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Money-losing theater prompts tax increase

Posted June 12, 2008

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— The City Council on Wednesday approved a five-cent increase to the local tax rate, in part because of financial difficulties at a music theater formerly operated by country music singer Randy Parton.

The local tax rate is set at 62.4 cents per $100 assessed value, and the increase will cost the owner of a $100,000 an extra $50 a year.

City Manager Phyllis Lee said the increase would help pay for a 3 percent cost-of-living raise for city employees, but she acknowledged that financial difficulties at the Roanoke Rapids Theatre made the increase necessary.

Since the theater opened, the city has spent about $739,000 more than the facility has brought in, officials said.

Part of the city's loss comes from a $547,000 buyout of Parton's contract. The theater's former namesake was hired in 2005 to help jump-start the $21.5 million, 1,500-seat entertainment complex along Interstate 95.

Lower-than-projected attendance and revenue, as well as controversies over spending, ultimately led to the city's ending its relationship with Parton in January.

The management company brought in after Parton also terminated its contract with the city in February, claiming the city owed the firm more than $100,000.

Last month, city officials announced Gilmore Entertainment of Myrtle Beach, S.C., would run the theater and produce its shows.

25 Comments

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  • RetGr6 Jun 12, 2008

    Had to happen. Doesn't it always? A few people decide this will be the greatest thing since peanut butter and it ends up in the taxpayer's laps. The group that brought this thing in should have to pay double taxes than anybody else.

  • ifcdirector Jun 12, 2008

    Still it's going to make a great furniture outlet or strip club or used car lot someday.

  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy Jun 12, 2008

    That's just beautiful!!! You pay for yours, and I'll pay for mine!

    "I noticed that none of the events scheduled at the theater cater to Minorities yet Minorities will get hit with the new property tax. They are helping to finance the enjoyment of the larger society who has the $$$ to buy the tickets to begin with."

  • haggis basher Jun 12, 2008

    "I noticed that none of the events scheduled at the theater cater to Minorities"
    What do you suggest?

  • The Fox Jun 12, 2008

    This all started with the NC law to circumnavigate the people & voting on bond issues.

  • WXYZ Jun 12, 2008

    Hmmmm.... Note to Self: Want to leave Wake county, but don't know where to go.... Compared to this...maybe Wake County isn't so bad....but then, I could be wrong.

  • dnc0716 Jun 12, 2008

    Per WRAL "The management company brought in after Parton also terminated its contract with the city in February, claiming the city owed the firm more than $100,000"

    They contract was terminated by the city because of their illegal bookkeeping procedures; hiding bonuses in janitorial supplies. The bonus was not approved by the city, so they hid it, thinking that it would go unnoticed. Please get the facts correct before reporting more negative and biased reports about Roanoke Rapids.

  • fireman1963 Jun 12, 2008

    needmmocash - you're kidding right. What in the world does minority status have to do with anything? To say that is alike to saying if Obama wins, well I opt out of his policies and laws because I didn't vote for him (hopefully no one will).

  • GoHeels88 Jun 12, 2008

    Go Roanoke Rapids! You have always made me proud...

  • lumberman Jun 12, 2008

    With a little more time and effort the theater may turn a profit. We need more advertisement along with more attendance. Note to needmocash if we are going to shut down things in Halifax County that only cater to minorities let's close down the Department of social services. I have paid a bunch into that department and never seen any return on that investment.

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