Government Accountability Project Asheville

GAP Report 11/15/21

Nov 15, 2021

URGENT

  • 0 items

PROBLEMATIC

  • 0 items

CONCERNS

  • 2 items

POSITIVE

  • 2 items
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YELLOW:

Things of concern, more information needed

Buncombe County Commission Meeting November 16 at 5 pm.

Things to do

Check out the full agenda here. Public comment must be made in person, but you can contact the County Commissioners here.

Buncombe County Commission Meeting – Budget Amendment for Homeowner Grant Program – Additional Funding Request

This would increase the homeowner’s grant program by $150,000.

While allocating more funding for this program is welcome, we are troubled by the fact that grants are capped at $300 (from the County— Asheville and Woodfin residents can get up to $200 more), when property taxes rose much more than that for many folks. Also, we wonder whether the County is tracking racial demographic data on the awards it has made. We pushed for this program earlier this year because it was clear that the recent property tax hike was going to disproportionately impact Black folks in the County, and we wonder whether those folks are being reached with these benefits.

Things to do

Contact the Buncombe County Commissioners and ask them to explain why awards are being capped at $300 for most county residents, whether the County is tracking racial demographics among those requesting these grants, and if so, what indicators there are that Black homeowners are getting the aid they need.

GREEN:

Things that sound like a step in the right direction

Buncombe County Commission Meeting – Budget Amendment for Collaborative Mobile Medication Assisted Treatment Team – Dogwood Health Grant

This involves accepting $500,000 from the Dogwood Trust for overdose intervention that includes peer support, as an alternative to police responding to overdose situations. This seems on balance a good step. We wonder what kind of on-the-ground collaboration the County has in mind, since there are community groups already doing related work. We also wonder what racial equity lens is being applied in decisions on setting this up and hiring team members. 

Things to do

Contact the Buncombe County Commissioners. Encourage them to vote in favor of accepting this grant. Ask them what collaboration the County is envisioning with community partners, and how a racial equity lens is being applied to decisions on set-up and hiring for this initiative.

Buncombe County Commission Meeting – Budget Amendment for Behavioral Health Planning Grant

This is another $500,000 that would enable the County to create positions to address opioid use.

This also seems on balance a good step. Once again, we wonder what kind of on-the-ground collaboration the County has in mind, since there are community groups already doing related work. We also wonder what racial equity lens is being applied in decisions on setting this up and hiring team members.

Things to do

Contact the Buncombe County Commissioners. Encourage them to vote in favor of accepting this grant. Similar to the prior item, we ask them what collaboration the County is envisioning with community partners, and how a racial equity lens is being applied to decisions on set-up and hiring for this initiative.