Community

Town takes initiative to see if it is complying with ADA

By Clint Parker

Weaverville – At last month’s Weaverville Town Council meeting, Town Manager Selena Coffey, during her manager’s report, mentioned the town would be doing an ADA Evaluation and Transition Plan. For those who don’t know, ADA stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act. The evaluation will determine if the town is in compliance with the federal law and, if not, how the town plans to comply with the law.

“We are required to have this performed based on [the] 1991 enacted legislation, which is Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act,” Coffey told the council. This legislation imposes requirements on state and local governments to assure that they do not discriminate in the provision of services “on the basis of disability. The two areas of primary focus of the legislation are a review of 1) policies and practices and 2) accessibility.

“This self-evaluation and transition plan will be performed by Withers Ravenel and staff will be facilitating at least one public input workshop for our residents to participate in this process.”

According to Coffey, the process will involve completing the following:

  • Adopting/Reviewing policies concerning ADA accessibility
  • Performing a public building and program inventory
  • Adopting a grievance policy for ADA concerns (which includes an appeals process)
  • Soliciting public input concerning accessibility in Town facilities and programs
  • Developing a transition plan to address any accessibility findings

Asked when the evaluation is to take place, Coffey told the Tribune, “The field inventory will be performed during the latter part of March and into April, but they haven’t given us a completion date yet. We should know more about the timeframe after our kick-off meeting, which we are trying to schedule for this week.”

Asked about the cost of the evaluation, she explained that while required by the federal government, the work is not funded by them. “Unfortunately, we do not get any funding assistance from the federal or state government on this, which has been a bone of contention amongst my colleague managers from across the state,” Coffey said. “While I appreciate the intentions of the ADA requirements and we want to ensure that we are in complete compliance with ADA, the cost for this is expected to be approximately $23,000. Town Council approved funds for this in the current year budget last July. The upside is that, once the evaluation and plan are complete, we only have to update it annually, which can be performed in-house.”

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