DCC to review literature city trust

Plans for an independent Dunedin City of Literature Trust could be put on ice, but the city's arts and culture strategy is in line for a possible funding boost, as part of changes to be investigated by the Dunedin City Council.

Councillors will consider two reports, outlining proposed changes to City of Literature governance arrangements and funding for Ara Toi Otepoti - the arts and culture strategy - at next week's pre-draft annual plan hearing.

The first report, by council corporate services group manager Sandy Graham, recommended the council revoke its earlier decision to endorse the creation of an independent Dunedin City of Literature Trust.

The city had been awarded Unesco City of Literature status in December 2014, and councillors subsequently voted to create an independent trust to manage future activities relating to the city's new status.

The initiative was backed by $100,000 in funding allocated for the 2015-16 year, most of which remained unspent, and plans for another $50,000 a year over the next decade.

However, Ms Graham's report, to be considered next week, warned risks to the independent trust model's long-term financial sustainability had since been identified.

The rest of the trust's funding was to come from external parties, but an investigation of potential funding sources, carried out last year, had failed to confirm any ‘‘substantive'' recurring sources, she said.

Without it, the trust's financial, legal and human resources costs were likely to consume the majority of the council's annual funding, leaving ‘‘minimal'' funds for its staff and administrative costs.

Instead, it was recommended the council consider alternative governance proposals and report back later in the year.

In the meantime, councillors would also be asked to consider future resourcing options, noting the $50,000 annual funding remained in the budget, and carry forward $80,000 in unspent funds from the 2015-16 year.

Councillors would also be asked to consider future funding for Ara Toi, after $245,000 was allocated in 2015-16, a report by council arts and culture group manager Bernie Hawke said.

The options included continuing funding at $210,000 a year for the next two years, or an increase to $285,000 a year for two years, with future allocations then decided as part of the next long-term plan.

The extra spending would cover existing fixed-term staff costs, but also provide an increased project budget, of $160,000, to accelerate strategy initiatives.

Another option to be considered was for the council to fund a joint ‘‘creative cities'' role, covering both Ara Toi and City of Literature duties, on a fixed, two-year term.

That would cut the combined cost of the two initiatives by about $80,000, to $262,000, but result in slower progress on both fronts, Mr Hawke's report said.

chris.morris@odt.co.nz

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