Disparity Study

Happening Now

The final stages of the Disparity Study are being completed.  The goal of the study remains to assess whether minority- and woman-owned businesses face any barriers as part of the City’s contracting processes. Information from the study will help inform the City’s implementation of the MWBE Program and help the City better encourage the participation of minority- and woman-owned businesses in the future.


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The disparity study project will examine whether there are any disparities between: 

  • The percentage of contract dollars that the City spent with minority- and woman-owned businesses during the study period (utilization); and
  • The percentage of contract dollars that minority- and woman-owned businesses might be expected to receive based on their availability to perform specific types and sizes of City contracts (availability).

The study's focus remains on contracts that the City awarded during the fiscal year periods of July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2017. In addition to assessing utilization, availability and any disparities between them, the study will examine other qualitative and quantitative information related to:

  • Legal considerations surrounding the City’s implementation of the MWBE Program;                          
  • Marketplace conditions for minority- and woman-owned businesses;
  • Contracting practices and assistance programs that the City currently has in place; and
  • Potential programs for the City to consider implementing to further encourage small business and minority- and woman-owned business participation.


Timeline Update as of July 31, 2018

  • The City and BBC initiated the 2017-18 City of Asheville Disparity Study in June 2017 with a series of in-person meetings with various City departments.
  • Two public meetings were held July 31, 2017 at TD Bank Building, 200 College St. in Asheville. These public meetings were designed to provide information about the disparity study, answer any questions related to the study, and collect testimony from interested stakeholders about conditions in the Asheville marketplace. Input will become part of the public record for the disparity study. See the presentation from the meeting here.
  • Update to Council Planning & Economic Development Committee on February 12, 2018.  See presentation here.
  • Final stages of the Disparity Study project going on now include:
    • Review of legal analysis and framework.                       
    • Working with the City staff to obtain data on bids for relevant contracts. Relevant contracts are those in which minorities and women businesses could bid as primes or subcontractors.
    • Analysis of utilization surveys conducted with utilized prime and subcontractors.                   
    • Drafting results of the marketplace analysis.       
    • Analysis of of anecdotal information.  Data obtained from the in-depth interviews for the final report.
    • Determine availability of qualified firms.  Building a prime contract, subcontract, and vendor tables and continued analyzing availability data.
    • Review of efficacy of race- and gender-neutral remedies.  Review of the documents from the City relevant to the current program and drafting a summary of the neutral measures programs in the Asheville area.  

Supporting Documents

Staff report to the Planning & Economic Development Committee - February 2018 and Presentation

Staff report to the Planning & Economic Development Committee - March 2017 

Staff report to City Council (3/28/2017) - Disparity Study Contract Award

BBC Research & Consulting - Disparity Study Cost Proposal

BBC Research & Consulting - Technical Proposal

Disparity Study FAQ

Contact Information

Brenda Mills
Neighborhood & Community Engagement Manager

or email AshevilleDisparityStudy@bbcresearch.com