Tracking Your Tax Dollars in Bedford - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Tracking Your Tax Dollars in Bedford

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BEDFORD -

This summer Bedford kids are learning how to make their own pottery.

Later they will design their own picture frames using beads, and your tax dollars are helping pay for it.

The Bower Center for the Arts is supported in part by the Town of Bedford, allowing the center to host summer art camps.

In 2013, Bedford gave the center $7,000.

Bower Center for the Arts Director Sara Braaten said the money is critical.

"We couldn't begin to do without it," she said.

The money goes even further since the Virginia Commission for the Arts matches the town's donations.

That money also goes toward hosting affordable concerts.

Braaten said it's just another way to expand Bedford's cultural community.

"It brings people to the center and together that otherwise wouldn't have that opportunity," she said.

"It's the people and organizations and agencies like that that really make this the town and the area that people really appreciate," said Bedford Town Manager Charles Kolakowski.

He said non-profits like the Bedford Museum are part of the community's identity.

In 2013, the town gave the museum more than $9,000 to help with operating costs.

It also gives $10,000 annually to the National D-Day Memorial, which has its own economic benefits.

"The people who come there and visit also spend money in the area," Kolakowski said. "We hope that it contributes to the overall economy of the area."

Other community spots partner with the town.

The Wharton Memorial Garden is a partnership between the taxpayers and the Wharton Society.

Bedford gives the organization $5,000 per year to help with maintenance.

In exchange, the garden is open to the public.

Kolakowski said these are all good investments for Bedford in 2013, but those organizations will be re-evaluated.

"It's not an open-ended commitment that they are entitled to this money," he said. "They do have to justify it and we do need to justify it ultimately to the taxpayers on how this money is being spent."

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