Busy Tuesday ahead for City Council: budget worksession followed by regular meeting

The roof of Asheville City Hall.

City Council will begin a full afternoon and evening on Tuesday, March 22 with a budget worksession. The session will begin at 3 p.m. in the first floor conference room in City Hall. Materials for the session will be posted online during the morning of Monday, March 21.

Directly after the worksession, Council will meet in its chambers on the second floor of City Hall at 5 p.m.

Three proclamations will kick off the meeting:

  • Recognition of the American Planning Association’s North Lexington Avenue Great Main Street award
  • Proclamation proclaiming March 29 as “Welcome Home Vietnam Veteran’s Day”
  • Proclamation proclaiming April 6 as “Tartan Day”

Consent agenda

Council’s consent agenda includes:

Public safety measures including accepting a contract with the state for funding a hazardous materials response team based in Asheville, applying for a Department of Homeland Security grant that would fund nine additional firefighter positions for a period of two years and applying for a grant that would support fire prevention and life safety programs.

Two development-related measures including a public-private partnership with the developer of the Patton Place Apartments at 246 Patton Ave. for stormwater management improvements and a sanitary sewer easement for Busbee Mountain View subdivision on West Chapel Road.

Several matters concerning city greenways:

  • For the Clingman Forest and Town Branch greenways, an amendment to the contract for architectural and engineering services with Sitework Studios for an additional $45,000
  • Authorization to accept several easements for the future Rhododendron Creek Greenway, which will  begin at the Hominy Creek Greenway on Shelburne Road near the former Armory and extend to Sand Hill Road near Vance School
  • Application for a Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant in the amount of $500,000 for recreation and park amenities on the East Bank of the French Broad River Greenway
  • Agreement to enter into a 99-year ground lease with Duke Energy for 48 acres of property at 98 Desota St., which will allow Duke Energy to continue to maintain a utility substation and transmission lines on the property while accommodating the city’s French Broad River Greenway West

The establishment of an Energy Innovation task force with Duke Energy, the city and Buncombe County. The task force will pursue three main goals:

  • Education/training/communication through active community engagement to drive more energy-efficient behavior.
  • Technology development and implementation through deliberate investment in distributed energy resources (primarily solar) and storage.
  • Greater access to and promotion of energy efficiency products and programs and demand-side management offerings.

Presentations and reports

Council will hear an update on participation in the city’s Homestay program. The ordinance regulating the program was amended on Nov. 17, 2015. Since then, the city has received 52 applications for Homestay permits, of which 46 have been granted. A large majority of the properties for which permits have been sought are located in North Asheville.

Council also will hear an update on the Interstate 26 connector project.

Public hearings

Council will hear public input on the closure of two alleyways: an unnamed alley near 119 and 121 Sand Hill Rd. and an unnamed alley between Oteen Park Place and Pine Cone Drive. In both cases, adjacent property owners requested the closures, and the Multimodal Transportation Commission has approved the requests.

Council will also hear public input related to the conversion of a city-owned property at 338 Hilliard Ave. for the development of affordable housing. Technically, there will be four public hearings related to different aspects of the conversion of the property from its current use as a parks maintenance facility into a site for multi-family residential housing:

  1. Rezoning of a portion of the property from Community Business District 1 to Central Business District
  2. With the rezoning, a change in the height zone for the property
  3. Lifting of a federal deed restriction on the property
  4. Approval of the Request for Proposals process for the disposition of the property for the purpose of affordable housing development

New business

Council will consider proposed fee increases for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, including:

Parks & Recreation

  • Aston Park increases according to schedule; $22,000
  • Adjustment to WNC Nature Center fees (no change to admissions)

Solid Waste

  • Fee Increase from $10.50 to $14/mo.; $1.1 million

Stormwater Fee

  • 5% overall increase; $252,000

Water Rate Increases

  • 1.5% single family, multi-family and small commercial
  • 3.5% large commercial and manufacturing
  • $473,000

US Cellular Center

  • Various fees and charges changes; $28,000

Transit

  • To be discussed in worksessions

Motor Vehicle Fee

  • Recommend $30/year fee, increase of $20
  • $1.4 million in additional restricted revenue [per legislation adopted by the General Assembly in 2015, additional revenue from any increases above the current $10 fee must be used for street maintenance.]

Parking Fund fees

  • Parking study currently underway

Development Services Department fees

  • Fees to be evaluated
  • Cost recovery
  • Benchmarking

Council also will consider adopting the Haywood Road Corridor parking study prepared by Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. in June 2015 for a cost of $53,400. The study was presented to the Planning and Economic Development committee of City Council on Feb. 16, 2016. The committee recommended that the study be adopted.

Board and commission vacancies

Council is currently accepting nominations to fill vacancies on the city’s Haywood Street Advisory Team; Public Art & Cultural Commission; and Recreation Board. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, April 6, 2016, at 5:00 p.m. Call 259-5601 for an application form.

The agenda for this meeting of City Council with links to supporting documents is available here.

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About Virginia Daffron
Managing editor, lover of mountains, native of WNC. Follow me @virginiadaffron

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20 thoughts on “Busy Tuesday ahead for City Council: budget worksession followed by regular meeting

  1. Big Al

    There is no need for a “Proclamation proclaiming…”.

    Just announce “The Proclamation of (date) as (whatever) Day.”

    Who got Tartan Day on the agenda? Long overdue I say, but I doubt 99% of Americans (or Ashevillains) know what it is.

    • Virginia Daffron

      Big Al, good point. Duly noted!

      Learned tonight that this is actually the third proclamation of Tartan Day.

  2. Lulz

    LOL, fee us all to death while also increasing property taxes too lulz. Again, why the double and triple charges and where is all this money going? Come on media, instead of being glorified announcers for the status quo, how about actually doing something useful?

    • Lulz

      But, but it’s a mandate LOL. All of what, 14,000 total voters in the last council election lulz?

        • Peter Robbins

          A worthwhile comment would have identified the fees that ought to be reduced and explained why fiscal prudence permits the change. I’m sure a city government that has achieved only a triple-A bond rating would appreciate any assistance it can get.

          • bsummers

            Too reasonable by half, as usual.

            I want to know what “24 Hours ago…” is supposed to mean.

          • Peter Robbins

            I think he’s trying to say that — despite his generous patience — nobody has been able to identify a single proposal to lower a fee, charge or tax, which proves that . . . well, I can’t be expected to understand everything.

      • Peter Robbins

        Trying to predict what fiscal actions will be taken in the indefinite future is as speculative as trying to predict what appeals the state Supreme Court will take for review. Only a fool would try.

      • Council triples Asheville vehicle charge, raises other fees
        City residents will pay more to own a car starting this summer after the City Council voted Tuesday to triple the municipal vehicle license fee…
        avlne.ws/25lTfua

      • An attack on the poor:
        City approves fee increases for FY 2017: car registration fee to go from $10 to $30
        bit.ly/1q1Tp9G

  3. bsummers

    Before the predictable faux outrage over the water rate increase, remember that MSD Director Tom Hartye said in 2012 (before he got the memo about sticking to the talking points), that if they took over the water system, ratepayers could probably expect to see higher rates than if it stayed with the City.

    “Regarding MSD taking over Asheville’s water system, Hartye said the city system was well-run. There would be a few efficiencies if MSD took over, but officials running the sewer system would likely recommend an increase in the spending on maintenance and new construction.

    “That could mean the current 125,000 city and noncity water customers would see small annual increases of the same kind sewerage customers experience, said the MSD director.”

    http://www.citizen-times.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2012303220019

    Not long after this, MSD residential/industrial customers saw a 2.5/4 percent increase in their sewer rates.

    http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2014/06/11/msd-votes-raise-sewer-rates-asheville-area/10340533/

    • Lulz

      LOL, beats the vehicle fee increase of 150% lulz. Lemme guess, it’ll go to maintain the streets LOL. But only around the RAD just like everything else lulz. Say, when do the artist and brewers start to pay their fair share?

      • bsummers

        Are you saying artists and brewers don’t pay their fair share already? Brewers especially will be paying a little more, with the water increase.

        And I’m sure you were just as outraged when the State raised taxes (actually created whole new taxes) on things like auto repair, etc., right? Your $200 auto repair now costs you $15 more than it used to. Those darned liberals in Raleigh… oh wait. Never mind…

        • Lulz

          LOL, deflect is the name of the game lulz. You mean all those incentives and handouts that the breweries and the RAD are getting plus instant infrastructure upgrades is their contribution? But don’t they have to pay for it? Not in this town.

          Actually taxing labor so the crooks can get more is pretty low. Maybe they’re taking lessons from the crooks here LOL? They sure are great teachers at being thieves and cons lulz.

          • luther blissett

            LOL lulz Lo!l1l1l1

            The fact that the GOP state legislature is busily picking your pocket and sending the proceeds to Art Pope — checked your state tax return yet? — is lost on the collection of stupid verbal tics that is ‘Lulz’.

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