As the city gets ready to meet the latest incarnation of the Asheville Art Museum on Pack Square, Xpress looks at the museum’s history and its plans for the future, along with cost of the building project and its effects on other Pack Place institutions to feel out what the new space will mean to Asheville and the region.
During their meeting on July 10, commissioners approved an increase in monthly Waste Pro rates and took the first step in their formal search for a new county manager.
Candidates from across the country have until Monday, July 30, to apply for the most powerful staff position in Asheville city government. The role, currently filled by interim City Manager Cathy Ball, oversees all of the city government’s daily operations and advises Council members as they develop long-term plans.
The next major step in the selection of a new county manager involves deciding whether to hire an executive search firm. That’s an issue commissioners will discuss during their meeting on Tuesday, July 10.
During their June 19 meeting, Buncombe County commissioners approved a 1-cent increase for the 11 fire districts that requested at least that amount from the county this year. The officials then picked through the requests to identify districts they believed deserved more than the 1-cent baseline.
No additional changes made their way into this year’s budget as Council decided to adopt the ordinance in a 4-3 vote. Mayor Esther Manheimer, Vice-Mayor Gwen Wisler, and Council members Vijay Kapoor and Julie Mayfield all voted in support of the budget. Members Brian Haynes, Sheneika Smith and Keith Young voted against the plan; all three had shown hesitation about a police funding increase during previous work sessions.
Two pivotal items on the board’s agenda were the approval of the FY 2019 budget and the appointment of an interim county manager after the sudden departure of former manager Mandy Stone.
As laid out by a special Council-appointed Blue Ribbon Committee, the HRCA will serve as a bridge between the community and city leadership, as well as recommend policies for Council to adopt. The group will meet on the third Thursday of every month at a location yet to be determined.
The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will consider George Wood, who previously served as the county manager for Wayne and Lincoln counties, for the role of interim county manager during its meeting on Tuesday, June 19.
Two weeks before the Fourth of July, the meeting’s agenda promises a grand finale of rhetorical explosions over two matters of unfinished business. The first is the Asheville city budget, which Council member Brian Haynes has said he will not support as long as it contains funding for additional officers to staff the Asheville Police Department’s downtown district. The second is a series of resolutions to rescind and replace the three motions on police policy previously proposed by Young and passed by Council on May 22.
The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will vote Tuesday, June 19, on a resolution appointing a new interim county manager after last week’s sudden announcement that County Manager Mandy Stone would be departing. The board will also render a final decision about the county’s FY 2019 budget, which includes a bump in education spending.
As of June 11, Buncombe County has $458.5 million in debt. Over half of that debt balance ― $270 million ― has paid for facilities for A-B Tech and the county’s two public school systems, the Asheville City and Buncombe County schools.
After the announcement that county manager Mandy Stone would be retiring effective July 1, Buncombe County is now in need of a new county manager. The government has also filed a lawsuit against former county manager Wanda Greene in an effort to recoup money it claims she misappropriated.
On Tuesday, June 19, Council will put the result of its planning process to the test as its members vote to adopt the proposed budget. The document must account for $180,388,554 in spending, enough to fund the current work of over 1,200 employees and invest millions in the city’s future.
Established based on recommendations from a special Council-appointed Blue Ribbon Committee, the new group will be charged with improving human relations and equity throughout Asheville’s government — including the Asheville Police Department, which has drawn fierce criticism in recent months from Council and the public over its response to the beating of a black Asheville resident by a white former APD officer last year.
Though breaking news about new Wanda Greene indictments made it hard for elected officials and members of the public to focus on anything else, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners approved $685,000 in incentives for a planned local investment by GE Aviation and announced two new early childhood education initiatives during its meeting on June 5.
An indictment returned June 5 brings new charges against former Buncombe County Manager Wanda Greene and alleges that she used $2.3 million of county money to purchase life insurance policies in her name as well as the names of her son Michael Greene, who worked for the county, and eight other county employees.
New fraud charges — in addition to previous charges related to improper use of county credit cards — have been filed against former Buncombe County Manager Wanda Greene. In an indictment, federal officials allege that Greene “defrauded Buncombe County by misappropriating approximately $2.3 million of Buncombe County funds to purchase whole life insurance policies for herself, her son Michael Greene, and eight other County employees, and to purchase an annuity for another county employee who did not qualify for a whole life insurance policy.”