Author: Selena Coffey

Press Release from Buncombe County Government: Flooding Can Present a Public Health Risk for Residents and Businesses

Flooding Can Present a Public Health Risk for Residents and Businesses

 

For Immediate Release

HHS Media Coordinator
[email protected] or 828.775.1321

May 31, 2018

Buncombe County, N.C. – Flooding and standing water can expose the public to infectious diseases, chemical hazards and injuries both during and after a weather event. Buncombe County Health and Human Services wants residents and businesses to be aware of steps that we can all take to reduce injury and illness due to flooding. Proper assessment of wells and septic systems, as well as cleaning and moisture removal, remain key to eliminating threats to the public’s health.

Water Supply and Septic Systems:
Flood water can contaminate and damage water and septic systems. Bacteria, viruses, or other pathogenic organisms are often present in surface water and can pose a threat to the health of the public if consumed. If well and septic systems are compromised, residents and businesses must ensure that these system are safe prior to use for any purpose.

If there is a disruption of utilities during a weather-related event, food service establishments are required to contact Buncombe County Environmental Health at (828) 250-5016. If you experience a loss of power, loss of water, loss of water pressure, and/or flooding, your establishment will require an inspection prior to resuming food preparation.

Citizens who use well water need to take precautions as flood water can contaminate private wells and septic systems. If the well head was covered by flood waters, it should be tested by public health officials, even if the pump still works. While the water may look and smell safe, call Buncombe County Environmental Health at (828) 250-5016 to be sure.

Citizens who use a municipal water supply should contact their water provider for details regarding any boil water advisories. We also encourage residents to follow local news media for updates and advisories.

After a flood, the safe disposal of septic wastewater is essential in protecting human health. It is important to keep children and pets away from sewage or wastewater affected areas.

Signs indicating that your septic system is in distress:

  • Drains in the house will flow slowly
  • Toilets drain slowly or sound strange when flushed
  • Water may back up into floor drains in the basement

Do not use or flush your toilet, take a shower, use sinks, wash clothing or put any water down any drain until you know that the septic tank and associated sewer pipes are intact. Have the septic system professionally inspected and serviced.

Cleaning and Mold:
Flood cleanup involves cleaners, disinfectants, and pesticides. Mixing household cleaners and disinfectants, such as bleach and ammonia, can produce dangerous, toxic fumes. If you are using these cleaning agents, be sure to open windows and reduce your exposure as much as possible while allowing for plenty of time to air out the room. If it’s safe to use electricity, use fans to keep the air circulating.

Mold after a flood can cause serious problems and quick action must be taken to control moisture. If you have a mold problem at home, wash it off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and dry completely. Be sure to get rid of the excess water or moisture and fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water.

Other steps to protect yourself and others include practicing good hygiene after contact with flood waters. Wash your hands often. Do not allow children to play in flood water areas or with toys that have been contaminated by flood water and have not yet been disinfected.

If you have questions or need to schedule an inspection, please contact the Buncombe County Environmental Health Department at (828) 250-5016 or visit our office located at 30 Valley Street, Asheville NC 28801. You can also send us an email at: [email protected]. More information at www.buncombecounty.org/eh.

 

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Water System Development Fees

Article 8 of Chapter 162A entitled “System Development Fees” was enacted and signed into law on July 20, 2017, with an effective date of October 1, 2017. This new law provides clear authority for municipalities, and others, to charge water/sewer system development fees as long as procedures and conditions are complied with before July 1, 2018.

WHAT IS A SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT FEE?

A system development fee includes any charge or assessment imposed on new development to recoup costs of existing facilities which serve such new development. This includes fees to pay for costs the Town already incurred for the construction of the facilities and infrastructure used to treat and deliver potable water to new development.

WHAT PROCEDURES MUST THE TOWN FOLLOW TO SET THIS FEE?

There are five steps that the Town must follow in order to comply with the procedural requirements to establish a water system development fee:

Step 1: Supporting Analysis Preparation

Step 2: Fee Calculation

Step 3: 45-Day Public Comment Period

Step 4: Public Hearing

Step 5: Town Adoption

Step 6: Publication of Adopted Fee


HOW IS THE SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT FEE CALCULATED?

SUPPORTING ANALYSIS AND FEE CALCULATION

A supporting analysis must be undertaken by a qualified professional firm to determine the maximum system development fee that the Town can charge new development for water system development fees. The Town engaged the firm of WR-Martin, a management consulting firm out of Asheville, North Carolina, to perform this work. That analysis has been completed and the WR-Martin System Development Fee Report was presented to Town Council on April 16, 2018, and is now available for public inspection at Town Hall and on the Town’s website.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE WR-MARTIN SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT FEE REPORT

The report contains the calculations used to establish the maximum water system development fee that the Town could set for new development. It should be noted that the Town can set system development fees that are lower than the maximum fee calculated in the report.

 HOW CAN I SUBMIT A COMMENT?

 45-DAY PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD

Town Council and WR-Martin request the public’s input on the system development fees as established in the WR-Martin System Development Fee Report. Comments can be made via email to [email protected] from April 17, 2018 through June 1, 2018.  Comments received after June 1, 2018 may not be taken into consideration when the final draft of the report is completed by WR-Martin.

TO MAKE A COMMENT PLEASE SEND AN EMAIL TO: [email protected]

IF YOU WISH TO MAKE A COMMENT AND DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO EMAIL PLEASE COME BY TOWN HALL AND SOMEONE CAN ASSIST YOU.

PUBLIC HEARING

The Town has scheduled a public hearing on the WR-Martin System Development Fee Report and water system development fees for the Town of Weaverville to be held in Council Chambers at Town Hall, 30 South Main Street, Weaverville, NC, on June 4, 2018, at 6 p.m., or as soon thereafter as Council can reach the matter.  This public is requested to attend the public hearing and submit comments during the hearing.

WHEN WILL TOWN COUNCIL ADOPT A SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT FEE?

Town Council anticipates taking action to establish water system development fees at its regular meeting on June 18, 2018. Any system development fee adopted by Town Council will be effective on July 1, 2018, and will be published, along with other fees, on the Town’s Fee Schedule.

Town issues response to Buncombe County Commissioners joint statement regarding racial bias and excessive use of force

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Weaverville, April 9, 2018 – The Town Manager and Police Chief, with the endorsement of Mayor Al Root, release this response to Buncombe County Commissioners’ Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Al Whitesides and Ellen Frost joint statement regarding racial bias and police use of force.

Town leaders were taken aback by the inclusion of our Town and other municipalities in this joint statement. We believe it to be futile to enter into any conversation when emotional enlistment, hyperbole and nebulous overstatements may be deliberately employed as the foundation for a debate. In such a framework, it seems impossible to have the open dialogues, honest assessments or collaboration across agencies as called into action by the three Commissioners. Per Weaverville Town Manager Selena Coffey and Police Chief Alan Wyatt, “We take it as a personal affront when our Town, the officers of our Police Department and the law enforcement profession are identified as a de facto element contributing to the ‘crisis in the community’. We do not deny the disturbing and discouraging realities of the August incident and the events that followed within the City of Asheville. However, we will not be coerced into taking any immediate, universal actions to address a crisis if one has not been shown to exist within our Police Department and Town”.

In direct response to the elements of the joint statement issued by the Buncombe County Commissioners, we issue the follow statements:

The Weaverville Police Department policies were reviewed and audited in the summer of 2017 by the North Carolina League of Municipalities and their report was presented to Town Council on July 17, 2017 by Tom Anderson, who is the NCLM Law Enforcement Risk Manager. In his report to Town Council, Chief Tom Anderson recognized the Weaverville Police Department for their impressive work in law enforcement and for completing the risk review process. The risk review process (a voluntary process, requested by former Chief Greg Stephens), included approximately 40 high-risk categories, including the use of force, supervisory training and pursuits. Mr. Anderson noted that he was ‘proud to say that the Weaverville Police Department exceeded many of these categories expectations’. Chief Anderson personally thanked Police Chief Greg Stephens and then Detective Alan Wyatt for their commitment through this process. The Town’s efforts in requesting and completing this voluntary risk review process are truly indicative of the Town’s and the Weaverville Police Department’s efforts to ensure the public’s safety and fair treatment and our highest professional standards. It should be noted that the NCLM’s risk review process is modeled after the industry standards and best practices as addressed in the Final Report to the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

With regard to Buncombe County’s offer to fund training for use of force, de-escalation and implicit bias, we assert that training is always welcome within the Weaverville Police Department. However, any training conducted for the Weaverville Police Department must meet the North Carolina Department of Justice standards. We will continue to use our current training mechanisms that are in place and available regarding use of force, de-escalation and all other areas of law enforcement training.

Regarding the County’s funding of a multidisciplinary ‘Use of Force Response Team’ within county government, the Town recognizes that there may be positive impacts for some of these elements for those agencies who wish to utilize them, but do not see the need for this pilot team in the Town of Weaverville. This applies to the County’s creation of a Human Rights Commission as well. The Town of Weaverville wholeheartedly agrees that all people shall be treated with dignity and respect.

In response to Buncombe County’s proposal to fund programs to create trauma-informed responses to use of force incidents by law enforcement agencies, the Town of Weaverville emphasizes that the Weaverville Police Department already has programs in place to effectively meet these needs.

Finally, with regard to collaboration from the District Attorney’s Office in developing protocols for requesting investigative assistance from the State Bureau of Investigations, the Town notes that our Police Department’s current use of force review policy mandates the inclusion of a law enforcement officer from an external law enforcement agency as appropriate, such as, but not limited to, any investigation of an incident to determine if biased-based policing occurred. This could include the FBI, SBI, District Attorney’s office or any combination thereof. This ensures that proper, thorough and unbiased investigations are conducted.

In conclusion, we wish to inform our community that, in over 30 years, our Police Department has received zero formal complaints regarding bias or excessive use of force. The inappropriate use of force has not been tolerated in the past, nor is it now. The Police Department Oath of Office includes the promise to “respect the constitutional rights of all to liberty, equality and justice”. After our Officers take this important Oath, it becomes a matter of public trust. While we cannot predict the future or whether we will see the need to implement the tenets set forth in the Commissioners’ press release, we can assure our citizens and visitors that we will endeavor to address any perceived or tangible racial discrimination, bias or wrongful treatment in a swift and just manner.

 

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The Buncombe County Commissioners joint statement press release can be found at www.citizen-times.com.

Request for Proposals: Financial Audit

The Town of Weaverville invites qualified independent auditors having sufficient governmental accounting and auditing experience in performing an audit in accordance with the specifications outlined in this Request for Proposal (RFP) to submit a proposal. Proposals are due by 2:00pm on April 6, 2018.

 

Please download the RFP guidelines for additional information.