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
SeniorAdvice.com 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 avl.mx/5wk.
- 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.
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.”