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.