It’s a packed agenda for Asheville City Council Tuesday night, as it considers the fate of the Ashevillle Film Festival, new financial arrangements with the Grove Arcade and the passage of the long-debated city budget.
The budget that Council is set to pass puts the Asheville Film Festival on hiatus for this year. The festival, run by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, has historically lost money and now Council will consider a range of options, including leasing or selling the trademark to another party, privatizing the festival entirely or continuing the festival under city control with $130,000 set aside for its operations per year. — In the interest of full disclosure, it should be known that this reporter is one of the organizers for another local film festival, the Ricochet Film Festival, set to take place this September.
The city has also faced trouble with the Grove Arcade, which claims it’s unable to make scheduled debt payments due to the cost of maintaining the historic building. Council will consider a new arrangement where the arcade gets $60,000 taken off its bill annually, due to the jobs and property tax revenue it provides.
Facing tight budget times, Council has wrangled over the budget for months, and is finally set for a final vote on the next fiscal year’s budget.
Council will also: hear a presentation on the Western North Carolina Media Center, which includes public access channel URTV and is facing closure in September due to lack of funds; consider conditional zoning requests for office space on Sand Hill Road as well as the Buncombe County Courthouse’s life safety tower addition; and hear a report on Asheville’s energy independence efforts.