By Benjamin Cohn
Weaverville – The Town of Weaverville’s Town Council convened last week for the first time in 2019 on Monday (Jan. 28). This was a week later than usual due to the town’s observance of the Rev. Martin Luther King Day holiday. The occasion marked also the first appearance of Weaverville’s new Chief of Police Ron Davis, formerly the Assistant Police Chief in Fletcher, North Carolina.
Last Monday’s lengthy meeting began when Mayor Al Root motioned for approval of the night’s agenda, which Town Council member Andrew Nagle seconded. The motion passed.
Root then motioned for the approval of minutes from four previous meetings, a Town Council workshop, two special-called meetings and a regular meeting from November and December of last year.
The council then took a moment to acknowledge Weaverville’s new Chief of Police Ron Davis, who replaced Alan Wyatt earlier this month. Root said, “The next item on the agenda is a true pleasure, the recognition of our new police chief, Chief Ron Davis. Chief Davis.”
Root continued. “As it turns out, our town manager had done an excellent job in her news release, saying some good things about you [Davis].”
He then quoted from part of the release saying that Town Manager Selena Coffey had mentioned, in her press release about his hiring, his time as the Assistant Police Chief for Fletcher Police Department, having an advanced law enforcement certification, certified criminal investigator, serving as a police instructor [at] Blue Ridge Community College, numerous roles in law enforcement and servicing the country, in the United States Army, and Army National Guard as a paratrooper, sergeant of an airborne infantry squadron.
“In the short time you have been with us now, coming up on about a month now, you’ve already made a mark here in the Town of Weaverville. Thank you very much for being here, Chief Davis,” Root said, not elaborating on how he had.
Mayor Root then called for any public comments to be made, though none were.
Monday’s meeting continued with the meeting’s consent agenda, a list of items that, as a group, would be approved or denied by Town Council. The items on the consent agenda were the town’s monthly tax report (94.72 percent of taxes collected), the approval of a tax release “due to an error in evaluation,” according to Coffey, in the amount of $71,600 “for the value of real property located at 12 Perion Court.”The property in question is, according to online real estate database Zillow, a single-family house on 0.62 acres of land. It was sold in June of 2016 for $125,000.
Other items on Monday’s consent agenda were the approval of an employment agreement for town attorney Jennifer Jackson, a budget amendment of about $31,000 for the town’s police department because of the “unexpected retirement” of former Chief Alan Wyatt and the adoption of a budget calendar for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. A motion to approve the consent agenda was proposed and seconded and was adopted. Also included was a public hearing for code amendments regarding multi-family development. The public hearing will be held February 25 at 6:45 pm.
Coffey then gave her monthly report to Town Council, in which she reminded them of a state initiative to combat vehicular fatalities in crosswalks. “There was a state campaign to really focus on crosswalks,” she said, “especially with Buncombe County being sixth and, I believe, Asheville being the fourth, in terms of fatalities in pedestrian [areas].”
According to a 2014 news report from local media, Asheville leads the state in vehicular collisions with pedestrians per capita.
The meeting concluded with a lengthy section on the month’s discussion and action items. One of the most anticipated items of discussion was the town’s ability to provide fireworks for this year’s fourth of July celebrations. The town has vacillated between certainty that fireworks would be impossible and hope that fireworks might be possible, but Monday’s meeting brought good news.
The town’s current plan is to host the fourth of July celebrations at Weaverville Primary School’s baseball field, according to an earlier report by the Tribune. Root explained that the “initial school response was ‘no, we are not going to agree to this,’ which was the simple response. I’m sure their insurer said, ‘absolutely not.’ Had they talked to any safety folk, they would have said, ‘absolutely not.’”
Root credited Coffey with contacting Buncombe County’s school board to secure permission for use of Weaverville Primary’s baseball field in this summer’s fourth of July celebrations.
Other items discussed in the final publicly-available section of the meeting included a resolution to allow the town to accept electronic payments, an update to the town’s land use and holiday/leave days for town personnel.
Progress was also made Monday night on several of the town’s most pressing issues, including the upcoming town community center and plans for a sister greenway to accompany Woodfin’s upcoming greenway.
Council then broke into closed session. The next Town Council meeting will be at the end of February.