Settlement, revaluation to top county commissioners’ first 2019 meeting

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The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will discuss a settlement related to the county’s civil lawsuit against former County Manager Wanda Greene and her son, former county employee Michael Greene, on Wednesday, Jan. 2.

Board Chair Brownie Newman said on Friday, Dec. 28, that he could not comment on the specifics of the settlement. The board approved a $40,000 settlement with Michael Greene on Nov. 20.

Michael and Wanda Greene have been accused by federal prosecutors of using county-issued credit cards for personal purchases. In July, Michael Greene pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to commit an offense against the United States.

Prosecutors have also accused Wanda Greene of misappropriating $2.3 million of county money to purchase insurance policies with cash value for herself, her son and eight other county employees.

In addition to the charges made by federal prosecutors, the county also claims former board Chair David Gantt’s signature was forged on forms that allowed Greene to receive thousands of dollars in retention incentive payments from the county.

Setting up for an earlier reappraisal

In reaction to steady growth in county property values, the Board of Commissioners will vote on a resolution that would move its scheduled 2025 revaluation to 2021.

The resolution would also put the county back on a four-year revaluation cycle for the foreseeable future. The last county revaluation occurred in 2017 and led to a 28 percent, or $6.8 billion, increase in the value of the county’s property tax base from the 2013 reappraisal.

During the subsequent budget planning period, the Board of Commissioners approved a tax rate of 53.9 cents, a figure was about 7 cents lower than the previous tax rate but 2.6 cents higher than the calculated revenue-neutral rate, which would have kept county tax revenue in line with the previous year.

On Jan. 2, commissioners will also vote on two other resolutions related to the reappraisal: one giving the county manager and tax assessor the authority to retain the services of consultants and another creating a separate fund to pay for the cost of the reappraisal.

The board will meet at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 2, in the third floor conference room at 200 College St. in downtown Asheville. The meeting agenda and related documentation can be accessed here.

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About David Floyd
David Floyd was a reporter for the Mountain Xpress. He previously worked as a general-assignment reporter for the Johnson City Press.

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6 thoughts on “Settlement, revaluation to top county commissioners’ first 2019 meeting

  1. Richard B.

    Good article, thank you Mr. Floyd. Good because it raises very relevant and urgent questions.

    Why has Buncombe County not filed CRIMINAL legal charges against Greene, her son, Mandy Stone, and others involved in this horrific rip off of all Buncombe County tax paying citizens? I know the Feds are on the case, so perhaps the County is not allowed to file also?
    Double jeopardy?

    Has former Board Chair David Gantt been cleared of involvement? The County “claims” his signature was forged??
    I believe that four of the current serving Commissioners were on the Board during the latter years of Greene’s criminal actions,
    at least from 2013 until she finally “resigned” in 2017.
    Which begs the question to be asked…has the present Board sort of taken the position of looking the other way? Justifying their seemingly blase’ approach to this monstrous crime based on the Justice Dept. involvement?

    It just raises the specter of something amiss here in the mountains. My biggest concern is the overwhelming silence from the local media and fellow citizens alike.

    • Lulz

      Plenty of people spoke up. But when their signs are taken down or they’re ridiculed, well it’s a lost cause. No point in speaking up anymore. You can’t rationalize with a cult of morons who give cronies a pass . Not only with breaking laws, but everything they accuse others of doing. I don’t understand people who never question tax hike after tax hike only to see that their money being stolen, squandered, and wasted away. And are glad to give them even more.

      Single rule political party with no opposition and the only qualification to be voted into office is what you label yourself as or that your brother is a rock star is why more corruption will continue.

      • Keith Thomson

        2 of the “four of the current serving Commissioners [who] were on the Board during the latter years ” are Republicans.

        Perhaps it is too obvious, but David Gantt has not been charged by Federal law enforcement, which indicates that he is not a subject of the investigation, except in the minds of Internet trolls who camp out on Internet comment sites, or perhaps Republican lobbyists for developers and billboard owners.

    • CCBuncombe

      When local media gets told what to publish….you really can’t trust it or the county.

    • Iohanne

      Richard,

      Fraud, for example, is a crime under federal and state law not county ordinance. Local government units, like Buncombe County, are given only the authority to enforce the rules they are allowed to make under state law. So the question of “why isn’t Buncombe County filing criminal charges” is really straight forward – Wanda Greene doesn’t stand accused of any crimes that Buncombe County Government has legal authority over. I’m sure if someone had credibly accused her of violating the Buncombe County animal leashing ordinance or something, the County Commissioners would have gladly overseen the filing of charges.

      All of the things she appears to have done fall under the legal authority of other government agencies, like the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina or North Carolina Prosecutorial District 28, so the only thing they can do is file civil actions.

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