Buncombe Commissioners consider budget, URTV situations

Here’s a compilation of Xpress reporter Jake Frankel’s live tweets from the June 1 meeting of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners:

In “Green News”: Vicki Mathews, principal of Owen Middle is commended. Owen is the only school in WNC to receive Prog. Energy’s “Sunsense Award.” Owen Middle will get 20 k worth of solar panels.

Commissioner Carol Peterson reads a proclamation designating June “Elder Abuse Awareness Month.” Proclamation is adopted 5-0.

County Manager Wanda Greene sums up the FY 2011 budget. No new taxes, focus on “core services”, smart partnerships. County budget taps fund balance reserves to pay for services rather than raise taxes. Public hearing starts now on budget. No vote today.

Enka resident Jerry Rice gives budget a grade of F. Says Greene hasn’t gone into enough detail explaining it. Rice wants tax decrease, questions county employee pay increase, wants more focus on industry jobs rather than tourism. He is the only citizen to speak out during the public hearing.

Now a public hearing on Scattered Site Rehabilitation Grant from NC Div. of Com. Assistance. No other public comments on grant. Commission votes to approve 5-0. Rice asks: have we learned anything from grant about what demographic needs help?

Amy Sawyer is presenting an update on county/city 10-year Plan to End Homelessness. Sawyer: 550 homeless people on the streets of avl on any given night. Twenty-six percent are veterans. First goal of Homeless Initiative is to prevent homelessness, it provides financial assistance, rental assistance, case management; makes use of state and fed. funds.

Sawyer: There’s more homeless people needing help from HPRP than there are funds to provide it. Despite what some people think, homeless don’t come here because services for them are good.

Commish elects Vonna Cloninger to WNC Regional Air Quality Board.

During open public comment, John Blackwell says public access tv is important. Blackwell: Public access was going great, but it took a fall. Blackwell was kicked out of [URTV] producer meeting. Matt Howard: it was announced at a URTV meeting last night that the station was closing in Aug. due to lack of funding. Commissioners Bill Stanley and Peterson express surprise that URTV is going to close, say this is the first they’ve heard that.

Virato: URTV is a rich asset of this city. I urge commish to do everything in its power to keep station. Chair David Gantt: at the next meeting of BCC we will discuss URTV history and funding in much more detail.

Montford resident: URTV is the only thing I watch. A lot of viewers will be upset if it goes off the air. Another Asheville resident: URTV gives us a window into what’s going on in the community. There’s no good reasons not to fund URTV. URTV producer Rob Spear: URTV is a great way to dispense “real news” as opposed to corporate news.

Rice, also during public comment: Having homeless veterans is a very sad situation.

Before adjoining, board Chair Gantt again promises a more thorough look at URTV at the next meeting on June 14.

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About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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8 thoughts on “Buncombe Commissioners consider budget, URTV situations

  1. More in the URTV Drama

    More in the URTV Drama
    Posted June 1st, 2010 at 10:02 PM by Leslee Kulba
    The Buncombe County Commissioners’ meeting would have been short and sweet tonight if people hadn’t kept drifting in the door to voice their support for public access TV. Apparently, the executive director called station producers to a meeting Memorial Day and said the outfit would have to close down in August because it has run out of money. The $300,000 reserve fund evaporated. The commissioners were caught off guard by the public comment. According to one source, an announcement was on its way to the city, but not the county.

    Monday’s meeting appeared a thinly-veiled attempt to rile the producers into begging the commissioners for more money. Some present were under the impression that the City of Asheville had approved funding in addition to the PEG moneys the station receives from them. This does not appear to be so.

    To date, three board members have been removed. They say it is for requesting records. The bylaws have been rewritten. Now, producers and board members are wondering if the lack of response to their pleas for justice is government’s way of censoring them.

  2. The bylaws were rewritten to make them more in line is the normal bylaws of Public Access Television channels. The board members were removed because they were a bunch of grandstanding jackasses. URTV has never had more _active_ producers, and original content, than it does right now, so Blackwell describing it was “taking a fall” is certainly odd.
    And if the County was actually surprised by this, then they do not seem to be the people who should be in charge of distributing money for Public Access.

  3. More in the URTV Drama

    Mr.Lemuria,
    Fact: The two board members along with another
    x-board member asked to open the books up so if that is grandstanding jackasses then its clear to see why URTV is over.

    What has the URTV Board done in the last 18months – did they not know this was coming?
    If not, then they were not doing their job
    Johnny Boy.

    Love to see a live show talk about this with all the players however URTV can not even air their board meetings.

    Im off to class Johnny Boy!

    UNCA will be glad to run this station.

  4. Drama, there proper ways of doing things. The first I heard about Dick’s children crusade is when it was in the papers. If Dickie boy’s intent was to get to the truth, and not be a grandstanding jackass, why did he not come to the producers first? Why not present a petition signed by producers? He was elected to represent us. He did not do that.

  5. More in the URTV Drama

    Mr.Lemuria,
    I do not have a decorder ring to understand what you are saying here. You along with other members (still called a member or client?) have failed to look at the base problem & I am not sure you will ever be willing to address the core problems.

    Stay the course – even after removing three board members & having over four more to depart their post URTV is still falling apart – how could URTV fail with people like Ms.Joyner,Rev.Young,Matt Howard, Joe Scotto(treasurer for four years) and Ms.Garlinhouse?

    Who did you say were in charge again? That might be a good place to start however im sure you will look the other way.

    Now, off to class.

  6. More in the URTV Drama

    I just looked at the URTV website http://www.urtv.org in the “news” section & can you belive they have not posted any of “news” on there website?

    Somthing as simple as this does not happen, unreal.

    What happen to the money they recived!!

    Off to class again.

  7. @ More on the URTV drama.

    FYI, “eagle eye” Joe Scotto, was never properly voted into office by the Board of Directors….according to the fall ’07 minutes. He just suddenly appeared in the office of treasurer after former treasurer Peter Brezny was summarily removed for asking some hard questions. about finances and spending practices of the ED.

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