Happening Now

Disparity Study Public Hearing

Tuesday, September 19, 2023 at 6:00 p.m.

Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Community Center

285 Livingston Street

Asheville, NC 28801

Registration link

You can provide comments

Please submit any comments that you may have about your experiences working in the local marketplace, working with the City, or about the disparity study. Topic areas could include:

  • Conditions in the local marketplace, including any potential barriers that businesses face in being successful or growing;
  • Contracting opportunities with the City or other local government agencies;
  • Business assistance programs that the City or other local agencies currently use;
  • Any recommendations for additional business assistance programs that the City could consider implementing.

Your comments will be treated confidentially. They will be integrated as part of the project team’s analyses of local marketplace conditions without identifying you as the source.

E-mail your comments directly to the project team at CityofAshevilleDS@miller3group.com.


The City of Asheville’s Community and Economic Development Department has commissioned Miller³ Consulting, Inc. (M³ Consulting) to conduct a five year comprehensive Disparity Study of its contractual awards in goods, professional and general services, and construction. The objective is to determine the effectiveness of the City’s current Business Inclusion (formerly Minority and Women Business Enterprise) program and recommend modifications and adjustments, if necessary, to the City’s Business Inclusion program that are in compliance with the law. 

Disparity Studies are the primary means by which municipalities determine whether there is legal justification for the establishment, continuation or modification of programs designed to promote the full and fair participation of minority and women business enterprises (M/WBE) in government contracting. 

The City of Asheville Disparity Study period is from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2022.

For information on the 2018 Disparity Study, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is a disparity study?

A Disparity Study determines whether a government entity, either in the past or currently, engages in exclusionary practices in the solicitation and award of contracts to minority, and women‐owned, and disadvantaged business enterprises (MWDBEs).


What is the purpose of a disparity study?

The study is necessitated in part by the 1989 U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the case of City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson. The court decision imposed legal requirements on jurisdictions to establish a “compelling interest” to support the establishment of a minority and women business program. The results of this study will determine if a compelling interest exists for the City to have a M/WBE program.


Why is the City of Asheville conducting a disparity study?

The City is conducting a disparity study to aid the City in evaluating and improving its current programs and to undertake all necessary and affirmative steps to ensure that Diverse Business Enterprises are afforded opportunities to participate in City procurements.


When will the disparity study be completed?

October 2023


How can local business owners and community stakeholders get involved and stay informed?

The participation of stakeholders and business owners is crucial to the Disparity Study’s success. The project team will  conduct stakeholder meetings, business owner interviews, send surveys and hold focus groups throughout the course of the Study to gather information. Local business owners and stakeholders are encouraged to attend.

The business owner meetings and focus groups will allow the project team to document anecdotal testimony from firms and/or individuals that have done business or are interested in doing business directly with the City or indirectly through its prime contractors/lead professional consultants.

You can also share your insights about working in the local marketplace by emailing the project team directly at CityofAshevilleDS@miller3group.com. Data collected throughout the Study will be considered and incorporated into the final report.


What types of contracts are being reviewed?

The study will focus on M/WBE’s in the procurement categories of goods, professional and general services, and construction from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2022.


Will the results of the disparity study be made public?

Yes, the results of the disparity study will be made public at the end of the process.




October 2022 – Project kick off, study begins.

Spring 2023 – Engagement with community begins to include interviews, focus groups and public meetings.

October 2023 – Study complete.


Supporting Documents

The City will provide access to relevant disparity study notes, presentations, and reports below. Please check back periodically for updated documents throughout the course of the study.


Contact Information

Frank McGowan
Interim Asst. Director
City of Asheville Community & Economic Development Dept.
828-259-5811, fmcgowan@ashevillenc.gov

Sherry Williams
Project Manager, Miller³ Consulting, Inc.

Larry Scott
Assistant Project Manager, Miller³ Consulting, Inc.



Start Date

October 2022

Completion Date

October 2023

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