Buncombe Commissioners

The Buncombe County commissioners have a lot on their plate. The county is facing budget woes, thanks to the declining economy, and with a revaluation likely to reduce property values, County Manager Wanda Greene has instructed all departments to plan for a 5-percent budget cut.

There’s also the ever-present issue of development—how to deal with it and its impacts on the community and the environment.

The board will tackle all this and more at its annual retreat, slated for Friday, Jan. 9, and Saturday, Jan. 10, in the Planning Conference Room at 30 Valley St., beginning at 8:30 a.m.

According to a draft agenda released by county staff, the commissioners will spend much of the first morning listening to Chris Aycock of the Aycock Group, a Raleigh-based management-consulting firm, give a presentation on the county’s overall strategic plan.

After lunch, Assistant County Attorney Michael Frue will review the rules governing Board of Commissioners meetings, and the remainder of the day will be spent hearing planning staff discuss the subdivision and multifamily-residence ordinances as well as the role of the Agriculture Advisory Board for Farmland Preservation.

On Saturday, the board will review the county’s capital-improvement plans and judicial facilities.

Property in the county is due for revaluation this year, and thanks to the general economic downturn, property values are expected to decline. Thus, county Tax Director Gary Roberts will also be talking about tax-base-erosion laws.

To wrap it all up, Greene will give a presentation on the anticipated budget cuts for the 2009-10 fiscal year, which starts July 1.

“We should be done early in the afternoon,” Clerk to the Board Kathy Hughes told Xpress.

“Being a new commissioner, I’ve got a lot to learn so I can make these issues as clear to the public as possible,” said Commissioner Holly Jones. “I’m just hopeful that it will be a good opportunity to get a grasp on the facts—and that everyone keeps an open mind.”

As for the economy and potential budget cuts, “We still aren’t aware of the extent of how bad it might be—time will tell—and a lot can change,” noted Jones.

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