Asheville City Council to review animal ordinance, consider parking garage contract

Asheville city seal

After a monthlong break, the Asheville City Council will reconvene on Tuesday, July 28, to discuss a revision to the city’s animal ordinance and a parking garage operations contract.

First up, though, the Council will introduce the new Water Resources Director Jade Dundas and the new Asheville Police Chief Tammy Hooper.

They’ll also proclaim July 30, 2015 as Elvis in Asheville Day, celebrating 40 years since the famous singer’s visit. (This is also being celebrated at the Orange Peel, where attendants will view a mini-documentary on Elvis’ time in Asheville, a performance by local Elvis tribute artist Carlo Martini and an Elvis-themed dance party.)

Circus-free Asheville

Following a legislative update, the Council will hear a proposed revision to the city’s animal ordinance, removing exemptions for circuses and wild animal exhibitions, for clarity.

“At its Jan. 9 meeting, the Governance Committee confirmed support for a change in the U.S. Cellular booking policy to exclude events which include any performing wild or exotic animals,” reads the review of the proposed revision. “This change effectively acts to prohibit circuses with animal acts from appearing at the U.S. Cellular Center,” after the Council heard a request from local animal advocacy group Asheville Voice for Animals.

Following this decision, the Council began to consider prohibiting these types of events from all city venues to “prevent a situation in which circuses or other events involving wild or exotic animal performances are prohibited at the U.S. Cellular Center, but allowed at other locations within the city limits.”

Changes to the ordinance include altering the definition of “wild animal” to include nonhuman primates, all felines other than domestic house cats, elephants and camels.

Additionally, a new, separate definition is recommended for inclusion in the ordinance, defining a wildlife sanctuary. “Wildlife sanctuary means a charitable organization that is exempt from taxation under section 501(c)(3) … that a) Operates a place or refuge where abused, neglected, unwanted, impounded, abandoned, orphaned or displaced animals are provided care for the lifetime of the animal; b) Does not conduct any commercial activity with respect to wild animals; … c) Does not use wild animals for entertainment purposes or in a traveling exhibit; [and] d) Does not breed any wild animals.”

Sections previously written to exempt circuses, zoological parks and animal exhibitions from certain animal care requirements is recommended for removal.

Click here to read the ordinance revisions in full.

New city garage staff

Up next in New Business, the Council will consider authorizing a contract with Chartwell Staffing Solutions, Inc., for services in the city’s parking garages, surface lots and other facilities beginning next month and ending in June 2018.

“The City of Asheville, through the Parking Services Division, currently operates four parking garages and several monthly parking and pay-by-space surface parking lots downtown,” reads the resolution review. Currently, the “Parking Services Division uses a combination of city employees and contract temporary workers to provide service and customer assistance in these facilities and lots.

“Generally, city employees work during the business day and early evenings while contract temporary services are used for fill-ins, special events, and to extend garage and public restroom hours during late evenings, weekends, and holidays. Use of temporary workers allows the greatest flexibility as needs vary greatly depending on time of year” and the events happening downtown.

“On some days Parking Services may only need one temporary service employee to fill in for a city employee sick or on vacation,” the resolution review continues. “At other times, Parking Services may need six to 15 to support a major event downtown.”

The resolution goes on to explain that, in March, the city’s Parking Services received bids from eight vendors to provide temporary service employees. “Chartwell Staffing Solutions provided the lowest bid for the service,” the review reads. “They are located in Charlotte with local recruiters in the Asheville area servicing their existing clients. The total cost of the three-year contract will be $390,000” and is not to exceed $130,000 per fiscal year.

The Council lists the pros of the company:

  • provides safe and convenient facilities for resident and visitor parking
  • temporary service employees are the most cost effective and flexible way to augment the parking staff requirements
  • allows Parking Services to capitalize on extended weekend/nights/holiday hours
  • special event parking with better customer service, bringing in additional revenue

The only con listed? The project would cost the city $390,000.

However, “the necessary funds for the first year of the contract are already budgeted in the Parking Services’ operating budget for 2015-2016. City staff recommends that City Council adopt [the] resolution.”

Click here to read the resolution in full.

Council will close with informal discussion and a public comment period.

The meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 28, at 5 p.m. on the second floor of Asheville City Hall, 70 Court Plaza, downtown. For the full agenda, click here.

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About Hayley Benton
Current freelance journalist and artist. Former culture/entertainment reporter at the Asheville Citizen-Times and former news reporter at Mountain Xpress. Also a coffee drinker, bad photographer, teller of stupid jokes and maker-upper of words. I can be reached at hayleyebenton [at] gmail.com. Follow me @HayleyTweeet

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