Harvester Performance Center Receives Hundreds of Thousands In Town Taxpayer Money Each Year
Arts and culture are consistent sources of economic growth. Specifically, arts and culture programs increase economic development by attracting businesses, creating new jobs, increasing tax revenues, increasing quality of living, and promoting tourism.
To musicians and music afficianados, it is difficult to see the Harvester Performance Center as anything but a jewel in the Crown of Rocky Mount.
Unfortunately, through a convoluted structuring of multiple shell corporations, self-serving beauracrats, and severe mismanagement, the Harvester is a drain on Town finances and a luxury very few Rocky Mount citizens get to enjoy.
According to the Town of Rocky Mount, 74% of Harvester ticket holders are not citizens of Franklin County, and nearly 14% are from out of state. We are applying the Town’s numbers to data offered by the U.S. Census Bureau.
In 2019, the Harvester scheduled 144 ticketed shows. With a capacity well in excess of 61,200, they sold 30,918 tickets. Approximately 625 tickets were purchased by residents of Rocky Mount. While that is 13.2% of the Town’s residents, it is only 2% of the Harvester audience.
In 2019, the Town spent $484,161.00 of taxpayer money on the Harvester. That equals $776.66 per ticket purchased by a Town resident. Rocky Mount Town Council spent the equivalent of $102.48 for every man, woman, and child that lives in the Town. It would take 18.45 years of Rocky Mount’s median salary of $26,234.00 to equal what the Town spent on the Harvester in 2019 alone.
It is important to note that these ticket numbers do not include the complimentary tickets received by Town Council Members.
Considering these numbers, it is important to ask, whose quality of life is being improved and at what cost?