Wednesday, 01 November 2017 11:17

Council meeting Monday to consider theater sale

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Roanoke Rapids City Council Monday will consider an offer to purchase the theater.

A notice was sent out this morning saying council will meet at 5:15 p.m. at Lloyd Andrews City Meeting Hall for the purpose to consider a contract to sell city property.

City Manager Joseph Scherer confirmed this morning the meeting is specifically about the possible sale of the venue.

He declined comment on who is offering to buy the building and what the offering price is. He declined comment on what the intended use of the building will be.

Scherer did confirm the city plans to close the doors of the venue at the end of December to reduce financial obligations and the expense of running the venue.

The theater costs the city roughly $180,000 a year to operate and maintain. The city sees no profit from the shows held at the venue, he said.

Scherer said the city has been in talks with the interested party for a short time.

Council is expected to open the meeting and then go into closed session to discuss the details of the contract.

Any decision after discussions will be made in open session.

Councilman Wayne Smith, who has led the effort to sell the venue, declined immediate comment until he had more information.

Mayor Emery Doughtie declined immediate comment on details of the contract.

He did say, “It’s encouraging. Anytime we’re looking at changing ownership, it’s something we want to do.”

Scherer during budget deliberations in May recommended funding only six months of operational costs for the venue.

City Finance Director Leigh Etheridge said at the time $114,305 was budgeted for maintenance of the building. Maintenance and utilities are the two biggest expenses for the building. That budget line also includes what she called a small amount for the cost of personnel.

The total income for all shows put on for the past year, Etheridge said at the time, was about $30,000.

Scherer said the costs of keeping the theater open not only include the inside of the venue, but the streetlights throughout the entire area.



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