First step budget recommendations for Reimagining Public Safety in Asheville will be presented during Sept. 22 City Council meeting

City Council meeting modified graphic

Information from the consultant’s report about the Asheville community listening sessions and from the City’s online questionnaire were used to inform this first round of budget recommendations to be made at the Sept. 22 City Council meeting.  

These recommendations are only the beginning of the effort to re-imagine the delivery of public safety services in Asheville.

Year 2 ideas that will be explored (fiscal year 2021-22) include:

  • Work with Buncombe County to consolidate the 911 emergency call center to more efficiently respond and deploy resources for emergency response calls 
  • Create and support a collaborative rapid response team model to respond to mental health, drugs and alcohol, homeless, domestic violence and similar types of calls with goal of having Police no longer being the first responder
  • Develop new model(s) for School Resource Officers to further support student mentoring and other identified needs in schools
  • Work with tenants and Housing Authority staff on new model(s) to enhance safety in Housing Authority communities

With a commitment to transparency, all responses for the open ended questions are being released today, Friday, Sept. 18. The responses for these questions were in the form of comments and can be found on the Re-Imagining Public Safety Project Page. 

 

The responses to the multiple choice questions will be posted in the next two weeks.  Responses are still being analyzed to make sure there are no duplicate responses or data discrepancies due to technical difficulties that could have impacted numbers reported. More detailed information can be found on the Re-Imagining Public Safety Project Page.

 

Remote meeting

Asheville City Council will meet — remotely — at 5 p.m. Sept. 22.  Here is a link to the agenda. Due to the locally declared State of Emergency and the State Phase 2.5 Safer at Home order, there will be no public attendance at this meeting. This includes news media. 

 

Watch live by television on Charter Cable channel 193 and on AT&T U-Verse channel 99 or by live stream on the City’s Virtual Engagement Hub at  publicinput.com/A6580.  In addition to the stream on the Virtual Engagement Hub, a live stream of the meeting is also available on the City’s YouTube Channel at youtube.com/cityofasheville.

 

Listen live by calling 855-925-2801, then enter code  8330.

 

To leave pre-recorded voicemail comments for the agenda (including public hearings), call 855-925-2801, then enter code  8330.

 

To submit written comments for the agenda (including public hearings), email AshevilleCityCouncilSept222020@PublicInput.com.

 

Live public comment during meeting

Persons wishing to speak during the meeting must sign up in advance using an online form found at ashevillenc.gov/comments or by calling the Clerk’s office at 828-259-5900, no later than noon Sept. 21.  

In order to allow as many speakers as possible during our one hour public comment periods, Mayor Manheimer may limit public comment on the “Budget Amendment to Amend the Fiscal Year 2020-21 Annual Operating Budget” and “Informal Discussion and Public Comment” to two minutes.

Live caller queue — Because the upcoming City Council meeting will be a remote participation meeting, and to allow staff time to assist community members in preparing for such a meeting format, persons wishing to speak during the meeting must sign up in advance using the online form below (ashevillenc.gov/comments) or call the Clerk’s office at 828-259-5900 no later than noon Sept. 21, to add their names to the list of speakers. The web form is on this page now.  

In order to be added to the list of speakers, an individual is required to provide full first and full last name, area of residence, phone number the caller will use to listen to the meeting live and join the speaker queue, the item the individual is commenting on (Examples:  Consent Agenda, Public Hearing A, Open Public Comment), and an alternative form of contact (for example: text number, email address or a different phone line if a land line will be used to call into the meeting). 

City staff will use the phone numbers callers submitted during sign up to manage the speaker queue. 

The “alternative form of contact” in the sign-up form will be used to provide technical assistance during the meeting if needed. 

Each speaker will need to listen to the meeting through the live phone application by calling 855-925-2801, meeting code: 8330. Callers who have signed up to speak should press “*” and then “3” to join the speaker queue during the meeting. To best ensure staff can support you in the case of technical difficulties, we ask that you join the queue no later than the beginning of the agenda item before the agenda item on which you have signed up to speak. 

Additionally, if you have joined the speaker queue and need to disconnect before your time to speak, please hit *4 before hanging up. You can then call back in using the same directions listed above and staff will enter you back into the speaker queue if 1) you signed up to speak for the agenda item and 2) public comment is still being accepted for the agenda item.  Each speaker is allotted 3 minutes to speak for up to one hour for each agenda item. The Mayor or presiding officer may, at his/her discretion, increase or decrease this time allocation depending on the number of speakers.   Again, in order to allow as many speakers as possible during our one hour public comment periods, Mayor Manheimer may limit public comment on the “Budget Amendment to Amend the Fiscal Year 2020-21 Annual Operating Budget” and “Informal Discussion and Public Comment” to two minutes.

A speaker may speak only if they have signed up to speak in accordance with these procedures. All speaker names will be displayed when speaking.  

In order for speakers to know where they fall in the caller queue, the speaker list (name only) will be posted to the City of Asheville Public Engagement Hub at publicinput.com/A6580 by noon the day of the meeting.

The Clerk will deliver the list of those persons who signed up to speak to the Mayor or presiding officer before the beginning of the meeting. The speakers will be called upon in the order the requests were received by the Clerk.

These remote format City Council meetings are a temporary measure for the health and safety of everyone, as we collectively work through social distancing techniques to prevent the spread of COVID-19, taking into consideration guidance from the CDC, N.C. Department of Health and Human Service and Buncombe County Health and Human Services.

The top priorities are the safety of our community and to slow the spread of COVID-19.

We continue to coordinate City response with Buncombe County and State officials. These actions are all designed with public health in mind, as we pull together to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.