Hilton Head's Accommodations Tax Committee wants to ground area youth, potentially permanently. The Accommodations Tax Advisory Committee (ATAX) that recommends the allocation of revenue from a tax on short-term lodging recommended that only $5,000 be given to the Main Street Youth Theatre. This is a slap in the face to the future of Hilton Head Island. Over 300 young people from Hilton Head depend on the youth theater to help them develop their acting, dancing and singing talents.
In return, Hilton Head residents and visitors are treated to outstanding theatrical productions at an affordable price. Main Street Youth Theatre relies entirely on donations, grants, fundraising and ticket sales. The grant from the ATAX committee is important and necessary for the theater to stay in existence.
Unlike other arts organizations, which have highly paid staffs and hire from outside the community, Main Street Youth Theatre is an all-volunteer organization from the Hilton Head community that donates its time and efforts to help the youth and the future of Hilton Head Island. Apparently the ATAX committee chooses to ignore the age-old advice that charity begins at home and has decided instead to focus on short-term gains. This oversight could be the final curtain call for the Main Street Youth Theatre.
Hilton Head Island
Editor's Note: Sternitzke is chairman of the Main Street Youth Theatre.