Buncombe Commissioners Hear Community Reparations Commission update, vote to add ongoing to funds

Press release from Buncombe County:

At its July 17 meeting, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners received an update on the Community Reparations Commission’s work to date, including a June 6 motion by the Community Reparations Commission that stated: “The Community Reparations Commission recommends that the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners include a line item in their budget for reparations for Black people in Buncombe County as a percentage of the overall budget in perpetuity.”

The City of Asheville committed an initial investment of $2.1 million in FY22, and its FY23 budget includes an additional investment of $500,000. Future City of Asheville budgets will include at least $500,000 annually to fund reparations.

Buncombe County allocated $2 million for reparations in its FY23 budget. The Board of Commissioners voted to add $500,000 to future reparations budgets with an annual increase of two percent.

“We are at the intersection of yesterday, today, and tomorrow,” said Commissioner Al Whitesides. “This is going to make our whole community stronger. This is something that will help us heal.”

“I absolutely support there being an ongoing budget line,” said Commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara. “I certainly understand the many reasons why the Commission wants to have a clear foundation of what baseline funding looks like.”

Commissioner Terri Wells echoed that support: “I feel like with our commissioners’ strategic priorities for early childhood and affordable housing, $500,000 is a good start. To me, this is about investing in wealth-building opportunities. By doing this, Buncombe County is going to be stronger for many generations.”

The Board of Commissioners also heard about the Community Reparations Commission’s other major topics of interest – community and youth engagement. The Commission is expected to make its immediate recommendations on October 1, 2022, with short-term recommendations to follow in March 2023, medium-term recommendations in August 2023, and long-term recommendations in February 2024. The Commission’s work is anticipated to close out in April 2024.

The Community Reparations Commission will meet next on August 15, 2022 from 6-8 p.m. at Harrah’s Civic Center. Community Reparations Commission meetings are streamed live on the Buncombe County Facebook page at www.facebook.com/buncombegov.

Visit the City of Asheville Engagement Hub for more information about the Community Reparations Commission and to sign up for updates.


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2 thoughts on “Buncombe Commissioners Hear Community Reparations Commission update, vote to add ongoing to funds

  1. Joe Minicozzi

    Reparations Committee gets $2M starter funding + $500k/year. Additionally, the low income housing fund gets about $400k. So, about $2.9M toward equity. Meanwhile, the County is over-taxing low wealth individuals about $1.5M/year and undertaxing wealthy (predominantly white) households $4M/year; which equals a $5.5M/year subsidy per year. And the rich folks don’t even have to apply for their discount or beg for funding. $2.9M is a start, but it’s still less than “equal” to the $5.5M tipped scale to the rich folks.

  2. Lex Burkett

    I did not enslave any Black people . I do not want my tax dollars to be spent as a hand out to people just because some of them had relatives who 150 years ago were enslaved . Do all Black people get the benefit , or just the ones who have slave relatives ? How about me ? I am white and Jewish . My people were enslaved . Hell millions of us were burned in ovens . Isn’t it prejudice to ignore us ? How about the relatives of the Blacks who sold slaves to the White slave traders . Shouldn’t we track down their living relatives and make them pay reperations ?
    This is political woeness at the taxpayers expense.

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