Council to hold public hearing on proposed budget Tuesday, May 28

City Manager Debra Campbell presented her proposed fiscal year 2024-25 city operating budget earlier this month. Now, it’s the community’s turn to weigh in during the Tuesday, May 28 Asheville City Council meeting. 

Following a presentation by city Finance Director Tony McDowell, Council will hold a public hearing on the $249.6 million budget. 

The proposed budget includes a 4.11% salary increase for all permanent city employees. That would bring the lowest paid employee up to $19 an hour, meeting the Just Economics of Western North Carolina’s “pledged” living wage rate.

Asheville Fire Department employees have been attending recent budget meetings to advocate for higher pay. In a recent social media post, Welcker Taylor, president of the Asheville Fire Fighters Association, disputes the city’s claim that AFD workers earn $22.24 an hour, noting this rate is based on a 40-hour workweek. In the post, Taylor asserts that firefighters put in a 56-hour workweek, reducing their hourly rate to $15.88.

“Every single one of our new firefighters is making $15.88 per hour. No exceptions. We are never just ‘on call,’ we’re constantly just “on,’” the post reads. “The starting firefighter on the back of my truck was making $15.88/hour when she responded to a car accident at 10am yesterday morning. She was also making $15.88/hour when she got out of bed and responded to a house fire at 10pm last night.”

Council will vote on whether to adopt the city budget at the Tuesday, June 11 meeting.

In other news

Council will take its first in a series of actions related to a November general obligation bond referendum. Council will vote on a resolution that would provide a notice of intent to apply for the bond and a separate resolution making statements of fact regarding the proposed bond issuance. The November bond would total $75 million and fund affordable housing ($25 million); transportation ($20 million); parks and recreation ($15 million); and public safety ($15 million).

If approved, Council will introduce the bond orders and set a public hearing on the issue at its Tuesday, June 25 meeting.

Consent agenda and public comment 


The consent agenda for the meeting contains 10 items, which will be approved as a package unless singled out for separate discussion. Highlights include the following:

  • A resolution authorizing the city manager to execute up to a $350,000 contract with Kessler Consulting Inc. to develop a solid waste master plan. The plan would provide the city with short- and long-term recommendations to improve and enhance the efficiency and quality of the waste system and increase waste reduction and diversion.


  • A resolution authorizing the city manager to increase the contract with Smart Builders Construction in the amount of $20,000 for a total of $461,516 for the Murphy Oakley playground renovations


Council members will gather in their chambers on the second floor of City Hall, located at 70 Court Plaza, starting at 5 p.m. The meeting will also be carried live on Charter/Spectrum Channel 193 and livestreamed through Asheville’s public engagement hub and on the city’s YouTube channel. Members of the public can listen live by calling 855-925-2801, meeting code 7030.

Those who wish to speak during the meeting must attend in person and sign up at the door. No live remote comment will be permitted. Prerecorded voicemail messages can also be left at 855-925-2801, meeting code 7030; written comments can be sent to until 9 a.m. May 28. General comments for City Council can be sent at any time to

The full meeting agenda and supporting documents can be found here.


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