Buncombe Commissioners preview: Crunch time

Buncombe Commissioners preview: Crunch time-attachment0

After months of debate, commissioners are set to finalize the Buncombe County budget when they meet Tuesday, June 25.

The plan for the 2013-14 fiscal year, which begins July 1, calls for raising the property tax rate by roughly 15 percent to cover a drop in property values, increased funding requests and unfunded federal mandates.

The latest proposal also calls for spending $20.2 million to build a new Isaac Dickson Elementary school building, although it delays a request to replace Asheville Middle School until 2018.

Nonprofit spending has also been a hotly contested subject in ongoing budget negotiations. The latest plan calls for giving local groups slightly more money overall than last year, but much less than they asked for.

Also topping the June 25 meeting agenda: Updating the the county’s zoning ordinance to allow motor sports in more areas. The Planning Board is split on its recommendation over whether to allow such a change to occur. Planning staff is against the changes.

In other business, commissioners will consider updating the county’s land-use plan, and hear a report from the Homeless Initiative Advisory Committee. Chronic homeless is down 82 percent over the last 10 years, according to the committee’s report, as measured by annual point-in-time counts.

In addition, commissioners will discuss where to allow photography and video taping in their meeting room. Since they started meeting in a new chamber last fall, some attendees have complained that the current designated area is too far back in the room to record good quality video.

The board will meet at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 25, in the commissioner’s chambers, located at 200 College Street, suite 326. A short pre-meeting review of the agenda will begin at 4:15 p.m.

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

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