Buncombe Commissioners consider budget, personnel polices; approve loan for affordable housing

Buncombe Commissioners consider budget, personnel polices; approve loan for affordable housing-attachment0

Pictured here: County Manager Wanda Greene presents her budget proposal to the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. Photo by Max Cooper.

Here’s a list of highlights from the May 15 meeting of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. We’ll have a full report in the May 23 issue of Xpress.

• The board considered County Manager Wanda Greene’s budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins July 1. It avoids any property-tax increases or major cuts, relying instead on $8.3 million in reserve funds and projected economic growth to cover a roughly 1 percent increase in spending over last year. The board will hold a public hearing on the proposal at its next regularly scheduled meeting on June 5. Click here for an overview of the proposal.

• During a discussion of the budget, commissioner Holly Jones proposed several changes to the county’s personnel policy: cutting commissioner salaries by 17 percent; decreasing the amount of time new county employees are required to wait to receive health insurance from 90 days to 30 days; and capping county employee longevity bonuses at a maximum of $3,000 per year. The other commissioners, as well as county staff, offered no response. After the meeting, Jones said she’s considering making a formal motion to amend the budget to include the changes at the board’s next meeting on June 5.

•  Commissioners voted unanimously to pass a non–binding pledge to loan Mountain Housing Opportunities Inc. up to $2 million to fund Eagle Market Place, a proposed development near the corner of Eagle and South Market streets in downtown Asheville. The $12 million development would include the renovation of several neglected historic buildings and the construction of 60-70 affordable rental apartments, as well as retail, commercial and office space. Officials with Mountain Housing Opportunities said the promise from the commissioners would help the project have a better chance of coming to fruition by increasing the chances of securing housing tax credits through a program of the N.C. Housing Finance Agency.

• The board instructed county staff to study a request from Waste Pro to allow it to raise garbage pickup rates by 8 percent. The company is contracted with the county to provide pickup services in unincorporated areas of the county; the change would increase the basic monthly rate it charges from $14.20 to $15.34. Officials from the company told commissioners they’re requesting the hike to offset the rising price of fuel, as well as higher labor and landfill costs.

• Commissioners unanimously endorsed a 5–year County Sustainability Plan that sets a variety of goals, from improvements in workforce development and education to land preservation and multimodal transit.

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2 thoughts on “Buncombe Commissioners consider budget, personnel polices; approve loan for affordable housing

  1. zulu

    “During a discussion of the budget, commissioner Holly Jones proposed several changes to the county’s personnel policy: cutting commissioner salaries by 17 percent; decreasing the amount of time new county employees are required to wait to receive health insurance from 90 days to 30 days; and capping county employee longevity bonuses at a maximum of $3,000 per year. The other commissioners, as well as county staff, offered no response. After the meeting, Jones said she’s considering making a formal motion to amend the budget to include the changes at the board’s next meeting on June 5.”

    Wow, Holly Jones again throws the rest of the county administration under the bus again as she grandstands. Have you ever heard of such a SPECIFIC proposal– cut pay by 17%, cap longevity pay at $3,000 per year, etc– developed without the input of ANYONE ELSE from a governing board? Why not say, “I think we need to cut pay and benefits” and then allow a process to be set into motion?

    Methinks Holly wants to be the lone little liberal savior on the commission with a new batch of republicans come November. After all, she just handed the republicans a crapload of ammo. By bringing up the compensation thing again, she is throwing fuel back on the fire of the tea party line of “See, the commission is so greedy and wasteful”. If the commission agrees, they will be seen as merely pandering for reelection. If they cut less than her delivered-from-on-high dictate, they’ll be painted as choosing personal gain over the common good.

    Holly Jones has a classic case of me-me-me. She comes up with a plan all by her lonesome and then presents a take-it-or-leave-it challenge. That’s fine in grade school, or maybe even at the Y, but not in county government where many different factors, considerations, and viewpoints need to be taken into account. When you develop your “plans” for others in a vacuum, with only your own input, you are missing much information. And you are acting foolishly.

    Holly Jones, your psychiatrist is on line one. PLEASE take the call.

  2. glolady

    Here is a link to the last Commissioners meeting so people can decide for themselves the actions of all involved.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClP7JI63YXw&list=PL3789AD8179BDBDAD&index=1&feature=plpp_video

    This is a link to my public comment:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClP7JI63YXw&list=PL3789AD8179BDBDAD&index=1&feature=plpp_video

    Interesting how Holly Jones is considerate of the people she represents and gets blasted for her Honorable actions! All other Commissioners should be voted out for their devious actions against the people.

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