Asheville budget timeline shifts, Council to approve monthlong interim spending

Asheville city seal

Asheville City Manager Debra Campbell’s proposed timeline for the 2020-21 fiscal year budget is likely to shift yet again. Asheville City Council will consider the adoption of a one-month interim budget, slated to cover the month of July, at its meeting of Tuesday, June 23. Council will also weigh rescheduling both its public hearing and adoption vote on the final budget to Tuesday, July 28.

After Council received more than 3,000 community comments on June 9 demanding less money for the Asheville Police Department and greater police accountability, Campbell recommended that the city move the budget hearing to Tuesday, Aug. 25, with budget adoption to take place on Tuesday, Sept. 8. In a June 9 presentation, she said city staff would “spend the next 60 days engaging the community to develop the final budget”; Council members subsequently adopted the amended budget schedule. 

However, as outlined in a staff report available before the June 23 meeting, state law mandates that Asheville must adopt its annual property tax rate by Aug. 1. Because that property tax rate cannot be adopted while the city is operating on an interim budget, the report notes, holding off the budget vote until September “would negatively impact the city’s ability to establish a property tax rate in accordance with the state statutory deadline.”

The proposed one-month interim budget for the general fund, which supports most city operations, currently stands at $8,967,350. The appropriation for the Asheville Police Department is the highest expenditure in that budget at $2,425,966.

The city now plans to take public input into consideration for a budget amendment, to be presented on Tuesday, Sept. 22, that will “determine investments in the Asheville Police Department, other city departments and various community programs.” No further detail about this engagement process was available as of press time. 

In other news

Council will also vote on a proposal for how to spend $615,934 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant to help individuals adversely affected by COVID-19. 

As the proposal currently stands, $399,500 will be used for rental assistance, including eviction prevention, homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing. Costs associated with the city’s emergency response to aid homeless populations will get $156,434, and $60,000 will help cover grant administration and compliance. 

To meet HUD requirements, the funding must show “clarity of need” and help individuals below 80% of the area median income. Additionally, the grant cannot duplicate services and efforts paid for by other state or federal COVID-19 relief funds. 

Consent agenda and public comment

The consent agenda for the meeting contains eight items, which will be approved as a package unless singled out for separate discussion. Highlights include the following resolutions: 

The full meeting agenda and supporting documents for the regular meeting can be found at this link. Due to COVID-19, Council will meet remotely, and the meeting will be livestreamed through the City of Asheville’s Public Engagement Hub

Members of the public may comment in three ways: 

  • Leave a voicemail at 855-925-2801, meeting code 9144, before 5 p.m. on Monday, June 22 
  • Email AshevilleCityCouncilJune232020@PublicInput.com; emails will be accepted for up to 24 hours after each public hearing 
  • Call in to the meeting live at 855-925-2801, meeting code 9144, and press “*” to listen live, leave a comment or join the speaker queue.
SHARE

Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Molly Horak
Molly is a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and writer for Mountain Xpress. Her work has appeared in the Citizen-Times, News and Observer and Charlotte Observer. Follow me @molly_horak

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

5 thoughts on “Asheville budget timeline shifts, Council to approve monthlong interim spending

  1. Enlightened Enigma

    Wow, a petition is growing for Esther to RESIGN! Ditto all of city council! DEFUND City Council !!!

      • Enlightened Enigma

        922 on the Change.org petition noon time 6/23 ! Almost 1000 !!!

        • bsummers

          Wow! That’s slightly over 1% of Ashevilles population, if any of them ARE from Asheville. And Wow! She allowed the City to be completely destroyed, not to mention an entire $1million park! I hadn’t heard of that…

          Wow! but that picture, that’s just mean.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.