Weaverville – The meeting on Monday evening (December 20) began with a recognition of Earl Valois for being the town’s liaison with the Metropolitan Sewer District, followed by public comment, during which three people spoke. Jay Schauer was the first to talk about the town’s relationship to the Weaverville Center for Creative and Healthy Living. Ward Patton spoke on a council member coming by to talk about complaints about his business, Weaver House. Next, James Henil with SaveIvyRiver.org gave the council some information to consider as an alternative to expanding the water treatment plant.
The board then passed the consent agenda. Besides containing minutes from three other meetings and other housekeeping items, the agenda appointed:
• Former Councilman Doug Dearth as the town’s representative on the MSD Board beginning January 1.
• Caleb Fieser as an alternate on the Board of Adjustment to replace and fill an unexpired term due to end in September 2022.
• Councilwoman Catherine Cordell as the town council liaison to the Planning Board.
In the town manager’s report to the board, Town Manager Selena Coffey updated the council on voting site locations for the upcoming election, the crafting of a noise ordinance, remote procedures for meetings and the town’s public wi-fi project. Another $10,000 Land of the Sky Regional Council grant is allotted to reduce the cost of the public wi-fi project.
Action and discussion items
Travis Keever, with the town CPA firm, gave his report on the town’s annual audit, offering a clean opinion of the town’s finances. The council then heard from Town Finance Director Tonya Dozier, who presented her report about continuing to allow Buncombe County to collect the town’s taxes at a two percent rate. Councilman Andrew Nagle was clear on his position against giving the county $68,000 in essence to bill the resident with little collecting done.
“Most people pay their taxes,” he said.
However, Dozier recounted the town’s prior experience with having an employee do collects, saying the town had paid for the employee’s training over two years only to have him quit. The council decided to allow the three-year contract. The contract has another year to play out and then review the matter.
Weaverville Town Water Supervisor, Trent Duncan, presented a plan to allow the town’s engineering firm, WithersRavenel, apply for more than a million dollars in a forgivable loan with the state’s Clean Water Revolving Fund. The loan would fund necessary equipment at the water plant. Duncan said the town needs this equipment whether or not the plant was expanded. It would cost the town only $5,000 to pay WithersRavenel to fill out the forms and apply, Duncan said.
Nagle was against paying the fee and said it should be WithersRavenel’s responsibility to successfully secure the loan for the town. Councilwoman Cordell disagreed and the council voted 6-1 to allow WithersRavenel to apply for the grant.
After some discussion, the town approved a new one year memo of understanding to allow the Weaverville Tailgate Market to use the new Community Center at Dottie Sherrill Knoll for their market with a $80 cleaning fee for the winter months and a $20 fee for the spring/summer/fall months.
The more controversial items
After some discussion, the board voted to set a hearing at the February meeting on annexation and rezoning of 25 acres along Ollie Weaver Road for a housing project that would allow up to 302 units to be built. Nagle said he was against the project and had been since it was proposed, saying it would lead Weaverville to look like Brooklyn, NY.
After learning only 62 percent of the town’s employees were vaccinated, the council directed staff to develop an incentive/penalty plan to increase that number.
Council then heard a report from public works before dismissing for the evening.