Filed under: Finance
City of Asheville Purchasing Manager Amy Patterson has earned the title of Certified Local Government Purchasing Officer through the North Carolina School of Government. The voluntary program, which requires a rigorous continuing education and examination process, designates Amy among the top in her field and reaffirms the city’s dedication to best business practices.
North Carolina local governments must abide by very specific procurement and contracting laws that provide transparency to citizens. CLGPO certification means that the Amy and the City’s Purchasing Division are recognized as providers of efficient, fair and transparent business practices. Amy has been the city’s purchasing manager since 2007, and has been pursuing CLGPO certification for much of that time in an effort consistent with the City of Asheville’s goal of continuous improvement.
“Amy helps ensure that taxpayers get the best value for goods and services, which is especially important during challenging budget times,” says Deputy Finance Director Eric Hardy.
The Purchasing Division is responsible for procurement of equipment, supplies and services. It issues and manages requests for bids for contracted services throughout the City of Asheville organization, and Amy’s certification ensures that Asheville is a leader in doing business in a fair and open way.
The division works to enhance bidding opportunities to contractors by working closely the City of Asheville’s Minority Business Program and by utilizing social media to spread the word about bid requests.
Click here for more information about the City of Asheville’s purchasing division.
To receive bid requests via Twitter, follow @ashevillebids.
April 19, 2013
The President’s choice for Asheville as his first stop following Tuesday’s State of the Union Address highlights an exciting success story in the city and region’s job growth and economic development efforts.
Linamar’s 2011 announcement that it would locate its manufacturing facility in Asheville, and the swift news of its expansion in 2012, means a collective 650 new jobs and a revival of the manufacturing industry that has historically been the backbone of the region.
Job growth and economic development are among the city’s top strategic goals. The City of Asheville’s investments into its infrastructure focus an eye on keeping Asheville a good place to do business and supporting a skilled workforce.
“Our goal is to create an environment that builds on the quality of life Asheville offers and encourages companies to come here, stay here and expand here,” said Lauren Bradley, the city’s Finance and Management Services Director.
Having a strong pool of skilled workers in the area is also crucial to attracting business to Asheville, and the educational opportunities provided by local community colleges ensure that we have an exceptional workforce. Keeping them here is just as important. Asheville’s dedication to quality of life is reflected in strategies like affordable housing and in its complete streets policy, which shows its commitment to multi-modal transportation options.
That commitment was integral in attracting businesses like New Belgium Brewing, which is bringing $175 million in capital improvements and more than 175 jobs by building its east coast facility here.
Attracting businesses like Linamar and New Belgium would not be possible without important collaborations between groups like the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County, a public-private partnership of which the City of Asheville is a part, the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, Buncombe County, and advocates at the state level.
Economic development collaborations have resulted in recent success stories like the construction of the Aloft Hotel and a new city-owned parking deck, the expansion of Thermo Fischer Scientific Inc.’s operations within the City which brought with it 110 jobs, and the development of Biltmore Park Town Square, a 42-acre mixed-use development of office, retail and residential space.
February 14, 2013
The holidays mean big gatherings, big meals – and big piles of discarded paper, shopping bags and boxes. The EPA estimates that household garbage increases by 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. That makes the holidays a great time to utilize recycling opportunities in Asheville and fill up those Big Blue bins when cleaning up after the party or once the presents have all been opened.
Asheville residents have stepped up their recycling game, especially since the introduction of the Big Blue recycling carts and the launch of the single stream recycling program. This year, residential recycling between July and October increased 69.64 percent over the same time period in 2011, diverting 1,056.72 tons of waste from the landfill.
Curbside Management has provided a great list of things that can be recycled during the holidays:
Wrapping paper (except for the foil kind)
Cardboard boxes (don’t worry about all the tape)
Christmas cards (even the glittery ones!)
Newspapers and inserts
Paper shopping bags
Broth cartons and wine boxes
2 liter soft drink bottles
Cracker, cereal and other food boxes
Almost every grocery container – cans, jugs, bottles, jars (but not black microwave trays)
Here’s the short list of things that can’t go in the recycling:
Used paper plates and cups
Napkins or paper towels
And don’t forget about the Christmas trees – they can be recycled too! Trees will be collected curbside according to the routine brush collection schedule, or they can dropped off at the Buncombe County Landfill or at private yard waste facilities. Please remove all lights, ornaments, tinsel and stands. Have an artificial Christmas tree? You’ll need to call (828) 251-1122 to set up collection.
Reducing Asheville’s carbon footprint is one of Asheville City Council’s strategic goals. The Zero Waste AVL initiative page on the City of Asheville website lists a lot of great information for recycling at the holidays and all year round. Check it out here.
And enjoy the holidays!
December 19, 2012
The City of Asheville is pleased to announce that the Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Center at 285 Livingston Street has achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification. The designation is the highest level of certification awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council in its recognition of building design and construction practices that reduce carbon footprint and environmental impact.
“This certification is great news,” said project manager Al Koph from the City of Asheville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department. “We’ve worked hard to make this project a flagship for the city and an example of what can be achieved in sustainable building.”
Dedicated in October 2011, phase one of the recreation center was the first City of Asheville facility built since Asheville City Council’s 2007 direction that all new municipal construction achieve at least gold LEED certification. Council includes among its strategic goals that Asheville be a southeastern leader in sustainability.
Throughout the project’s first phase, project architect Jane Mathews, acting as the LEED certification administrator and working with her design team, submitted qualifying elements to the USGBC and confirmed that it was on track. Thanks to features like use of natural light and water-efficient fixtures, the project cleared the bar for gold certification and then some.
“The City of Asheville is to be commended for showing strong leadership in promoting a very high level of sustainable design for its new facilities,” Mathews said. “We were honored to assist the City in fulfilling this commitment and to furthering its environmental stewardship by providing a quality, affordable and sustainable new center for Asheville and its citizens.”
Mathews presented the LEED Platinum certificate to Asheville City Council at its December 11 meeting.
The Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Center is probably most easily recognized by its roof, the shape of which channels rainwater into sediment reducing ponds and cisterns as well as the roof gardens. But the center also employs energy-efficient windows, geothermal temperature regulation and energy conserving insulation. In rating buildings for certification, the USGBC also factors in how far materials have to travel to get on site and the fact that most of the materials removed for the building were recycled.
Phase one of the center houses an auditorium, classrooms and office space. Phase two, which is currently in the planning stage, will include a gymnasium, a spray ground, playground, and a section of the Town Branch Greenway.
Click here for more information about the Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Center or any of the City of Asheville recreation centers.
Click here for more about the City of Asheville’s sustainability initiative.
December 18, 2012
From the City of Asheville Office of Sustainability:
Beginning Monday, Nov. 12, the city will move into the third and final phase of the streetlight upgrade program in which traditional bulbs will be upgraded to LED fixtures. When complete in June 2013 all roads in city limits except Department of Transportation roads will be upgraded to LED streetlights. Upgrades will take place Monday through Thursday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. with no expectations of traffic disruption. Installations will begin at the base of city limits in south Asheville this fall, moving to east Asheville this winter and concluding in north Asheville next spring.
Over the last two years the City has upgraded 3,400 street lights to the energy efficiency LED technology and will complete the city wide program in June 2013 with a total of 7,400 fixtures. Once completed, all three phases are expected to save $450,000 annually and 1,294 tons of avoided carbon which is equal to the emissions from burning 7 rail cars of coal.
The first and second phases of this program have already resulted in $165,000 of energy savings. When this program began, the municipal budget for streetlights was $1.7M annually. In order to make the investment in LED streetlights the city is keeping this budget flat and using the energy savings to pay for the investment in this technology. The energy savings is so substantial that in addition to all streetlights being upgraded, the majority of the sustainability program activities are being funded through this source.
The City of Asheville is the first in the nation to implement this innovative financial model, called the Green Capital Improvement Program, where all the energy savings pay for the energy efficiency investment. These lighting upgrades build further upon the successful lighting ordinance passed in 2008, which ensures all municipal streetlights adhere to “Dark Sky” standards.
For more information about these upgrades please visit the frequently asked questions page at www.ashevillenc.gov/green or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for more background on the City of Asheville’s LED streetlight upgrades.
November 5, 2012
A gathering of bicyclists, joggers, walkers and parents with strollers celebrated the opening of a new section of the Reed Creek Greenway on Saturday, Sept. 8. The event marked the latest addition to the City of Asheville’s growing greenway network.
The Reed Creek greenway runs parallel to Broadway Street, crossing Cauble Street, and the addition is a vital link in a continuing expansion that will give bordering neighborhoods greenway access to downtown Asheville.
Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy, Council member Chris Pelly, Greenway Commission member Sue Barlow and Olympic medalist Lauren Tamayo officially opened the connector.
“Thank you to the City and to everyone involved,” Tamayo said. “This is something Asheville can get behind and embrace.”
Following the ribbon cutting, bicyclists including Tamayo and members of the Blue Ridge Bicycle Club rode the new stretch of greenway.
The newest addition to the Reed Creek Greenway includes a 10-foot-wide paved path, a bridge crossing over Reed Creek, and an emergency call box.
Click here for more information about the City of Asheville’s Greenways.
September 11, 2012
A team collaboration to rework the City of Asheville’s Information Technology Services Department has resulted in a dramatic 75 percent cut to the department’s energy consumption and won the city accolades on a national level.
Left to Right: Maggie Ullman (Finance/Sustainability), Gilbert Domingo (ITS), Deb Messer (ITS), Erik Hagan (Building Safety). Not pictured: Wanda Burgess (ITS), Jeff Reble (ITS).
The energy reduction initiative, undertaken over the course of a year, earned the City of Asheville a Technology Solution award from the Public Technology Institute in the “sustainability” category. IT director Jonathan Feldman and a team of City of Asheville employees from across several departments presented the award to Asheville City Council at its August 14 meeting.
“This would not have been possible without Council’s vision, the work done by our sustainability office, and the help provided by Finance,” Feldman said.
Technological advances in data management like cloud computing and virtualization allowed the IT Services to cut the size of its in-house data center in half. That means the center uses less electricity, generates less heat, and requires much less air conditioning. Heat dissipation was reduced by 26,581BTU’s an hour, an overall drop of approximately 50%, and power consumption dropped by 68,010 kilowatt hours per year, enough energy to power five homes for a year.
The department also customized office computers to the needs of employees, which often meant PCs could be replaced with lower-power units. Without affecting customer service, the move brought a drop of 19,030 kilowatt hours per year and reduction of $108,000 to workstation costs over their lifecycle.
In total, says the city’s sustainability programs manager Maggie Ullman, the overhaul amounts to a big stride in impacting the city’s carbon footprint.
“This is equivalent to the carbon sequestration of 1,359 trees. Next time you look at our mountains try counting that many trees,” Ullman said. “This project has real tangible impact on our community’s carbon footprint and demonstrates national innovation in local government sustainability.”
Asheville City Council has named both energy reduction and fiscal responsibility as strategic goals for the city, and departments throughout the organization strive to uphold those goals while maintaining customer service.
August 21, 2012
What’s cheaper than gasoline, burns cleaner than gasoline and reduces dependence on foreign oil? The answer is compressed natural gas, and the Asheville area now has even more access to it thanks to the City of Asheville’s newly expanded CNG fueling station at 45 McCormick Place.
That news came June 27, as the City, alongside partners Land of Sky Regional Council and Mission Health, held a joint media event to announce a successful collaboration that resulted in an increase of CNG vehicles and CNG fueling accessibility in the region.
The City of Asheville recently doubled the storage capacity at its compressed natural gas station.
A grant award of $1.5 million allowed the City of Asheville to double the station’s storage capacity and add 25 new CNG vehicles to its fleet, bringing the city’s total count of its CNG fleet to 37 vehicles. The upgrades were funded through grants from the Carolina Blue Skies and Green Jobs Initiative, led by the Triangle J Council of Governments and supported by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding. In all, $12 million was distributed among 40 alternative vehicle projects across North and South Carolina. Mission Health was able to add five vehicles to its CNG fleet, including two shuttles.
Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy praised the partnership effort for its leadership in supporting cleaner air in North Carolina, reducing fuel costs and backing green jobs in the area.
“This partnership project is a great example of organizations working together to build a more sustainable community,” Bellamy said. “These are the kinds of steps that make us a more sustainable, healthy and environmentally sound city.”
Customers at the CNG station include Mission Health, who was a major partner is securing the grant.
The City of Asheville’s CNG station, one of only four in the region, is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, open to the public, and counts among its customers Mission Health, Land Of Sky Regional Council, Buncombe County’s Mountain Mobility system, UNC-Asheville and AT&T.
Compressed natural gas costs an average of $1 less per gallon and emits roughly 23% less greenhouse gasses than gasoline and using CNG fuel in fleet vehicles furthers Asheville City Council’s strategic priorities to be fiscally and environmentally responsible.
This Asheville Fire Department truck is one of the city's new CNG-run fleet vehicles.
For more about the City of Asheville’s sustainability initiatives, click here.
June 29, 2012
Sustainability directors from 22 cities across four southeastern states met in Asheville June 14 and 15 to share notes and exchange strategies for creating greener and environmentally sound organizations. The Southeast Sustainability Directors Network kicked off its first conference with a series of workshops and sessions designed to spotlight energy and waste reduction techniques that work across southern cities.
“Sustainability looks different in different regions. It’s implemented differently in Boston than it is in Los Angeles,” said Maggie Ullman, Energy Coordinator for the City of Asheville’s Office of Sustainability. “But within our region, we can find a lot of similarities. This network provides us with a forum where we can compare notes and talk about what’s working in the south and what isn’t.”
In January 2008, the City of Asheville became the first city in the region to establish an office of sustainability. Since then, cities across the southeast have established their own sustainability offices. Nationwide, some 100 cities, including Asheville, participate in the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, a large-scale platform for sharing information. The SSDN is designed to do the same thing on a regional basis, and sustainability directors from North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Tennessee attended the launch event.
“This is a new field, but there is a lot of innovation that is happening on the ground,” Ullman said. “Peer to peer communication is the best way for us to learn from one another’s successes.”
From here, network founders Asheville and Knoxville will join seven other cities on a steering committee to work out the best opportunities for shared projects, like LED streetlights and community energy conservation.
One of Asheville City Council’s strategic goals is to be the southeast leader in green energy and environmental sustainability, and regional cooperation is one of the objectives outlined in achieving that goal.
See more about the City of Asheville’s Office of Sustainability here.
June 21, 2012
City of Asheville residents stepped up their recycling game in a big way following the introduction of “Big Blue,” the 96-gallon carts rolled out in April, with a whopping 87 percent increase in recyclables collected over April 2011.
April was the first full month of implementation of the Zero Waste AVL Recycling Program, with 28,000 homes utilizing the carts. Curbside Management, the company contracted by the City of Asheville to collect recyclables, reported that it took in nearly double the material in April 2012 as compared to April 2011.
“These are phenomenal numbers for our first month, and we feel it’s just the beginning,” said David Foster, assistant director of public works. “We expect our customers will get better at recycling as the program continues and that our tip fees will see an even bigger reduction over time.”
Overall, the City of Asheville saw a reduction of more than 112 tons of trash headed for the landfill in April 2012, which means the city spent approximately $4,826 less in trash disposal fees than it did in for the same month in 2011.
Asheville City Council approved the Zero Waste AVL in August 2011, and the City of Asheville began delivering the big blue carts in March. Before that, a sample of city residents participated in a test run of the program. The carts require no sorting or bagging. At the same time, Curbside management began accepting even more kinds of recyclable materials. Both steps make it easier than ever to recycle in Asheville.
“It’s great to see Asheville respond so positively to the recycling program,” said Maggie Ullman, energy coordinator for the city’s Office of Sustainability. “We see it as a success story, from both the standpoint of fiscal responsibility and sustainability.”
Find more information about recycling in Asheville here.
May 23, 2012