The Canal Winchester Art Guild wants to be able to retain $1,500 left unspent from a 2012 city grant of $2,500 but members of Canal Winchester City Council's finance committee have expressed concerns about letting that happen.
The money for the grant came from the city's bed tax.
In a letter to the city, Art Guild treasurer Carolyn Sittler said the group wants to use the money for its 2013 Art Stroll.
"Due to our judicious use of the funds and having only one show, there are unused funds," Sittler said. "I would like to prepay some of the expenses for the 2013 Stroll. If allowed to use the balance of these funds, I see no need for additional city funding for 2013."
City Finance Director Nanisa Osborn told the finance committee on Dec. 3 she did not object to allowing the rollover of funds but said it would set a precedent.
"One way of looking at this is that if they have to spend the money, then they'll just blow it on stuff to get it spent," committee member Steve Donahue said. "Of course, if they ask for money next year and they didn't spend all of it this last time, it makes it easier to feel good about how they'll handle it."
Mayor Michael Ebert agreed that it would be a risk to force people to either spend all of the allocations or return what's left to the city, but he said the reporting requirements attached to the grants make it unlikely the money would be spent poorly.
"If the Convention and Visitor Bureau issues a grant, within a certain amount of time after a group holds an event, they have to submit in writing back to the CVB what the money was used for and it has to be for very specific things," Ebert said.
According to Osborn, the Art Guild originally intended to put on two Art Stroll events in 2012 but ended up holding one large event instead.
Councilwoman Bobbi Mershon said she didn't think the finance committee should set a new precedent and change how this has been handled in the past, even though the CWAG had handled the money well.
"I think they need to return the money and reapply for a grant like everyone else," Mershon said.
Rick Deeds agreed.
"Since they only did one event instead of two, we should ask the money be returned, but we should let them know we appreciate the fact they spent the money wisely, and keep that in mind for next year," Deeds said.
The next finance committee meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m., Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, at Town Hall, 10 N. High St.