Buncombe County Commissioners vote on budget at June 16 meeting

Nonprofit agencies will make their case for funding from Buncombe County's upcoming budget for Fiscal Year 2018. A total of 46 nonprofits are asking for an aggregate of almost $11 million.

They’ve heard funding requests from nonprofits and others, they’ve seen the budget draft, and they’ve considered the public comments. Now, at the Tuesday, June 16 regular meeting, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will vote on the finalized budget for the 2016 fiscal year.

However, first, the board will hold four public hearings: one for an economic development incentive and three for rezoning requests.

Economic Development

The county will consider offering Tyco Electronics Corporation, a TE Connectivity Ltd. company, an economic incentive grant of $37,418 — a sum coming from the county’s general fund. TE Connectivity designs and manufactures “highly engineered connectors, sensors and electronic components essential in our increasingly connected world,” according the the company’s website.

The grant’s purpose is to prompt TE to spent nearly $1.7 million on expansions for the company’s Buncombe County facility, thus creating 40 new jobs with an annual minimum average pay of $41,197.

This is just another step in the county’s recent push to bring diverse, higher wage jobs to the area — like the approved incentive grant for AvL Technologies on June 2.

Rezoning Requests

The first of three rezonings is a request for an R-1 single-family residential zone just outside Weaverville to change to an R-2 multi-family residential district. The applicants, John and Brenda Landgrover, wrote that a large group of properties, including their own, was rezoned from R-2 to R-1, while they were out of town in January 2015. Now, the applicants say they wish to change their property back.

Though the county staff recommended the commissioners approve the request, the Buncombe County Planning Board recommended it be denied.

Even though the property is located within reason for flood, elevation and slope concerns, it’s unclear whether the property has reasonable proximity to water and sewer access. The board also notes the property is not adjacent to any other R-2 properties — and therefore would be inconsistent with the surrounding neighborhood. The Planning Board ruled that the zoning change is neither reasonable nor in the public interest.

The next two rezoning requests are both connected and noncontroversial — gaining recommended approval all around.

Budget

In the last two weeks, County Manager Wanda Greene and county staff have been preparing a finalized budget that keeps in mind the needs and requests of Buncombe County.

Since June 2, the proposed budget has increased $960,920 — from roughly $387 million to about $388 million.

The budget reflects notable changes in net cost in the following areas:

Increased Spending

  • Education:
    • May 19: $72,692,649
    • June 16: $74,926,157
      • +$2,233,508
  • Fire Service:
    • May 19: $23,746,675
    • June 16: $24,217,091
      • +$470,416
  • Human Services:
    • May 19: $58,193,962
    • June 16: $58,300,370
      • +$106,408
  • Community/Economic/Cultural Development:
    • May 19: $16,242,504
    • June 16: $16,315,066
      • +$72,562
  • Solid Waste:
    • May 19: $6,481,287
    • June 16: $6,547,287
      • +$66,000

Decreased Spending

  • Physical Development:
    • May 19: $3,945,428
    • June 16: $3,565,384
      • -$380,044
  • 911 Fund:
    • May 19: $2,442,500
    • June 16: $2,102,500
      • -$340,000
  • Public Safety:
    • May 19: $64,490,693
    • June 16: $64,303,241
      • -$187,452
  • Administration:
    • May 19: $2,191,785
    • June 16: $2,072,646
      • -$119,139
  • Insurance Fund:
    • May 19: $29,816,099
    • June 16: $29,788,289
      • -$27,810
  • General Government:
    • May 19: $6,245,111
    • June 16: $6,234,194
      • -$10,917

The county’s revenue also increased by $1.1 million.

This year, community funding grant requests rose significantly, from last year’s $6.6 million to $34.7 million this year. However, this number is mostly due to the Asheville Area Center for Performing Arts’ $28 million request (which is not recommended for approval). The total of recommended grants for this year’s budget is almost $2.6 million (up slightly from last year’s $2.3 million in funding).

Commissioners will then vote to either adopt or revisit the allocation of these funds.

The meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 16 at 4:30 p.m. on the third floor of 200 College St. in downtown Asheville. For the full agenda, click here.

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About Hayley Benton
Current freelance journalist and artist. Former culture/entertainment reporter at the Asheville Citizen-Times and former news reporter at Mountain Xpress. Also a coffee drinker, bad photographer, teller of stupid jokes and maker-upper of words. I can be reached at hayleyebenton [at] gmail.com. Follow me @HayleyTweeet

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