Buncombe County Commissioners seek to approve 2015 budget

The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will convene tonight, July 8, with the primary order of business being the final adoption of the Fiscal Year 2015 budget put on hold at the previous meeting on June 17. The budget estimates $280.3 million in expenditures for the county and holds the tax rate steady at current levels.

The fiscal year began on July 1, but due to uncertainty about state funding, the board passed a temporary extension to the current FY2014 budget on June 19.

Up for approval for FY2015 are several Community Development Funding proposals, which would allocate money for community projects and organizations that have requested it. Several large projects under consideration include $250,000 for the renovation of the Asheville Art Museum, $280,000  for Homeward Bound of WNC, and almost $400,000 for the operational cost of Pack Place.

In addition, county commissioners will be voting on capital plan projects involving various county facilities, extending into 2024. Capital projects expected to get underway this year include a Human Services Campus Extension and a new parking deck at A-B Tech for the Public Safety Training Center, with estimated cost at $2.5 million.

Capital Improvements projected to start in the future include a $1.5 million renovation of the East Asheville Library and $500,000 implementation of the Greenway Master Plan, both in 2016, and an addition to the Buncombe County Jail, with design in 2022 and construction in 2024. The total cost of the jail addition is estimated at $35 million.

Also up are the FY2015 budget proposals for Asheville City Schools ($18.4 million) and AB Tech (8.3 million), as well as a local funding request from Buncombe County Schools ($2.6 million), designed to offset costs of pay increases and keep 9.5 teaching positions from being cut due to a change in teacher to student ratio funding, among other stipulations.

The Commissioners will be selecting a voting delegate for the 2014 Conference of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC), held in August.

Last on the docket are resolutions for the County to reimburse itself for expenditures in the construction of Enka Intermediate School, and a joint City-County grant for land development and acquisition involving the Asheville Regional Airport worth almost $9 million.

The board will meet at 4:30 pm, Tuesday, July 28, at 200 College Street, suite 326 in downtown Asheville. Follow the Mountain Xpress live dispatches from the meeting at #avlgov.

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