STANFORD — The Stanford City Council is merging its Arts and Main Street programs as part of its budget for the new fiscal year, eliminating the position of Main Street program director, currently held by Andrea Miller.
Mayor Bill Miracle said the combining of the Main Street and Arts and Music programs was a necessary step in the tough economic climate.
"This is all for financial reasons," he said. "We're combining the two programs to kind of cut back and save on expenses."
Miller, who was out of the country when the city council approved the first and second readings of the new budget, knew the elimination of her position was a possibility and understood the situation, Miracle said.
"She has done a great job with it (the Main Street Program)," Miracle said. "It was just a financial circumstance."
Arts and Music Director Bob Swett will take over leadership of the merged program, retaining the same $22,800 salary he had last year, according to the city budget.
Swett said he hopes the boards of directors for both programs will stay on and help maintain the existing structures so Stanford's arts scene can continue to thrive.
"I hope that Andrea stays on board. As active as she is, we need people like her," Swett said.
Stanford's fiscal year 2013 budget, which passed its second reading unanimously Monday night, shows the $10,000 budget provided for the Main Street Program the previous year has been zeroed out.
The budget for the new combined Main Street and Arts Program is $8,701 larger than the budget for the Arts and Music program was last year.
In addition, the budget anticipates an increase of $24,000 in income from the combined program — a 260-percent increase over last year's budgeted income.
Miracle said the Arts and Music Program actually brought in much more than last year's budget anticipated, which is why the expected amount for the coming year has been increased. Because the program was relatively new, last year's estimated income was "pretty much a guess," he said.
"The program is growing and it is doing well and based on what it did last year I think the number we put in this year for it is a very feasible number," Miracle said.
The total expected income from the new combined program — $39,000 — is $9,577 less than the budgeted expenses for the program of $48,577.
Swett said he intends to continue working hard to bring people to downtown Stanford and the Community Arts Center in his role as director over the new combined program.
"I will do my darndest to keep the town as active as possible," he said. "(Andrea and I) have worked really, really good together, but there comes a time I guess that the city has to make some changes."
Other substantial changes to Stanford's budget compared to last year's include:
• $131,750 more in occupational tax income thanks to the recent annexation;
• an $80,000 contribution to an emergency reserve fund and a $20,000 contribution to a building repair and preservation fund, both of which were recommended by auditor Craig Butler; and
• a savings of $12,200 from hiring a part-time Road Department employee instead of replacing a full-time employee who retired.