Public invited to speak on proposed 2024-25 county budget

Your chance to address the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners on its proposed 2024-25 budget, including a 2.55-cent property tax hike, has arrived. Commissioners will hold its annual public hearing on the budget at its meeting Tuesday, June 4 before voting on the budget later in the month.

County Manager Avril Pinder’s proposed $441.9 million general fund budget amounts to a  $5.1 million spending increase and includes more than $125 million going toward the county’s largest expenditure, education.

To help pay for the 1% increase over last year’s spending, commissioners are considering raising the property tax rate to 52.35 cents per $100 of taxable value, its highest level since 2021.

If the budget is passed Tuesday, June 18, the new tax rate would mean the owner of a home valued at $400,000 will pay $2,094 in taxes to the county, $102 more than last year.

The proposed budget includes 30 new positions over the course of the year, including 13 in public safety, eight of them paramedics once new EMS bases open.

If approved, the proposed budget also includes a 4.89% cost-of-living raise for all county employees.

Read more about the proposed budget here.

In other news

There were 29 child deaths in Buncombe County in 2022, nine more than the previous year, according to an annual report on child mortality that Medical Director Dr. Jennifer Mullendore will present to commissioners at its upcoming meeting.

The Community Child Protection Team and the Child Fatality Prevention Team put the joint report together. It identifies different causes of death in Buncombe County and includes recommendations for how these incidents can be avoided in the future.

Most of those children — 17 — were under the age of five, and 12 were infants less than a year old, according to Mullendore’s presentation.

Half of the infant deaths were due to perinatal conditions that occur between 22 weeks of gestation and seven days after birth such as trauma during birth or consequences of a preterm birth.

There were four suicides and two homicides of children in Buncombe County in 2022.

The report also includes demographic data, which shows that in Buncombe County, Black infants are more than twice as likely to die before their first birthday than their white counterparts.

In lighter news, commissioners will also hear an update on the status of Greater Asheville Regional Airport’s growth in its annual State of the Airport report.

President and CEO Lew Bleiweis will update commissioners on construction of the airport’s air traffic control tower, new terminal and growing number of annual passengers. More than 2 million passengers were served in 2023.

Commissioners will also consider approving changes to its capital improvement policy, including development of a 7-year capital improvement plan starting in fiscal year 2025-26.

The county will establish annual transfers to a capital reserve fund to better plan for capital improvement projects going forward, according to a presentation from Finance Director Melissa Moore.

Consent agenda

The consent agenda for the meeting contains nine items, which will be approved as a package unless singled out for separate discussion. Highlights include:

  • Contract not to exceed $1.2 million for engineering services for a new access road and existing roadway improvements on the site of the county’s Ferry Road development. The contract with WSP USA Inc. will be paid for with American Rescue Plan Act funds.
  • Intergovernmental agreements between the county, county fire departments and municipalities within the county for IT and data entry support. The Public Safety Interoperability Partnership provides county IT support to smaller agencies for law, jail and 911 core systems. The Centralized Data Entry program creates a shared system to help streamline jail intake, arrest processing and name records between law enforcement agencies.
  • Resolution making the Town of Woodfin the direct grant recipient of The Tourism Development Authority’s Tourism Product Development Fund grant for the Woodfin Greenway and Blueway, eliminating Buncombe County as a middle man. The change will have no budget impact on the project or Buncombe County.

The full agenda and supporting documents for the meeting can be found at this link. There will be a briefing meeting before the regular meeting at 3 p.m. The agenda was not posted as of press time.

In-person public comment will be taken at the start of the regular meeting, which begins at 5 p.m. in Room 326 at 200 College St., Asheville; no voicemail or email comments will be permitted. Both the briefing and the regular meeting will be livestreamed on the county’s Facebook page and be available via YouTube.



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2 thoughts on “Public invited to speak on proposed 2024-25 county budget

  1. WNC

    Living within your means as you continue forcing local land owners out.
    OR is that the plan force every elderly person to have to sell their Mtn land?

  2. WNC

    REIMAGINE , living within your means.
    REIMAGINE not forcing multi generation, often older residents to have sell their property because of taxes or is that the plan?

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