Here’s a couple of highlights from the March 20 meeting of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. Xpress will have a full report in the March 28 issue.
• The board took the initial action needed to build two new schools in the city of Asheville, voting 5–0 to borrow $2 million from the School Capital Commission Fund to pay for studies and architectural plans. If built, the new buildings would replace the aging structures that currently house Asheville Middle School and Isaac Dickson Elementary, said officials. The total cost of building two new buildings would cost at least $60 million, according to estimates. County officials are yet to determine how they’ll pay back the initial $2 million loan from the School Capital Commission Fund or pay for construction of the new schools — possible sources of revenue could include bonds or property tax increases, according to County Manager Wanda Greene. The School Capital Commission Fund monies come from lottery and state sales tax revenue.
• Commissioners heard a report from members of the Land Conservation Advisory Board. Since 2004, the amount of land that’s protected from development in Buncombe County has grown from roughly 12 percent to about 14 percent, according to the report. The land includes thousands of acres preserved through conservation easements as well as land that’s protected under national forest and watershed designations.
• The board voted 5-0 to enter in to an interlocal agreement with A–B Tech. The move comes as part of the process needed to administer sales tax money designated for capital improvements at the school, which voters approved last fall.
• Commissioners voted 5–0 to declare March 23 “Women Veterans History Day.” The local Charles George VA Medical Center currently serves over 1,600 female veterans, according to officials.