Asheville, NC-- Mayor Terry Bellamy is fasting and praying for a solution to the city's budget woes and asking her friends to join her.
She asked friends on her Facebook page today to fast and pray for 24 days. She said in an interview that the timeframe doesn't have any religious significance.
The mayor is suggesting a limited diet as a fasting plan.
Bellamy, who is a woman of faith, has already been fasting. Said she decided to invite others to join after people told her they were praying for her.
The city faces a nearly $6 million budget gap it blames on a raft of Republican legislation aimed at taking away fees and revenue. City leaders have said they might close popular amenities like the WNC Nature Center and all city pools and athletics.
Among the new laws city leaders point to is a $3 million loss over two years from utility franchise taxes; a $1.9 million hit if the city loses its water system to a regional authority; and a $1 million decrease with changes to privilege licenses.
The mayor said she has activists lobbying state lawmakers and writing letters and city staff working on getting the message out about what the cuts will mean to residents.
Adding prayer, she said, can't hurt.
"We are using all the tactics," she said.
City Manager Gary Jackson spoke to lawmakers in Raleigh Tuesday morning about the impacts of Republican Rep. Tim Moffitt's bill to merge the city's water system with a regional authority.
Bellamy said some lawmakers are wary of the legislation because it would allow for similar mergers across North Carolina.