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Showing posts from May, 2017

City rejected lowest bid on new study Because ‘It wasn’t high enough,’ consultant says

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Winning company’s $320,000 quote is more than double lowest number By Roger McCredie Managing Editor The head of the consulting firm that offered the lowest bid on the City of Asheville’s recently-commissioned racial disparity study says he was told his company lost the contract “in part because we weren’t charging enough.” It’s a curious disqualification considering that state law requires municipalities to accept the lowest “reasonable” bid in such situations. The low bid on the analysis project came from Drakeford, Scott & Associates of Durham, whose submitted quote was $151,200.  But the city hired BBC Research and Consulting of Denver, CO, to conduct the year-long examination of how it awards construction contracts.  BBC has said it will do the work for $319,948 – which is more than double Drakeford, Scott’s price but in fact the second lowest price tag among the six companies who submitted bids. Still, a bid that is $169,948 higher between lowest and next-lowest bids has left the …

Put your budget where your mouth is: Asheville's Priorities

Proposed City Budget for Fiscal Year 2017-2018 reveals growing bureaucracy and massive debt
For all the talk of lowering taxes and concern over the affordable housing crisis, Asheville City Council and its management has gone whole hog into economic development in exchange for the promise of a massive explosion of growth.  Don't listen to the talk. It's an election year and politicians say what you want to hear. Instead, look at the proposed budget for fiscal year 2017-2018 and you will see exactly where the city puts its priorities - a growing bureaucracy and massive debt. In addition, the City could have lowered the property tax rate to 39.5 but instead, added back 4 cents in taxes.

Growing Bureaucracy
Growing Bureaucracy - 100 new full-time employees
Hidden in this year's budget is a significant personnel change - the addition of 100 full-time positions. This kind of increase has not happened since 2007-2008.

City management has been increasing full-time positions at signi…

Asheville Riverfront Commission finds its voice & questions Form Based Code and RADTIP

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Form Based Code passes by only 3 votes
Commission Members start questioning the RADTIP costs
Last week's Asheville Area Riverfront Redevelopment Commission (AARRC) meeting was a history maker for two reasons: 
1) The final draft of Form Based Code vote was met with surprising opposition and narrowly passed by 3 votes.

2) Members actually started asking questions about the cost of the RADTIP and who would be responsible for paying for those costs.
Form Based Code 8 to 5 vote
For the first time since its inception in 2010, this Commission, which was setup by the City of Asheville had to take an actual vote count with regard to the proposed final draft of the Form Based Code put online April 25th. They had been asked by Stephanie Monson Dahl to recommend to City Council that the Council should support this final draft and pass it but rather than getting the unanimous, business-as-usual support, 5 members indicated they would vote No causing lively discussion and City staff questioning t…

Asheville hires whitebread firm from Denver to conduct minority business study

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“Racial disparity” analysis will cost city $320,000
By Roger McCredie
Managing Editor

The City of Asheville has engaged BBC Research and Consulting, of Denver, CO, to evaluate city contracting practices with regard to minority-owned businesses.
BBC will begin work next month on a “disparity study” designed to show how well the city succeeds – or doesn’t – in awarding contracts to minority- and female-owned businesses. The project is expected to take a year and will cost the city $320,000. At the end of the day, the study is expected to provide city officials with a blueprint for implementing a race-based system for awarding city work contracts.

The project has been triggered by a perceived need to overhaul the city’s existing Minority Business Program as work advances on the ambitious River Arts District development plan. Concern has arisen in some quarters that black contractors, in particular, might not get a fair shot at bidding on riverfront projects, given what some have said i…

The wheels on the bus go ‘round and ‘round … and the taxes creep up and up.

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The city wants to collect more money for its transit system. To pay for what? By Roger McCredie Managing Editor
Asheville Redefines Transit. ART, get it? Since 2012 that’s been the official name of Asheville’s municipally-owned public transportation company. The acronym is on each and every blue-and-green Asheville city bus, together with the subhead, “Ride. Relax. Connect.”

Now, the conventional definition of “transit” is “the carrying of people, goods, or materials from one place to another.” and the inference is that ART gives new meaning to the word by making riding the bus in Asheville a pleasant, efficient and thrifty way to get around town.

But as the city plods through its annual preliminary budgeting process, ordinary folks looking to get where they need to go are clamoring to be heard, while the transit system itself remains in chronic disarray and the only solution actually on offer is a (further) hike in property taxes.

Some critics of how the city’s transit system is ru…