Buncombe Commissioners to decide on managment of powerful new board

At their Oct. 1 meeting, Buncombe Commissioners are set to appoint leaders to a powerful new Culture and Recreation Authority that will manage the county’s libraries, parks and recreation facilities.

The list of applicants encompasses 19 local residents with diverse backgrounds, including former Asheville city council member Bill Russell, Asheville Area Arts Council Director Kitty Love, Asheville on Bikes board member Matt Fusco, longtime greenways advocate Dwayne Stutzman and many more. (see the complete list here).

Commissioners created the new government entity this summer, appointing themselves to serve on the seven member board while the county sought out other applicants. However, its unclear how many of the applicants commissioners will appoint to the board to replace themselves.  On August 6, Commissioners Holly Jones, Brownie Newman, Ellen Frost and Joe Belcher all indicated they’d like to continue serving on the new board even after other potential new members are found.

Nothing in state law prevents them from legally being able to maintain a majority of the board’s seats, but County Manager Wanda Greene noted Aug. 6 that the idea of the new authority is for it to be “an arms length” away from them. If four commissioners choose to stay on the board, she cautioned, “I think that would be a problem.”

The CRA is the first government entity of its kind in North Carolina. On July 18, as part of the county’s overall budget, commissioners approved a special 3.5 cent property tax to fund its operations.

In other business, commissioners will consider rezoning requests to allow mobile homes to be located on lots in Swannanoa and Candler.

The board will meet at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 1, 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.

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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