The city, it seems, may be going to the WRATTs: Asheville City Council members expressed an interest in getting waste-cutting help from a group of retired engineers called the Waste Reduction And Technology Transfer program.
"They'll do it for free," noted Council member Chuck Cloninger, speaking at Council's April 6 work session. He suggested inviting WRATT to come in and do what they do so well: Assess the city's operational efficiency, and identify ways to reduce waste (we're not just talking trash here, either -- WRATT engineers can also gauge whether the city is using the most efficient lighting system, or how to better conserve water, for example).
With all the talk about recruiting environmentally friendly industries, observed Cloninger, "It's important for the city to set an example." He mentioned that he had heard about the program at a recent Leadership Asheville forum, and he's been in touch with a WRATT engineer who suggested that the city initiate an environmental-quality policy.
Council members agreed, directing staff to set up a WRATT visit.
In Western North Carolina, the statewide WRATT program is administered by the Land-of-Sky Regional Council.
Economics in June
City Manager Jim Westbrook asked City Council members to set aside Friday, June 11 to meet with representatives of Lockwood Greenwood -- a Greer, S.C., firm that's been hired by the city to prepare a long-range strategy for economic development. The June 11 public meeting marks an early step in the process: getting input from Council, Chamber of Commerce representatives, local educators and others interested in economic development.
Westbrook also suggested that Council members may want to forgo their usual August mini-retreat, to avoid filling up their summer with meetings (there are budget hearings in May, and the June 11 session is slated to take up most of the day).
Council members agreed to set aside June 11, but expressed concern about losing the opportunity for their annual midyear retreat.