• Once Again Sinning that Grace May Abound
    This is the second time this point of view has crossed my path. We must adjust our vocabulary. Rather than saying, “taxpayer dollars blown out our ears,” we must say, “resources brought into the community.” The latest context pertained to homeless people. One provider, Pisgah Legal Service’s SSI/SSDI Outreach Access Recovery program, spent an average of $190,000 per case on 47 clients (almost $9 million). Since the money was free; that is, coming from state, federal, and other sources, it was “money brought into . . . .” A corollary might be that we can all get super-duper rich if we but turn ourselves into caseload.

  • Other Ways to Bring Money into the Community
    In order to wrest the water system from the City of Asheville, legislation was passed which initiated a lot of studies and negotiations. The city has engaged in “onerous” research, and the Metropolitan Sewerage District, after contracting with an outside firm to do their research for $200,000, has only managed to collect 65% of the necessary information in time for the city’s consultant to report. Councilman Cecil Bothwell said it was worth reminding the public that the rigmarole is a huge expense for MSD ratepayers, city water ratepayers, and taxpayers in general.

  • Council Lets Hair Down
    129 residents of Buncombe County whose wells have presumably been contaminated by reckless chemical disposal at the old CTS plant, will now be connected to the city’s system. The city has offered to waive all development, tap and meter, and connection fees. Buncombe County has agreed to apply for state aid to lay the pipes. Members of city council were hip with the idea, even though it would appear the Evil Representative Tim Moffitt was, via Raleigh, essentially purchasing stock in the water system he so badly wants.

  • Slippery Slopes
    Only Jan Davis upheld his oath of office and defended the property rights of the people he represents. Council thought it would be hip to not rezone, but study a change in zoning for property that neighbors want rezoned. You see, these days developers have this crazy urge to sink millions of dollars into big buildings just to watch them wash down hillsides. Neighbors, on the other hand, have made it clear for years that infill development belongs in somebody else’s back yard. Davis’ peers challenged him, saying the council-initiated rezoning would catalyze dialogue. To this, he replied that council was approaching the problem from the wrong direction and setting a precedent for bullying. So, there you have it, developers. If you want to drop a few million dollars into designing a project, only to have council rezone the land out from under you, come to Asheville.