While each of the speakers at the meeting commended city leaders for taking steps to help Asheville’s homeless residents, some who were also residents at nearby apartment complexes voiced concern about the proposed shelter’s location.
Unlike Asheville and Buncombe County governments, which ended the practice of live remote comment after their return to in-person meetings, the BCTDA will continue to allow members of the public to call into live meetings to comment — an option that was not offered before the pandemic.
Highest on city staff’s list of potential funding priorities were affordable housing, public engagement, homelessness, public and mental health, small business recovery and workforce development.
The new rules will take effect Wednesday, Sept. 15.
In Asheville and Buncombe County, the return to in-person government meetings has also meant a return to in-person public comment — and the end of live remote comment, despite there being no technological obstacle to continuing the practice. The decision has drawn concern from citizens who say it reduces their ability for civic participation.
It’s no secret that officers are quitting the Asheville Police Department in droves, but what’s less certain is why officers are leaving. Xpress reached out to more than 50 former APD officers about their resignations. Only two agreed to share their thoughts, both under the condition of anonymity out of fear of professional consequences at their new jobs.
Nearly all of the members of the public who commented on the issue expressed concern over the amount of money being spent to draw more tourists to the area and asked that the funds allocated for advertising instead be spent on city infrastructure, schools and reparations for Asheville’s Black residents.
During its June 22 meeting, Asheville City Council voted 6-1 to approve the $201.67 million operating budget for fiscal year 2021-22, which includes an effective property tax increase of 2 cents per $100 in valuation and $8.7 million in new spending. Kim Roney was the sole vote against the budget, arguing that the tax increase would harm poorer residents.
What started in 2018 as an effort to update the city’s noise ordinance has led to an impasse among different community factions concerning the specifics.
While City Manager Debra Campbell is still recommending a property tax increase to help cover $8.7 million in new city spending, a staff report available before the meeting explains that a lower rate can be achieved by using other revenue sources.
Newly formed Asheville nonprofit Accessing Needed Crisis and Critical Help Outreach and Resources is proposing a low-barrier, high-access shelter that would forego many of the usual rules for tenants. Start-up costs could reach $6.5 million, with annual operating costs of $3 million, and would initially be funded through Asheville’s approximately $26.1 million in federal coronavirus relief.
As in previous years, members of the public both applauded the city for funding long-promised initiatives, such as the 2018 Transit Master Plan and increases to firefighter pay, and voiced concern over how other taxpayer money would be spent.
The speaker series is part of a three-phase process to create and empower a joint Asheville-Buncombe County Reparations Commission. Once formed, the commission would be tasked with making short-, medium- and long-term recommendations to repair the damage caused by public and private systemic racism.
Asheville City Council and the community will participate in city business face to face for the first time since April 2020. The meeting will take place in the Banquet Hall at Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville at 5 p.m.
The policy required staff members to be fully vaccinated by June 1. Some former employees claim that it violates their civil liberties, while Shoji co-owner Roberta Jordan says safety of both customers and staff is her top priority.
A public hearing on the proposed budget will take place on Tuesday, June 8, during the regularly scheduled Council meeting. The final vote on whether to adopt the budget will take place on Tuesday, June 22.
Work started May 17, and demolition of the 123-year-old monument to Zebulon Baird Vance in downtown Asheville is expected to take two weeks to complete, says city spokesperson Polly McDaniel. Costs to take down the structure block by block will reach roughly $114,000, while an additional $25,500 has been allocated for site restoration following the monument’s removal.
The land would be earmarked for a “transit-oriented development” designed to combine a larger transit center with affordable housing and commercial space.
The latest video surveillance products offer cloud-based data management and high-quality video footage that streams directly to a user’s smartphone. While local detectives express enthusiasm about adding the video footage captured by the cameras to their crime-fighting arsenal, they also note the limitations and privacy concerns of the technology.
The proposed tax rate of 41.3 cents appears lower than the current rate of 42.89 cents, explained city Director of Finance Tony McDowell. However, the median tax bill will still go up from $995 to $1,215 — more than 22% — due to the 27% increase in median property value for Asheville residents assessed by this year’s Buncombe County revaluation.
At their regular meeting of Tuesday, May 11, Council members will consider whether to expand the definition of a kitchen, prohibit the use of detached accessory structures for homestays and require that non-resident property owners be listed as co-hosts on homestay applications.