Showing posts from June, 2017

Beaucatcher Blues

The ongoing war for the soul of Asheville’s pet mountain By Roger McCredie Managing Editor James Washington Patton had a flirty sister-in-law from Charleston named Charlotte Kerry, who encouraged gentleman callers to take her for strolls up the ridge to the east of downtown Asheville.  Patton teasingly began calling the mountain “Charlotte’s beau catcher.”  The name stuck. Beaucatcher Mountain rises in North Asheville behind the old Manor Inn grounds. Within a few hundred yards it reaches its 2,694-foot summit – about five hundred feet above town level – and then it parallels Charlotte Street for about a mile, bisected by the deep notch of the I-240 open cut (1980) and Beaucatcher Tunnel (1927). Finally the west side slopes downward and peters out with a kink above the city’s abandoned White Fawn Reservoir. The east side looms above Haw Creek and Tunnel Road, tailing off in Kenilworth. In the summer Beaucatcher presents as a long green shoulder; in winter, the loss of its leafy canopy…

City of Asheville considers spending $100K to find new bank with no ties to fossil fuels

Yep. You read that right. This is NOT fake news.
If you want to get a hint of what a strange city we live in, attend any council meeting or any meeting of the 30+ boards and commissions and committees.

In March of this year the City's Finance Committee considered a proposal to move the City's banking services from Wells Fargo because of that bank's investment in the Dakota Access Pipe Line. At the June 27th Finance Committee meeting, a presentation was made to further that process.  Council members Julie Mayfield, Gwen Wisler and Cecil Bothwell are the council members who make up the Finance Committee.  The presentation was made by the City's financial advisor, Doug Carter of DEC Associates, a Charlotte based company that provides consulting to many other NC municipalities.  Mr. Carter, a former city finance director himself (with Charlotte) came prepared.

What transpired reveals the impractical, sometimes bizarre, demands of some of our council members. In short...

Asheville's champagne taste exceeds its beer budget

Ineptitude and Mismanagement Lead to $26 million budget over run for River Arts District improvementsLast week it was announced that the City of Asheville will have to make drastic reductions in their plans that were meant to improve 2.2 miles on Riverside Drive along the French Broad River because the actual construction bids came in at double the amount to taxpayers than the City estimated. This project is called "RADTIP" which stands for River Arts District Transportation Improvement Project.  
The original figure was $26 million from the City taxpayers plus $24 million from grants for a total estimated cost of $50 million. The new figure? Double the portion from city taxpayers to $52 million for a grand new total of $76 million.  
Since the City doesn't have an additional $26 million, it has to scale back, reduce, cut its plans or what the City has coined "value engineer" the entire RADTIP project.  
Mismanagement and Ineptitude
This is the latest and largest …

The Mayor's broken record reveals misguided leadership

"Asheville gets twice as many tourists as Charleston"

Over the last year, Mayor Esther Manheimer has repeatedly stated that Asheville gets twice as many tourists as Charleston, stating Asheville gets 11 million visitors a year while Charleston gets half of that. According to her figures that would mean approximately 30,100 visitors each and every day, 365 days a year. She's seem stuck on this information. She used these figures during budget discussions and during the $74 million bond referendum meetings to justify the ever increasing debt the City is taking on.  We decided to take a closer look.

We first noticed it during the initial public meeting last October about the $74 million bond referendum as a reason why voters should pass the bonds.  She said it again during the first and third City budget worksessions in March and April, stating it was unfair that the City doesn't get any of the benefits of the growth of downtown businesses, only the costs (higher crime…

Guest Post: The Unaffordable City

City Letter #9
The Unaffordable City
What most people don’t know is that our budget problems didn’t start in 2009 with the Great Recession. We actually had balanced budgets with cautious spending for years. Our problem started four years ago when Mayor Manheimer and her current council came to power. The last four years this council along with our city manager of 12 years, Gary Jackson, have been on a reckless spending spree causing our city budget to explode 70%.  Their out of control spending has caused them to raise Fees & Taxes six times in the last four years.  According to my figures they will need to keep raising them for the next 10 years. This council will need millions of dollars on top of the bond money to keep the government afloat with their current budget obligations. What really bothers me most about this group of self-serving Jackson bureaucrats is the methodical way they mislead the voters.
In last year’s budget they had to raise taxes so it would balance. What’s rea…