During its June 22 meeting, Asheville City Council voted 6-1 to approve the $201.67 million operating budget for fiscal year 2021-22, which includes an effective property tax increase of 2 cents per $100 in valuation and $8.7 million in new spending. Kim Roney was the sole vote against the budget, arguing that the tax increase would harm poorer residents.
As the sometimes contentious discussions unfolded, members grappled with ambitious priorities for the upcoming year, and, perhaps more importantly, what their working relationships would look like for the next 18 months.
“I’m looking forward to the day we can have a centerpiece in our city that reflects Asheville today,” said Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer. “And I’m proud to be part of the Council that will make this change.”
Following a pair of votes for different methods of picking the school board at Council’s meeting of March 9, the final say on its composition now rests with the N.C. General Assembly, which must pass legislation to enact any change.
Two proposals are up for consideration. One outlines a request for a fully elected school board; the other sets up a hybrid model in which Council would appoint two members and allow ACS district residents to elect the other three.
The new regulations allow hotels with 115 rooms or fewer to avoid a Council vote if they meet a series of design requirements, are located in a newly approved overlay district and contribute to equity-related public benefits.
Hoteliers and hotel opponents alike have waited since September 2019 for Asheville City Council to reach a decision about future lodging development within city limits. On Tuesday, Feb. 23, the countdown clock finally hits zero.
Daniel Withrow, president of the Asheville City Association of Educators, says that his organization had been preparing to make its first-ever endorsements for Asheville City Board of Education seats this year but was caught off guard when Asheville City Council voted to trim the candidate pool ahead of its posted schedule.
Members will discuss the final proposed guidelines to streamline future lodging development — and residents will have one last chance to weigh in — before the city’s hotel moratorium expires on Tuesday, Feb. 23.
If Asheville City Council wants to bring any legislation before the state General Assembly this year — including the creation of an elected board for Asheville City Schools or changes to the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority’s room tax allocation — its members need to make those decisions in the coming weeks.
On Dec. 8, Asheville City Council voted to move forward with the removal of the downtown obelisk, which memorializes Confederate Gov. Zebulon Vance. Sandra Kilgore was the only member in opposition.
Two work sessions have brought Asheville City Council members a little closer to agreement on an approach to hotels. And with the city’s hotel development moratorium set to expire on Tuesday, Feb. 23, time is running out to craft a plan.
At its meeting of Tuesday, Sept. 22, Asheville City Council will vote on a budget amendment that would fund the APD at roughly $29.3 million, a reduction of $770,000 from a previous proposal. Many activist groups, including Black AVL Demands, have called for a 50% reduction to the APD and reinvestment in community services.
As decided by Council’s six current members during a Sept. 8 vote, the attorney for Atlanta-based firm Alston and Bird will fill the seat vacated by Vijay Kapoor until 2022.
The appointment could shape the outcome of the general Asheville City Council election on Tuesday, Nov. 3. And the very night that the appointee is expected to take their oath of office — Tuesday, Sept. 22 — they will also cast what may be the deciding vote on funding for the Asheville Police Department.
The future direction of Asheville City Council lies in the hands of its current six members. On Tuesday, Sept. 8, Council will select a replacement for Vijay Kapoor — and city records reveal no consensus on who the ideal candidate should be.