Government Accountability Project Asheville

GAP Report 11/8/21

Nov 8, 2021

URGENT

  • none

CONCERNS

  • 6 items

POSITIVE

  • 1 item
s

YELLOW:

Things of concern, more information needed

Item

Asheville City Council Meeting November 9. 

Things to do

Check out the full agenda here. For instructions on how to make a public comment, go here.

Item

Asheville City Council Agenda – Consent D.1: Resolution accepting $4.7 million from the U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) HOME- American Rescue Plan (APR) Program to develop and manage the local HOME-APR allocation. From the staff report: “HUD requires that the City engage in consultation and public participation processes to develop a local HOME-ARP funding allocation plan that is data driven.” However, there is no description of how the City will engage the public. We wonder: how can public input be incorporated, with incentives, from the target population of unhoused individuals?

Things to do

Contact the Asheville City Council and ask them to take this off of the consent agenda and have a public discussion at their meeting, so City staff can explain what their plan is for engaging the public, and in particular unhoused individuals, in developing their allocation plan.

Item

Asheville City Council Agenda – Consent E: Resolution authorizing the City Manager to execute a contract with J.L.S. Company LLC for speed bump installations in several predominantly Black neighborhoods (Burton Street, Dorchester Avenue, Florida Avenue, Riverview Drive and Moody Avenue). There is no mention of any public engagement in these neighborhoods. Were local folks consulted? Also: the City was unable to identify a Black-owned business to submit a bid on the work. We wonder what steps the City is taking to cultivate more Black-owned business bids on similar jobs in the future.

Things to do

Contact the Asheville City Council and ask them to take this off of the consent agenda and have a public discussion at their meeting, so City staff can explain how the residents of these neighborhoods were engaged around these plans, and what their plans are to increase bids from Black-owned companies for work like this.

Item

Asheville City Council Agenda – Consent F: Ordinance for revisions to City Code regarding enforcement per N.C. Session Law 2021-138 and other Code updates. There is a long list of ordinances that will be changed, with minimal explanation and very little time for the public to review. We wonder why these ordinance changes aren’t being explained and why these changes weren’t sent to the Public Safety or Governance Committees first.

Things to do

Contact the Asheville City Council and ask them to take this off of the consent agenda for this meeting, and an explanation of the changes made available for public review before they are voted on.

Item

Asheville City Council Agenda – Consent P: Resolution amending Rule 27 of the Rules of Procedure of the Asheville City Council to conform with state law regarding public hearings. These are proposed changes to the way City Council and the Mayor handle public hearings. No explanation is offered in the support documents that spells out what the current rules are and how this would change them. 

Things to do

Contact the Asheville City Council and ask them to take this off of the consent agenda and have a public discussion at their meeting, so staff and the Mayor can explain what these changes are and why they are being made.

Item

Asheville City Council Agenda – Manager’s Report: The City Manager will report on the AVL Shares Space program. As is usually the case, there are no documents supplied for this agenda item in advance — unlike every other agenda item — so it’s impossible for the public to anticipate and adequately respond to the City Manager’s report.

Things to do

Reach out to the City Manager’s office (phone: 828-259-5604) Email: dcampbell@ashevillenc.gov) and ask her to share her reports two business days before the City Council meeting, like other City staff members do.

GREEN:

Things that sound like a step in the right direction

Item

Asheville City Council Agenda – New Business A. 1: Resolution authorizing the City Manager to enter into an Intergovernmental Agreement with Buncombe County for the consolidation of a 911 System. This seems on balance a good step, reducing costs and offering the potential of better service.

Things to do

Contact the Asheville City Council and encourage them to vote in favor of this consolidation. Reach out to the City Manager’s office (phone: 828-259-5604) Email: dcampbell@ashevillenc.gov) and commend her for moving this initiative forward.