Sierra Nevada Ballet's Christmas Peanutcracker and Pinkerton Ballet Theatre's Annual Nutcracker Ballet will get a financial boost from the Redevelopment Authority to bring the two holiday classic performances to Carson City once again this year.
The Carson City Board of Supervisors on Thursday authorized spending $1,500 for the "Peanutcracker" and $3,000 for "The Nutcracker" from the redevelopment authority's revolving fund.
The requests are indicative of "the struggles that these fine arts groups are experiencing in this down economy," Joe McCarthy, director of the city's Office of Business Development, told supervisors. "They put a lot of kids on stage, and Pinkerton never came to you before."
But Supervisor Pete Livermore abstained from the first vote, for "Peanutcracker" funding, after stating concerns about opening the door to a string of arts funding requests.
"I've already been contacted," Livermore said. "I'd like to see the Cultural Commission be the evaluator of those funds. It's not who gets in line first. There are 20-some organizations who could be confused about how others can get help. I'm concerned that what we're doing today could show bias."
But Supervisor and Redevelop-ment Authority Chairwoman Robin Williamson said special events fall under the wing of the authority.
"Policies and procedures have been developed, but special events stayed with redevelopment. We have funds in our budget and this is not intended to exclude anyone," Williamson said.
Rosine Bena, artistic director for Sierra Nevada Ballet, told the board that "Peanutcracker" was created "to introduce children to the ballet" and was first introduced here years ago.
"We started this as an outside event for Carson City, but we got rained out and had to move it indoors. We were trying to bring people to downtown Carson City," she said.
Funding for Pinkerton's "Nut-cracker" was more complicated.
Supervisor Molly Walt, who is president of Pinkerton, abstained from the discussion by leaving the room on the advice of the district attorney's office, but protested in an emotional plea, calling the vote "an unfair process" because any motion would fail if Livermore also abstained.
Four out of five votes are required for authorizing redevelopment funds.
"My position is going to stop 45 children from getting this funding," she said.
Williamson said that Walt should be able to vote because she doesn't benefit financially from the decision, but Chief Deputy District Attorney Melanie Bruketta said that "as president, (Walt) is the applicant."
Livermore said that as much as he did not want to show favoritism to any one group, it was not his intent to "close the door" on Pinkerton, so he would vote to support the funds.
The board determined that the expense for both events was minor in comparison to the overall redevelopment plan.
Denise Gillott, Pinkerton's vice president, said the production benefits the downtown.
"We try to keep all our expenses in Carson City," Gillott said, "And we bring in 600-700 people for every show. Some are from Carson City but also from Lyon, Douglas and Washoe."