Board of Commissioners Chairman David Gantt presents departing Commissioner David King with an award for his service on the board.

County approves economic incentives, King bids farewell

Counting on a longterm return and benefit to the area, Buncombe County commissioners approved two economic incentive packages today, Nov. 18, in exchange for the creation of new jobs and millions of dollars of investment in the county economy. Commissioners unanimously approved a $9 million economic incentive for gear maker Linamar North Carolina Inc., to […]

Left to right: Democratic candidates Cindy McMahon, John Ager and Ellen Frost celebrate their wins on election night. Photos by Halima Flynt, Jesse Farthing, Pat Barcas

A deeper dive into the Democratic blue: Analysis of Buncombe Commission, NC House elections

Despite rightward-streaming state and federal political currents, Buncombe County stood out on election night as a small sea of Democratic blue. In several important local races, Democratic candidates toppled Republican incumbents or maintained their positions of power. Here’s a look at some of those key local races, with an analysis of what happened and the consequences going forward.

A capacity crowd of students attended a candidate forum at Warren Wilson College. Buncombe County Board of Commissioner candidates from left to right: Ellen Frost, Brownie Newman, Christina Merrill. Photo by Petras Barcas

Frost and Merrill debate voting rights at Warren Wilson College

Students at Warren Wilson College delivered a contentious 18 vote win to Ellen Frost in 2012, giving Democrats a one seat majority on the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. She faces a rematch with Republican opponent Christina Merrill this year for control of District 2, and the two candidates returned to the decisive campus in Swannanoa for an Oct. 29 forum. (Photo by Petras Barcas)

Graphics by Lance Wille

Buncombe commissioner candidates fight for control

Four candidates are battling for two seats on the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. In each case, these contenders hold vastly different views on a range of issues, from taxes and spending to growing the economy and protecting the environment. Also at stake is which party holds a voting majority on the board. Here’s a closer look at those races.

Commissioner candidates split over teacher pay

“It is the responsibility of the Legislature to fund teacher pay,” District 2 incumbent Democrat Ellen Frost declared at the July 30 Council of Independent Business Owners candidate forum. But though most school funding comes from the state, the county does provide a supplement each year, usually about 20 percent of total school funding. In […]

The race is on: The four candidates who are vying for two seats on the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners faced off for the first time. Photo by Jake Frankel

Buncombe commissioner candidates debate

Differing visions for Buncombe County’s future collided July 30, as the Council of Independent Business Owners hosted the campaign season’s first candidate forum. Four candidates made their case for two seats on the Board of Commissioners. Sparring for District 2 Incumbent Democrat Ellen Frost faces a rematch with Republican Christina Merrill in District 2, which […]

Rebecca Knight (left) and Ben Scales (right) each need 7,331 signatures by June 12 to get on the Buncombe district-attorney ballot. Photo of Knight courtesy of Knight. Photo of Scales by Alicia Funderburk

Signature events: Scales, Knight mount petition drives in DA race

In the wake of Todd Williams’ historic victory over District Attorney Ron Moore in the May 6 Democratic primary, two unaffiliated candidates are mounting petition campaigns to get their names on the November ballot. Ben Scales, a local attorney in private practice, and Rebecca Knight, a former Buncombe County District Court judge, are each seeking […]

This graph via  Buncombe County Manager Wanda Greene's budget proposal shows how she wants to divide expenses.

Buncombe budget calls for steady tax rate, new parking deck

Buncombe County Manager Wanda Greene is recommending commissioners hold the tax rate steady this year and borrow $44.3 million for a new downtown Asheville building addition and parking deck. Her budget proposal, which she’ll present to the board of commissioners Tuesday, June 3, calls for keeping the county-wide property tax rate at 60.4 cents per […]