Asheville City Council preview: the magical mystery meeting

The uncertain budget meets the economic development project that no one can talk about. Tonight, the public gets a chance to weigh in on the city of Asheville’s proposed budget and the mysterious Project X at tonight’s Asheville City Council meeting.

The $143.9 million budget mostly holds city services where they are, and makes two major gambles, assuming that Asheville will retain control of the water system (currently embroiled in a lawsuit) for some time, and that a culture and recreation authority (currently awaiting approval from the state legislature) is established by January, saving it $2.5 million in the coming year. The budget also calls for a small property tax increase, from 42 cents per $100 to 43 cents.

The city may approve $1.5 million in tax incentives for Project X, a controversial economic development proposal that would bring an unnamed company to the city and employ 52 people by 2017. Critics have attacked the measure as lacking transparency. While it’s typical for economic development projects to remain secret during negotiation, they’re usually announced before an incentive package is approved.

Asheville City Council meets at 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 11, on the second floor of City Hall.

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