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City takes first steps toward AHF review

The city has taken the first steps toward rewriting the future of the Arts and Heritage Foundation (AHF).

The city has taken the first steps toward rewriting the future of the Arts and Heritage Foundation (AHF).

The stewardship agreement for the arm’s-length organization expires next year but Mayor Nolan Crouse moved this week to establish a committee to discuss how the next agreement should look.

The foundation has been in existence since 1999 and this will be the third such agreement. The last review in 2007 was basically rubberstamped but there are signs that some changes might be warranted this time, Crouse said.

“There’s a difference in opinion on what it should be and this is the kick start of it,” he said.

The review will involve members of council and the AHF board and will also seek input from city and AHF staff, Crouse said. Council agreed to form a committee consisting of Crouse, and Couns. Wes Brodhead and Cam MacKay.

The AHF operates with its own board but delivers arts and heritage programming on behalf of the city using city funds.

“We’re of the opinion that we’re going to continue on in business, and that we’re going to be looking at a new partnership arrangement,” said AHF chair Alan Murdock.

He said he’s hoping for “more of a partnership rather than a master-servant relationship that has been the arrangement at the present time.”

Crouse was non-committal about the future of the AHF. He said this is the first step in determining its future and all he’s done so far is create a method for all concerned to provide input.

The current agreement expires March 15, 2012. Crouse and Murdock both said the review process is one that doesn’t need to be rushed.

“The process needs to start now because I think different people have different opinions,” Crouse said, “and I don’t want us to jump to the conclusion that there’s one approach. I’m really trying to make sure that we open this up to be an open dialogue.”

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