Asheville City Council preview: Jan. 26 meeting

Asheville City Council preview: Jan. 26 meeting-attachment0

Last year, when Asheville City Council patched up the current budget’s $5.3 million hole, one tightened belt was the city’s annual contribution to the Housing Trust Fund, which is used to give developers low-interest loans on construction of affordable housing. As part of its cost-saving measures, Council designated only half of what it usually contributes to the fund, and as a result of that and a changing real estate market, city staff is recommending a 21-point remodeling of the fund. Most notable is a higher priority placed on rental housing, which reflects that fewer people are setting out to buy homes.

Also on the agenda is a 90-day extension of funding for URTV (newly endowed with a name The WNC Community Media Center). The public access channel operates using funds from cable bills that is then allocated by the city and county. But concerns about the operation of the channel has led Council to proceed with caution, including the 90-day partial extension rather than a full year commitment. City staff is also recommending that Council phase out its appointment of two members to the channel’s board, which it says will allow the city to better appraise the board’s performance on the same terms it appraises outside contractors.

But the big event may be the discussion of City Council invocations. Currently, meetings begin with an invocation, with each Council member taking a turn offering a prayer or moment of silence. There is no supporting documentation for this item on the agenda, but with some new Council members at the table, this may be an indication that some want to see the invocation done away with or the method of delivery changed. In December, Buncombe County Commissioners held a closed-session meeting to discuss potential lawsuits arising from public prayer in meetings, but decided later to continue the practice.

Asheville City Council meets on the second floor of City Hall at 5 p.m. Click here for the complete agenda.

Brian Postelle, staff writer

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One thought on “Asheville City Council preview: Jan. 26 meeting

  1. Very relieved to see that City has listened to concerns of the “vocal minority” as per transparency at our local public access station.

    Here are the significant (feet to the fire) changes from the original management agreement:

    B. BOARD MEETINGS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

    1. Contractor shall provide ample public notice of all meetings of the WNC Community Media Center
    Board, or any committee or subcommittee thereof.

    2. Any person is entitled to attend, and may record or broadcast, WNCCMC Board meetings. Any person
    may attend meetings of committees or subcommittees and may record or broadcast said meetings, subject
    to facility limitations.

    3. The WNCCMC Board may go into closed or executive session for any of the reasons set out in N.C.G.S.
    143-318.11(a), to the extent applicable to the activities of WNCCMC. It is specifically recognized that
    WMCCMC may go into closed session as necessary to consider or discuss confidential information,
    provided that the information to be discussed qualifies as confidential information within the meaning of
    N.C.G.S. 132-1.2, or a “trade secret” within the meaning of N.C.G.S. 66-152(2), or to prevent the
    violation or infringement of a copyright or patent.

    4. Full and accurate minutes of each meeting of the WNCCMC Board, including committees and
    subcommittees, shall be kept, including general accounts of all closed or executive sessions.

    And last but not least, because of the attention we’ve placed on non-compliance in this very important area:

    Compliance with the North Carolina Public Records law, N.C.G.S. Chapter 132, shall be prima facie compliance with this Section.vid.

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