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City Approves 2019-2020 Spending Plan

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The City of Asheville’s budget for the next fiscal year includes $8 million for a new fire station and more than $1 million in spending on the Transit Master Plan.

The proposed Fire Station 13 would be in the Five Points neighborhood on Broadway, near Mount Clare Ave. The budget allocates $1.2 million to the first phase of the Transit Master Plan. The city says the goal is to improve public bus service – by expanding service hours and routes, among other upgrades.

The next fiscal year begins July 1.

Budget highlights

By strategically aligning resources in the most cost-efficient manner identified, here are some initiatives included in the 2019-2020 Annual Operating Budget:

·  An investment of $1.2 million to implement the first phase of the Transit Master Plan. The goals are to address on-time performance and missed trips and route reconfigurations, among other initiatives.

·  A $8 million allocation to fund construction of Fire Station 13 in the 5 Points area on Broadway.

·  $150,000 to fund a classification and compensation study, designed to review whether the current pay structure is aligned with business needs and the labor market. This study will specifically review the feasibility of implementing a $15 per hour minimum wage.

·  Additional funding for outreach services provided to people experiencing homelessness in Asheville.

·  Funding of four new positions for a sidewalk maintenance crew in Public Works to help provide faster response and flexibility.

·  Funding for the City’s 6% matching contribution to the firefighter 457 retirement plan. This benefit was increased from 4% to 6% mid-year FY 2018-2019.