Council member Cecil Bothwell tells Xpress that he'll propose that the city of Asheville move its funds to local banks, and push to pass such a measure in the coming year.
"I'm going to bring it up again at the annual retreat," Bothwell says. "I've brought it up in the past an encountered some resistance, but I think it's an idea that ought to move forward."
The main benefit, he says, "is that it puts money into local banks that generally loan their money to local businesses." Noting that many national banks, which received bailouts, haven't been as forthcoming with loans, Bothwell says the solution "is to move your money. We're encouraging people to buy local, why aren't we investing local?"
Asked if he'd discussed the idea with the city's financial staff, Bothwell noted that he'd brought the idea up about a year and a half ago, but that John Smith then the city's interim financial director, believed that no local bank could handle the size of the city's accounts.
"Personally, I think that doesn't hold water," Bothwell tells Xpress. "If for some reason no one local bank could handle what we're doing, then we have different accounts: do four local banks."
Now, with a new Council and a different national mood, Bothwell says the time's come to bring the idea back.
"There's a lot of upset — left and right — with what's happened with Wall Street banksters, maybe I can get some traction this time," he adds.
Council and city staff have yet to determine a date for the 2012 retreat.