“I’m really struggling with this process as a parent, as a councilor,” said Asheville City Council member Sage Turner, as her colleagues considered how they would appoint three members of the Asheville City Board of Education. “I’m really struggling with us not listening to teachers.”
After months of discussion, two Council work sessions and multiple opportunities for public engagement, frustrated residents told Asheville City Council the final hotel proposals did little to advance equity or support employees working in the service industry.
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.
Per the joint city and county resolution that established the group, a “recommendation regarding the removal and/or repurposing of the Vance Monument” must be delivered to Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners within three months of Aug. 4, when the final members were appointed.
Community members claim Asheville City Council tried to limit opportunities for public comment during its meeting of July 28 by introducing several new policies to regulate callers.
In a July 27 email, Asheville City Attorney Brad Branham said that the city’s charter, which directs all Council vacancies to be filled by appointment, took precedence over a state law that called for an election under certain circumstances.
According to state law, if a Council vacancy occurs more than 90 days before the next city election, voters get to choose who fills the remainder of the absent member’s term. Asheville City Council member Vijay Kapoor says his resignation will be effective Saturday, Aug. 8 — within 90 days of the election on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Asheville City Council unanimously adopted a resolution supporting reparations for Asheville’s Black community at its July 14 meeting. Members also moved to table a $83,000 contract with risk-management firm Hillard Heintze to investigate Asheville Police Department’s response to recent protests after listening to community concerns.
Two lawsuits filed in 2018, both of which reached final settlements on June 8, challenged several of the fees Asheville has used to raise money for repairs and updates to the water system. Together, the settlements could have the city pay nearly $2 million to dismiss claims that those fees were charged illegally and prevent the collection of $37 million in fees over the next five years.
Instead of voting on Asheville City Manager Debra Campbell’s proposed budget on Tuesday, June 23, as originally planned, City Council will now consider an interim budget on that date. The move, coming after a wave of public comment to “defund the Asheville Police Department,” is meant to bridge the gap before a new budget can be reworked with additional community engagement.
Asheville City Council voted to halt hotel approvals for one year and will use the time to examine the impact of hotels on the community and develop new guidelines for hotel approval.
City Attorney Brad Branham sat down with Xpress to discuss the legal challenges surrounding affordable housing, expanding transit and more.
After much anticipation, Asheville City Attorney Brad Branham presents the city’s legal options — and limitations — of addressing state-imposed district elections to Council during a July 2 work session.