The Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts has been a huge success since it finally opened Sept. 2, 2021, setting numerous records for attendance.

The Tanger Center was scheduled to open on March 20, 2020, but COVID restrictions delayed that opening for over a year.

Because of the success of the Tanger Center, at the Tuesday, Dec. 19 City Council meeting, the council approved transferring $1.5 million from the Tanger Center operating fund to the Tanger Center General Capital Improvements Fund.

Mayor Nancy Vaughan said that this was not allocating money to the Tanger Center, but, “This is to be able to spend some of the money the Tanger Center has made.”

The agenda attachment states, “In each of the past two (2) full years of operation of the Steven Tanger Center for Performing Arts, facility and other revenues exceeded expenses (including covering debt service of approximately $2.8 million). No General Fund or taxpayer support has occurred. As such, available funds were accumulated in fund balance in the Tanger operating fund and were designated for future debt service ($500,000) and future capital improvements ($1,000,000) as of June 30, 2023, allowing the City to build up reserves in the enterprise fund for these purposes.”

Many people have expressed concern that the method of financing the Tanger Center without using property tax dollars would not be successful and the City Council would have to dip into tax revenue to make up the difference. The fact that the Tanger Center has been able to pay all its expenses and has enough excess revenue, what some might call profit, to transfer $1.5 million into a fund where it can be used for improvements is a good indication that the financing method is working even better than projected.

After the 9-0 vote to approve the transfer of $1.5 million to the capital improvements fund, Vaughan said, “This is money that the Tanger Center has earned that we are allowing them to spend.”