At the April 13 Buncombe County Board of Commissioners Retreat, under “budget updates and discussion,” County Manager Wanda Greene's body language said it all — even her voice.
Questions, or the lack of questions, from county commissioners to the county manager were very telling; their decision to raise taxes was and is a priority.
I said to Chairman David Gantt at the retreat that, after following commissioners for 21 years, I felt their decision to raise taxes had already been made. This decision is not made by the county manager. All commissioners are involved!
Buncombe County's taxes are going up under the disguise of “revenue neutral”! Republican commissioners will support it, after the perks, salaries and benefits and votes, nonprofits, capital and political campaign promises. The big one: You give me something for my district and I will give you something for yours at the expense of “taxpayers." This is called politics, not saving money or prioritizing.
The county manager works at the "pleasure" of the board. I am saying that the commissioners are going to have to agree with me that this is Voodoo Financing in order to deceive the taxpayers in raising taxes, or change their minds, keep the manager and tell the taxpayers they are sorry and give them a tax break.
This assessment of budget updates at the commissioners retreat is based on 21 years of experiences. This is not all, folks.
Buncombe County commissioners are going to use the North Carolina legislators, Buncombe County tax values, property appeals, apathetic voters, uninformed public and polished political stump speeches to accomplish their mission. Wow. Stay tuned.
— Jerry Rice
Editor’s note: An incorrect version of this letter appeared in the April 24 Xpress.