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As councillors narrowly vote in favour of allocating nearly $100,000 to three shows, not everyone in the Dalles is convinced of their merit
By IQ on 09 May 2016
A taxpayer-funded grant of US$96,500 for three concerts in the Dalles has split the population of the Oregon city.
Councillors in the Dalles, which has a population of just over 15,000, voted 3–2 on 25 April to allocate the money towards to the concerts, which will be organised by local musician Nolan Hare and concert promoter/radio DJ Randy Haines. Two of the shows will feature as-yet-unannounced national-level acts and the third local students, with the city receiving 100 per cent of the revenue from ticket sales.
While councillor Dan Spatz views the concert series as an “anchor attraction” and “investment into the future as much as infrastructure is”, others aren’t so convinced: Russ Brown, who voted against the grant, says: “It’s our responsibility to provide citizens of the Dalles with basic services – sew[age], water, streets – and I have a hard time investing in something I don’t consider a basic service.”
“Should a government agency take that kind of a risk with taxpayer dollars?”
Brown’s position is supported by local newspaper The Dalles Chronicle, which has penned an editorial opposing the concerts. It writes:
Kudos to Brown for this exhibition of common sense. At a time when the costs of government are continually rising – healthcare, payroll, contract labour and materials – every effort should be made to pare back unnecessary expenditures.