A-tax funding approved; no money for Sculpture

  • Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sculptures located throughout the town’s parks add a special feel to an otherwise nondescript corner. The sculptures are placed in the parks by Sculpture in the South. LATRICE BENNETT/JOURNAL SCENE

Town Council approved state accommodations tax disbursements Wednesday with no funding for Sculpture in the South.
Before the vote, incoming Director Jim Reaves told council that, contrary to his comments at Monday’s finance committee meeting, he wasn’t sure whether the group would hold its annual show and sale in the spring.
“I can’t stand before you tonight and guarantee that,” he said.
Reaves said later he learned after Monday’s meeting that more board members than he realized planned to step down from the board.
Legally, the group needs only three board members, he said, but he wants more representation on the board.
He said he expects to hold a membership meeting after the next board meeting to recruit new board members.
The organization could decide it no longer wants to have a show and sale, he said, but he anticipates it will go on with the annual event.
The shows have not made a lot of money – a few thousand dollars – but they’ve never lost money, he said.
“As long as it stays in the black, I really consider it viable,” he said.
In addition to hospitality and accommodations tax grants from the town, the group has also received funding from the S.C. Arts Commission, independent organizations and membership dues, Reaves said.
Councilman Aaron Brown urged council to remember Sculpture in the South when it debates hospitality and local accommodations tax funding during the budget retreat in August.
“I hope that the council will not forget about Sculpture in the South,” he said, noting he attends the show every year.
“I think they’ve done a wonderful job for the town,” Brown said.
Reaves said he wants to attract more locals to the show, to build excitement about the show and sculpture in general.
“When families show up with kids and pack the park looking at sculpture, that generates excitement around the whole event,” he said.
Sculpture requested $15,000 in state accommodations tax funding. In recent years, the group has received between $4,000 and $11,900 in state accommodations taxes.
The hospitality and accommodations taxes generally need to be used for promotion and advertising, so losing grants from the town will lessen the group’s ability to get the word out about its annual show, Reaves said.
Groups and events that received funding were: the Flowertown Players, Omar Shriners homecoming convention, Summerville Community Orchestra, the Chamber, Summerville DREAM, Summerville Family YMCA Flowertown Festival and the Summerville trolley pilot program.
They shared almost $180,000 in accommodations taxes, an increase from last year when the town had $109,627 to disburse.
Councilwoman Kim Garten-Schmidt recused herself from the vote because she is a member of this year’s Leadership Dorchester class, which is promoting the trolley tour.

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