Asheville City Council preview: Welcoming the Canadians

At tonight’s Asheville City Council meeting, that august governing body will vote on $2.2 million in tax incentives for Linamar’s move into the former Volvo plant, where the Canadian company plans to begin making auto parts before the end of the year. Also on the agenda: larger recycling bins, rates for renting Pack Square Park and deciding which candidates to interview for the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Under the terms of the proposed deal with Linamar, the company will receive the incentives if it follows through with the planned improvements and hiring at its new location. The city of Asheville will, in turn, only charge the company 10 percent of the usual tax rate for those years, totaling about $2.2 million that the company will save, and that the city will not take into its coffers. City staff have endorsed the proposal, and at the deal’s announcement, Council members justified the incentives as a small price to pay for the long-term jobs and investment they believe Linamar will deliver.

Council will also decide which of 16 applicants to interview for a spot on the Planning and Zoning Commission. While an advisory body in many cases, recent changes to city ordinance have made the commission increasingly powerful, as it has final approval over all but the largest projects in downtown. The applicants include Downtown Association Executive Director Joe Minicozzi, Coalition of Asheville Neighborhoods co-founder Barber Melton and activist Steve Rasmussen.

After months of discussions, Council will also consider a new, larger recycling bins, paid for by increasing the recycling fee to $3.50.

Staff will also give Council a report on the current rates for renting out portions of Pack Square Park for events.

Asheville City Council will meet at 5 p.m., August 9, on the second floor of City Hall. The full agenda is here.

— David Forbes, senior news reporter


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