ICYMI, City Council has been making headlines lately – like their decision to approve reparations earlier this month, which made national news.
This week, Council has been taking up some different issues – and two of the most pressing include the annual budget and the replacement of council member Vijay Kapoor.
The budget On Tues., Council held a meeting to discuss, among other items, the annual budget. The budget vote was postponed from July 9 because of protests and calls to defund the Asheville Police Department. Here are the details – • The budget discussion + public comment period took up most of the meeting time, which ran until almost 11 p.m. Council voted 6-1 to recess until today at 5 p.m., with Keith Young dissenting. • Possibilities raised by Council members include: keeping the year’s budget as originally planned(including a funding increase for the APD), and cutting funding to the APD for a trial period of three months. City Manager Debra Campbell said that cutting + reassigning some funding was a top priority, with the goal of a divest/invest strategy in place by Sept. 22. A crowd of demonstrators also gathered downtown during the meeting in support of defunding. • Tonight’s meeting will be held remotely, with no public comment. • The adopted budget amendment will go into effectSept. 22.
The seat Also this week, the City Attorney determined that there would be no special election to replace outgoing Council member Vijay Kapoor, whose last day is Aug. 8. Instead, Council will appoint someone to fill the vacancy until the end of Kapoor’s official term in 2022. Here’s why. • Kapoor, who is moving to Philadelphia, was originally planning to leave his seat after the budget decision sometime in July. • In March, the City released a memo stating that if Kapoor resigned more than 90 days before the election (this November) there would be a special election to fill the vacancy. Kapoor announced his last day would be Aug. 8, within the 90-day period. • However, as of this week, the City Attorney clarified that there would be no special election regardless of the date of vacancy. Only the state’s charter has a timeline for elections vs. appointments, and the city’s charter trumps the state’s. • Kapoor has advised Council to appoint a member from South Asheville, where he lives. He is currently the only member of Council from South Asheville.
How long is the term of an elected City Council member?
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○ NC’s Department of Health and Human Services reported atotal of 117,850 cases of coronavirus in North Carolina as of Wednesday afternoon. 1,538 cases and 45 deaths have been reported in Buncombe County. Check stats for other counties, total tests, and more in NChere.
○ Buncombe County recorded 250 new cases of COVID-19 this past week. As of July 27, there are a total of 1,473 lab-confirmed cases. Mission Hospital reported 40 cases of COVID-19 among hospitalized patients on July 26 for the first time.By July 28, the number was up to 48. (Asheville Citizen-Times)
○ The NC State Fair — originally slated for October 18-25 at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh — will not be held, due to coronavirus-related concerns. Last year, the fair saw 938,000+ visitors over 11 days and in 2017 the event had more than a million people in attendance. (WLOS)
○ The Blue Ridge Parkway has reopened some campgrounds that were closed due to COVID-19. Many facilities + visitor centers will remain closed, but starting tomorrow, four campgrounds will reopen. Two of them are on the Virgina side of the Parkway + two are on the NC side. (Asheville Citizen-Times)
○ Staff with the United Way of Asheville + Buncombe County’s 211 say their call volume has soaredsince the pandemic began. Since mid-March, 211 has received 85,000 calls. They are able to answer general COVID-19 questions and can also offer information on issues like rent assistance + food. To collect data from North Carolinians and better understand their pandemic-related needs, The United Way is encouraging folks to take part in their new online survey. (WLOS)
○ Mars Hill University will begin their fall semester remotely. The semester starts Aug. 17 and will move to in-person instruction Sept. 8. Room-and-board costs will be reduced on a prorated basis because the semester is beginning online. Mars Hill + and other South Atlantic Conference schools announced last week a delay of the fall sports seasons until Sept. 28.
○ The NC High School Athletic Association will move to Phase 2 on Aug. 3. Gatherings in outside venues will still be limited to no more than 25 people, and gatherings in gyms will remain limited to 10 people. Athletes can now use balls as long as they have been properly cleaned. The NCHSAA announced earlier this month that fall sports would begin no earlier than Sept. 1. (Asheville Citizen-Times)
○ McDowell County health officials are monitoring two separate outbreaks at Deer Park Health & Rehab + Early Childhood Enrichment Center. A total of 22 residents + 16 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 there as of July 28. Two residents + one staff member were hospitalized, and three residents have died. Two staff members + three children tested positive at the childhood enrichment center as of July 28.(WLOS)
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Hey, there. Looking for today’s #MustDo events? In accordance with the
CDC’s recommendations regarding public gatherings, we have decided to postpone public event coverage for the time being. We look forward to bringing you Asheville’s #MustDo events soon (until then, feel free to submit your virtual events
If you’re a parent or caregiver who will need extra support around childcare once school resumes, the YMCA of WNC has expanded their offerings to provide afterschool care+ full-day care that will accommodate changes in school schedules while meeting kids’ needs, consistently and safely. The expanded programs will be offered in Buncombe, Henderson + McDowell counties.
The rates are designed to be accessible and affordable – afterschool care will be available for $95/week, and full-day care will be $200/week in Buncombe + Henderson counties, and $69/week or $145/week in McDowell County. Sliding scale scholarships will also be available and are supported by community donations. Get more info or donate here. 🎒
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Weather ○ 83º | Thunderstorms | 90% chance of rain
Civic ○ The City has appointed six members to the City-County Vance Monument Task Force, including Shirley Whitesides, Appted Antanette Mosley, and Bernard Oliphant. The 12-member task force will advise local government on the removal or repurposing of the monument and develop an inclusive community engagement plan focusing on people negatively impacted by the monument. 🌆 ○ All Buncombe County law enforcement agency heads will sign an officer misconduct agreement with the county’s top prosecutor. It is similar to an earlier agreement signed in 2018, which stated that agencies would follow more urgent reporting guidelines when handling officer-involved criminal + administrative investigations, including instances of excessive and lethal force.(Asheville Citizen-Times)
DYK ○ Free parking in city + county garagesends Saturday. Fees were suspended March 18 for both garages and metered parking. The city reintroduced metered parking fees + rolled out curbside pickup spots in May. 🚗
ForKids ○ Fired Up Creative Lounge Is offering a Take-Home Party Bag in honor of Harry Potter’s birthday. The bags can be ordered alongside a To-Go Paint Your Own Pottery kit.The bag is available tomorrow + is $9.75. 🧙♂️
Number ○ $2,122,506.The top prize – after required state and federal tax withholdings – won by a Candler man in the $5,000,000 Mega Cash scratch-off game.The lucky (and last) winning ticket was found at a Stop N Go on U.S. 70 in Swannanoa.He spent four hours searching Buncombe County for the winning ticket.💰
Wellness ○ JAWBREAKING’s Jefferson Ellison gets vulnerable with local therapist Sarah Jenkins in the latest interview in partnership with AVLtoday. Find out all about Sarah’s background – like her training in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and sex therapy, plus her own reasons for going to therapy, her role in relationship with clients + more.
Tired of restrictive fad diets with no long-term results? Noom’s innovative health program – which combines personal coaching with cognitive behavioral therapy and artificial intelligence – is bigger than a diet; it’s a new outlook on health.
Using their convenient app + personal coaching, Noom helps you create your own unique health programwith the power of habit, setting you up for long-term weight loss and improved health. Ⓟ
Answered: A. The term of an elected Asheville City Council member isfour years. Vijay Kapoor was elected to Council in 2017, but a Senate bill passed in 2018 changed local election years to even instead of odd, extending his appointment by a year.
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