topic, Critser remarked that he has been known to change his mind on funding issues.

For details and a history on this project, see Maple Leaf – For the Record.

2018 Elections – Candidate Positions 

At the recent candidate forum when County Council candidates were asked if tax money should be used to support funding for Maple Leaf, candidate Dave Redding  who is running for the seat vacated by the current President of the County Council, Keith Baker, responded that he would not rule out a “loan.”   The other council candidates did not express support for county funding if this should ever be needed.

Keith Baker is the leading supporter and advocates for Maple Leaf on behalf of the county council.

Commissioner Candidate Kyle Birkemeier has stated that he does not and will not support the use of county taxpayer funds to support Maple Leaf.

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