The Buncombe County Commission meets this Tuesday, April 18th, 2023 at 5 pm. You can attend the meeting at 200 College Street, Room 326 in downtown Asheville. You can watch the meeting online via Buncombe County’s Facebook page. The full agenda is here.
The Community Reparations Commission will hold their next meeting Monday, April 24th from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The meeting is being held at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center Banquet Hall at 87 Haywood Street in Asheville. The public is welcome to attend the entire session. Meeting materials will be available here. The meeting will be recorded and streamed here.
Use our prepared email template to take action on this week’s item.
Things of concern, more information needed
Buncombe County – Community Development Block Grant – Neighborhood Revitalization (CDBG-NR) Funded Home Repair Program (Request for Proposals)
This Request for Proposals was posted on April 11th: “Buncombe County has been awarded $400,000 in CDBG Neighborhood Revitalization (CDBG-NR) funding through the North Carolina Department of Commerce Rural Economic Development Division (REDD) to conduct owner-occupied rehabilitation activities. The program seeks to expand Buncombe County’s home repair work and allow partners to identify issues in homes that affect the health, safety, and well-being of residents where such repair costs would approach $30,000 per residence.” Proposals are due on April 27th.
We’ve recently gotten some clarity on how Buncombe County envisions that this program can be administered with racial equity considerations – we’ll share more about that in our next report. For this week, we want to share some concerns about the process they are undertaking in identifying the company that will administer the program. It is common knowledge that very few Black-owned companies actually get contracts for work from the County. We believe the County is sincere in hoping to change this reality, but we have to wonder how they imagine they will be able to get Black-owned companies to bid on work like this when there is such a tiny window of time available for those bids to come in – just twelve business days between the publication of the Request for Proposals and the deadline. How many such companies will even hear of the opportunity in time, much less be able to put together a formal bid?
Things to do
We encourage you to reach out to Ron Venturella, the County’s Procurement Manager, and other County officials, and ask why they are allowing so little time for companies to bid on this opportunity.
We have prepared an email template that addresses this issue. You can (a) use our Procurement Manager template link to open up an email to adapt, (b) copy and paste the content below, or (c) write your own message to Ron.Venturella@buncombecounty.org.
EMAIL TEMPLATE TEXT
You can open this email in your own email program by clicking here. To proceed manually, you can copy and paste the text below into an email and then address it to the County Procurement Manager (email address below).
Send to: Ron.Venturella@buncombecounty.org
cc: Avril.Pinder@buncombecounty.org, Noreal.Armstrong@buncombecounty.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Quick deadline for bids on CDBG-NR contract
Dear Manager Venturella and County officials,
I appreciate the County’s stated commitment to seek out contracted business from Black-owned firms. Because these firms don’t often bid on County work, I recognize that it takes additional time and effort to engage them. For that reason, I’m troubled by the fact that the Request for Proposals for the Community Development Block Grant – Neighborhood Revitalization program is only going to be open for bids for twelve business days. That doesn’t seem like enough time to do the necessary outreach. Can you please explain why the window to apply for this opportunity is so small, and what strategies you are employing to encourage Black-owned firms to submit bids?
Thanks for your leadership,