Local Politics

Roanoke Rapids approves budget, tax hike

Posted June 25, 2008 10:49 a.m. EDT
Updated June 25, 2008 11:42 a.m. EDT

— The Roanoke Rapids City Council approved a budget Tuesday night that includes a 5 percent tax increse.

The increase, which will cost the owner of a $100,000 an extra $50 a year, will help the city to recover some of the money lost on its investment in the music theater formerly operated by country music singer Randy Parton.

City Manager Phyllis Lee said the increase would help pay for a cost-of-living raise for city employees, but she acknowledged that the city has spent $739,000 more than it has taken in since the Roanoke Rapids Theatre opened.

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.

City officials announced in May that Gilmore Entertainment of Myrtle Beach, S.C., would run the theater and produce its shows.