As recently confirmed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices have been going up over the past year for everything from groceries to gasoline. As the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners is finding out, AstroTurf is no exception.
At the board’s meeting of Tuesday, March 1, members will be asked to approve a $1.25 million increase to the county’s contract with Georgia-based AstroTurf for designing and installing artificial turf fields at the Buncombe County Sports Park. Although some of the cost will be covered by changes to other work at the sport park, the county will also need to provide over $734,000 in new funds.
According to a staff report available before the meeting, the initial cost estimates were developed in 2018, and prices have subsequently increased due to “inflation and supply chain issues.” Tim Love, Buncombe’s director of economic development and governmental relations, also noted in a Feb. 15 presentation to the board that the county had encountered unexpected costs in complying with city of Asheville stormwater and tree protection requirements.
The turf replacement is part of a project known as the Enka Recreation Destination, which includes a 2-mile section of greenway, lighting for the soccer fields and a dog park. The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority, Federal Highway Administration and French Broad River Metropolitan Planning Organization have together contributed $12 million in grant funding toward the work; the county has so far committed about $430,000 to cover budget overruns.
In other news
Stacie Saunders, the county’s public health director, has proposed that Buncombe use a $628,000 pot of state funding to start a new mobile disease prevention program. The Communicable Disease and Infection Prevention Mobile Team would be staffed by six new employees, including two nurses and two “emergency management specialists.”
As currently outlined, the new positions would be time-limited to a period supported by the state funds. No further information was linked to the board’s agenda as of press time.
Consent agenda and public comment
The board’s consent agenda for the meeting contains eight items, which will be approved as a package unless singled out for separate discussion. In addition to the routine approval of previous meeting minutes, the agenda includes approval of two budget amendments. One would accept over $97,000 in federal funds to provide financial support for young adults transitioning out of the foster system; the other would accept $15,000 from Vaya Health to support families whose children are at risk of entering foster care.
The commissioners will also hold a 3 p.m. briefing to discuss Buncombe’s COVID-19 response, input on the planning process for the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests, appointments to the Community Reparations Commission and other matters. The full agenda and supporting documents for the regular meeting can be found at this link.
In-person public comment will be taken at the start of the regular meeting, which begins at 5 p.m. in Room 326 at 200 College St. in Asheville; no voicemail or email comments will be permitted. Both the briefing and regular meeting will be livestreamed on the county’s Facebook page and will subsequently be available via YouTube.