Commissioners to name parks, greenways and recreation board on Dec. 3

Buncombe County seal

Getting volunteers to serve on Buncombe County’s boards and commissions must sometimes feel like pulling teeth. Multiple advertisements and ongoing applications are often needed to fill groups such as the Nursing Home Community Advisory Committee and Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee.

With the new Parks, Greenways and Recreation Advisory Board, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners has the opposite problem. During the board’s regular meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 3, in Room 326 at 200 College St., commissioners must whittle down 25 applicants to fill nine available slots.

While the county first established a Recreation Advisory Council in 1973, that group was disbanded in 2013 due to changes in state law. Commissioners unanimously voted to approve the new group on June 4, charging its members with helping the county prioritize capital investments and implement the Greenways and Trails Master Plan.

Notable applicants to the board include Stuart Cowles, president of Climbmax Climbing; Karen Cragnolin, the founder and retired executive director of RiverLink; and Derek Turno, owner and managing partner of French Broad Outfitters. According to the resolution establishing the group, members must be selected evenly from each commission district and should represent the community’s gender, age and racial diversity. (Presenting a challenge to that last criterion, all of the current applicants are white.)

Once selected to the advisory group, four members will be designated to serve one-year terms, with the remaining five serving two-year terms. Members will be limited to three consecutive two-year terms on the board.

In other business

In the only public hearing on the agenda, the board will vote on a tax-exempt loan of over $2 million from First Bank to the Enka-Candler Fire and Rescue Department. As noted by county attorney Michael Frue in a report available before the meeting, the county will not bear any legal responsibility for the fire department’s debt should the loan be approved.

Commissioners will also hear two presentations during the meeting: the first on the county’s Community Health Improvement Process, the second on the audit for fiscal year 2018-19. The audit presentation comes more than five months earlier in the budget cycle than that for fiscal year 2017-18, which audit firm CliftonLarsonAllen regarded as unusually challenging due to fraud among former county leadership and the rollout of a new financial system.

And, as an item of good news, the board will celebrate the county communication team’s win at the annual conference of the City-County Communications and Marketing Association. The department received a first-place Savvy Award for its EmployeeFocus intranet redesign.

Consent agenda

The board’s consent agenda for the meeting contains nine items, which will be approved as a package unless singled out for separate discussion. Highlights include resolutions to:

  • Approve two contracts in support of deferred maintenance at A-B Tech. Novus Architects will receive $169,000 for architectural services, while James R. Vannoy Construction will receive over $35,000 for construction manager at risk pre-construction services.
  • Spend $27,500 of contingency funding to cover a missed contract payment for the Read to Succeed program. The work is managed by a separate nonprofit that is partly funded through the county’s Strategic Partnership Grants.
  • Enter the county’s legal settlements for July through September into the public record. The largest single claim is $200,000 awarded to RAB Builders for “errors and omissions” by the Board of Adjustment, which led to the denial of a conditional use permit to the company’s proposed 214-unit apartment complex on Moffitt Road.

The commission will hold a pre-meeting at 3 p.m. in the same location. The full meeting agenda and supporting documents can be found at this link.


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About Daniel Walton
Daniel Walton is the former news editor of Mountain Xpress. His work has also appeared in Sierra, The Guardian, and Civil Eats, among other national and regional publications. Follow me @DanielWWalton

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