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Arts Foundation Rethinks Tax Hike

So far, the arts group reports raising $66.7 million in cash donations, pledges and public monies. (That total includes the $8.5 million in state funds that has yet to receive final approval from the General Assembly.)

Brad Armstrong, president and chief executive of the foundation, says his group is working to make the lodging-tax model easier to digest for the city and Chesterfield.

Three of the five members of the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors have said publicly they would vote against the tax. Last week, Richmond Mayor L. Douglas Wilder informed Armstrong in a letter "not to return to the city for additional funding," including a lodging-tax increase, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

Armstrong promised to respond formally to Wilder's letter sometime in the next week. He says the lodging-tax increase is the only "funding mechanism" requiring regional support under consideration.

Meanwhile, the reception for the arts center appears to be cooling, even in Henrico. "I'm not sure what the board is going to do," says Tuckahoe Supervisor Patricia S. O'Bannon, adding that she'd like to see another presentation from the arts group. "The most important vote, for our board, is where the city stands." — Scott Bass

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