Band Tourney Risks Losing A-Tax Funds

BLYTHEWOOD (July 14, 2016) – The Accommodations Tax Committee took a dim view of donating $10,000 to the Town of Blythewood Tournament of Bands at last week’s committee meeting, noting that the Tournament was projecting a profit of $31,000 for this year’s Oct. 15 event and had a similar profit last year.

James Barnes, Blythewood High School Director of Bands, said during the July 6 meeting that the event is a joint venture with Ridge View High School and that the two programs share the profits from the Tournament.

Scanning the application, Committee member Carol Coston asked, “But if you have revenues of $62,100 and expenses of $31,000, that leaves a profit of $31,100. Congratulations on all that profit. So, why are you asking the Committee for $10,000?”

“Because, if we weren’t getting that $10,000 (from A-Tax), we would only be taking home $10,000 in profits, which are split with Ridge View,” Barnes said. “We need the (A-Tax) money for startup costs.”

“We’re interested in helping out events that need help,” Coston said, “and this is a worthy event. But I can’t be concerned with how many splits there are. It comes down to, if we did not give you the $10,000, the profit for the two schools would be $10,000 each (instead of $15,000 each).”

“Yes, and that’s a lot of money for us. This is a major fund raiser,” Barnes said.

“So, we are providing the profit?” Coston asked. “Is that what we’re doing?”

“If we need money up front, it has to be taken from somewhere. It will have to come out of our pockets if you don’t provide $10,000 up front,” Barnes said.

“Where’s the $31,000 from last year?” Committee member Ken Shettles asked.

“The profit is not there now because we don’t have to cover the startup money. If we did have to cover it, then that’s less money we’d have on the back end.” Barnes said.

Committee Chairman Davis Garren asked Barnes how much money the Tournament had in the bank now.

“We’ve got $2,000,” Barnes said.

When Shettles asked what happened to the rest of the profit from last year, Barnes said it had been used in the school’s band program. Asked specifically how the profit was spent, Barnes said it was spent for such things as purchasing music, paying for private lessons for the band students, travel, etc.

“The profit is put into our band budget and we operate on it the rest of the year,” Barnes said.

After Barnes’ presentation, the Committee, in discussing the donation, agreed that the Committee had, basically, been making a donation to the band program.

“We can’t do that with other programs like baseball, drama club, etc.,” Shettles said.

The Committee also questioned why they would be giving Town of Blythewood A-Tax funds to schools (RVHS) that are not Blythewood schools. They also concluded that $31,000 is too much profit for the A-Tax Committee to be giving a donation.

“The profit line (for this applicant) is growing from year to year. Why are we giving so much money to something that’s already profitable?” Garren asked. “Our purpose is to provide seed money or to keep an event going.”

The Committee voted to table the Band Tournament for the second consecutive meeting until it could look more closely at the Tournament’s budget numbers.

The Committee recommended the following distributions of A-Tax funds:

  • $2,000 for the Blythewood Chamber of Commerce to help organize the Big Grab, the 85-mile yard sale that will happen Sept. 9-10, but did not recommend $3,000 for salaries for the Chamber’s Executive Director Mike Switzer and his assistant Kitty Kelly for the event;
  • $1,000 for the Redhawk Invitational, a marching band exhibition, to be held on Sept. 24;
  • $2,000 for the All-Star Tournament that was hosted by the Blythewood Baseball League on June 25-30.

Steve Hasterok, Events and Conference Center Director for the Town, told the Committee that funding is available in the 2017 budget for tourism related events for the Town of Blythewood in the amount of $112,347 (A-Tax) and $79,390 (H-Tax) for a total of $191,737. The recommendations for funding will now go to Town Council to be voted on at the July 25 meeting at The Manor.


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