Council to pick Board of Education members on Feb. 28

Seal_of_Asheville,_North_Carolina

Asheville City Council often conducts committee business during the afternoons prior to its formal twice-monthly meetings. Beginning at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 28, Council will interview six candidates for three open spots on the Asheville City Schools Board of Education. The six — Yvette Jives, James Lee, Amy Ray, Joyce Brown, Patricia Griffin and Mary Ellen Lewis — were selected from 27 applicants who met residency requirements for seats on the board. Each candidate’s application and answers to essay questions posed by City Council can be found by clicking on his or her name.

The interviews will be held in the Council Chamber on the second floor of City Hall and live-streamed on the city’s website. Council is expected to vote on its appointments in its regular session, which begins at 5 p.m.

Proclamations

City Council will recognize the volunteer of the year and proclaim March 10 “Zelda Fitzgerald Day.”

Consent agenda

Council will vote on renewing the city’s lease for Charlie Bullman Park in East Asheville. The city has leased the park, which sits at New Haw Creek and Bell roads, from the East Asheville Youth Activities Booster Club for the past five years. The city will pay $1 per year to the club and will maintain the park for the purpose of recreational activities.

Location of Charlie Bullman Park in East Asheville. Image provided by the city of Asheville
Location of Charlie Bullman Park in East Asheville. Image provided by the city of Asheville

Council will vote on a contract with Cooper Construction Co. for water line replacement in the areas of Bingham and Lindsey roads and Starnes Cove. Cooper Construction was the low bidder on the project; the budget is $1,368,474.

A proposed $70,000 settlement with Alison Rose Kearns for a fall she says she sustained walking on a sidewalk at 82 Patton Ave. on June 25, 2014 will come to Council for approval. The mediated settlement does not include an admission of fault or liability by the city.

Council will consider a resolution to authorize the City Manager to execute easement agreements with private property owners who donate easements for the construction and maintenance of sidewalks.

While the N.C. Department of Transportation usually requires municipalities to bear 40 percent of the cost of constructing new sidewalks, the DOT is fully funding about 700 feet of sidewalk in the immediate area of Exit 44 from Interstate 40 along the north side of Smoky Park Highway. City Council will vote on a resolution accepting maintenance responsibility for the new sidewalk.

Finally, Council will vote on a contract for repairing a sidewalk and retaining wall on Broadway Street near Walnut Street. The contract amount and contingency budget total about $100,000.

Presentations and reports

Council will receive a written financial report on the second quarter of the current fiscal year 2016-17. According to the report, city finance staff projects revenues for 2016-17 will exceed the budget by just over half a percent, or $617,000. While overall personnel expenses, which make up the largest component of the general fund budget, are down slightly compared to the budget, fire department overtime is about $800,000 over budget as of the end of December. Staff estimates that the unassigned fund balance will increase to $19.6 million or 17.9 percent of expenses by the end of the fiscal year.

Council will hear a quarterly report on planning efforts related to the Interstate 26 connector project.

Public hearings

A previously scheduled public hearing to consider a land use incentive grant for an affordable housing development project at 338 Hilliard Ave. (the former site of the city’s Parks Maintenance Facility) by the Tribute Companies has been withdrawn.

Unfinished business

Council will vote on appointments to the city schools Board of Education and on a plan to poll Asheville residents on their preferences for City Council elections. The Council hopes to gauge public interest in whether Council members should continue to be elected at large or in districts. Council’s Governance Committee recommended on Feb. 14 to spend $10,000 on a telephone poll of city voters.

Public comment

Council will hear public comment on issues not otherwise discussed during the Council meeting.

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.

 

For more of the latest city and county news check out Xpress’ Buncombe Beat.

 

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About Virginia Daffron
Managing editor, lover of mountains, native of WNC. Follow me @virginiadaffron

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