Dealing with lower property tax revenue and increased funding requests, Buncombe County faces a tough budget picture this year. The Board of Commissioners will meet April 12–13 for a special budget retreat to try to hash things out with County Manager Wanda Greene and other staff.
If commissioners hold the tax rate steady, initial estimates show the county bringing in 2.4 percent less revenue in property tax. That means that just to remain revenue neutral, commissioners will have to raise the tax rate – something many of them have previously said they won’t do. Other options include cutting services, staff, and costs, or dipping in to reserve funds.
On top of that, commissioners are considering a request from the Asheville City School system to fund new buildings to replace Isaac Dickson Elementary and Asheville Middle schools – to the tune of $65 million. Several commissioners have voiced support for the new facilities, but even advocates are yet to indicate how they might pay for them.
In addition, the retreat agenda includes time to discuss several other tough topics, including: the county’s strategic sustainability plan, changes to zoning ordinances, a small business micro-loan program, an energy master plan, and more.
Commissioners will meet at 200 College St. in downtown Asheville on Friday, April 12, and Saturday, April 13. The meetings begin on Friday at 1 p.m. and Saturday at 8 a.m. They are open to the public.Retreat, but no surrender: Buncombe Commissioners meet to hash out budget