Mayor Saffo: No free concerts for council members

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo is pushing back against a proposal for the city’s new amphitheater that could allow council members to get free VIP tickets to shows.

At an agenda briefing meeting on Monday, council discussed an ordinance that would allocate $14,124 to purchase a season box at Live Oak Bank Pavilion at Riverfront Park.

The box would be used for economic development purposes, like entertaining companies considering a move to the area.

The proposal from city staff would allow council members to participate in these outings, but Saffo says council will not support this.

“We felt very strongly that we need to make a statement as council members that our intention is not to get any of those tickets,” Saffo said. “Those tickets belong to that box and they can only be used for economic development purposes determined by the city manager and City of Wilmington.”

Saffo says the box would be paid for by rental agreements with Live Nation as well as money generated from the venue. No taxpayer dollars would be used to pay for the box, and council members would not have special access.

“Each council member if they so choose to go to a concert will pay for their tickets just like anybody else does,” Saffo said.

If the box was not being used by the city for a particular show, those tickets would be sold to the public.

City council will vote on an amended ordinance Tuesday.

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