More Than 50% of Statesboro’s Summer Concert Series Funded by Taxpayers

As the City of Statesboro gears up for another year of its Downtown Live summer concert series, TheGeorgiaVirtue.com examines the cost of the event to taxpayers. 

The 2023 Downtown Live summer concert series, which featured four concerts in downtown Statesboro, was touted by the city as a great success in terms of entertainment quality and attendance. The concerts were offered free to the public. As such, the city is considering doubling the number of concerts in 2024.

But records show that the total cost of the events well exceeded the donation and sponsorship totals, leaving taxpayers to fill the gap of nearly $29,000.

Notably, the subsidized event came just ahead of the city council’s vote to increase taxes by 30% — 13% increase in the millage rate itself, on top of 17% inflation in the assessed value of taxable property in the city limits. That increase still left the city with a need to plan to dip into the reserves for FY 2024, to the tune of approximately $1 million, in order to balance the budget. Similarly, the city has had a net increase in taxes every year since at least 2017.

Summer Concert Series Expenses and Sponsorships

According to records obtained by TheGeorgiaVirtue.com, the City of Statesboro’s downtown concert series had a total cost of $56,394 while donations, of the cash and in-kind variety, totaled $27,677, leaving a balance of $28,717.

Donations
  • $15,000 – Bulloch Solutions
  • $1,000 – Coca-Cola (plus an in-kind donation outlined below)
  • $750 – Synovus
  • $250 – Capital Gaines Enterprise, LLC
  • $250 – Integrated Power Connections, Inc.
  • $250 – Franklin Toyota
  • $250 – Franklin Chevrolet 
  • $250 – Bulloch NAACP

=$18,000 in cash donations 

Other non-cash donations were as follows:
  • $4,995 in-kind from Grice Connect in the form of advertising
  • $2,132 in-kind from Coca-Cola
  • $1,500 in-kind from Visit Statesboro & the Downtown Statesboro Development Authority for advertising & man hours
  • $550 in-kind from Averitt Center and 63 East Main, LLC for green room space 
  • $500 in-kind for food catering 

= $9,677 in donated products and services 

=$27,677 in cash donations and donation products/services 

The following documents were provided to TheGeorgiaVirtue.com in an Open Records Request.

It should be noted that the City recorded Vandy’s as a cash donation, but the breakdown says ‘in-kind.’ This makes for an incorrect total on the ‘sponsorship cash/check’ total on page 2 of the event expenses. Additionally, the second document lists Bulloch Solutions as a 2022 donor, but the donation was made in 2023.

Additionally, the documents reflect a mission statement which says, “Goal to bring more activities to the Downtown Area with a series of concerts.’ That statement suggests that the event aligns more with the operations of the Downtown Statesboro Development Authority (DSDA) or Visit Statesboro! than it does the City of Statesboro as a governmental entity.

Similarly, the DSDA sponsors and hosts most events in downtown Statesboro, such as F1rst Friday, given its mission and goals, but was listed only as a “supporter” of the Downtown Live concert series. 

Jessica Szilagyi

Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of TGV News She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement and corrections. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia.

Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and a commentator on the 'Let Me Tell You Why You're Wrong Podcast.'

Sign up for her weekly newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gzYAZT

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