Chuck Archerd, Republican
Place of residence: South Asheville
Occupation: Small-business owner, CPA
Political experience: I am not a politician. I have 36 years of real-life business experience, dealing with people, negotiating business transactions and making decisions that affect my customers, employees and me.
Endorsements: Too many to list and don’t want to leave anyone out.
Amount of money raised: That will be reported by the filing deadline.
Top three donors and amount contributed: Many have given the same amount.
Why are you running?
To provide financial responsibility, fix our traffic problems, support core government services, improve our quality of life, protect our environment, culture and family values.
What is Buncombe County’s best path toward creating more jobs outside of the service and tourist industries? And how do you plan on making it happen?
As a CPA and with 36 years of business and financial experience, I believe we should recruit businesses to Buncombe County that pay a higher-than-average wage and are a good fit for our community and quality of life. We need to market our county to specific industries that meet our criteria and that may be able to utilize existing buildings or build new facilities on currently vacant property.
Are you in favor of using economic development incentives? If so, what kind? If not, why?
In an ideal world, I would be against economic development incentives; I do not believe this is a valid function of government. However, we live in the real world where competing cities and states will provide incentives. So, based upon the targeted company, we need to look at a full range of incentives to meet their needs and attract their business.
North Carolina law states footage from the Sheriff’s Department body cameras is not part of the public record. Do you agree or disagree with this decision? Why or why not?
This is truly a state or federal issue and should not be addressed by the County Commission. From my personal perspective, I believe body cameras should be public record, utilized to protect the rights of both our dedicated police officers and our citizens.
As infrastructure needs grow, would you consider using bonds to fund projects? Why or why not? And, if so, what type of bond would you pursue?
I am very concerned about Buncombe County’s debt, which has more than doubled over the past four years from $220 million to over $457 million while my opponent has been on the commission. I don’t believe it is wise to take on more debt and keep raising taxes to pay for it. We have to be smart as a commission, controlling our debt and living within our means.
Does HB2 highlight the state overstepping its bounds in regard to legislating municipalities? Why or why not?
I believe the Charlotte City Council overstepped its bounds with its ordinance. This was done not to solve a problem but to create a political issue for this election. Actions taken by government to divide its citizens instead of bringing them together are wrong. We have enough problems to solve without creating new ones.
As development continues to boom, how can the county help ensure affordable housing for its residents?
Housing costs are driven by the economics of supply and demand; there is no silver bullet to ensure affordable housing. We can make life more affordable by making government more efficient, thus lowering taxes and also by reducing government regulations and controls.
Are the current zoning policies adequate to deal with the pressures of increased development in the county?
Zoning is a very complicated issue; at times it causes more problems than it solves. At present, the current zoning policies are adequate to deal with the pressures of increased development in Buncombe County.
What zoning designation that doesn’t currently exist would you like to see, or what is an existing, but underutilized, zoning designation?
Any changes in zoning would require significant input from the citizens. Only after listening to their input and a great deal of study on this issue would I be open to considering changes.
What county-run service needs the most improvement, and how would you address it?
Did not answer.
What is the most important issue facing Buncombe County, and how do you plan on addressing it?
Transparency in government is the most important issue. Most taxpayers are not aware that our taxes have increased 18 percent over the past four years, and our debt has more than doubled to $457 million. Several actions related to the current budget were pushed through by my opponent without open public discussion and input. Great care and open discussion is needed when we spend our hard-earned tax dollars.
How do you represent a constituency with varied political ideologies?
I’m not a politician; I’m a taxpayer just like everyone else in the county. For that reason, I will represent all the taxpayers, not just those that are of certain party affiliation, ideology or looking for favors. I will listen to all taxpayers, apply sound reasoning, not push any specific ideology or agenda and make the best decisions for all of our citizens.
What makes you the most qualified candidate for this position?
As chairman, I will bring 36 years of business and financial experience to the commission. As the CFO for a large entity with a budget larger than Buncombe County’s, I know how to manage a large complex entity. I understand that each tax dollar was first earned by the taxpayer, taken out of their household budget, then spent by government. I will always have what is best for the taxpayers in mind with every vote I cast. You vote for me, and I’ll vote for you.