Art Gallery Extreme Budget Growth

So far we have largely confined our study to the period 2011 to 2020. This is solely because the Audited Financial Statements for these years are available for on the city’s website. The Audited Financial Statements give us a high level of confidence. However as currently constructed they do not provide sufficient visibility for us to see how individual department budgets are growing. However the city does have some information on their website for some departments.  From these I was able to gain some insight into a few and it appears that the rapid growth in budgets is more extreme in some areas.  For example, I was able to compile sufficient data on the Art Gallery, Transit Services, and found a couple examples of extreme growth in the 2022 budget and I’ll discuss each of these in the following paragraphs.

Figure 16; Tom Thompson Art Gallery Actual Tax Burden from 2018 to 2022

The Cultural Services is included in the “Recreation & Cultural Services” cost center in the Audited Financial Statements and consist of the Art Centre and Library expenses. Although the operational budget for Art Centre is not broken out in the Audit Financial Statements a summary of its operations is available on the city’s website for a five year period from 2018 to 2022.  We can see that the burden to taxpayers during this five year period from the Art Gallery operations actually grew by $220,482 or 77.3 %.

This rapid growth becomes very obvious when plotted alongside the budget that would have occurred had expenses been capped at the rate of increase for CPI, shown above in figure 16 as a green line. This is highly irregular for a public institution, especially since two of these years occurred during COVID lockdowns.  We also see that the Art Gallery burden to tax payers experienced double digit growth during this period Surprisingly in two of these years, 2020 and 2021 the growth exceeds 20% per year.