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 […]

Boxed out: Buncombe County allows some newspaper bins, bans others

Buncombe County approved the temporary return of three newspaper boxes to their former home outside the courthouse but is continuing to ban the others removed late last month. The move comes after Mountain Xpress and the Asheville Citizen-Times jointly retained attorney Amanda Martin to write a letter challenging the county’s decision.

Photos by Jerry Nelson,

Local Matters: Freedom of the press, council candidates and redistricting-attachment0

Local Matters: Freedom of the press, council candidates and redistrict­ing

In this edition of Local Matters—the Xpress weekly news podcast—reporter David Forbes talks about the recent removal of newspaper boxes by the County and the recent announcement of candidates for Asheville City Council, and reporters Christopher George and Jake Frankel talk about the heated meetings around the new congressional redistricting plan. Hosted by News Editor Margaret Williams.

Buncombe County’s removal of newspaper boxes may violate First Amendment

Last week, Buncombe County Manager Wanda Greene‘s office ordered the removal of 17 newspaper boxes in front of the courthouse, claiming they were unsightly. The move, according to North Carolina Press Association attorney Amanda Martin, was illegal and violates First Amendment protections on newspaper racks on public property.

The newspaper boxes after their removal. Photos by Jeff Tallman

Board games? Buncombe County commissioners came under fire for being among the state's top paid commissioners at a time when the county faces major budget cuts. County Manager Wanda Greene proposed that the county hire a third party to analyze how the pay of Buncombe’s department heads compares to those of the rest of the state. PHOTO BY JERRY NELSON

Pay dismay

Buncombe County Board of Commissioners Feb. 15 meeting Three Sheriff’s Office staffers get $12,000 raises Western Highlands Network seeks to expand reach Buncombe leads state in number of adult-care homes After enduring a week of public criticism over their compensation, the Buncombe County commissioners gave themselves a hefty pay cut. On Feb. 15, they unanimously […]

Still facing severe space crunch, county seeks stimulus money

Buncombe County oversees many services, including health, elections, the Sheriff’s Office and the court system. All those agencies and more, with their attendant staff and paperwork, have to have somewhere to go, and as the county’s grown, the amount of vacant space available has dwindled. At the county commissioners’ Jan. 9-10 retreat, they tasked County […]

Poisoned fruit

Developer Stewart Coleman apparently thinks to use a legal loophole to do an end run around public and City Council opposition to his proposed Parkside condos adjacent to City Hall. Here’s what’s wrong with this picture: Aside from the litany of serious problems with his plans, citizen scrutiny of Parkside this past year has exposed […]