First up at the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners Tuesday, Jan. 5 meeting, the Board will hear a proclamation naming the month of January 2016 “Radon Action Month.”
“Radon is a colorless, odorless, naturally occurring radioactive gas that threatens the health of our citizens,” nationally causing 20,000 deaths per year, reads the proclamation. “In North Carolina … radon is present at elevated levels in about seven percent of homes … and is a preventable, correctable problem.”
If approved, the Board will urge citizens and interested groups to promote awareness of radon exposure, encouraging residents to test and mitigate their homes for radon levels. (ncradon.org)
Hi-Wire Brewing incentive
In 2014, Buncombe County agreed to grant Hi-Wire Brewing $24,341 under the conditions that the company expand its operations and create new jobs paying an average wage of $32,200 per year.
Hi-Wire did, in fact, create 12 new jobs in the county, paying the average wage specified in the incentive. These new jobs will have a direct effect on the community of more than $430,000 per year.
Hi-Wire’s expansion not only increases the county’s property tax revenues, it “produces revenue for local businesses and the county due to the employment of individuals and the spending by Hi-Wire and those new employees, which will provide further economic benefits to the county and local businesses,” reads the resolution.
The Board will vote on appropriating $21,906 from the general fund to grant Hi-Wire to ensure the company reaches its promised levels of investment and job creation.
Last spring, the Commissioners met with the county Planning Board at a retreat to discuss closing the county’s “doughnut holes” in zoning.
Doughnut holes refer to the areas of the county that remain unzoned, surrounded by zoned areas.
“Staff has worked with the Planning Board to identify and develop a zoning plan for those areas which remain unzoned but which fall within unincorporated areas of the County,” reads the resolution. “The Planning Board began discussion of proposed maps in September, and held public hearings for each of the proposed zonings, by area. The proposed amendments on this agenda were heard by the Board on Nov. 16, and the Board recommended the approval of all of the proposed amendments by unanimous vote. Staff recommends approval of all of the proposed amendments, as without approval, these areas will remain unzoned.”
Ten properties will be subject to zoning: one near the Woodfin/northwest Asheville border (R-3), one just north of UNC Asheville (R-2), three properties off of Richmond Hill Drive (R-3 and PS), another off of Riverside Drive near Asheville (CS), a property next to Sunrise Baptist Church (R-3), one north of Lake Julian (R-1), a Biltmore Town Square Park property (CS) and, lastly, a property adjacent to the Asheville Farmers Market and the Moose Café (PS). Click here to view details about each property.
Following the public hearings for the property zonings, the Commissioners will hear three more items: a possible sale of surplus county land, a funding request for the Colburn Earth Science Museum and the possible realignment and reallocation of Health and Human Services Department positions.
For the first, Pace Real Estate has offered to purchase a $595,000 Montford Avenue property currently owned by the county, acquired in 2004 after the dissolution of Blue Ridge Human Services Facilities.
Next on the list: the Colburn museum funding request. The museum is asking Buncombe County for $50,000 for improvements to its facility.
And last on the list, Buncombe County Health and Human Services is asking for an amendment to the county’s budget in order to hire additional social work staff.
“The system continues to be challenged by volume, realigning the business model with the NCFAST electronic system and the additional programs and policy changes in Medicaid within the ACA,” reads the resolution. “The federal oversight agency for Food and Nutrition Services, USDA, has formally notified NC that it is out of compliance on the timeliness processing requirements. The level of noncompliance places NC at risk for loss of federal administrative funding. ”
To meet federal stands, “HHS has evaluated and determined that realignment of resources within Economic Services Divisions’ current structure is necessary to meet Federal timeliness standards. For Buncombe County, failure to meet and comply with the 95 percent standard places at risk $7.9 million in federal funds annually. Loss of funding would not alter the mandate to deliver the services.”
Under this plan, HHS hopes to increase the line staff by 11 and hire two new line supervisors.
The meeting will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 5, at 4:30 p.m., on the third floor of the county building at 200 College St. Click here for the full agenda.