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Wilmington City Council members rewrite ticket policy, postpone purchase of Live Nation VIP seats

Riverfront Park
File
/
City of Wilmington
Wilmington's North Riverfront Amphitheater (recently rebranded as the Live Oak Bank Pavilion).

At its Tuesday night meeting, the Wilmington City Council discussed the purchase of $14,000 worth of VIP seats at Riverfront Park.

The original plan was that tickets would be used for economic and community development, and for employee recognition. Any unused tickets would be available for city council members, and any unused tickets would be offered to city employees and then the public.

Related: City Council may spend $14,124 for VIP season tickets at Live Nation amphitheater, adopt ticket policy

After community criticism — based on reports in the media — that tickets could be a personal benefit for council members, the policy was changed. The Council and Mayor Bill Saffo agreed that tickets would only be used for economic development. Saffo also noted that, while the VIP seats could be given away to potential economic partners, elected officials would have to pay their own way.

“Council members, because this was a big thing the other day, are going to pay for their own tickets," Saffo.

Council also delayed a vote that would have allocated the $14,000 from the general fund. Instead, the money for the VIP box will come from revenue generated by the park — and the funding will receive a vote once the revenue from the first events at Riverfront park have come in. That money should come to the city by fall.

Mayor Saffo made a point of reiterating the distinction that this money was not "tax payer money." What does that mean? The city later called it a "nuanced point," but acknowledged that while the money was not directly from taxes, because it came from rent from Live Nation, it was public money; the city also acknowledged that the revenue was generated from a venue that was funded by tax payer money.