Buncombe commissioners preview: To levy or not to levy (the quarter-cent sales-tax increase)

Buncombe County Board of Commissioners plan to vote on a quarter-cent sales-tax increase to fund capital improvements at A-B Tech when they meet on Dec. 6.

After months of contentious debate, county voters approved the measure Nov. 8 by a narrow margin of 503 votes in a non-binding referendum. This means that, for the increase to take effect, Buncombe commissioners will have to pass a resolution enacting it. The proposed resolution under consideration Dec. 6 contains language intended to address the questions of whether the sales-tax revenue will be legally bound to go to A-B Tech, and whether it will sunset in 2029 –  major points of contention among critics of the measure. (See below for the entire language of the resolution).

In other business, the board plans to consider:

• A “Comprehensive Annual Financial Report” on the state of the county government’s finances.

• A pair of conservation easement requests that would preserve 120 acres in Upper Hominy and 35.5 acres in Sandy Mush. The proposal calls for the county to cover $41,000 in transaction costs.

• The appointment of the board’s vice chair. Bill Stanley is finishing his third one-year term in the largely symbolic position, which requires the office holder to administer meetings when the board chair is absent. After serving on the board of commissioners for 23 years, Stanley recently said he plans to retire when his term expires next year. But he said he’d be happy to spend his last year on the board as vice chair if the other commissioners appoint him.

• A rezoning request to allow for more development of an 8.58-acre parcel at 101 Farida Drive in the Weaverville area. The Planning Board recommends denying the request, writing that it’s not consistent with the Buncombe County Comprehensive Land Use Plan.

In addition, the commissioners delayed interviews and votes on Planning Board appointments until their Jan. 3 meeting. They had previously been scheduled for Dec. 6.

The board will meet at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 6, in the commissioners’ chambers, located at 30 Valley St. A short premeeting review of the agenda will begin at 4:15 p.m.

RESOLUTION LEVYING A LOCAL SALES AND USE TAX
AT A RATE OF ONE‐QUARTER PERCENT (0.25%) IN ADDITION TO ALL OTHER STATE AND LOCAL SALES AND USE TAXES

WHEREAS, pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. 105‐537(b), the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners adopted Resolution No. 11‐08‐10 on August 16, 2011 authorizing the Buncombe County Board of Elections to conduct an advisory referendum of whether to levy a local 1⁄4 cent sales tax in the County; and

WHEREAS, an advisory referendum on the question of whether to levy a One‐ Quarter Cent (1/4¢) County Sales and Use Tax was held on November 8, 2011 by authority of Article 46 of Chapter 105 of the North Carolina General Statutes and in accordance with N.C.G.S. §163‐287; and

WHEREAS, the Buncombe County Board of Elections has certified that a majority of those voting in said referendum voted in favor of the levy of the tax; and

WHEREAS, this Board has expressed its intent that this sales and use tax sunset in 2029 and be used exclusively for the stated capital improvement needs of Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College; and

WHEREAS, this Board is of the opinion that it is in the best interests of the citizens and residents of Buncombe County to levy this tax.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Commissioners for the County of Buncombe as follows:

1. That there is hereby imposed and levied a local sales and use tax at the rate of one‐quarter percent (0.25%) in addition to all other State and local sales and use taxes.

2. That this Board directs that any and all applications, requests, or
submittals of whatever form or nature to the North Carolina Local Government Commission or any other institution of or related to the funding of the stated capital needs of Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College include reference that the proceeds of this tax shall be the funding source for said improvements.

3. That this resolution be effective upon its adoption. ADOPTED this the 6th day of December, 2011.

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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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