Asheville City Council approved interim budget appropriations for July — including over $2.4 million to the Asheville Police Department — as commenters flooded the phone lines at the June 23 virtual meeting to demand that city leadership “defund the police.”
African Americans in Asheville are three times more likely than white people to be searched by police in traffic stops and are disproportionately charged with common crimes such as marijuana possession in disparities that experts in police bias called shocking, an AVL Watchdog analysis of police data found.
Asheville City Manager Debra Campbell’s proposed timeline for the 2020-21 fiscal year budget is likely to shift yet again. Asheville City Council will consider the adoption of a one-month interim budget on Tuesday, June 23.
Asheville Police Chief David Zack announced his plan to restructure the department during Council’s June 9 meeting. His proposal calls for the creation of a community engagement division and an independent investigation into APD’s handling of recent protests.
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.
A portion of City Council’s meeting on Tuesday, June 9 will be dedicated for an update on city policing. According to City Manager Debra Campbell’s proposed budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year, the APD is slated to receive $30,057,325 — an increase of $457,621, or 1.5%, from the department’s current budget.
The total fiscal 2020-2021 city budget proposal stands at $184.6 million, a 3% decrease from last year’s total of $190.3 million, and will continue funding for existing services while limiting new programs, service enhancements and initiatives. The property tax rate would remain the same under the proposal, and no fee increases are recommended.
Debra Campbell, Asheville’s city manager, said she was recommending no new spending for projects that Council had previously explored, such as renewable energy on city buildings. All departments have also been asked to cut their budgets as much as possible, “with a focus on minimizing operational impacts.”
According to the formal agreement, up for a Board of Commissioners vote on Tuesday, April 21, both city and county staffers would remain employees of and still be paid by their respective governments while carrying out their new duties. Asheville and Buncombe County would be required to cover the expense of all personal protective equipment for workers from the other government.
“This could be a catastrophic change in revenue year over year,” said Mayor Esther Manheimer about projections for fiscal year 2021. “Before we start spending new money, I want to know if we’re going to see a little bit of a normalization on the horizon. I don’t want to be sitting here with a $20 million deficit in the next fiscal year.”
“Anybody that follows the economy or follows the news will tell you that there’s a big elephant in the room that we can’t measure, and we’re all thinking about it, and it’s going to affect your planning,” Tom Tveidt, president of SYNEVA Economics, told Council members at their March 13 annual retreat. “That being said, I think there will be a pre-coronavirus economy and a post-coronavirus economy.”
During their meeting of Tuesday, March 10, Asheville City Council members will consider a $473,000 contract for emergency repairs at the North Fork Water Plant, the largest of the city’s three water treatment plants.
Asheville City Council will consider a number of items on its consent agenda for Tuesday, Feb. 11, including managing parking at the airport and setting a hotel development work session.
More than six years after first approving the project, Asheville City Council is circling back to the mixed-use development known as the RAD Lofts. During a public hearing at Council’s meeting of Tuesday, Jan. 14, officials will be asked to substantially scale back their affordability requirements for 235 housing units at the site. The previously […]
City staff announced that a plan to extend the hours of all bus routes until 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 8 p.m. on Sunday will likely be delayed until after the start of the next fiscal year during the Oct. 22 meeting of Asheville City Council.
As she wrapped up her work on the AVL Greater and AVL 5×5 2025 plans in late September, we chatted with futurist Rebecca Ryan about her upcoming encore keynote address at the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce’s WomanUP gala on Thursday, Nov. 18, what makes Asheville and Buncombe County different and how we’ll know if the area is on track to make good on the new strategies.
Leadership Asheville pulled in some high-octane local speakers for the final installment of its summer Buzz Breakfast series held on Aug. 14. The composition of the panel reveals some key trends shaping the power dynamic that’s emerged over the past year.
The Tourism Development Authority discusses the proposed hotel moratorium during a July 31 board meeting.
Beyond the city’s loan of more than $48,000 for each of the 11 affordable units in West Asheville, which will be deferred for 30 years and accrue no interest, Homeward Bound is also seeking roughly $280,000 in commercial loans and has received $89,153 in federal HOME funding administered by the Asheville Regional Housing Consortium.
As of June 23, the Asheville Police Department has responded to 360 gun calls, said Deputy Chief James Baumstark. He noted that the top three locations from which police have received calls are in and around the public housing communities of Pisgah View, Deaverview and Hillcrest apartments.
Transit, tree protection and city employee wages were among the issues that brought more than 100 people to the May 28 City Council meeting.