City seeks input on police chief selection
Community members can weigh in on the qualities the city should emphasize in its search for Asheville’s next police chief through Friday, March 1. In addition to two public input sessions held Feb. 5 and 6, the city is collecting comments at avl.mx/5ol.
According to a post on the city’s blog, “Communication outreach will extend to organizations and groups in underserved communities, such as the Asheville Housing Authority. People can also provide input at our Southside Neighborhood Hours, held at the Grant Center from 3 to 6 p.m. the fourth Thursday of every month.” This month, the fourth Thursday falls on Feb. 22.
About 40 people attended the Feb. 5 meeting at the Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Center. New City Manager Debra Campbell said she hoped to identify a new police chief by late spring, indicating that finding the right candidate is more important than reaching a quick decision.
“This is going to be tough, to truly get someone to come to Asheville and reflect the values that we have in Asheville and will be able to present themselves in a way that advances trust and faith and confidence in the APD,” Campbell said. “That has to permeate not just through the chief, but throughout the organization.”
County awards economic development incentives
The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners on Feb. 5 approved economic incentives for Burial Beer Co. of Asheville and Haakon Industries of British Columbia, Canada.
The incentives aim to create over 100 living wage jobs with the two companies. Assuming the companies make promised investments in their manufacturing facilities, Burial Beer will receive $10,045 in incentives and Haakon Industries will get $192,298.
Swannanoa affordable housing project gets loan
Also at the Feb. 5 meeting of the county Board of Commissioners, officials approved a $2.2 million loan to Mountain Housing Opportunities for its planned East Haven apartment development in Swannanoa. The complex will include 95 units of “deeply affordable” housing for low-income residents.
After receiving pushback on its request for a no-interest loan with a balloon repayment at the end of a 20-year term, Mountain Housing Opportunities proposed an alternate arrangement. The nonprofit would make annual payments of $10,000 in years one-10 of the loan period, $7,500 in years 11-15 and $5,000 in years 16-20. MHO would pay the remaining balance at the end of the 20-year term. Organization staffers also proposed that the loan funds be disbursed over four years, starting in the current fiscal year.
MHO agreed to pay property taxes, forgo a rebate and extend the period of affordability from 30 to 50 years.
Commissioners approved the loan in a 4-3 vote, with Robert Pressley, Mike Fryar and Joe Belcher voting in the minority.