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The art council’s rate increase was part of a statewide change to how businesses pay for their power, Boyles said.
Businesses are now charged different rates depending on the time of day, which is designed to reduce the state’s overall energy demands during peak times.
In an emailed statement, Mayor Lee Brand said the city appreciates what the arts council does for the local community, which is why it leases the water tower to the organization rent-free.
“I wish we could do more, but the city has its own fiscal challenges,” Brand said, “which is why my priority is to restore staffing and services for police and fire, code enforcement and homelessness and streets and parks.” City spokesman Mark Standriff added that should the arts council have to close the water tower, the city would actively market the property to potential new tenants.
That said, the arts council does not appear to be in any financial trouble.
It reported a loss of more than ,000 in 2014-15, but it ended the 2015-16 fiscal year with nearly ,000 in the bank after expenses.
News broke this week that the Old Fresno Water Tower – one of the most iconic buildings in the city – was at risk of closing.
The Fresno Arts Council, which took over the city landmark in 2014, reported that a PG&E rate hike has left it ,000 short.
Other news reports noted that the city had given the arts council six months to pay its bills or the water tower would be closed.Fresno Chamber President Nathan Ahle said he spoke to Chavez about a year ago and offered his advice on how to raise more money. Regardless, the chamber – also a nonprofit – would not be able to give any.