Buncombe commissioners to hold public hearing on 2016 budget

Nonprofit agencies will make their case for funding from Buncombe County's upcoming budget for Fiscal Year 2018. A total of 46 nonprofits are asking for an aggregate of almost $11 million.

At the Tuesday, June 2, Buncombe County Board of Commissioners meeting, county staff will review the proposed 2016 budget, hear an economic development proposal and discuss seeking advice on a Woodfin firing range.

Operating budget

Last year’s total operating budget came out to $399 million, after a multipurpose amendment raised the budget from the initially approved $368 million. This year, the proposed budget comes out to $387 million, reducing county spending by nearly 3 percent.

This year, Buncombe will see more economic development spending, less community funding and some ups and downs in tax revenues.

Community funding requests this year were up exponentially — $34.5 million, as opposed to last year’s $6.6 million (though the county only granted about $2.6 million in funds). Nonprofits make up about $4.2 million of this year’s figure. The proposed budget includes just more than $1.9 million for this year’s funding applicants.

A public hearing will be held on the budget following a presentation of the changes reflected since the last meeting.

Economic development & rezoning

A public hearing will also be held on an economic development incentive: Buncombe’s proposed $301,047 investment in AVL Technologies, a company producing mobile satellite communication systems. In return, the company would  invest at least $11.5 million in Buncombe County, creating at least 90 new jobs that pay, on average, $40,000 per year.

The third public hearing, a Swannanoa residential-to-commercial rezoning request, is recommended by the county staff and the planning board for approval.

Firing range

The commissioners will also hear a proposal to seek advice on a debated shooting range in order to make “careful and sound fiscal decisions,” reads the resolution. Originally, plans were to construct an indoor firing range for public safety training in Woodfin, but it seems, now, an outdoor range may be considered.

“Before moving forward with the indoor firing range at the public safety training facility in Woodfin,” reads the resolution, “we [the county commissioners] propose that we have the NRA and N.C. Wildlife examine the feasibility of an outdoor range on county property. It is our understanding that, after speaking with representatives from NC Wildlife and the NRA, they will be happy to offer us guidance in this process.”

The meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 2, at 4:30 p.m. on the third floor of the county building at 200 College St. To review the rest of the agenda, click here.

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About Hayley Benton
Current freelance journalist and artist. Former culture/entertainment reporter at the Asheville Citizen-Times and former news reporter at Mountain Xpress. Also a coffee drinker, bad photographer, teller of stupid jokes and maker-upper of words. I can be reached at hayleyebenton [at] gmail.com. Follow me @HayleyTweeet

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