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"Artisphere Over Budget for Third Straight Year"

The Washington Examiner's Taylor Holland writes in today's paper the Artisphere is now "over budget for the third straight year." And you wonder why the five innumerates on the Arlington County Board are set to raise your real estate taxes on Saturday?

We growled about this drain on Arlington taxpayers on June 19, 2012, and on October 26, 2012, we pointed out the tax subsidy for each Artisphere visitor was $41.85. Finally, we growled on March 24, 2013 that senior management in the county is reconsidering it's financial commitment to the artsy crowd's Artisphere.

Here's how Holland begin's his article:

"The Artisphere in Arlington County has busted its budget for a third straight year and needs an extra $800,000 from the county to stay afloat.

"Arlington County officials gave the arts center $1.6 million to start the year, but now County Manager Barbara Donnellan expects it to need as much as $2.4 million to cover its expenses.

"Artisphere spokeswoman Annalisa Meyer attributed the shortfall to low attendance, poor concession sales and underfunded salaries for the center's temporary employees. Still, Meyer said she's confident the center is "heading in the right direction."

"But many Arlington residents and organizations say they have lost faith in the center and are urging county leaders to shut it down.

"I think it's really a part of a larger pattern of launching projects in the county without carefully studying them," said resident Peter Rousselot. "We have this, the aquatics center, the streetcar. They're all examples of excessive spending that is hurting our ability to fund core services."

No wonder, members of the Arlington County Civic Federation's Revenues & Expenditures Committee are urging the County Board to adopt a robust internal audit function, as explained in a story last week at ARLnow.

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