Buncombe commissioners preview: Budgets, buildings and better water?

Among other actions scheduled for June 19, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners is set to vote on the budget, purchase property for A-B Tech and apply for federal loan funds that could help Mills Gap residents receive new water service from the city of Asheville.

The $337.7 million proposal for the 2012-13 fiscal year, which begins July 1, holds the line on property taxes, using $8.3 million in reserve funds and projected economic growth to cover a 1 percent increase in spending. Commissioner Holly Jones has indicated she may propose amending it at the June 19 meeting to cap employee longevity bonuses at $3,000 per year.

County Manager Wanda Greene also plans to update the board on the government’s recent credit upgrade by Standard and Poor’s bond rating agency, which changed its rating from AA+ to AAA. In a press release, the agency credited sound fiscal management practices for the change.

Commissioners will also consider purchasing property at 93 Victoria Road from Horizon Management Services for $2.38 million. The purchase was requested by A-B Tech and the property would be used by the community college; it would be funded by sales-tax revenue that the board pledged to use for capital improvements at the school. The site is currently the home of the MAHEC Women’s Health Center.

In addition, the board will consider applying for an unspecified amount of federal loan funds to help cover the costs of providing Asheville drinking water to Mills Gap residents affected by contaminated well water near the former CTS of Asheville site. The resolution states that “Buncombe County will arrange financing for all remaining costs of the project, if approved for a state loan award.” However, the details of those potential costs remain unclear.

In other business, the board will deliberate on extending Western North Carolina Community Health Services’ lease of property at 283 Biltmore and providing 7,665 square feet of additional space. The proposal calls for extending the lease for two years, provided that WNCCHS will see an additional 1,500 patients each year. The county would charge $1 per year for use of the property.

The board will meet at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 19, in the commissioners’ chambers, located at 30 Valley St. A short pre-meeting review of the agenda will begin at 4:15 p.m.


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About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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