Beyond the city’s loan of more than $48,000 for each of the 11 affordable units in West Asheville, which will be deferred for 30 years and accrue no interest, Homeward Bound is also seeking roughly $280,000 in commercial loans and has received $89,153 in federal HOME funding administered by the Asheville Regional Housing Consortium.
What does transit — and the city’s support of its bus network — mean to Asheville? Xpress talked to residents with different perspectives to better understand Asheville Redefines Transit’s role in the community.
Questions linger about the buses’ capability to keep up with their diesel and hybrid counterparts on Asheville’s demanding roads. Issues with the length and battery life of the vehicles have led city officials to delay the planned purchase of three more electric units.
The questionnaire will advise the city on which updates and renovations of the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium best serve community needs. Once the survey is completed, Earl Swensson Associates Architects will draft programming and conceptual designs for the building.
“Building a Climate-Resilient Asheville,” debuted during a June 19 meeting of the city’s Sustainability Advisory Committee on Energy and the Environment at The Collider, focuses on practical steps individuals can take to reduce their vulnerability to extreme weather.
At Asheville City Council’s June 25 meeting, Council member Julie Mayfield flipped on her previous opposition to the project, joining Mayor Esther Manheimer, Vice Mayor Gwen Wisler and Vijay Kapoor to complete a majority vote that allowed the rezoning of the historic building for hotel use.
The county’s strategic thinking on tourism, explained Director of Intergovernmental Projects Tim Love, has focused on “the circulation of tourists to our unique, eclectic and vibrant community destinations.” That mission is driving Buncombe’s current input on the Tourism Development Authority’s Tourism Management & Investment Plan.
County Manager Avril Pinder recommended no substantive changes to Buncombe’s fiscal year 2019-20 budget following a June 4 public hearing, and board members are scheduled to vote on the spending plan. The budget contains over $9.1 million in general fund capital spending, roughly $7.58 million of which will be financed through debt.
Although County Manager Avril Pinder warned commissioners in April that her recommended budget might cause the county to dip below its policy-recommended fund balance of 15%, the projected difference between Buncombe’s assets and liabilities remains over that bar in the most recent version.
Taking place Friday, May 31, at Sierra Nevada Brewing in Mills River, the summit will discuss the role that land use plays in shaping the greater Asheville area’s transportation system and what that system might look like 40 years from now.
The choice between U.S. Cellular and Harrah’s, the brand of two casinos owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, will determine the logo that will grace the Civic Center’s signs, pole banners, receipts and event advertising for the next several years once the current agreement with U.S. Cellular expires on Tuesday, Dec. 31.
The net proposed operating budget stands at $190.31 million, a 5.4% increase over last year’s adopted budget. Campbell said the spending plan aligned with the priorities outlined by Council members in March during their annual retreat, which focused on transit and affordable housing.
Asheville City Manager Debra Campbell said both the city and the private sector need to pitch in to make progress on the issue. “What that says to me is collectively, not individually, we gotta work on this. We need tons of resources to address this issue,” she said.
After an unexpected delay on April 23, Council members will have the final say on the rezoning of the historic structure at their regular meeting on Tuesday, May 14.
The fund, which has grown to over $40,000 through gifts and investments, purchases replacements for downtown trees that are old, diseased or removed for redevelopment. Not all of the trees on Main Street are gifts from the Sherman Fund, but the many that are likely played a role in Hendersonville’s 2018 designation as North Carolina Tree City of the Year by the N.C. Forest Service.
Community members took the opportunity to discuss the issues surrounding the tourism industry in Asheville and hear a presentation from the WNC Green Party about restructuring of hotel occupancy taxes during an April 24 “Re-Imagine the TDA” public meeting.
The total cost of those buses, according to a city staff report, would be approximately $1.5 million, of which Asheville would contribute $225,000 in matching funds. Some members of the public commented that the switch from battery-electric to hybrid buses represented a step backward in the city’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
City Chief Financial Officer Barbara Whitehorn proposed that Asheville institute a program of regularly issued general obligation bonds to support capital improvement projects, while Council member Julie Mayfield discussed a property tax increase to boost Asheville’s operating budget.
Taken together, the adjustments on the docket would generate nearly $1 million in new annual revenue for water operations and capital improvements. In a staff report issued before the meeting, city CFO Barbara Whitehorn estimated the total annual impact of the changes as $6.60 per household.
Over the next few days, said Water Resources Director David Melton, customers may need to flush their water lines and hot water heaters to clear residual sediment. He said that city staff would work to make billing adjustments for customers who used additional water for this purpose.
At a budget work session on March 26, city CFO Barbara Whitehorn reported that Asheville can expect to receive $2.5 million in property and sales taxes from the health system in fiscal year 2019-20 — only half of the $5 million initially estimated by the Buncombe County tax office — then $5 million instead of $8 million for every year to follow.