By Ken Michalove, Former Asheville Mayor and City Manager-
Email, Feb. 12, 2014 from Gary Jackson, City Manager to 8 City staff “….The Council direction is to structure direct leases with the non-profit tenants (Asheville Art Museum, Colburn Museum and Diana Wortham Theater) and likewise to alter the role of the Pack Place Board. Under the direct lease arrangement, the city would become owner/manager of the building, replacing Pack Place in operation and management of the building…..”
Taxes were increased 2 cents = $2 million dollars, for the Asheville Art Museum. City taxpayers are being blindsided by this move to destroy Pack Place. The costs to the City taxpayers to take over Pack Place have not been budgeted and will likely be “shell gamed” so the taxpayers will never see the total costs.
Bowing down to the arrogant “back room” demands of the Asheville Art Museum, our City Council has agreed to the following non-budgeted items: pay for a special outside attorney; hundreds of hours of city staff time; spend whatever it takes to turn a single purpose building into a multipurpose building (likely several million dollars in code compliance and constructing a second main entrance); $818,200 in other capital costs; and, $400,000 in operating costs now funded by Buncombe County.
The Art Museum’s reasons for needing a direct lease with the City are false. However, if they were remotely true the current lease could be amended by adding one paragraph.
Cha-ching, Cha-ching, Cha-ching! If the Council doesn’t hear from you they will think this is okay.