Council to hear 2020 census update on Nov. 12

Asheville city seal

Planning and Urban Design Director Todd Okolichany will ask members of Asheville City Council to formalize the city’s role in the 2020 census during their meeting of Tuesday, Nov. 12. A resolution authorizing the 2020 Census Partnership would commit the city to working with the U.S. Census Bureau and state officials to raise overall awareness about the once-a-decade population count and encourage Asheville residents to participate.

According to a presentation available before the meeting, the 2020 census will determine the allocation of billions of dollars in federal funding. The presentation also reports that North Carolina is likely to receive an additional U.S. House representative due to population growth — with the possibility of two new representatives, depending on the census response rate.

Because federal funding for many local government programs is tied to population, Buncombe County is projected to miss out on roughly $1,600 annually for each person who goes uncounted. The county had a 76% response rate during the 2010 census, in line with the state average, but Asheville officials will try to raise participation to 80% next year. The city will join Buncombe’s Complete Count Committee to work alongside county government, area schools and universities, nonprofit and faith communities, business leaders and the media to spread information about the count.

Census mailings are scheduled to be delivered in March of next year, and census officials will begin conducting door-to-door distribution of census forms in July. City staff members plan to provide quarterly reports on the census to Council throughout 2020.

In other business

Council will determine interviewees for seats on the following city boards and commissions: the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, Crimestoppers Board, Historic Resources Commission, Homeless Initiative Advisory Committee and Soil Erosion/Stormwater Review Committee.

No public hearings are scheduled for the meeting. Council has no other items of new or unfinished business.

Consent agenda

Council’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:

  • Authorize the city manager to execute $135,419 worth of contracts with Emergency Solutions Grant recipients and the Asheville-Buncombe Homeless Management Information System to cover expenses for homelessness prevention, rehousing and emergency shelter operations.
  • Adopt a budget amendment of $868,014 to support six additional firefighters with the Asheville Fire Department. Of that funding, $535,275 will come from a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant, while the city will provide $332,739 in matching funds over the grant’s three-year period.
  • Execute a $4,749,345 contract with Candler-based Tennoca Construction Company for the Haywood Streetscape project, which includes sidewalk rehabilitation, street resurfacing and stormwater and sewer improvements. More than $1.7 million of that funding will be reimbursed by the Buncombe County Metropolitan Sewerage District.

Asheville City Council meets at 5 p.m. in Council chambers on the second floor of City Hall at 70 Court Plaza, Asheville. The full meeting agenda and supporting documents can be found here.

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