Issues of racial and economic equity dominated the debate over residential valuations, with critics arguing that Buncombe’s practices are unfair to low-income residents and communities of color. While those issues aren’t immediately apparent with commercial property, suggests ad hoc committee member Ori Baber, other deficiencies with county assessments likely do carry over from the residential side.
Opportunity zones offer tax breaks to investors who put money to work in areas designated as economically depressed — including parts of every Western North Carolina county. The latest edition of Xpress’ WTF feature takes a deeper look into the significance and consequences of the program.
After a nearly four-hour session on July 19, the Buncombe Board of Commissioners will navigate through a shorter agenda for the Aug. 2 meeting. A series of budget amendments comprise the new business schedule. The board will vote on whether to distribute $1.2 million of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services funds to extend […]
Three projects proposed by outside nonprofit developers, either recently approved by Asheville City Council or currently being considered, offer 100% affordable housing targeted for older residents. Together, the three will add over 200 affordable units to the city’s stock.
The county’s ad hoc reappraisal committee, tasked with reviewing allegations that Buncombe’s tax assessment process was unfair to low-income residents and communities of color, presented its recommendations to the board. And commissioners approved annual funding for reparations, honoring a request from the joint Asheville-Buncombe Community Reparations Commission.
In response to a report by Asheville-based planning firm Urban3, Newman tasked county Tax Assessor Keith Miller with forming an ad hoc committee to provide guidance for future tax assessments and identify potential equity concerns. The committee presented its recommendations to the county July 19.
A 10-month review, designed to address citizen complaints and equity concerns about Buncombe County’s approach to property assessment, is scheduled to conclude at the Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday, July 19.
Dual enrollment of students earning both high school and college credit currently accounts for about 2,500 A-B Tech students, or roughly 30% of the school’s overall enrollment, making it one of the largest such programs among North Carolina’s 58 community colleges.
Despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, local outposts of the Veterans of Foreign Wars have stayed active in the community, providing a social outlet for those who have served while continuing a variety of charitable works.
Mobile-home owners can now receive the grants, while those who own multiple dwellings or receive other tax reductions will no longer be eligible. Those with “liquid resources” (cash or financial assets that could be converted to cash within a week) of more than $60,000 will also be disqualified, a change from the terms recommended by county staff.
The collaboration of national investment entities and Appalachian-based economic development organizations announced plans to support the Catawba Vale Community Center and Grier Lodging Project in the McDowell County town.
The final fiscal year 2022-2023 budget ordinance, which includes over $398 million in general fund spending, calls for the same $81.9 million allocation to Buncombe County Schools proposed June 7.
“We still have to work other jobs to make ends meet,” said Melanie Allen, a 26-year veteran of BCS’ technology department. “We’re struggling. We feel like nobody cares. Morale is low. We have watched other counties and agencies enable steps and raises. We’re keep thinking we’re next, that we’ll be able to make it. Then nothing happens.”
Once viewed as a problem primarily affecting national governments, global banks or multinational businesses, cyberattacks have started to hit closer to home. An August 2020 attack shut down classes at Haywood County Schools, while an attack earlier this year attempted to extort Asheville-based Allergy Partners for $1.75 million.
While the statistics are bleak and the systemic obstacles are many, local individuals and community-based organizations are pursuing their own approaches to tackling long-standing inequities among students at Asheville City Schools.
To focus resources on larger regional branches, a proposed Library Master Plan would close three existing libraries in Black Mountain, Oakley/South Asheville and Swannanoa. Neighborhood groups in those areas fiercely oppose the changes, as they’ve made clear in recent community listening sessions hosted by the county.
Following its July 8 conversion into a private, members-only club, only North Carolina residents and their invited guests are permitted to dine at the Smoky Park Supper Club. Other area businesses are also choosing to put locals ahead of outside visitors.
According to Redfin, a nationwide real estate brokerage, the average real estate budget for an outsider moving to Asheville was $615,500 as of April, 31% higher than the average local budget of $469,000. That disparity between outside and local buyers was greater than in either Charlotte or Raleigh.
After pandemic-related financing and permitting delays, work is now underway on the conversion of downtown Asheville’s Flatiron Building into a hotel, with a grand opening planned for 2023. Xpress reached out to some of those directly affected by the Flatiron’s evolution to learn how the building’s sale in 2019 has impacted their lives.
A pair of recent grants to Warren Wilson College and Western Carolina University’s Bardo Arts Center focus on the region’s cultural history and traditions.
Walking the streets of downtown Asheville can be a musical experience. Most evenings bring encounters with an assortment of buskers, drummers and dancers. The city also hosts a large, if ever-changing, calendar of free music events and festivals scattered throughout the year. Some have been around for decades, while others are preparing to launch.