In a meeting that lasted less than an hour and attracted less than 15 people after the recognition portion of the meeting ended, Asheville City Council breezed through its agenda items this evening. Here are a few of the highlights from tonight’s meeting. Look for a full report from Xpress in the April 18 issue.
•Though Mayor Terry Bellamy was absent from the evening’s meeting, the remaining members of Council unanimously passed a resolution voting 6-0 in favor of equality and in opposition to Amendment One. Before the resolution officially passed, Council member Gordon Smith spoke about the importance of making strides when it comes to equality. Only one person spoke during the public comment related to the resolution, and it was a person associated with the Coalition to Protect All NC Families (an anti-Amendment One coalition). Smith remarked that this showed, “just where our City stands on this issue.”
•Members of Council also discussed the idea of having liaisons for the North Carolina General Assembly and to the the federal government. Vice Mayor Esther Manheiemer stated that a liaison to the General Assembly is crucial when it comes to local issues being discussed in Raleigh, and cited the Asheville Water System debate as an example. Council member Marc Hunt noted that having a liaison would not require an amendment to the budget.
•In unfinished business, Council passed a resolution for a public hearing on April 24 to demonstrate support by Asheville water customers who are in favor of keeping the water’s ownership as it is currently. Bothwell commented that, “it will be nice to hear from local folks who will actually be affected by this instead of legislators from the East.”
•Council recognized the heroic efforts of Jay Bettencourt, the recipient of the WNC Association of Firefighters’ Firefighter of the Year award. Bettencourt was selected for this award based his extreme courage and determination during the fire that took place on July 28, 2011 at 445 Biltmore Ave. Members of Council gave him a standing ovation and thanked him for his valiant efforts in the face of danger.
•April 2012 as Child Abuse Awareness Month
•April 2012 as Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month
•April 15-21 2012 as National Volunteer Week