Government Accountability Project Asheville

GAP Report for 4/18/22

Apr 18, 2022

URGENT

  • 0 items

PROBLEMATIC

  • 0 items

CONCERNS

  • 2 items

POSITIVE

  • 1 item

The Buncombe County Commission meets this Tuesday (4/19/22) at 5 pm. You can attend the meeting at 200 College Street, Suite 326 in downtown Asheville. You can watch the meeting online at the County’s facebook page. The full agenda is here.

There are three items that the GAP Strategy Team identified as relevant to racial justice this week.

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YELLOW:

Things of concern, more information needed

County Commission Agenda has information gaps

There are three items on the County Commission agenda that have minimal documentation:

  • Old Business: Ferry Road Next Steps – This is one of the county’s affordable housing projects.
  • New Business: County-owned Property Master Planning (More Information) – Staff recommends moving $220,900 from the County’s Affordable Housing fund to the Ferry Road project and the UNC School of Government Development Finance Initiative for an affordable housing feasibility study. The Racial Equity Action Plan is cited as a reason to approve this plan, but there is no explanation as to how this plan advances racial equity.
  • Board Appointments for the Justice Resource Advisory Council (Julie Risedorf, Wendy Nevarez, Curry First, Sybriea Lundy, Lauren Garvie) – There is no information provided for any of these candidates.

We are concerned about the lack of support documentation for these agenda items. Without such information, it is very challenging for us (and the community we serve) to assess what the racial justice implications are for these items.

Things to do

We encourage you to reach out to the County Commissioners via their contact page. Ask them to instruct County staff to provide background information on important agenda items, such as affordable housing or Board appointments, so that the public can better assess (and weigh in on) future County Commission decisions.

Asheville City Council in-person worksession on Monday, April 25, 2022, beginning at 10:00 a.m.

City Council will discuss American Rescue Plan Act funding allocations. No public comment will be accepted at the worksession.

We remain curious whether the City’s plans for these funds will center the cause of racial justice, and encourage everyone who is able to attend or watch online.

Things to do

You can attend in person at the Banquet Hall at Harrah’s Cherokee Center at 87 Haywood Street, or online via various options at https://publicinput.com/J1325.

GREEN:

Things that sound like a step in the right direction

Asheville City Staff begin publicly sharing draft agendas in advance

Last week’s Asheville City Council agenda document included the Draft 8-Week Agenda, which includes all of the items projected to be on the next few City Council agendas.

We are among those who have been advocating for this important step toward greater transparency, and want to thank GAP subscribers and other local community activists for their efforts. We especially want to thank Patrick Conant from Code for Asheville and the Open Meetings Policy for his dogged determination in the pursuit of a more open and transparent Asheville government. We also want to applaud the City Manager and City Clerk for hearing and granting this request.

Things to do

Reach out to City Manager Debra Campbell and City Clerk Maggie Burleson and thank them for making the Draft 8-week Agenda public.