In an emergency, every minute counts.
That’s why leaders in Asheville and Buncombe County are considering coordinating their emergency dispatch services to improve response time and provide more consistent and effective service delivery.
During their meeting of Tuesday, Nov. 9, Asheville City Council will consider an agreement with the county that would consolidate the two jurisdictions’ 911 dispatch offices starting Saturday, Jan.1.
According to a staff report, Buncombe County’s 911 dispatch office currently receives calls for all fire departments in the county (including the Asheville Fire Department), Emergency Medical Services, Black Mountain and Montreat police departments and the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department. The Asheville Police Department handles its own calls as a secondary dispatch; Asheville currently allocates 19 full-time equivalent positions for that work.
Per the agreement, all city 911 dispatchers would be hired by Buncombe County, which would eliminate all transferring between the county and city, and the city would reimburse the county for the cost of its dispatches. An eight-member steering committee would be created to manage operational issues for the consolidated system.
City staff estimates that the new agreement will cost Asheville up to $400,000 more per year than its current dispatch arrangement. Council will consider a budget amendment of nealy $838,000 to cover that increase for approximately two or three years, with money taken from reserves set aside for radio maintenance.
In other news
City Manager Debra Campbell will present a report on the AVL Shares Space program, which allowed business owners to extend their outdoor seating onto public property in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. No further information regarding the report was made available before the meeting.
Consent agenda and public comment
The consent agenda for the meeting contains 16 items, which will be approved as a package unless singled out for separate discussion. Highlights include the following:
- A $4,699,882 budget amendment to the city’s HOME fund accepting money from the federal HOME Investment Partnership Program and American Rescue Plan Act. The funds will be used to build or buy affordable housing for rent or homeownership or to provide direct rental assistance to low-income individuals and families.
- A resolution amending two contracts associated with the Rankin Avenue Garage and Wall Street Garage Elevator Modernization Project. The amendments would increase the contract with the Wooten Company by $12,000, making the total not-to-exceed value $195,550. Another contract with Patton Construction Group. would be increased by $45,900, making the total not-to-exceed value $481,489.
- A resolution reducing the speed limit on Wall Street from 15 mph to 10 mph. The National Association of City Transportation Officials recommends the latter speed limit on streets where, like on Wall Street, “walking and public space activities are accepted.”
Members of the public who wish to speak during the meeting must sign up in advance online or call 828-259-5900 no later than 9 a.m. Nov. 9. City staff will use the list of registered speakers to manage the speaker queue during the meeting. Speakers will need to listen to the meeting via phone by calling 855-925-2801, meeting code 8635.
Prerecorded voicemail messages can also be left at 855-925-2801, meeting code 8635; written comments can be sent to AshevilleCityCouncilNov92021@publicinput.com. Emails will be accepted for 24 hours after each public hearing.
The full meeting agenda and supporting documents can be found here.