A recent inaccurate letter requires our response.
The Arts Center of Coastal Carolina submits two years of financial statements and IRS 990 non-profit tax returns annually with its accommodations tax application. CPA reviews are conducted annually. For two of the past three years, the arts center had surpluses, but suffered a $120,000 loss in FY17 from Hurricane Mathew.
The arts center issue is that the facility was built without endowment, university or government support like other South Carolina arts facilities.
ATAX funding is a visitor-paid tax that, by law, is limited to reimbursement for tourism marketing, programming and cultural facility expenses. The economic impact of the arts center in FY17 was $25.9 million using the Visitors and Convention Bureau Profile and Conversion Factors ($15.8 million from visitors beyond 50 miles) and a resident impact of $10.1 million based on the American for the Arts “2015 Arts and Economic Prosperity V” formula. This is a return on investment of $65 for every ATAX dollar reimbursed in FY17.
Lighting reviews done by a recognized third-party consultant, and an independent town consultant, were completed in August 2016. The consultants concurred that the arts center lighting system needed replacement as soon as feasible to avoid failures that would significantly erode revenues. With the town’s approval for up to 85 percent of a $575,000 investment, the new system will be installed in 2018.
The arts center is a cornerstone of Hilton Head Island’s arts and cultural activities that deserves ATAX funding, as well as town facility support.
Hilton Head Island
The writer is immediate past chairman of the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina.