Candidate for Buncombe County Board of Commissioners District 1, 2018 general election voter guide

Al Whitesides 

Incumbent, Democrat, unopposed
Website : None / I’m on Facebook
Occupation: Retired Banker, commissioner
Previous Candidacy or Offices Held : None
Key Endorsements : None
Amount of Money Raised: None
Top Three Donors: None

Why are you running for re-election?

I’m running for re-election because I want to finish what we’ve started in the last two years. I want to help not only restore the trust we’ve lost because of the current investigation, but also continue to make changes we need to make so the problems we have now won’t happen again.

What’s the single most pressing issue facing Buncombe County government? How would you address it?

The opioid epidemic is the single most pressing issue facing Buncombe County today. It’s affecting our Sheriff’s Department, Health and Human Services Department, education system and every other segment of our community. We can only address it by the entire community getting involved, and Buncombe County must take the lead if we’re going to succeed. We’re doing a lot with the lawsuit and other programs we’ve put in place, but we must do more and get everyone involved.

What’s the most underreported issue facing Buncombe County government?

The most underreported issue facing Buncombe County is the positive things we’re doing to restore trust and correct the damage done by former county officials with the changes were making to our ordinances and policies.

Alleged fraud and corruption by former county officials seem to have stemmed in part from a lack of oversight by the Board of Commissioners. How can the commissioners better police the county manager and other top officials?

We can better police the county manager and other top county officials by ensuring we take the lead in performance evaluations for employees who report to us and hold employees who report to us accountable in making sure all county employees are held accountable for doing their job. We also need to make sure all checks and balances are being monitored to ensure they are being performed. Most important of all, we must make and approve all policies for the county

What is one commission decision made in the past six months that you would you have handled it differently if it had been entirely up to you?

We must continue to be more transparent in all of our decisions.

How can Buncombe County government responsibly address the opioid epidemic? Has local government done enough?

I answered in No. 2.

Buncombe County is growing rapidly, and county residents are pushing back against the pace of change, particularly in the face of proposed large multifamily housing developments. How can the Board of Commissioners foster a responsible rate of development in Buncombe County? Is it already doing that?

We must make sure we stay ahead of the growth and not let the growth dictate the changes. We need our planning and zoning laws to be development-friendly for controlled growth while protecting the rights of all property owners.

Given the financial state of the county, would you consider raising property taxes in the next two years? Would you try to cut the budget? If so, in what areas?

The county financial state is not where we need to raise property taxes in the next two years. In the recent budget we passed, we lowered property taxes 1 cent, and we still have a AAA bond rating. As long as we do a good job of managing our budget and make sure we keep the quality of services, we should be able to keep our tax rate under control.


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