Buncombe Commissioners Honor Pride Month, Recognize Stephens-Lee High History, Authorize COVID Funding Reallocations, and More

Press release from Buncombe County

The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, where Commissioners approved proclamations and authorized COVID fund reallocations as well as budget amendments. Click here to view the full agenda.

June is Pride Month

The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners declared June as Pride Month to recognize and honor the LGBTQIA+ community and recommit to building a safe and welcoming community and workplace.

In part, the Board’s proclamation states, “it is important to take time during this month to reflect on the LGBTQIA+ rights movement and the important progress that has been made.”

This year marks the 10th anniversary of marriage equality in North Carolina. Since then, the Buncombe County Register of Deeds has had the privilege of issuing hundreds of marriage certificates to same-sex couples. Through the end of the year, a photo exhibit honoring 10 years of marriage equality will be on display at the Register of Deeds Office during regular business hours.

“I just want to thank Jasmine Beach-Ferrara and the Campaign for Southern Equality for more than 10 years ago providing a vehicle that we could work through that encompass values that we believe in because everybody deserves equality under the law,” said Elizabeth Eve, who married her partner of 42 years KC Cartledge a decade ago.

Recognizing Stephens-Lee High School’s History

Stephens-Lee High School opened in 1922 and served as the only secondary school for Black students in Western North Carolina for many years.

It became a center for Black culture, education, and athletics and a key source of pride for the Black community in the region as it was one of the community’s only cultural outlets at the time.

While the school closed its doors in 1965, its legacy continues. The gym was converted into the Stephens-Lee Community Center including a fitness center, meeting rooms, and community programming.

To honor the school’s legacy, Commissioners declared July as Stephens-Lee High School Month with a proclamation.

“The Buncombe County Commissioners recognize the importance of Stephens-Lee and its alumni’s continuing contributions to the community to this day,” the proclamation states.

COVID Recovery Fund Reallocations

Commissioners approved the reallocation of $1,935,286 in COVID Recovery Funding.

Funding to be reallocated come from these projects:

Reimagining Deaverview Phase 1 – $935,286. Reason: The Housing Authority of the City of Asheville has notified us this project is not moving forward in its current iteration.

Broadband Infrastructure Expansion – $1,000,000. Reason: Staff have determined that this project could reallocate funds due to NCDIT-recommended changes to state funding formulas for broadband.

Staff proposed moving these funds to the following projects:
Community Paramedic Collaborative – $514,085. This funding will allow 4 positions to be extended to June 30, 2026, from their original expiration of December 31, 2024, and will also provide $30,000 for mobile command center costs.

Capital Outlay Equipment – $1,421,201. The creation of this new project will alleviate financial pressure on the FY2025 general fund budget to offset capital outlay expenses as part of the “Revenue Replacement” expenditure category. These expenses include stretcher systems, heart monitors, ventilators, idle mitigation, and a fit-test machine for Emergency Services, an electric forklift and excavator in General Services, and new County park entry signage.

Budget Amendments

Representative Payee Fund Adjustment: The Representative Payee fund covers transactions that occur on behalf of the children in the custody of Buncombe County. This amendment adjusts the budget by $60,000 to cover FY2024 activity and is passthrough funding with no additional County funds.

Grant Funded Position Amendments: The County was awarded $230,118 from the Urban Institute in coordination with the MacArthur Foundation for two staff positions. One full-time planner position and one part-time grants manager position will expand the work of the Safety and Justice Challenge and develop a Housing Investment Action Plan to demonstrate how to break the links between housing instability, homelessness, and jail use in Buncombe County.

End-of-Year Amendments: To comply with requirements from the Governmental Accounting Standards established in 2022 and 2023, the Board approved budget amendments to the General Fund and the Solid Waste Enterprise Fund. This is related to leases and subscriptions. These budget amendments do not require any additional funds as the amendment also increases revenue to offset the lease/subscription cost.

Functional Spending Amendments: The Board approved a budget amendment to shift existing budget to Public Safety and Cultural & Recreational functions. The overages include projected salaries and benefits for the Cultural & Recreational Function as well as the cost of 911 staffing throughout the year via staffing contracts and agreements with fire department partners. No new County funding was required.

N.C. Education Lottery Budget Amendment: On May 7, Commissioners approved the submission of projects for Buncombe County Schools to the Public School Building Capital Fund – NC Education Lottery. The Department of Public Instruction approved the full $750,000 for the security initiative, and $65,000 was approved for the design of the North Buncombe High School Tennis Courts. With this amendment, the Board adopts these projects.

Debt Service Amendments: These amendments reconcile the final costs of issuance and debt service charges from the LOBS 2024 and GO bonds issuances while accounting for offsetting proceeds where appropriate. The amendments include: Project Development Financing-Woodfin: $10,000; School Capital Needs: $361,000; and Article 46 Sales Tax Capital: $60,000.

To view the full meeting, visit facebook.com/buncombegov. All board materials can be accessed at buncombecounty.org/commissioners.

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