At a June 10 meeting of the Council of Independent Business Owners, Republican Sen. Chuck Edwards said he had “come around to the way of thinking of the folks in the county” who want less of the tax to go toward tourism marketing.
At its first meeting since the March 23 appointments of James Carter, Jacquelyn Carr McHargue and Peyton O’Conner by Asheville City Council, the Asheville City Board of Education’s members chose Carter as chair and McHargue as vice chair in a pair of split decisions.
Proposed state legislation filed in response to a years-long feud between an Asheville neighborhood and a local needle exchange could threaten syringe exchanges across North Carolina.
“Families of color have unfairly limited elementary school options for their children because the district is mandated to maintain antiquated racial quotas that were put into place 30 years ago,” writes Asheville City Schools Superintendent Gene Freeman.
Buncombe County would become the first local government in Western North Carolina to pass a nondiscrimination ordinance. Orange County and several municipalities have approved similar language after a statewide ban on such ordinances expired Dec. 1.
“We would end up basically having to raise taxes on everyone else to fund these rebates to businesses that we understand have had a tough year, but many of which have had a great decade ahead of this year,” said Board of Commissioners Chair Brownie Newman.
“This is not the time to talk about redistribution in any manner,” Republican Sen. Edwards told the Council of Independent Business owners regarding changes to the allocation of Buncombe County’s occupancy tax revenue. “The tourism industry has just been destroyed.”
Interest in cycling has increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but funding for bike-friendly roads faces an uphill battle, both in Asheville and across the state.
Daniel Withrow, president of the Asheville City Association of Educators, says that his organization had been preparing to make its first-ever endorsements for Asheville City Board of Education seats this year but was caught off guard when Asheville City Council voted to trim the candidate pool ahead of its posted schedule.
At a Jan. 29 meeting of the Council of Independent Business Owners, Cawthorn told attendees that his goal is to divert as much federal spending to the region as possible to get residents back to work.
If Asheville City Council wants to bring any legislation before the state General Assembly this year — including the creation of an elected board for Asheville City Schools or changes to the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority’s room tax allocation — its members need to make those decisions in the coming weeks.
The $600 checks represent the first federal assistance many in WNC have received to cope with the economic fallout of the pandemic since the first coronavirus relief package was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 27.
Madison Cawthorn, Western North Carolina’s congressional representative, was among the more than 50 representatives and eight senators, all Republicans, who issued a formal challenge Jan. 6 to certifying the Electoral College victory of President-elect Joe Biden over incumbent President Donald Trump. Shortly after that action, a rioting crowd of Trump supporters broke into the Capitol.
In a year marked by a constant churn of updating numbers — COVID-19 dashboards, economic forecasts, political polls — Assistant Editor Daniel Walton took comfort in stories that were able to report more deeply on some of the issues facing Western North Carolina.
Writer Molly Horak reflects on her 2020 reporting.
Xpress contributor Mark Barrett unpacks the surprisingly static results to emerge from a politically tumultuous year in Western North Carolina.
Chief among the issues facing the General Assembly next year, said Sen. Chuck Edwards, would be balancing the state’s next budget to reflect pandemic-driven downturns in revenue. He estimated that the shortfall compared to current spending levels could be as much as $8 billion.
Sandra Kilgore, Sage Turner and Kim Roney will officially become Asheville City Council members on Tuesday, Dec. 1. And on Dec. 7, newcomers Terri Wells and Parker Sloan will be sworn in to the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners alongside returning incumbents Jasmine Beach-Ferrara and Brownie Newman.
The evangelist’s grandchildren say his son’s pro-Trump politics brings “shame.”
Xpress has compiled election night summaries for each of the contests previously included in our general election voter guide. The Buncombe County Board of Elections will not officially certify results until Friday, Nov. 13, and the state board will not issue certification until Tuesday, Nov. 24.
Watch this space for the latest 2020 general election results for Western North Carolina and commentary from the Mountain Xpress news team. The post will be updated regularly throughout the evening.