This is a love letter.
When County Executive Mark Poloncarz released his budget deficit remediation plan last month, I held my breath. Even though all Erie County cultural funding comprises only four tenths of 1% of the budget, what if it was cut? How would cultural organizations keep their doors open?
Museums, art galleries, historical sites, and especially my favorite local place to unwind for a few hours – The Buffalo Zoo – had been closed for months while fixed costs accrued. Nearly all programs, special events, and fundraising galas are canceled this year. The foreseeable future is not particularly encouraging, either, as most venues will not operate at full capacity until there is a Covid-19 vaccine.
Thankfully, neither the County Executive nor Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw proposed to eliminate this critical source of assistance; they demonstrated their love for culturals in Erie County. No flowers needed. Subsequently, the revised budget was passed unanimously by the legislature. I recognize Chairwoman April Baskin, Majority Leader Tim Meyers, and Minority Leader Joseph Lorigo for keeping our cultural organizations afloat.
So far this year, my organization’s largest source of funding has been Erie County; this support is a lifeline. Because of our elected officials, we have a fighting chance to make it through the worst crisis in our history while continuing to serve our community. Penn Dixie looks forward to providing an outdoors, hands-on science education experience to all this summer and beyond.