New Winyah Auditorium board launches emergency membership drive

  • Thursday, August 28, 2014

Taylor Griffith/South Strand News Newly-appointed members of the Winyah Auditorium Board of Directors meet to discuss the revival of the organization. From left, Michelle Randolph, President Tom Martin, Treasurer Bonnie Mercer, Debby Summey and Dr. Jerry Crosby. Not pictured in Secretary Linda Lauro.

The new Winyah Auditorium Corporation Board, appointed by city council Aug. 21, was tasked with developing an emergency fundraising plan at its first meeting Aug. 25 to save the auditorium from the courthouse steps.

Tom Martin, elected president of the board minutes before, informed his colleagues the organization has received several notices of levy from the county for back taxes, totaling $8,363.04, due Sept. 30.

A quick glance at the checkbook revealed there is only $1,141 in the bank.

After discussion, the group decided to launch an emergency membership drive to raise the funds in the one month. If the Sept. 30 payment deadline is missed, penalty fees will be added to the amount. If no payments are made, the property will head to the auction block on Nov. 3.

The board planned to write a newsletter for the upcoming season, which they decided will be from Sept. 15, 2014 to Sept. 14, 2015.

The membership rates will be based on those from 2013, which Debby Summey, board member and former auditorium director, provided.

Sept. 25 will be the “drop dead” date for membership dues, they decided.

The board hopes to get the newsletters in the mail by Sept. 3, and will have a working meeting on Sept. 2 at 6 p.m. to address the newsletters.

Information about the membership drive will also be disseminated via email to personal contacts of the board members, and in person at the 1980 to 1985 Winyah High School class reunion this weekend.

Board member Jerry Crosby said that while he’s content with just reaching out to past members now – who are mostly Winyah High School alumni – in the future the board should work to expand its membership base. Other board members agreed.

Martin mentioned in the future a problem with taxes may be avoidable, as the Winyah Auditorium Corporation in a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and should be exempt.

However, the previous board never applied for the exemption. He said the body’s nonprofit documents predate many tax bills, and after some investigation there is a possibility the taxes may be reimbursed.

The taxes aren’t the body’s only money problems though; once the immediate tax issue is addressed, it will work to pay past-due regime fees (for operating expenses such as electric bills) and create an operating budget for the upcoming season.

Planning events for the season was also a topic of discussion at the meeting. Martin said his goal is to plan a free event for each week at the auditorium by October.

Summey brought up the idea of starting an acting troupe at Winyah.

Creating and updating a web presence was also discussed.

Officers were also elected at the first meeting. Of the six board members – Martin, Summey, Crosby, Michelle Randolph, Linda Lauro and Bonnie Mercer – Lauro was elected secretary and Mercer was elected treasurer.

All were present, except for Lauro who was elected in absentia.

The next board meeting of the Winyah Auditorium Corporation Board, following the Sept. 2 working meeting, will be Sept. 25 at 6 p.m. on the second floor of the auditorium.

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