In 2019, The Harvester lost $158k on $1.92m in revenue. There was a statement by Assistant Town Manager Matt Hankins that because the Harvester paid $42k in rent to the town the loss was less. This is the type of financial gimmickry that doomed MCI/Worldcom.
On top of the $158k, the Town "contributed" another $508k to the operation of the Harvester. So the total loss for 2019 was around $666k (eek!).
Thank you, council member Jon Snead, for requiring the numbers. It would’ve been governance malfeasance for council to vote on the budget without them.
So where is the money coming from to cover these losses? Or, as Hankins explains it "expenses." Are there unknown payments from the town? Is there an undisclosed stockpile of cash in the Harvester's LLC bank account?
I looked at the proposed town budget. I do not believe the council is getting accurate information with respect to the Harvester. In fact, FY21’s numbers don’t add up as printed. When did town management have any semblance of the 2019 losses? January? February? It wasn't May 21st. Is the council being played?
In total, it looks like about $200k was needed to cover the Harvester in 2019. From where, though? I’d like to see the balance sheet, cash flow reports and even ledger.
And who owns the Harvester LLC? Is it independent of the town, part of the town? Trying to have it both ways is disingenuous.
I have questions of the nonprofit Friends of Live Music in Rocky Mount, too. Was there a commission check to its Executive Director Matt Hankins? If true, this is a conflict of interest and should be returned. The board needs to wrest back control. In my opinion, Matt Hankins cannot be the Assistant Town Manager, CEO of the Harvester and Executive Director of the nonprofit at the same time. Pick one.
The Harvester is losing too much money and is poorly managed, the council is ineffective in its oversight, the nonprofit needs to insert itself more, and I believe it's time to outsource the Harvester to "perform" as intended.