City Council preview: Downtown Police Enhancement, Operating Budget

Next week’s regular meeting of the Asheville City Council will include presentations on the 2014-15 Annual Operating Budget, an update on Asheville Police Department’s Downtown Enhancement Plan and approval affirmation of the Cambria Suites Hotel project at 15 Page Avenue.

According to Asheville PD, the downtown area saw a significant increase in violent crime and property crime during July and August 2013, compared to the same months in 2012. APD introduced the downtown enhancement plan to increase patrols in the downtown area and reduce the level of criminal activity, and the results are in: During a 90-day evaluation period, property crime decreased 23 percent and overall violent crime decreased 24 percent compared to the previous year.

The APD’s 2014 update includes a homeless outreach program, updates to its shoplifting and graffiti guide and a “safe cam” initiative encouraging property owners to utilize their surveillance cameras to make the area safer for the community.

The 2014-15 Annual Operating Budget contains “few operational changes from the previous year,” according to a document City Manager Gary Jackson gave to Council. The proposed budget of $147.5 million includes a 3 percent pay increase across the board for city employees as well as $300,000 for the 90-day Graffiti Clean-Up Initiative that Council approved in April.

Also on the agenda is a public hearing for a conditional zoning permit for changing an area off Deaverview Road to to Office Conditional Zoning, which would allow for the construction of a new dental office. City staff has recommended that the conditional zoning be granted.

City Council meets Tuesday, May 27, at 5 p.m on the second floor of City Hall.

The current agenda can be found here.

 

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About Jesse Farthing
Jesse Farthing can be reached at jefarthing@gmail.com.

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