News briefs: Asheville stands against racism, youths build Habitat home

STUDENT PROJECT: Students from four local schools gathered on April 3 for the dedication of the Habitat home in Arden they helped raise funds for and build. Photo courtesy of Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity

City raises fees, moves closer to 2019-20 budget

As Asheville City Council continues deliberations on its budget for fiscal year 2019-20, which begins July 1, Council members passed increases to some city fees on April 9.

Changes to water and stormwater fees (which are billed together on a combined utility statement) will become effective Sept. 1. According to a city press release, “The impact per household is estimated to be 70 cents a month — or $8.40 for the year.” Irrigation, commercial and manufacturing water and stormwater rates rose as well.

Other changes will go into effect July 1 and include adjustments to rental charges for city facilities and fees related to permits and development.

The proposed 2019-20 budget will be published online by Friday, May 10, the city said. A budget public hearing will be held Tuesday, May 28, at City Council’s regular meeting. Finally, Council will vote on the budget Tuesday, June 11, at its regular meeting.

Asheville 14th-best city for LGBTQ retirees released its third annual list of top American cities for gay-friendly retirement, ranking Asheville No. 14 for its number of same-sex couples and lesbian officials. New Orleans topped the list.

“Although there is still room for some progress when it comes to advocacy and protections for the LGBTQ community in North Carolina,” the report advised, Asheville’s abundance of both breweries and seniors earned it major lifestyle points.

“Buncombe County, where Asheville is located, elected its first openly lesbian county commissioner, Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, in 2016, and in 2015, lesbian Tammy Hooper became the first female Asheville police chief. O. Henry’s, one of the oldest gay bars in the country, was established in 1976 in Asheville,” the report said. Hooper resigned her post in January; the city is currently seeking its next police chief.

YWCA takes stand against racism

In partnership with YWCA Associations nationwide, YWCA Asheville again observes the annual Stand Against Racism event, which builds community among those working for racial justice and encourages awareness of the negative impact of institutional and structural racism. This year’s event places a special focus on immigration and racism and ways in which the two intersect.

A few of the events planned for Asheville include:

  • Talking to young kids about race, hosted by Rainbow Community School and the Buncombe Partnership for Children, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, 60 State St. Child care provided. Register at
  • West Side Walk for Peace, hosted by Asheville Primary, Vance Elementary, Hall Fletcher Elementary and Rainbow Community schools and others, 10-10:30 a.m., Friday, April 26, 441 Haywood Road.
  • Film screening and panel discussion of Immigrant Prisons, 4-6 p.m. Sunday, April 28, Grail Moviehouse, 45 S. French Broad Ave.

To register your own event or look up a participating site, visit For more information on Asheville’s Stand, contact Gerry Leonard at

Students build Habitat home

Future homeowner Kerri Collosso can thank a group of students from Asheville Christian Academy, Christ School, Carolina Day School and the Franklin School of Innovation for raising $55,000 in funding and volunteering to build her new home.

Collosso’s two-bedroom, 884-square-foot house completes the Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity community on Jon Kraus Way in Arden, which has been under construction since 2017.

According to a press release from Asheville Habitat, “Even before the house began construction last year, students were already fundraising and learning about affordable housing through workshops with Asheville Habitat staff. Students raised money at school sporting events and came up with fundraising initiatives of their own. At Franklin School of Innovation, some teachers have integrated housing issues into their curriculum, particularly focusing on gentrification in Asheville and the resulting barriers to homeownership that many people face.”


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.