Proposed annexation puts city profits before people

I live in Royal Pines — the area [in Arden] up for annexation. My house is valued at $135,600 by the county. I pay $711 in property taxes — not including the $107 for the fire department — all of which I pay out in $50 increments, starting with my first paycheck of each new year. By the time the bills go out in late August, I am all paid up.

If I were annexed, I would have to pay almost $1,300 for a 900-square-foot house on one-fifth of an acre.

I bought my house in 1993. I bought it because I knew this small house would amply satisfy my needs. I am 61 years old now and completely self-supporting, no relatives. After taxes I take home about $21,000 a year. I have a small home-equity loan, which I have used to make repairs on my house. I will work till I drop and happily so.

The annexation proposal talks up capital improvements to Royal Pines that include the water system, city garbage pickup and an extra officer on duty. Sidewalks are hypothetical. Bus service is not even mentioned. After I heard about the annexation proposal, I did some calling around. I found out that all the water pipes we’ve had replaced and the fire hydrants that were installed over the last few years were paid for by the residents of Royal Pines. This was done by way of a capital improvement fee that has been attached to our water bills over the last few years. The projects are done and paid for.

The city [of Asheville] complains that, by law, it cannot increase our water usage fees — so something’s gotta give. If they could apply an increase, my yearly water bill would be somewhere between $180 and $200 — not the $570 that annexation would add to my property tax bill.

I don’t have garbage pickup. I go to the transfer station every two or three weeks. For $1, I can toss my couple of grocery bags of trash. This costs me under $20 a year. I understand that my neighbors pay about $200 a year for pickup service. I do a great deal of recycling.

An extra officer on duty? To spot the occasional garden-tool thief, maybe? This is a 1950s, working-class neighborhood — which is why I love it. For 17 years, I’ve left my door unlocked during the day. Come on in! Take my 13-year-old Toshiba television set! Take my $45 sofa from the Habitat for Humanity home store. No serious thief is going to drive through this area and think the reward is worth the risk. We all know and watch out for each other here.

Lastly, I saw a list of Buncombe County foreclosures. In 2010, the 28704 zip code has suffered from 50 to 74 foreclosures in the time period between January and July. Just a few days ago, the Sheriff came out to remove a family from a small home on Royal Pines Drive. I already know of three older homeowners who will have to sell — in this market, for heaven’s sake.

So Royal Pines has nothing to gain from annexation, but plenty to lose. I spoke to someone from City Council a couple of weeks ago who seemed somewhat conflicted about the move, but added that, being on City Council, they had to look out for the city’s interests. It’s the principal of the thing, [the Council member] said. But you’re putting principals before people, I said. I know, [the Council member] said, quietly.

So what happens to the Golden Rule, I wonder, when people become City Council members? It seems that, for the most part, it gets checked at the chamber door.

— Diana LaSpada
Arden

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171 thoughts on “Proposed annexation puts city profits before people

  1. Betty

    The city continually trots out their lame “water issue” as if it is a good reason for using brute force on people who have no one to stand up for them.

    The water system ought to be self-sustaining. If the city hadn’t mismanaged water revenues, there would be no problem maintaining the infrastructure.

    Other cities that provide water to a far larger population don’t charge different rates for different areas.

    The water issue is nothing but a red herring.

    The real problem here is that of city government encroachment on people who have no voice whatsoever.

  2. Betty, you are absolutely wrong. Other cities in North Carolina charge more for water outside their city limits. It is hardly a lame issue, it is central to the annexation debate.

    In addition, while the City collects 75 percent of sales taxes paid in Buncombe County, it receives 18 percent of the funds returned by Raleigh. This is germane because Royal Pines residents almost certainly shop and recreate in Asheville. It isn’t the City’s fault that their sales tax money goes elsewhere.

    Almost certainly, the average Royal Pines resident works in or recreates in Asheville, taking advantage of the many perks a city delivers, and requiring public safety and parking and other services. I’d bet that many RP residents attend Bele Chere, the Christmas Parade, Shindig, Downtown After Five, Art strolls, Mountain Sports Festival, events at the Civic Center or avail themselves of city parks and greenways. All of that is the reason the General Assembly created rules that let cities annex adjacent areas that fit certain explicit criteria as “city-like,” – most particularly density.

    Asheville has the largest daily change of population of any city in North Carolina. We swell from about 80,000 at night to about 120,000 each day – mostly commuters and shoppers, and some tourists. Expecting current residents to shoulder the burden for those who live nearby and gain the advantages of urban life is every bit as unfair as forced annexation.

    Best estimates are that the net change for an average home in Royal Pines ($153,000) will be $325 per year (if they are currently paying for trash pickup). That service is about $180 per year, so the letter writer, with a slightly smaller than average house and no trash service, will probably see a $350-$400 change, and that doesn’t account for a reduction in fire insurance which will follow from the improved rating once under the city system.

  3. Betty Cloer Wallace

    For the record, I am not the aforementioned Betty.

  4. Betty

    Cecil, you know full well that the bulk of problems experienced by municipal government are due to the fact that NC is not a home rule state.

    Your problems need to be taken up with Raleigh, and you need to stop taking them out on the people.

    Your argument is still all about encroachment. Who cares what the NCLM has concocted for a definition of what’s urban?

    I care about what’s right for the people.

  5. bobaloo

    Cecil, you sound a little hostile towards people that don’t live within the city limits.

    It isn’t the City’s fault that their sales tax money goes elsewhere.

    More importantly, it’s not the citizens of Royal Pines fault, either.

    Almost certainly, the average Royal Pines resident works in or recreates in Asheville, taking advantage of the many perks a city delivers, and requiring public safety and parking and other services.

    By this logic, Asheville has the right to forcefully annex most of WNC.

    I’d bet that many RP residents attend Bele Chere, the Christmas Parade, Shindig, Downtown After Five, Art strolls, Mountain Sports Festival, events at the Civic Center or avail themselves of city parks and greenways.

    Yes, and they spend money in Asheville, which is kind of the point of having all these “perks”, isn’t it? And if Asheville isn’t actually profiting off these “perks”, then do away with them. Don’t offer lame duck excuses why you’re forcing adjacent communities to become part of Asheville.
    Be honest: Asheville needs the money.

  6. Wendy G

    Thank you so much for writing, Diana. I’m also a resident of Royal Pines and am also nauseous at the thought of being forced to be a part of a city for nearly nothing in return.

    According to the John Locke Foundation
    The primary purpose of forced annexation, according to the North Carolina Supreme Court, is for municipalities to provide meaningful services to the annexed areas. From my point of view, I will pay ~$400 extra each year to have a possible street light installed on the street. We already have trash, street maintenance, sheriff patrol, and fire service. I am still wondering what the city will bring to us by annexing us.

    We swell from about 80,000 at night to about 120,000 each day – mostly commuters and shoppers, and some tourists.

    That would only make sense. Our downtown consists of some amazing stores, office, and restaurants, along with a few condos. The shoppers and tourists are what help keep our beautiful city alive (like it or not) and due to the rural nature of some of the surrounding areas in WNC, the commuters who work downtown don’t have too many other options in the surrounding areas if they are looking to be a part of the more corporate world or a part of the tourism industry. Aren’t the businesses part of the draw that brings people to live in our mountains? While many people work in Manhattan, they choose to live in one of the surrounding Burroughs. They pay sales tax, they enjoy Central Park, they attend festivals and concerts, yet Manhattan is not trying to annex them.

    The Chamber of Commerce states:
    Population is approximately 69,000 in the city and 215,000 in the county. Aside from those numbers being different from yours, Cecil, what would you like to do about the other 215,000 people in the county? Do you want to eventually annex these folks as well? Do we really want to create a city that size in the mountains?

    And as for the use of the city’s amenities, I think bobaloo brings up a valid point. By this logic, Asheville has the right to forcefully annex most of WNC.

    Best estimates are that the net change for an average home in Royal Pines ($153,000) will be $325 per year (if they are currently paying for trash pickup). That service is about $180 per year, so the letter writer, with a slightly smaller than average house and no trash service, will probably see a $350-$400 change, and that doesn’t account for a reduction in fire insurance which will follow from the improved rating once under the city system.

    These are the “best estimates” as you state. And as Diana stated, she would be saddled with a MUCH higher rate per year compared to your numbers. And this is with a smaller house. She’s graciously stated her salary, which seems to be the average in our neighborhood. Please just stop for a moment and think about the implications that ANY increase in bills will have for our neighborhood. Diana is correct in that Royal Pines will have more and more vacant homes with sale signs out front and knee-high grass. While $300-400 doesn’t seem like a lot, it is to us. If you can just take your own home value and add the $.42 millage rate to its current value, wouldn’t that increase affect your wallet significantly? This is simply not the time to do an annexation, or the way to do an annexation. Let us have a voice!

  7. For the record, I feel no hostility toward county residents.

    And, yes, Asheville needs the money to provide the services demanded by all of the people who avail themselves of City services. The General Assembly has fashioned rules as to who qualifies to be included in the City. And Betty, you are correct, we aren’t a home-rule state. But saying that Asheville shouldn’t play the hand it’s been dealt is no answer.

    When I wanted to live outside the City, I lived WAY outside the City (20 miles) and worked outside the City and only very occasionally came into the City. People who live close to the City do so for some reason: work, shopping, hospital, recreation, community activities and more. To pretend that the City isn’t part of the decision where to locate is simply disingenuous.

    And while it’s true that in some cases people have lived in their present homes for many years as the City grew out to meet them, it is also true that the market value of their homes has correspondingly increased, due to the proximity to a popular and growing urban center. That’s why I have a little difficulty with the argument that people will be paying a little more without any increase in benefits. The other way to look at it is that they have been getting the benefits for years without paying for them.

  8. bobaloo

    Asheville needs the money to provide the services demanded by all of the people who avail themselves of City services.

    What percentage of Asheville’s budget is spent on providing services to outsiders?

  9. Robert Malt

    Cecil Bothwell said: “And, yes, Asheville needs the money to provide the services demanded by all of the people who avail themselves of City services.”

    Mr. Bothwell, these residents already pay their fair share for the water and sewer services…the only services that they receive from the City of Asheville. And furthermore, city residents should be happy that water services are made available to county residents because it spreads the fixed costs over more customers….lowering the water rates for all city residents.

    Stop lying about the facts, Mr. Bothwell. This is all about stealing money from these people so you and the other incompetent fools on City Council can close the budget gap caused by your own reckless mismanagement of city finances.

    Frankly, your lying and total incompetence disgusts me. While I can’t predict how this annexation fight will turn out, I can predict that by 2013, Asheville residents will have finally had enough of your incompetence, and you will wake up one morning in early November as a disgraced, one-term ex-City Council Member.

  10. John

    Cecil,

    I think it’s time the city council to stop being wussies and raise property taxes.

    While I certainly have sympathy for the water rate issue, there’s really no proof that county residents enter the city for every reason you suggest. Hell, I live in the city I don’t attend any of the events you mention nor do I use greenways or parks. I’m more a hiking in the woods kind of guy. I used to ride the bus but I can’t risk losing my job do to the FACT that the bus system really, really, really sucks. And I do mean REALLY…

    At the end of the day, the city has a beef with the county and state governments. Expanding its borders is not the right way to do this. Asheville has the largest daily change in population due to the fact that its workers can not afford to live in the city. Everybody knows this. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

    Stop coddling these eco-yuppie baby boomers who destroyed the local scene ten years ago and RAISE THEIR PROPERTY TAXES!!!!!!!!

    You know what? I think the city council is so scared of having your agenda derailed by the sleeping mob of property owners you won’t even consider this. And I think we both know property taxes are some of the most regressive form of taxation out there. Why are you insisting on putting these taxes on people that can’t afford them?

  11. Betty

    Well, Cecil, don’t you know what to do when you’ve been dealt a bad hand of cards? You FOLD. “You got to know when to walk away, know when to run.” The city needs to do all of the above!

    Really, though, what you imply is that the city thinks it can make two wrongs into a right. You’ve been wronged by Raleigh, and now you’re doing wrong by the people. And we’re supposed to somehow believe this is going to make it all good?

    NOT.

  12. Actually, I’m the only Council member who has consistently stated that raising taxes should be on the table. (Jan Davis has indicated that he is at least willing to consider it.) I personally consider my City taxes to be a tremendous bargain for the things the City provides. Having lived out in the County for years, maintaining my own private road, out of reach of a fire department in any reasonable amount of time, hauling my own trash … living in the City would be a bargain at twice the price. But I know that’s not true for everyone.

    And Bobaloo, I don’t have an immediate answer to your question. Back-of-the-napkin? 40,000 are in for about 8 hours (more or less including rush hour, when many accidents surely occur). 80,000 are here 24/7. So one guess could be that emergency services are apportioned to commuters 1/4 of the time. If it were half that, say 1/8 of the public safety budget ($21 million) it would be $2.6 million.

  13. Betty

    Cecil’s back-of-the-napkin “calculations?” Ahahahahaha! This is so preposterous I can’t stop laughing.

    Overall, you neglect an important point, that SUB-urban communities differ greatly from urban communities. You assume that county residents actually want and use the city’s so-called amenities. You have no idea if that is true or false, nor do you have any facts to prove your point.

    It goes both ways, Cecil. A win-win situation exists when a municipality has a healthy, vibrant, unincorporated SUB-urban population. There is no bona fide evidence that suburbs exploit cities.

    In Buncombe, county residents significantly outnumber the total of all municipal residents (including Black Mountain, Weaverville, etc populations.) Suburban and county businesses provide jobs and services to city residents. Suburban and county residents invest money and skills in businesses in the city. User fees, licenses, permits, property taxes, etc, generate revenue for the city.

    I venture that the flow of resources from county residents represent a disproportionate benefit to city residents over us in the county. How many purchases do county residents make in the city? Want to talk boycott?

    What you want, Cecil, is a one-way redistribution of suburban/county resources. More for city government spending sprees. Less for the people.

    No equity exists under forced annexation.

  14. bobaloo

    I don’t have an immediate answer to your question. Back-of-the-napkin? 40,000 are in for about 8 hours (more or less including rush hour, when many accidents surely occur). 80,000 are here 24/7. So one guess could be that emergency services are apportioned to commuters 1/4 of the time. If it were half that, say 1/8 of the public safety budget ($21 million) it would be $2.6 million.

    Does that include the emergency services that are paid for by the consumer, such as EMS services? Or are you just talking cops?
    What percentage of emergency services are incurred by crime committed in the city?

    It would have been far more impressive if you had said “I don’t know, let me get back to you” as opposed to a convoluted answer you can’t back up in any way.

  15. Robert Malt

    Interesting how the censorship works on this site. Some people get to post. Others don’t get to post.

  16. Barry Summers

    “Proposed annexation puts city profits before people”

    Profits? The city is turning a profit now? Wow, a $5 million budget hole filled, just like that.

  17. Bobaloo, I wasn’t trying to impress anyone.

    There is probably a way to extract statistics that would more accurately answer your question. My guess (okay, I’m guessing again) is that it would take several months to get that answer. I’m sure you’ll be riveted on the current discussion when that data is available.

    The reason I halved the time-determined estimate was to account (albeit somewhat) for the possible difference in service demands between residents and commuters. The balance could very easily tip the other way, of course … since commuters drive more miles (by definition) and may therefore demand more police action than residents who walk to work. Also, commuters may easily include criminals and county residents may smoke more than city folks, thereby inadvertently causing more fires. There are so many variables that a very specific analysis would be complex.

    But the larger point is obvious: people use government services. More people use more services.

  18. Tired

    Cecil, I am having trouble even believing that you are for real!
    You give all the lame excuses for Asheville’s inability to manage it’s finances and expect the people of Buncombe County to be happy about your annex-and-spend mentality.
    We use city services by coming to events, shopping and doing business in the city! How dare we do that!!??

    Maybe now is the time for the residents of Buncombe County to organize a BOYCOTT of all but absolutely necessary business in Asheville since we are not welcome anyway!

  19. Betty

    Cecil, your assertion that more people use more services is naive and specious at best.

    So if there is no analysis, what do you have? All you are left with is smoke and mirrors.

    Untruths and fallacies spoon-fed to you by the lobbyists of the NC League of Municipalities.

    How much do the Asheville city taxpayers spend for your membership in this lobbying organization anyway?

  20. CityRez

    If you need any further evidence of city council and staff’s inability to manage even the smallest budget project, just look at any of thier products or services.

    Look at any of the unecessary traffic circles and medians priortized for installation all over the city, but never once maintained. Instead they grow 6 foot weeds and the concrete crumbles.

    Look at their bus system. Ramshackle artwork covers a few of the busses while the insides remain broken and filthy. Half the bus stop signs are not legible for fading and cracking.

    Look at City Hall itself. Their own building is partly condemned and they’re building new community centers that won’t be maintained either.

    Look at the few sidewalks they have installed. How many are overgrown with weeds with crumbling curbs?

    Look at their staff. They pay top dollar for inexperienced managers with few qualifications and sit by as they steal tax dollars and harass other employees or the public while hemoraging more tax money on a mismanaged park project.

    And those being annexed are supposed to trust that those new taxes are being spent wisely? When exactly is someone going to really look into the incompetant people managing the city’s money and services? They clearly can’t manage what they have now, and they’re supposed to keep adding to it? This is beyond stupid.

  21. Piffy!

    [b]Cecil, your assertion that more people use more services is naive and specious at best.[/b]

    Care to prove that statement?

    Are you saying that people who live JUST OUTSIDE city limits dont use city services?

    THAT seems naive, at best.

  22. John

    Ben,
    That’s the whole point. NO ONE has proof. We can scream: “Where’s your proof?” at each other all day long and the proof will never appear because it doesn’t exist. You can’t really say every one of these folks use parks, police, trash and the like. Water is one thing but that is a state issue.

    Again, I have a great deal of sympathy for the water rate and sales tax issues but, again, these are issues with the state and county governments. This doesn’t mean one can just make an assumption about whether someone uses a park or goes to Bele Chere and involuntarily annex them. I live in the city and use neither.

  23. Agnes Cheek

    Cecil, Where are the sidewalks in south asheville where it was annexed YEARS ago? Why is East Asheville JUST NOW getting sidewalks even though they have been part of asheville for a very long time? Why did they even have to fight so hard to get the sidewalks many years after they were annexed?? Just let us VOTE! If the residents of Royal Pines want to be annexed and the majority votes for it, fine, but if not then dont do it. LET US VOTE!

  24. Matt Mittan

    Cecil wrote: “People who live close to the City do so for some reason: work, shopping, hospital, recreation, community activities and more. To pretend that the City isn’t part of the decision where to locate is simply disingenuous.”

    Is it not also disingenuous to suggest that the families who have lived in these Royal Pines neighborhoods for 20+ years, WERE NOT well outside the city limits when they moved there?

    Cecil, ONE of the problems with your argument is that you seem to ignore the fact that the city continually reaches further out into surrounding areas, all the while, that you suggest non-city people keep moving closer to the city just to receive benefits without paying. The fact is that the CITY keeps moving closer to non-city people, just to receive the benefit of their pocketbooks without having to invest in additional essential services. Meanwhile, those effected non-city people have ABSOLUTELY NO SAY in the process what so ever.

    Explain to me again how this is consistent with your ‘progressive’ philosophy?

  25. Paul

    Are you saying that people who live JUST OUTSIDE city limits dont use city services?

    What city service other than water, sewer, or fire protection (which they already pay for if they’re using them) do people JUST OUTSIDE the city limits use?

  26. Agnes Cheek

    Email exchange:
    Hi Agnes, I try to respond to queries like yours, though sometimes get pressed for time. Am between appts. now, so here are a few thoughts.

    On Sep 13, 2010, at 10:40 AM, Cheek, Agnes wrote:

    First I would like to thank you for actually responding to me! I very much appreciate it.

    1) I don’t work in the city of Asheville!

    I thought the Radio Ranch was in the City. But, if not, it certainly only exists because there was a dense enough population in the City to support a radio station after WWII. It is clearly City related work.

    2) I already pay for the services I receive.

    Yes, and you won’t be paying the same service providers if you are in the City. But we all pay to play.

    3) There’s a reason why half the daytime population LEAVES the city at night… the overburdensome taxes and regulation, which in turn effect affordable development.

    The reasons people live outside the City are much more complicated than that. We have encouraged a suburban lifestyle for fifty or more years, we have subsidized highways and the petroleum industry, making commuting cheap, we have embraced long food delivery chains which have made rural land worth more for housing than farming. My taxes went up when I moved from Broad River (part of Black Mountain) to Asheville, but my total living costs went down (even with cheap gas, commuting is expensive).

    4) It’s a cop out to say that just because state laws suck toward cities, that it gives cities the moral authority to abuse residents.

    I don’t think it’s moral authority, it’s practical adaptation to the facts on the ground.

    5) What are YOU doing to bring about the change at the state level? Have you surrendered yourself useless in the process? The City voted on a resolution AGAINST reforming the state annexation laws. How is that helping bring a change?

    I didn’t and won’t vote against reforming the state annexation laws, but I would insist that the playing field be leveled across the board, too. I have personally lobbied legislators on those matters.

    6) The REASON the water rates are different is because the over-spending, over indebted, city of Asheville had to bailed out by the county years ago, the trade off? Non-differential water rates.

    I can’t take responsibility for failures of the City 70 years ago. I would be completely comfortable with changing the law so that differential rates applied to NEW connections in the County. At the time the Sullivan Act was passed, the population outside City limits served by the water system was very limited. We’ve seen an explosion of growth outside the limits since then.

    7) What ‘political pressure’ can a private developer (IE: The Cliffs), from outside city limits, have on city leaders, unless those city officials are corruptible?

    The political pressure is principally on County leaders, though I suppose any politician is theoretically either pressure-sensitive or purchaseable.

    8) What does it say about a city that can not self sustain financially, unless it TAKES from it’s neighbors?

    What does it say that we collect 75 percent of the sales taxes paid in Buncombe County within City limits, but only receive 18 percent of the taxes paid out to the County by the State? We have a much higher police/citizen ratio than most cities our size, in order to handle the safety issues arising from the 50 percent population shift each day. Why do we have to pay for policing commuters?

    9) Once again, just like during the attempted ‘electoral reforms’ in Asheville a few years back… ‘progressive actually equals OPPRESSIVE’. Hypocrites! Preach what they can or will not follow through on just because it’s harder to do without the heavy arm of government.

    The attempted electoral reforms would have made elections much more honest in Asheville and those who vilified the perpetrators were simply uniformed or willfully stupid about the change. Had it been permitted to go into effect, it would now be much easier for independents and third party candidates to run for office. Instead, we reformers were bullied into keeping the status quo: We pretend the elections are non-partisan, when in fact they are hugely partisan. The current primary system virtually guarantees that Democrats will dominate the Council, as they have for most of the post-WWII era. Actually, it was a little stupid of the proponents, from a practical standpoint, to push for those changes, because they were all Democrats and could hardly do better than they do now. The idea that it was a power play by Newman, Cape and Freeborn is so incredibly laughable that I’m shocked people were convinced of it. They got all beat up for doing something honest and good for the people. But rabid ideologues can always sway some of the people, some of the time, and so Let Asheville Vote managed to block meaningful reform.

    Cheers,
    -c

    Thanks again.

    Agnes Cheek

  27. Piffy!

    [b] There’s a reason why half the daytime population LEAVES the city at night… the overburdensome taxes and regulation, which in turn effect affordable development.[/b]

    How misleading. As if it isnt also due to people WANTING to live in the ‘country’ so they can be further away from neighbors, have big yards, etc.

    and it is not ‘overburdansome taxes’ (as if the services that are paid for with said taxes are an extravagence?) and ‘regulation’ that effect affordable development as much as it is a over-priced housing market where people with average incomes can no longer afford a home.

  28. Robert Malt

    Cheek/Bothwell exchange:
    6) The REASON the water rates are different is because the over-spending, over indebted, city of Asheville had to bailed out by the county years ago, the trade off? Non-differential water rates.

    I can’t take responsibility for failures of the City 70 years ago. I would be completely comfortable with changing the law so that differential rates applied to NEW connections in the County. At the time the Sullivan Act was passed, the population outside City limits served by the water system was very limited. We’ve seen an explosion of growth outside the limits since then.

    Once again, Cecil Bothwell completely misses the point. By using and paying for water, county residents are sharing in the fixed costs of the system, keeping costs down for the city residents. This repeated argument that the county water customers are getting away with something is completely false. Use your head Cecil.

  29. Frank DelGado

    “Once again, Cecil Botherwell completely misses the point. By using and paying for water, county residents are sharing in the fixed costs of the system, KEEPING COSTS DOWN FOR THE CITY RESIDENTS. This repeated argument that the county water customers are getting away with something is completely false. Use your head Cecil.” -Robert Malt

    Thank you Robert. And thank you Agnes and Matt. Cecil evidently has it in his head that Asheville has the right to annex county areas without a vote by the residents. This is so wrong. And NOT PROGRESSIVE.

    LET THE PEOPLE VOTE!

  30. Betty

    On February 23, 2010, in city council chambers, Cecil says about forced annexation: “I don’t think it’s fair or democratic.”

    Yet you went ahead and voted FOR the resolution of consideration AND in July voted FOR the resolution of intent to forcibly annex.

    And you want us to think that you are fair and equitable. No one should believe a word you say, ever.

  31. Agnes Cheek

    Does anyone remember why the Gerber plant moved and filled all their wells with concrete so they couldnt be used? hmmm..thanks asheville!

  32. are Asheville City residents a burden on the communities when they go there to recreate? People also reside in Asheville in order to go hiking, biking, fishing, and attend events that happen outside of Asheville.

  33. artart

    I live in Fairview and am completely happy with it. I go to the city less and less, many times leaving for lack of parking spaces and we take our money elsewhere. Since I have lived here, the parking spaces in the city has diminished as the prices rose. I recall Cecil wants to further limit parking, that will result in people like me coming less and less with my dollars to spend. As far as the city simply stealing money thru annexing, city friends with houses that have a market value similar to mine pay 21/2 to 3 times more in property taxes. All they really get is trash pickup for which I pay about 180 a year. Luckily I am too far out to ever be annexed and my girlfriend is in the process of buying a 300K plus house and not only will not consider the city because of the unnecessary tax burden, but will not even consider an area close enough to ever be annexed. Ultimately, the higher (property) taxes only tend to drive down the prices of city real estate even further. As long as elected officials pursue their own agendas that THEY decide is for the good of the people instead of actually listening to the people, the City of Asheville will die a slow death.

  34. Agnes Cheek

    Let me get this straight…Asheville City Council just voted AGAINST development within city limits of apartments that ould ADD city residents who WANT to live in city limits VOLUNTARILy, while voting to TAKE away from people living outside the city limits who have no say in the process and who are being forced to live within city limits? Does anyone else see the hipocracy of this? By the logic of all these people who are SUCH a burden on the city by daring to spend money on the businesses, shops, restaurants, and the likes, every tourist no matter how far away from asheville they live should also be annexed! This is what is “leading” the city. Dont thing that Mr. Bothwell is alone in this, he is just the only one who is willing to dialouge on these issues. Gordon Smith, Esther Manheimer, Terry Bellamy, Jan Davis, none of you are blameless. If you saw the letter from Planning and Development I received, you would see just as much arrgance, disdain, and absolute unwillingness to addresss teh actual facts surrounding the issues. Apparently Julie Fields/Cogburn thinks everyone who usese city services are freeloaders as well.
    Just Let us Vote! This is our property! Please, jsut let us vote.

  35. UnaffiliatedVoter

    When will Cecil and his merry band of council start compelling NC to loosen their grips on local governments in NC? WHY do NC democrats CONTINUE to be the RULING CLASS in NC???

    Cecil, you start defending us against the NC League of Municipalities and then we’ll talk.
    Bellamy TOO!

  36. JWTJr

    I find it interesting that back in the 60’s, the youth were all about dissing ‘the man’ and were all up in arms about the big government invading their lives and freedom.

    Now, they are Democrats in office ramming their social engineering down our throats. Tax and spend, big government lackeys corrupted by power.

    How did that happen?

  37. I am thinking that I may be a burden when I go to the City to buy my meat and produce at the City Farmer’s Market. Gosh… maybe we should have a farmer’s market out here in Candlertown.

  38. JWTJr, “ramming their social engineering down our throats”?

    Examples?

    I remain “all up in arms about the big government invading” – hence my opposition since 2001 to the USA PATRIOT Act, to warrantless wiretapping and examination of cell phone records, to torture, to no-bid contracts and the privatization of the military, to wars-of-choice – all done under the previous administration, of course.

    If providing good schools, safe and clean communities, sidewalks and bike lanes are a manifestation of “ramming social engineering” I beg to differ. Local governments exist to provide community services. If you like government that fails to provide those services, you’d love Afghanistan, though I would never suggest you move there.

    And pggibson – if you think availing yourself of City amenities is NOT in any way a “burden” you are living in a dream world. Cities provide numerous amenities and services, both to their citizens and to residents of surrounding lands. You wouldn’t be located here if not for your former post as RiverKeeper (sponsored by RiverLink, a distinctly metropolitan organization), or your current post at Warren Wilson College – whose mailing address is in Asheville. If you live far enough outside the City limits that you don’t qualify for annexation under NC law, you get whatever City benefits you enjoy for free. If you are on the edge of current City limits, your neighborhood may qualify for annexation, and then you would be required to help fund the benefits you formerly received for free. Get over it. There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

  39. Matt Mittan

    Cecil – are you ‘trying’ to piss everyone in WNC off, or is it just accidental? It almost seems like, as an elected official, you are ‘daring’ the people outside the city to boycott Asheville all together… or have you not thought through what impact your inflammatory rhetoric toward everyone outside the city will have on Asheville businesses? I’m curious.

  40. JWTJr

    Yes Cecil, If I don’t like Asheville, I’ll just go to the next best place … Afghanistan. Why not throw in a Hitler reference to really drive your point home?

    Wow, your debate skills are sharp. If changing the subject takes skill.

  41. Agnes Cheek

    ” Local governments exist to provide community services.”
    Cecil, did you forget that WE pay for those services? Government is US, the taxpayers. WE pay for every service provided! What dream world are YOU living in??

  42. That is fine Cecil. You are clearly upset and want to lash out on me – which is not unheard of. I am Christian – you don’t like Christians. I am in the County – you don’t like us. I am not here because of any particular job. I am here because I moved to Jackson County, ultimately came to Asheville, married an Asheville girl and moved in with my inlaws to help care for them in Candler. And yes, I am a burden. Please come shoot me or hand me over to Kevorkian. But just remember that the burden I have on Asheville includes that I have served in many volunteer capacities to help bring events and money to Asheville, improve jobs, improvements in the community, I gave several weeks of my life to become a guardian ad litem, my wife and I give to charity organizations providing help for those in economic need. So, I confess, I am a burden on Asheville… so, we need to look at the ways that the burdens exist and we in Candler would love to have the businesses that attract us – the burden bodies of Asheville.

    A full account of the costs and benefits of the outlying communities and Asheville is the only way that you can determine if I or others are truly a burden.

    A Full account/ledger would show things like:
    Recreation opportunities outside of Asheville
    Water supply – which is outside of the city
    Campaign dollars that come from outside the city for election processes (you all do spend your money in Asheville – right?)
    The contributions a person gives in volunteer time to make the events happen
    The costs/impact that the events have on surrounding communities outside of Asheville
    Gosh, there is so much…

    You are really working hard to create division in our community Cecil. I cannot understand why you take the bully pulpit approach and attack me directly in public.

    As for the Riverkeeper post, it is now a position at the Western North Carolina Alliance – a clearly regional organization.

    I don’t get anything free in Asheville. I drive on a road that is funded by the State. I park and pay the meters – thanks for increasing the rate. I pay for my meal at Laurey’s catering. I walk on the sidewalk that is project that Asheville and DOT pay for (because you want sidewalks). I enter the building for a board meeting (which is paid lease by the organization), i give my donation to the non-profit organization to help them pay the City and their bills, we may order a late meal from another asheville restaurant that we pay for, i depart in my car that i pay for, with gas I bought in Asheville, on tires that i bought in Asheville, and go to Earthfare and buy my groceries – mainly produce and meat that are locally produced (not in Asheville), and drive on the state maintained and somewhat federally funded roads, only to arrive back in my home in Candler. Of course, if i had p’d or po’d while in Asheville, I would have done so in a private business which is paying their own water and sewer bill… as there are no public restrooms in Asheville that I would try to find.

  43. Barry Summers

    Yes Cecil, If I don’t like Asheville, I’ll just go to the next best place … Afghanistan.

    I’ll chip in for your airfare, ??????

    Good luck avoiding annexation by the Taliban…

  44. JWTJr

    “Good luck avoiding annexation by the Taliban.”

    So you are comparing being annexed by Cecil to being annexed by the Taliban? Interesting to say the least.

  45. Barry Summers

    So you are comparing being annexed by Cecil to being annexed by the Taliban? Interesting to say the least.

    Your Pashtun brothers execute people like you for lying, ?????? . Just a heads up. Hey, that’s funny – get it? ‘Heads up’? Hahahahahaha

  46. Betty

    Cecil, take a pill. Your hate speech towards us county residents is getting out of hand.

    Cost/benefit analyses have been done regarding whether or not unincorporated suburbs exploit municipalities. Univ of WI & Univ of NM, I think. Can’t put my finger on the reference right now, but I’ll look for it.

    The conclusion is that there is a win-win situation that should not be tampered with by forced annexation.

    I repeat: There is no bona fide evidence that suburbs exploit cities.

    In Buncombe, county residents significantly outnumber the total of all municipal residents (including Black Mountain, Weaverville, etc populations.) Suburban and county businesses provide jobs and services to city residents. Suburban and county residents invest money and skills in businesses in the city. User fees, licenses, permits, property taxes, etc, generate revenue for the city. Not to mention shopping.

    I venture that the flow of resources from county residents represent a disproportionate benefit to city residents over us in the county.

    What you want, Cecil, is a one-way redistribution of suburban/county resources. More for city government spending sprees. Less for the people.

    No equity exists under forced annexation.

  47. Amy Churchill

    Thanks for all the info Cecil. Now let me also thank you for “warming” the city council seat you’ll be giving up to some of these Arden folks soon! Vote us in and We’ll vote you out.

  48. Robert Terrell

    “And pggibson – if you think availing yourself of City amenities is NOT in any way a “burden” you are living in a dream world. Cities provide numerous amenities and services, both to their citizens and to residents of surrounding lands.” — Cecil Bothwell

    Maybe it’s Cecil’s Chicago upbringing that clouds his views on city life and the fairness of taxing the begeezus out of everybody that has worked hard to buy the American dream, a house? Cecil, chill and think about it. I’m a progessive, but I agree with some of the above that forced annexation is unfair and is not progressive. Government intrusion. I am progressive, but I value individual rights. Government “rights” do not trump individual rights here.

    Thanks for the lively discussion, all.

  49. To suggest that I don’t like Christians is utterly ludicrous. I believe in complete freedom of or from religion and don’t think anyone’s beliefs are anyone else’s business. I certainly didn’t think my beliefs were of any relevance to anyone else before others decided to make mine public.

    I have no interest in creating division between those County residents who live within City limits and those who live outside City areas. (We all pay County taxes, you know.) But I do believe in injecting a bit of reality when people assert that they can live near a city and not benefit, or that they choose to live near a city without regard to possible benefits, or make snarky comments about the very difficult issues involved in balancing City and County interests.

    As for my Afghanistan suggestion, I’d say it is exactly germane. People who piss and moan about the evils of government need to consider counter examples, and Afghanistan is a textbook case in what occurs when there is no central government and no history or experience of the benefits that a well run bureaucracy delivers. We the people form governments to do the things we can’t do alone. They are never perfect, but they are demonstrably necessary.

  50. Oh, and Agnes, the whole debate here emanates from a letter writer who doesn’t want to pay for City services (which she believes she doesn’t need, or won’t benefit from, etc.).

    And in our e-mail exchange you have expressed the same idea: you don’t want to pay for City services. So when you say “We pay” you are exactly wrong.

    Oh, and Matt, I really don’t see being plain-spoken about why Asheville is constrained by state law and why those who live near a city might be gaining benefits they aren’t paying for and why involuntary annexation is an attempt at fairness to all concerned should be taken as aggravating to anyone.

    Unlike some of the anti-annexation voices I am not calling anyone names or suggesting nefarious purposes. I’m trying to get all the cards out on the table so we can have a rational discussion.

  51. Jim

    Cecil,

    Now that I see just how the people the citizens of Asheville elected toto reresent them feel about me, I will modify my habits to suit them.

    I live outside Asheville, and work outside Asheville, with my commute taking me through town. Most days I plan my trip to do some shopping at various shops in town, even for gas, and I spend several hundred dollars a week in Asheville.

    Now that the hostility of those who run the city to non-residents is shown, I will do just as you wish- stay out of town. My commute will be only on the interstates not funded or maintained by the city. No more side trips through town to shop, I will buy my gas and goods outside the city.

    But I will make it a point to let the establishments I used to regularly shop at know why I am no longer coming.

    My unwelcome county dwelling feet won’t put any wear on the city streets any longer.

  52. Agnes Cheek

    Cecil, can I send to you the bills that I dont pay for then? Where do you even come up with that idea that they are “free?” I already pay for these services!

  53. Agnes Cheek

    The bills that come to my house are from The City of Asheville, so if Im “NOT paying for them”… you owe me a refund tens of thousands of dollars. My checks are made out to “ASHEVILLE”

  54. UnaffiliatedVoter

    When Bothwell starts defending Asheville FROM the NC League of Municipalities and the RULING CLASS AGENDA of theirs, then we will take him more seriously. Ditto Mayor Bellamy and the REST of the City Council…WHY do they KOWTOW to this CONTROL GROUP year in, year out?

  55. Robert Malt

    Cecil Bothwell said:
    Oh, and Agnes, the whole debate here emanates from a letter writer who doesn’t want to pay for City services (which she believes she doesn’t need, or won’t benefit from, etc.).

    1) Again, she already pays for the City services she receives….water and sewer.

    2) The qualifier of “she believes she doesn’t need, or won’t benefit from…” is telling. The disdain that Cecil Bothwell has for county residents is amazing. Obviously she must be stupid and uninformed because Cecil says so.

  56. Agnes Cheek

    Are you serious? So we get our water for free? We get sewer for free? We get garbage pickup, fire protection, police protection for free? We don’t pay taxes either? Cecil I will send you the bill for all my “free” services. Under your logic everyone, including tourists and people in other states should be annexed as well!

  57. Agnes Cheek

    “in our e-mail exchange you have expressed the same idea: you don’t want to pay for City services. So when you say “We pay” you are exactly wrong. ”
    Are you serious? So we get our water for free? We get sewer for free? We get garbage pickup, fire protection, police protection for free? We don’t pay taxes either? Cecil I will send you the bill for all my “free” services. Under your logic everyone, including tourists and people in other states should be annexed as well!

  58. workingclassfool

    Cecil, you obviously do not understand economics. If everyone who comes into Asheville stopped coming, then Asheville would be back to the deserted town it was in the 70’s. People spend money in Asheville which produces and supports businesses which then spark the desire for more people to come here. The businesses create jobs (taxpayers), pay taxes, water bills, etc.

    I sure hope the business community starts to speakup about your comments otherwise they are the ones who will suffer. Who wants to spend money in a town that looks upon them with disdain.

    By the way, I live in Asheville and I love the Bele Chere festival and attend every year. I was personally insulted by another City Councilor’s coments after the Bele Chere festival this year when she said that if we had a different kind of festival then maybe a different type of person would show up. So, I live in Asheville, but I guess I do not meet the criteria of what type of person is desired in this town because I attend Bele Chere.

    Well, the people in this town deserve what they get because they don’t vote. I vote and I have lived in the Northeast, the Midwest, and the South west and this town has the poorest voter turnout I have ever seen anywhere.

    So, we end up with classless people creating policies that damage their own citizens and who talk about their constituents with total disrespect. I have never seen such arrogance in my whole life. In other states I have lived in you would be kicked out of office with a recall petition asap.

  59. BigAl

    As much as I disagree with Counncilman Bothwell (ON EVERYTHING), I must admit that his presentation of his viewpoints on this thread, while WRONG, have been much more focused, polite and appropriate than those of Mr. Mittan, who while RIGHT on the issues has been overly vitriolic, inappropriate and hyperbolic for some two to three hours on his radio show today. I saw no profanity (“pissed off”) from Mr. Bothwell as I saw from Matt, and I cannot locate anything in Mr. Bothwell’s statements which implies the “arrogance” that Mr. Mittan repeated spoke of.

    While I , as a county resident, find Mr. Bothwell’s assertion that I am somehow not paying my fair share for every visit to Asheville to be misguided and incorrect, I find the manner in which Mr. Mittan has objected to him to be more offensive, inaccurate and a strike against his credability as a citizen-advocate.

  60. Matt Mittan

    Cecil wrote on his facebook page: “I am so very weary of Matt Mittan. He is vile. This week he is taking my comments about annexation out of context, selectively quoting and putting words in my mouth that I never said – all for the sake of ratings (dollars). Nothing but a tiny town Glenn Beck wannabe. Sigh. Asheville could do so much better.”

    Is this what it is going to become? Call me Cecil.

  61. JWTJr

    “Your Pashtun brothers execute people like you for lying, ?????? . Just a heads up. Hey, that’s funny – get it? ‘Heads up’? Hahahahahaha”

    Now you’re making fun with how the Taliban cuts the heads off people???

    I’m sure Cecil is proud to have you as a constituent.

  62. mule

    Apparently this whole bruha between Bothwell and Baby Beck Mittan has more to do with Bothwell having kicked Mittan’s butt on some Facebook thread recently.

    Anyhow…the best thing that could come from all this is if Mittan and his wingnut listeners were to actually follow through on their “boycott” of Asheville.

    Please…just…stay….away.

  63. JWTJr

    “Thanks for all the info Cecil. Now let me also thank you for “warming” the city council seat you’ll be giving up to some of these Arden folks soon! Vote us in and We’ll vote you out.”

    I think Amy may have enough power with the new ‘voting block’ to make some waves. Go girl.

    There’s nothing like motivated voters to make incumbents rethink a position.

  64. zulu

    All of us who have been around awhile know that Cecil Bothwell is VERY impressed with himself, and there’s just no arguing. You either agree with him, or you’re STUPID. His bubble of sycophants have made him deaf to any differing opinions, and even many of them aren’t really sure that they agree with Cecil, but they’re just so darned convinced that he’s oh-so-smart that they don’t dare question.

    Cecil Bothwell represents the apex of the adolescent Asheville hippie-dom, steeped in academic hypotheticals and short on real-world experience. He’ll be the last, so worry not. In the meantime, do as I have done and keep your money in your pockets if you have to go downtown. Don’t feed the beast.

    Better suggestion: Shop and dine in downtown Hendersonville. It’s much friendlier to navigate, and not at all pretentious like A-ville.

  65. JWTJr

    “As for my Afghanistan suggestion, I’d say it is exactly germane. People who piss and moan about the evils of government need to consider counter examples, and Afghanistan is a textbook case in what occurs when there is no central government and no history or experience of the benefits that a well run bureaucracy delivers. We the people form governments to do the things we can’t do alone. They are never perfect, but they are demonstrably necessary.”

    Cecil, are you saying we will fall into a socio-economic disaster like Afghanistan if Asheville doesn’t forcibly annex Royal Pines?

    Is it possible you are overreacting just a tad? We’re not exactly in a ‘all or nothing’ situation here.

  66. workingclassfool

    JWTJr, that’s an interesting angle I had not thought of; if the city starts annexing areas against the will of the people, then we will have more voters, who hopefully, will be motivated to turn out and vote the elitists out.

  67. matt underwood

    Cecil
    I have lived in Asheville/Buncombe County for my whole life only 29 years. I spent 18 years of that time living in Haw Creek. I went to Buncombe County Schools (Haw Creek Elm., Reynolds MS and Reynolds HS). Why is the city not paying the county for use of their school system since I was a city resident using the county school. I had no choice of going to Asheville City Schools (like I would want to go to them anyway). Currently I live in Fairview and work in Brevard. I only go to Asheville if I need something from a County office which are all located in the City. If the county was to put offices outside the city I would not even bother to go into your city that has been going down the drain for atleast the last 20 years.

  68. Barry Summers

    I’m sure Cecil is proud to have you as a constituent.

    Wrong again, Jejunior!! I annoy Cecil as much as I annoy you, and besides, I live 20 feet outside Asheville city limits, & have just been annexed against my will by Woodfin!! Ha!

  69. I hardly suggested that Asheville would fall into Afghani madness if Royal Pines were not annexed. That comment was clearly directed at those who act as if government is the problem, rather than being a means to solutions. I was offering an instructive example to show why government is necessary. That’s all. Don’t read more into it than was intended.

    And thanks Big Al. I surely have not meant to vilify anyone. Perhaps I have overstated my case if it seems that I think that every visitor to Asheville needs to pay more. The point I have made repeatedly is that Asheville does provide services to people in a much larger geographic area than lies within City limits. We experience the largest percentage daily change in population of any city in NC (80,000 residents, 40,000 commuters). Unlike other cities, we are not permitted to charge more for water to those outside city limits. Unlike other cities, we do not get any of the room tax collected here. Unlike other cities, we get a disproportionately small share of sales tax collected here. Services for those commuters need to come from somewhere, so they come from the pockets of City taxpayers.

    The only tool the General Assembly has given the City to help offset those disproportions is annexation of adjacent areas that meet particular criteria. I consider it an obligation as an elected representative of Asheville’s taxpayers to do what I can to balance the equation, and while I disagree with the idea of involuntary annexation on purely theoretical grounds, I cannot oppose it as a practical matter.

  70. JWTJr

    “I hardly suggested that Asheville would fall into Afghani madness if Royal Pines were not annexed. That comment was clearly directed at those who act as if government is the problem, rather than being a means to solutions. I was offering an instructive example to show why government is necessary. That’s all. Don’t read more into it than was intended.”

    They why use such a ridiculous, outlandish and non-applicable example? It was completely irrelevant and off topic.

    The topic here is giant vs even more giant government. You obviously think that government should rule all now that you are in it.

  71. JWTJr

    “Wrong again, Jejunior!! I annoy Cecil as much as I annoy you”

    Keep up the good work!

  72. BigAl

    How is Asheville different from any other city in that many people visit it who do not live in it and therefore do not pay city property taxes?

    Visitors patronize local businesses, who then pay their property taxes on a PROGRESSIVE scale (the more money they earn from patrons, the more they pay the city) so in the end, visitors DO pay their “fair share”.

    To suggest otherwise is to follow the same foolish reasoning of a former Durham city councilman who wanted employees who lived out in the county to pay part of the city’s water bill because they used the toilets and sinks at work.

  73. JWTJr

    “I was offering an instructive example to show why government is necessary.”

    Yes, Afghanistan and what the US, specifically Asheville, is going thru are reasonable examples for comparison. Why even go there? If that is the data you are using to make decisions here in Asheville, we are all in trouble.

  74. workingclassfool

    From Cecil:
    “pgibson: thought you’d appreciate this
    http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1745/religious-knowledge-in-america-survey-atheists-agnostics-score-highest”

    From pgibson: I do not know how to respond. What am I suppose to take from this study? Oh, wait. You are right… you are more book learned than I am… you are smarter… and because I am a Christian I am dumb. Thank you for the divisive point

    From workingclassfool: I was wondering what the connection was to that link myself; thanks for figuring it out pgibson…I’m a dumbie just like you.

    And I am looking forward to welcoming the new voters in Arden to Asheville so that we might actually get some normal honest people on city council.

  75. Actually, Phillip, because you are interested in religion, (and were eager to make some kind of point about mine, upthread), I thought you’d appreciate the associated survey, on which I figured you’d do better than most because I think you’re smart. (And someone had just that moment e-mailed me the link.)

    As for being normal and honest, WCF, I hardly think I’ve been dishonest in presenting the case for annexation. Perhaps too forthright for some people’s taste, and clearly taking a different position than others. But my normal is to be honest, not to say nice things to make everyone happy and then do something different.

  76. CityRez

    While Mr. Bothwell brings up the issue of state legislative limitations on the city, I feel it’s important to point out again that Asheville gets very little support from our state legislature precisely because of the wingnuts in local government who shoot themselves and the citizens of Asheville in the foot on a regular basis. Rather than competant local government, our local council members are continually engaged in some ridiculous crusade which has nothing to do with local government responsibility. Perhaps if they practiced some responsible stuardship and competant management of city resources, they’d get a bit of cooperation from the state legislature. Aa it is, Asheville is a joke to the state, and you can’t blame them for that impression. If this city won’t maintain anything we have already, why is the state going to give them money to make a bigger mess? All these council members could benefit from a civics class and professional treatment for their narcissistic personality disorders.

  77. Agnes Cheek

    I own property in Royal Pines neighborhood and am opposed to the annexation. I purposly purchased property out side the city limits because I wanted to live out side the citys grasp.

    According to Cecil Bothwell’s comment below a MountainXpre…ss article (“NO” to proposed Royal Pines Annexation by Belle Reina in Vol. 17 / Iss. 09 on 09/21/2010), “People who live near a city gain great benefit from city amenities without paying for them”. He couldn’t be more wrong. we as residents of RP community already pay for fire, water, sewer, police, garbage, etc. we wont be getting anything we dont already have.
    The last time I went into the city, I filled the gas tank, I bought 3 movie tickets at the Carolina Theatre (that is considered city limits wayyyy out there), went downtown, dropped a handfull of coins into the parking meter, paid for three meals at a local restaurant owned by “out of towners.” (are they a “burden” too since they own business in the city but live in another county??), and made purchases in several stores on lexington ave.
    Also don’t forget that 51% of the county $ goes to pay for the City of asheville, so it could be said that you have the luxury of living near the county and all the benefits thereof for free, without providing anything for it.

  78. ” Local governments exist to provide community services.” – Cecil Bothwell

    Cecil, i beg to differ, government in “America” exists first and foremost to protect the unalienable rights of the individual.

    recently, i suffered a multi-thousand dollar theft and the APD refused to go beyond the very minimum to investigate the matter — to potentially bring the thieves to justice, so that they might steal again.

    they failed miserably.

    please consider re-focusing on the primary role of government, which is to protect the rights of the individual, which includes standing up for the individuals in our community where NC State legislation fails to do so.

    Forced Annexation is WRONG, regardless of anything which has been written in Raleigh, or in DC for that matter.

  79. Forced residential annexation is a threat to urban social values like domestic partner benefits by allowing more traditional suburbanites to vote in city elections, undermining urban culture and unity. That’s why I oppose annexation.

  80. Agnes Cheek

    My apologies to the moderator and to the readers for the double posting, I didn’t realize that I had sent them so many times!
    Here’s somemething to think about Cecil and the resto of City Council:
    37% of all government revenues are generated in asheville for buncombe county, but 51% of Buncombe county’s expenditures are spent on the city of Asheville, so who the “burden” on who? (trust but verify)

  81. bobaloo

    Congratulations to Alan7 for the most condescending, judgmental and narrow minded comment of the thread because clearly the county is littered with far right homophobes.
    Good Lord.

  82. Margaret Williams

    There’s a great deal of emotion and a lot of good dialogue going on here, so we’re trying to allow much leeway, but please stick to discussing the ideas and avoid attacking the person. A few pending comments are hold for the latter reason.

  83. Barry Summers

    37% of all government revenues are generated in asheville for buncombe county, but 51% of Buncombe county’s expenditures are spent on the city of Asheville

    What’s your source for this, Agnes?

  84. Jackie Britton Lopatin

    I hear a lot of condemnation of annexation in all these letters, and a lot of anger at Cecil for speaking what he perceives as the hard but honest truth, but I don’t see any of the other council members sticking THEIR necks out like this and I also don’t see a lot of other alternatives being suggested. Simply complaining about “mismanagement of funds in the past” isn’t particularly helpful, whether it’s true or not.

    This type of problem is older than pre-Roman Briton when the farmers wanted (and needed!) to get their goods to market but didn’t want to pay any tolls (maintenance fees) and would do everything they could to avoid them. Ironically, it was the farmers’ heavy wagons which did the most damage to the roads. BUT the markets where the goods ended up benefited, too. So there was always the question of who should pay and how should the money be collected.

    In this era of high maintenance roads and gas stations, taxing the purchase of gas has been the fairest and least painful method, since those who use the roads the most would also be using the most gas. Some people try to avoid these taxes by driving over the state line to fill up their tanks with South Carolina gas which is less taxed, but mostly it evens out.

    The people who oppose annexation make a very good point when they say that the city shouldn’t do any more annexation until it’s providing “city services” to all the area it’s already annexed.

    One way or another, though, the current members of the City Council have to figure up ways of covering the shortfalls created by actions in the past. If annexation is not a preferred option, and raising water rates to different areas is not an option, then how about some other method of fundraising? Lotteries are legal now in North Carolina…how about one-time special purpose lotteries that are designated for particular problems? It may feel a little like paying tribute to your enemies to make them go away, but wouldn’t that be better and cheaper in the long run for communities targeted for annexation than the actual annexation?

    If you hate my idea and hate the ideas already put on the table, come up with some other solutions. You may be determined to vote Cecil out in the next election, but at least acknowledge that he’s been willing to actually get out on the streets and DO something about specific problems (like impassable sidewalks) unlike so many other people who simply sit around and bitch about the problems.

  85. I was re-reading this thread to see what I might have said to occasion the vilification heaped on my by a local talk-jock and numerous e-mailers and phone callers, and noticed an issue that was bypassed.

    One commenter suggested that I am uninformed about economics, and that County water users actually help subsidize the system. That would be true, if it weren’t for another pesky state law.

    Water utilities must be revenue neutral. Therefore, in other NC cities that charge users outside city limits 1.5 to 2.5 times the rate charged inside the city is proportionately lower. Under our rate structure, those who incur the least costs pay the same rate as those who incur the most.

    During last year’s campaign I advocated for a tiered rate structure that would charge people a surcharge based on the cost of delivery. I think this might step around the Sullivan Acts, since it wouldn’t be based on city limits, but on geography. (Calculating fair rates might be a challenge, but probably doable.)

  86. Hmm. I kind of garbled that. In the many cities that charge outside users 1.5 to 2.5 times the rate charged within city limits, those inside pay proportionately less.

  87. Barry Summers

    Still hoping Agnes will explain this 37% / 51% assertion she made. Do you have any idea what she’s talking about Cecil?

  88. Chris

    Cecil Bothwell said: “I was re-reading this thread to see what I might have said to occasion the vilification heaped on my by a local talk-jock and numerous e-mailers and phone callers…”

    Either you didn’t read well or maybe you think it is fair to call those who disagree with you “willfully stupid”, “disingenuous”, or the statement that county residents may smoke or be criminals is somewhere between laughable and clumsy fear mongering.

    I appreciate you coming into this forum and attempting to answer people’s concerns, but I think you may be making things worse both with your tone and repitition of information that people simply don’t believe.

    Mr. Bothwell, here are two questions for you:
    1. How much revenue does the city anticipate to realize with the annexations;
    2. And what are the expected outlays to provide additional services for the new areas.
    I have seen these numbers in other places on the Internet, but I would rather hear it from you or City Council directly.

  89. No idea, Barry. Since City taxpayers also pay County taxes, and given that most of the highest value real estate is in the City, I’m inclined to question the figures too.

  90. Barry Summers

    I’d hate to think those numbers are just pulled out of thin air, or even worse: that this 51% of County funds “spent on the City of Asheville” includes the County Administration, Courthouse, Health, Sheriff, Jail, Dept. of Education, Library system, etc. etc. that goes along with Asheville being the County Seat… I’d hate to think that Agnes considers all that County infrastructure based in the city constitutes the County ‘spending money on Asheville’. Whatta spin job that would be…

    But let’s wait for the source info before jumping to that conclusion. Agnes?

  91. Matt Mittan

    @Barry: Are you saying that County tax collections spent in the City of Asheville AREN’T County taxes spent in the City of Asheville.

    Of course you’re going to get the numbers you want when you can so easily dismiss all “County Administration, Courthouse, Health, Sheriff, Jail, Dept. of Education, Library system, etc. etc.” from the equation. Are those County obligations being covered by County taxes within the city or are they not?

    And you’re accusing Agnes of spin? You are making me dizzy. Of course the ‘County seat’ will have more need for obligated funds from county taxpayers than a non ‘county seat’ city would, but you can’t just take those figures off the table to suit your argument.

    Additionally, there will always be more county spending in larger population areas for things that are contingent on population density. The point here is that it seems some people on this thread want to only focus to those things that support their agenda on the issue of annexation, rather than look at the whole picture. (IE: Only looking at the Sales Tax disbursement figures and not the entire picture of overall county tax spending, which is what Agnes was responding to I believe.)

    The level of selective reference on this thread is astounding.

    @Cecil: I do have an honest question I was hoping you could address a little more in depth. When you said that you were against the policy of forced annexation on ‘theoretical grounds’ but had to vote for it as a ‘matter of practicality’, how do you reconcile that?

    It seems to me that you are someone who has always said that you would do what is the principled thing to do, yet in this case you are saying you must do what will bring in money, even though you indicate that you see the practice as being wrong…

    Which one is it? Do you stick with principled right and wrong in your votes or do you default to what is going to be the shortest path to, what you believe will be, financial benefit?

  92. Steve

    Cecil, on Sept 29, you said, “…and while I disagree with the idea of involuntary annexation on purely theoretical grounds, I can not oppose it as a practical matter.”

    First I’d like to commend you for opposing involuntary annexation theoretically, because it is offensive. So I am glad to see we are of like mind theoretically. Let’s build on this foundation.

    Secondly, I’d like to encourage you that you can oppose involuntary annexation as a practical matter. You see, forcing more people’s property to be in the city limits against their will, will not help balance a budget that is not already balanced and will never win any friends.
    For sure, there is a lot of people that live out of the city and come into the city, to buy things, to eat out and just to all out enjoy themselves. And this is a very good thing. Ask any business owner that has a business in Asheville. This is good for the businesses and it is good for the city. I’d go so far as to say that these people are contributing more than they are taking. Remember this place in the 1970’s. What was downtown like? What a difference!

    A good practical idea would be to do everything you can to make the city a place where people want to come to shop, eat out, and to have a good time. A lot of this has been done in the last 30 years and it has been tremendous for the city.
    All the businesses that have come into the city in the last 30 years have come into the city because of the profit made possible by their customers that live in and out of the city. All of the businesses that have left the city, left because of higher taxes or more regulations that exist inside the city and not outside.
    The bottom line is that there is a practical way to make things so nice in the city that people want to come here to shop, eat out, entertain, and even live in the city. To get there, you need to make things so much better that people would rather be here than somewhere else.

    Forcing people to be in the city limits is simply not the way to do it. It is not good for those being forced. And, it is not good for the city.
    Let’s work in another direction. Even though NC allows forced annexation, unlike most states, let’s have a new city rule that we will have no part of this. Not now and not ever again. Rather, we will strive to make the city of Asheville such a good place to be, that business will want to be here and so will residents. Imagine one day having the people in Royal Pines petitioning the city to come into the city limits and that they would pay extra to do it. Well, we are definitely not there and have a long way to go.

    Let’s find a way “practically” to do what is “theoretically” the right and best thing to do.

  93. I attended a meeting in Skyland this morning with a large group of people (principally Royal Pines residents) who are opposed to annexation. Though I showed up to listen, I was drafted to speak to the group and answer questions (before being politely asked to leave, since they were going to discuss legal options—a very reasonable request.)

    I heard several strong arguments from opponents and learned that I need to learn more (and I am following up.) The willingness of many of those attending to debate the issue on its merits was very useful.

    It was disappointing that former state representative Charles Thomas seemed intent on casting the discussion as a Republican/Democrat issue, in order to make political hay. While candidates for the state house may stand on different sides of the involuntary annexation debate, most of us are not single issue voters, and I felt his insertion of partisanship was unhelpful and irrelevant.

    In any event, I will be examining the issue carefully this week, attempting to resolve the various arguments and issues as best I can.

    And Steve, I am not immune to your arguments per “practicality” but you aren’t admitting all of the facts into your argument. Striving to make Asheville the best place to be is great, but the truth is more complicated, since other cities are permitted to use inducements, some of which are prohibited here. There are numerous ways to do that: differential parking rates for non-City-residents; a City income tax; reduced County taxes for City residents (to account for Sheriff versus Police protection); differential water rates; or????? Level the playing field, by all means, but leveling involves more than a unilateral retreat by the City on one issue.

  94. If there is a perceived financial burden on the City by freeloading outsiders, reducing the burdens on the City should also be examined. The simplest approach would be for the city to stop financing riverfront plans, events, festivals, other subsidies to businesses, and focus on the elementary items of government. This would reduce the “burdens” on the City and lessen the amount of people freeloading on the City. This may also weaken the argument to annex just to obtain new monies (taxes).

  95. Barry Summers

    (Still waiting for any source info from Agnes to back up her claim…)

    @Barry: Are you saying that County tax collections spent in the City of Asheville AREN’T County taxes spent in the City of Asheville.

    Wow, Matt. Put your eyes back in your head. That’s not what Agnes said. She said:

    “51% of Buncombe county’s expenditures are spent on the city of Asheville, so who the “burden” on who?”

    She clearly implied that the money spent by the County in Asheville is somehow providing services only to City residents, constituting a burden on County taxpayers. If that’s in fact what she intended, then this is one of the most underhanded things on this thread. All that money spent by the County in Asheville, on the services and infrastructure I listed, is serving the entire County, not just the residents of the City. Tallying up the entire cost of running the County infrastructure in Asheville and then saying it’s a “burden” on the rest of the County taxpayers is moronic and deceitful.

  96. There are regulatory as well as tax issues with annexation. For one thing, annexed residents won’t be able to fire guns, and for another, city expansion can expand the ETJ and ETJ annexed residents will be subject to city zoning. Luckily the city is unzoning, at least near bus lines, while the county is zoning more, so the difference between them is, unfortunately, shrinking fast.

  97. agnes cheek

    I’m still waiting o n the rest of the numbers from the county. The problem is that the city numbers and the county numbers contradict each other, or ar swayed by which side the expendatures/cost did the study. (City vs. County) point is that areas that were annexed years ago still don’t have the promised services, such as haw creek’s 900k of 7miles of sidewalk, and they havve had to FIGHT for that, despite it being promised many years ago in exchange for doubled taxes via forced annexation. Another issue is that your own mayor said she doubed the city could even AFFORD to annex us. Just Let Us Vote on what happens to our property! Just let us vote.

  98. Barry Summers

    I’m still waiting o n the rest of the numbers from the county.

    So Agnes – you’re really not going to tell us where you got those numbers? You sounded pretty certain, even triumphant, a few days ago. Now, when asked to pony up with the proof, it’s “Oops, I’ll have to get back to ya”?

    Really?

  99. Amy Churchill

    Agnes, I hope you will be at the city council meeting on October 12th to voice your concerns. That is the only way the right people will hear what you have to say. We will have a large group attending, but need your voice too. It is a waste of time to debate with people on this blog. They are not the ones that can make any changes. There are some on city council that are still open to debate on this issue.

  100. agnes cheek

    Barry, get over yourself please. My fight is not with you. you’re not an elected official, I don’t even know you, and as far as I am concerned, we are all in this thing together, so there is no need for pointless bickering. besides that how does anyone “sound” any particular way via text? sheesh.
    Correction on the last post, i was posting from a phone, I meant that Haw Creek only has 900 feet (not 900 k! lol) of the proposed 7 miles of sidewalk, and they had to fight for that, and continue to fight for what they have! http://www.samharrelson.com/ good post by a city resident.
    Just let us vote. that’s all. let us vote.
    I will be at the meeting on the 12th, as I got coverage @ work that evening. (thank you so much fellow co worker!)

  101. Barry Summers

    Agnes, this isn’t about whether there’s a fight between me & you. You made a factual-sounding statement about County revenue & spending on this forum, and I for one now believe you simply made those figures up. What else are we to make of the fact that you refuse to produce any sources, and keep trying to change the subject?

    I respect people who advance different opinions than mine, but I do not respect people who lie.

  102. Agnes Cheek

    Frankly, I do not care what you think of me Barry, my fight is not with you. Nor would I make figures up. Get over yourself. Thanks.

  103. Amy Churchill

    Saturday morning at the meeting, I had invited Cecil to join me on a tour of the Royal Pines neighborhood. Surprise…he agreed and we spent about an hour this morning driving around visiting the area and discussing the issues. He said that he has some concerns after our visit and things he needs to look into. I wanted to let people know that he was very respectful and pleasant to speak with during his visit. I hope that maybe people will remember to be respectful when they email or call him about this issue. I truly believe that it was not his intention to “piss off” the residents of Royal Pines. Anyway, I personally appreciate the time he took to come and hear my concerns. Of course I still do not want to be annexed, but at least I feel less threatened by him personally.

  104. Amy Churchill

    I also wanted to let ya’ll know that I did invite other members of the city council to visit,and Cecil was the only one that accepted. Of course, the invitation still stands for the others.

  105. Barry Summers

    Frankly, I do not care what you think of me Barry, my fight is not with you. Nor would I make figures up. Get over yourself. Thanks.

    I didn’t really think you cared about my opinion – I thought you’d care about getting a general reputation as someone who can’t be trusted. Isn’t that what you put on the bottom of your Sept. 30 comment, “trust but verify”? That’s all I was trying to do, was verify your figures, & engage you in a discussion. You turned it into a “fight” by refusing to back up your assertions. You apparently want to feel like you’re scoring political points against Cecil, but you don’t seem to care too much about being honest & respectful of the forum in the process.

    I can’t speak for anyone else here, but I have now moved you from the “respected debaters” column, to the “don’t bother engaging & don’t believe a word they say” column. I know, you’re heartbroken…

  106. Kim Blaylock

    @Barry. Chill will you? I can feel anger in all your posts in this thread. There are at least two points of view on every issue. Valid points of view.

    Personally, hostile annexation is always wrong, in my book. I am especially opposed to it in this instance and feel some of those on City Council should par down their spending plans rather than try to collect more tax money in a deep recession.

    Asheville, keep your hands off Royal Pines!

  107. Barry Summers

    This is you being funny, right Agnes? I can find the County and City budget websites myself. Don’t think I’m going to troll through all these pages looking to validate or disprove your assertions. If you can’t produce the actual pages that you took these 37%/51% numbers from, then I’ll assume they don’t exist.

    @Kim – My history with JTWjr and Matt go back a ways, that’s the source of my snarky attitude with them. But my interchange with Agnes started completely neutral:

    What’s your source for this, Agnes?

    If you’ve seen these discussions on XPress before, as Agnes has, you know it’s expected that if you make claims based on outside sources, you should be prepared to share links to those sources so people know what info you’re quoting. It’s common courtesy, it keeps this from turning into just a “he said/she said” machine, it lays the groundwork for fact-based discussion.

    There are many different valid points of view, but there are not different sets of facts. That’s all I was on about – “What are the facts here?” It was Agnes that muddied the waters by making a surprising declaration, then refusing to share her sources so we could debate it reasonably.

    So Agnes gets a little snark. Sorry if this has ruined your day.

  108. Matt Mittan

    @Kim: Notice how when Agnes provided the links to the sources, he STILL blew her off? Despite her giving the actual web-links to the data, he flatly refuses to look at the info, instead asserting that he will ‘assume they don’t exist”. LOL That’s what Barry does, time and time again on Mountain Xpress threads, he’s an antagonist. I’ve fallen for his ruse before too. Kim, thanks for your support of reasonable discourse.

    @Barry: Thanks for once again, showing why it’s absolutely pointless to try and discuss issues with you.

    @Amy: I’ve been very happy to hear that Cecil is opening up on this and making the effort to hear concerns. Sounds like our old likable Cecil, that you can actually have a reasonable discussion with, may be coming back. :)

  109. Margaret Williams

    I repeat: Stick to discussing the ideas and avoid attacking the person.

  110. Agnes Cheek

    Ah selective posting strikes again. I think I am beginning to understand.
    Barry you asked for the sources, you have them. I am not interested in your anger orhostility towards me or anyone else on these threads.
    Thank you Amy for inviting Cecil, I had invited gordon and the rest of them to come out, but nobody else bothered to respond. For better or worse, I am glad Cecil would at least try to dialouge, much more than some on here are capable of.

  111. JWTJr

    You have to give Cecil a little street cred for taking this beating and coming back for more.

    Where is Gordon Smith? He frequents MX and has been viewing this thread I bet.

    And the others who didn’t show up for the community meeting and will vote to annex?

    They need to show some guts and stand up for what will probably be their decision to annex.

  112. i agree — at least Cecil is willing to communicate (and/or argue) with individuals from our community.

    while i entirely disagree with your lack of support for people’s inalienable rights & liberty, i do appreciate your willingness to communicate.

  113. JWTJr

    Matt and Agnes … you don’t have to read far up the thread to know my position here. And my ‘special’ relationships with Barry and Cecil.

    Agnes sited a very significant statistic and backed it up with links that would require significantly more explanation to come up with the 37%. There was massive amounts of data in those links.

    Just for us who need the help … show where the stat came from.

  114. Been watching this important debate, and supporting Agnes. However Agnes, you MUST bring forth the facts of your stats. Otherwise you’re argument is falling short.

  115. Betty

    Jumping in here again. This forced annexation is all about the money. More for city government. Less for the people. Period.

    The water “issue” is nothing but an excuse to try to justify the city’s land and tax grab due to their overspending. Same with all the other unsound excuses.

    The economy, including all over Buncombe County, is in rough shape and it has seriously affected the citizens. The writer is correct — there are many, many people in Royal Pines who will have to choose, for example, between groceries and medicine if they are forced to pay more taxes.

    Families and individuals everywhere have been scrimping and saving to make ends meet. Why can’t the city of Asheville do likewise? People don’t have a source to force money out of. Why should the city?

    FORCED annexation is just wrong, every way you look at it.

  116. Barry Summers

    Sad but true – eight days later, no proof of the 37%/51% claim. Oh well. It certainly sounds “true”, and that’s all that matters when whipping up outrage over those darned spoiled whiny city people…

  117. soon, EVERYONE will be “City People” if We the People continue to allow unlimited government to usurp every last unalienable individual liberty.

  118. Councilman Bothwell stated:
    “Almost certainly, the average Royal Pines resident works in or recreates in Asheville, taking advantage of the many perks a city delivers, and requiring public safety and parking and other services. I’d bet that many RP residents attend Bele Chere, the Christmas Parade, Shindig, Downtown After Five, Art strolls, Mountain Sports Festival, events at the Civic Center or avail themselves of city parks and greenways. All of that is the reason the General Assembly created rules that let cities annex adjacent areas that fit certain explicit criteria as “city-like,” – most particularly density.”

    Phillip responds:
    Noting the chirping and other jabs, I want to point, again, that the argument (noted above) presented at the beginning of this stream is an assumption based on no data of any kind. In fact, as a former VOLUNTEER who has served three years chairing the beverage committee of Bele Chere, I know that the City Parks and Recreation staff calls the event the largest outdoor festival in the southeastern US – marking the number of people who travel great distances to stay in hotel rooms and attend. This is the case with the arguments for hotel sales taxes and increasing the amount of parking for civic center events, etc. All are based on a presumption that people come from other locations to attend the City events.

    My understanding of creating the events is to draw people and their money to Asheville. The events have NEVER been created with a stated intent of being a measure of annexation. If the City cannot afford to conduct the events, and non-city people are a burden by attending, then shut the events down! City residents and store owners complain regularly about how Bele Chere specifically is a nuisance to them.

    Councilman Bothwell stated:
    “Asheville has the largest daily change of population of any city in North Carolina. We swell from about 80,000 at night to about 120,000 each day – mostly commuters and shoppers, and some tourists. Expecting current residents to shoulder the burden for those who live nearby and gain the advantages of urban life is every bit as unfair as forced annexation.”

    Phillip responds: Annexation is not the answer. If the City wants to be a hub for business activity, then the burden is presented by those financially gaining from the “urban life” and being a magnet for shoppers. The shoppers are simply buying a product. If the City wants to address this then it can be done by eliminating/zoning out those things that result in a burden on the City (stores, events, parks), or making them only available to city dwellers (show me your Green Card), or turning the entire Cityscape into a residential area only. Then you can let the County take on the burden of job creation, having people shop and lodge when they come for leaf season, and creating new businesses.

    I spoke with a economic professor yesterday and my questions (posed earlier) were regarded as legitimate. No data has been collected to understand what specific “benefit” Royal Pines or any other possible annexed community is receiving to warrant annexing and charging additional taxes on those individuals. Additionally, a FULL COST ACCOUNTING (which involves more variables that posed by Councilman Bothwell) must be conducted rather than presuming or assuming that benefits are being collected – this is a permanent action with significant long-term economic consequences on families. It deserves a greater degree of attention that what appears to be thrown at it in this discussion.

  119. Barry Summers

    For the record, I haven’t taken a position on the annexation. I understand and believe the seriousness of the city’s financial situation. They are trapped between state laws, demographics, and the cost of running an aging public utility. But like many others, I’m troubled by the concept of involuntary annexation – for all sorts of reasons.

    But let’s talk about it without trying to whip up outrage based on false or unverifiable ‘statistics’, or demonizing people who are simply trying to do the right thing for city taxpayers. This just lays the groundwork for this topic to never get resolved, and be a continuing thorn for everyone.

    @InfinityBBC: The founders coined the term “We The People” to mean all Americans, not just this side or that in a local matter, like City Councilmembers are al qeda or something. We’re all Americans and North Carolinians trying to work through a difficult problem.

  120. Phillip: While we don’t have specifics about Royal Pines residents, there is very specific data concerning emergency services. 51 percent of police calls involve non-city residents.

    Our calls for service average 178 per 1,000 population, versus the next highest NC city, Raleigh, with 126 per thousand. We have a call rate equal to cities nationwide with populations of 150,000. The extra demand is due to commuters. (By the way, contrary to what I might have said upthread, the 40,000 per day figure is just for people who work in the city – it does not include tourists, hospital visits or shoppers.)

  121. Robert Malt

    Cecil Bothwell said: “Our calls for service average 178 per 1,000 population, versus the next highest NC city, Raleigh, with 126 per thousand. We have a call rate equal to cities nationwide with populations of 150,000. The extra demand is due to commuters.”

    Mr. Bothwell, please cite your sources for this statement.

  122. Barry Summers

    @Joe – Agnes can make good points, and if I were in her shoes owning property about to be annexed, I might be up in arms too. But your argument is only weakened by claiming ‘facts’ on your side that later turn out to be false or so unverifiable as to be irrelevant. I can claim that I’ve seen a study that says that 51% of Buncombe County residents are actually Elvis impersonators, and when pressed, give you the web address for the Library of Congress & tell you to “have fun” looking for it. I’ll be laughed out of the room, and deservedly so.

    My guess is that sometime in the past, somebody said something like “the County spends way too much money in Asheville”, and it grew like a game of Telephone, and only needed someone emotionally worked up on an issue to shout it like it was a fact:

    51% of the county $ goes to pay for the City of asheville

    (Mind you, the County budget is roughly $300 million, and the City budget is roughly $140 million. Does anyone believe that the County pays more “for the City of Asheville” than the City pays for itself?)

    Now people are spreading it like it was an actual government statistic that folks should get outraged over, but in fact it’s baloney. But hey, as long as you advance your argument, why depend on the facts being true? As The Talking Heads said:

    “Facts are simple and facts are straight
    Facts are lazy and facts are late
    Facts all come with points of view
    Facts don’t do what I want them to
    Facts just twist the truth around…”

    Will this sort of rhetorical ramping-up make things easier to resolve, or harder?

    Of course, I could be completely wrong, and the proof is forthcoming, in which case I’ll apologize & admit I’ve been a jerk. But I don’t expect it to happen…

  123. Councilman Bothwell… you stated the following:
    “Almost certainly, the average Royal Pines resident works in or recreates in Asheville, taking advantage … I’d bet that many RP residents attend … All of that is the reason the General Assembly created rules …”

    Then you stated in this last post:
    “While we don’t have specifics about Royal Pines resident…”

    The problem is that you and Council are taking actions against people – people in Buncombe County based on no specific information.

    You state the rate of police calls and of commuters. However, there still is no evidence that this rate is due to Buncombe County residents or even more specifically Royal Pines. The fact is that the City of Asheville enjoys the luxury of a series of State and Federally funded highways. Those allow your residents and businesses to attract people from people coming from all over the eastern United States. Thus making their properties very valuable and creating more opportunity for your tax base.

    Again I will state, if the system, events, businesses, parks, recreational opportunities are creating a burden on the City, then you, the elected leadership, need to trim back or make the opportunities exclusive to your residents, or land owners. To pursue enveloping selected properties for their tax base is troublesome – to say the least. You are penalizing a group of people for a burden for which you know no specific data on how they are related to the burdens you cite. Furthermore, this position or argument that you use (without data) could be used for anyone within the entire county of Buncombe, for residents of Henderson, Madison, and Haywood counties.

    In closing, I would also restate that this position statement of the City being burdened by non-city residents is contrary to the very work funded by, in part, the City of Asheville to market and attract non-city residents. Based on your position statement, The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, Asheville-Buncombe Convention Visitors Bureau, RiverLink, and other funded organizations are either a subversive method for attracting people from the county with the intent of building evidence in preparation of annexation OR they are working in direct conflict of the City leadership (you the Council) – which begs the opportunity for you to save even more money by shutting off the flow of money.

    I realize I am not your constituent. But, I do see a creeping of the City annexation process coming in my direction of Enka-Candler. And, you have now involved me and any other county resident. I have given a considerable amount of money and time (aka money) to the City of Asheville. I did so willingly and without request for anything in return. So, I take great exception when an elected leader in the City of Asheville begins telling me I am a burden on the City of Asheville. Your continued remarks and attempts to justify them with no credible data have created an impression that you have disdain for anyone outside of the City. This, from someone who in the past spoke so passionately about the need for community, is confusing – unless community is defined only by the label of “Asheville.”

  124. UnaffiliatedVoter

    Yesterday, our beautiful Governmess Bev Perdue was visiting AB Tech and was startled by a student who asked her feelings on FORCED ANNEXATION! Bev answered by saying it should be the people’s choice!!! That means with a vote, right, Bev?

    Why do liberals speak double talk about such matters?

  125. Phillip, I think your idea that we should identify specific users and bill them is terrific.

    However, it is not legal.

    As I’ve maintained all through this thread, the City of Asheville operates within the laws of NC. And the metropolitan area around Asheville is what is known as a community. We are all in this together. Absent Asheville, which of course emerged as a trading station at the confluence of two rivers, and later grew due to the geographic imperative of running rail lines along river valleys, people wouldn’t have populated the surrounds in such density. The Interstate’s ran through here for the same reason the trains-the geographic path of least resistance. To pretend otherwise is to ignore history and economics.

    We are a community which has collocated around Asheville. My construction work when I lived in far Southeast Buncombe for 20 years (near Bat Cave) was partly dependent on Asheville’s existence. The fact that the Parkway runs through town was a political choice made because of the City’s presence. Businesses in the region have long been driven by the aftermath of Vanderbilt’s investment, and the mountain crafters organized by his widow fed into an export trade based in Asheville and dependent on the trains.

    All of the arguments that suggest that everyone outside the City limits could get by just fine, thank you, without the City, simply don’t hold water.

    You and others keep attempting to read disdain into my comments. Any disdain I might feel has nothing to do with the wonderful people who live all through our region, but for the divisive and hollow arguments that keep coming up. (Claims that the County spends more in the City than outside, for example. Or that pursuit of annexation under NC laws is evidence of greed.)

    While talk-jocks and others foment dissent, I’ve been spending my time visiting the neighborhoods, communicating with people both inside and outside the City, and trying to find a reasonable middle ground. You might want to read my op-ed in tomorrow’s Asheville Citizen-Times.

  126. Betty

    Cecil claims to have specific data, saying, “51 percent of police calls involve non-city residents.”

    This is not specific. Specifics would include EXACTLY WHERE these so-called outsiders come from. Exactly how many of them are Royal Pines residents? Exactly how many of them are from Madison County? Henderson County? Weaverville, Woodfin, Black Mountain? etc, etc, etc.

    This is yet another one of your lame excuses, spoon-fed to you by your lobbyist friends in the NC League of Municipalities.

    By the way, Cecil, you never answered my question — How much does the city of Asheville pay for its membership in the NCLM? How many tens of thousands of Asheville residents’ hard-earned tax dollars are being sent to fund this, NC’s largest lobbyist?

  127. Betty

    Commenting on Cecil’s (grammatically incorrect) statement, “The Interstate’s ran through here for the same reason the trains-the geographic path of least resistance. To pretend otherwise is to ignore history and economics.”

    Sorry, Cecil, you have your history wrong. I-40 runs through here because the governor of NC at the time was from Haywood County, was involved with Champion paper mill, and that’s how it happened.

    It was all about Haywood county, not Asheville.

    And don’t even get me started on your faulty comprehension of economics!

  128. Betty Cloer Wallace

    For the record, I am not the aforementioned Betty, and I am not more interesting than she.

  129. Betty Cloer Wallace

    @ Betty: I-40 runs through here because the governor of NC at the time was from Haywood County, was involved with Champion paper mill, and that’s how it happened.

    Oh, my. And all this time I’ve been thinking Dwight D. Eisenhower connected all those interstate highway sections!

    Where is it we would a’been connected otherwise?

    More info, please?

  130. Barry Summers

    For the record, I am not the aforementioned Betty, and I am not more interesting than she.

    What proof do you have for this ludicrous claim? We are the judges of whether you are more or less interesting than the other Betty. Until proven wrong, I will assume that you are the more interesting. What are you trying to hide?

  131. Betty Cloer Wallace

    @ Barry: What are you trying to hide?

    My life is, and has always been, an open book. Sometimes unfortunately.

    As for “more or less interesting,” I am simply trying not to compete with any “thanks-for-making-this-thread-about-me” Libertarians.

  132. Bothwell argued with me privately saying Asheville needs the money that annxation brings, so then my disagreement with him comes down to the facts. I believe there is far more money in the gay tourism that can result from domestic partner benefits that are threatened by residential annexation and a diluted Asheville vote. Bothwell apperantly thinks there is more money in suburban taxes minus benefits than in gay tourism.
    No Cecil, the big money is in gay tourism, and gay tourism requires a compact, concentrated Asheville vote, without voters from Royal Pines.

  133. Betty Cloer Wallace

    So where else could the interstate have connected us with Knoxville and Manteo?

  134. Where else could the Interstate have followed valleys, the cheapest place to build railroads and highways, other than the major valleys through here. Sure, some minor variations could be (and surely were) made, particularly exits (highly prized political plums).

    Betty, not not you, the other Betty, I have opposed the NCLC on several issues – I don’t know what the city pays to be a member. I’ll find out.

    Oh, and I’m sure the police have a case-by-case record on calls. But the larger point remains, this isn’t about “me-me-me” for any particular group. We are a metropolis. As metropolitans we should be asking, “What’s in it for US?”

  135. Where else could the Interstate have followed valleys, the cheapest place to build railroads and highways, other than the major valleys through here. Sure, some minor variations could be (and surely were) made, particularly exits (highly prized political plums).

    Betty, not not you, the other Betty, I have opposed the NCLC on several issues – I don’t know what the city pays to be a member. I’ll find out.

    Oh, and I’m sure the police have a case-by-case record on calls. But the larger point remains, this isn’t about “me-me-me” for any particular group. We are a metropolis. As metropolitans we should be asking, “What’s in it for US?”

  136. Betty

    About I-40, just ask any old-timer from around here and you’ll hear the same thing I told you. Also, the AC-T did a big article around the time of the most recent rock slide. You should be able to google plenty of info for yourself.

  137. Betty

    Interesting how Cecil gets published instead of other people’s submissions (not mine).

  138. Barry Summers

    Interesting how Cecil gets published instead of other people’s submissions (not mine).

    Hey, get in line. They won’t publish mine, either.

  139. Barry Summers

    I wonder if Cecil will elaborate on his idea to:

    …grant a five-year deferment on city taxes when it helps preserve affordability.

    for newly annexed residential neighborhoods.

  140. Barry Summers

    I doubt Cecil will want to give Royal Pines a 5 year deferment.

    And yet, Joe P., he advocated exactly that in the paper yesterday. Did you read his op-ed? That’s where I pulled the quote from.

  141. And I’ve found two ways we might be able to do that. (Still have to deal with those pesky state laws, y’know.)

    And JoeP, what future social programs do you have in mind? If I’m purportedly plotting some sort of programs I should think it would be a good idea for me to know about them first. I think you keep confusing me with Chairman Mao.

  142. Just read upthread. I used the word “forced” because it was shorter than “involuntary” for a headline.

    Tonight’s the public hearing on the annexation plans. Interesting that one neighborhood under consideration is eager to be annexed (per their community association) while Royal Pines and adjacent neighborhoods are quite evidently not.

    Should be a lively conversation (as this one has been). Given the temperature of some of the really nasty e-mails I’ve gotten, I should probably bring along a plexiglas shield to ward off tomatoes and eggs.

    It has been kind of amusing to be cast as THE villain in this discussion (a big whoop to the Trib headline!), when what I have fairly consistently attempted is explanation of the arguments in favor of annexation presented all over in City documents. It’s not like I’ve added any new arguments. Nor have I indicated how I will vote, though Mittan has cast me as the slave master hell-bent on indenture for the happy Freemen of the Pines.

    The following might be deemed off-topic, but it isn’t:

    Right wing media continue to poison the public conversation from City Hall to the White House. Smears, inuendo, warped statistics, misinformation, outright lies. None of it is doing democracy any favors, it only serves to enrich the puppet masters at Clear Channel, NewsCorp and on Wall Street. There has always been partisan reporting, but the removal of the Fairness Doctrine, and changes in FCC rules have permitted the rise of mega-corps that are choking debate, even dragging traditionally liberal media far to the right (viz: NYT complicity in Bush war policies, etc.).

    We are in serious trouble, folks.

  143. Amy Churchill

    “Tonight’s the public hearing on the annexation plans. Interesting that one neighborhood under consideration is eager to be annexed (per their community association) while Royal Pines and adjacent neighborhoods are quite evidently not”–Cecil Bothwell

    Cecil,

    This is all the more reason to allow a vote. That community could vote to be annexed and we could vote not to be.

    I am sorry to hear that you are still receiving hateful emails. Rest assured, I will not be toting any eggs or tomatoes to the meeting tonight. Have you seen the prices for those things?!!LOL!!!

    Anyway, I am looking forward to a lively discussion with you and the rest of the council. Look for me. I’ll be the one wearing the red shirt!

  144. “(Still have to deal with those pesky state laws, y’know.)” – Cecil

    no, not necessarily. whenever there exists BAD legislation, it is up to the People to point it out to their public servants (government).

    it is possible, you know, that a government can choose to NOT comply with State and/or Federal legislation which transgresses the unalienable rights (like property rights) of the individual.

    in fact, as an American office holder who (should have) sworn to uphold the Constitution and protect these inalienable rights of the People you represent, you have the duty to do so.

    the forced annexation legislation which exists in NC, and apparently 3 other states, directly violates these property rights. AVL City Council should be acting in the best interests of our rights.

    but the fact that it is even considering violating them, shows that the members do not apparently understand this.

    THAT is why you are receiving “hate email”. THAT is why so many Americans are growing angry with those at ALL levels of government.

    “We are in serious trouble, folks.” – Cecil

    YES, America HAS BEEN in serious trouble, folks! but it’s not due to any ONE group of political activists.

    don’t think we’re all going to fall hook, line & sinker for the same old blame game which has been played for decades, and point the finger at the “right wing media”. you know as well as the rest of us that the mainstream media are controlled and no longer practice real journalism, but engage in the “left vs. right” deception that you are now promoting here.

    BOTH the “Red & Blue” teams have steered this country away from a Constitutionally Limited and Accountable government over much time.

    the forced annexation legislation is yet another example of how corrupt this country’s governmental branches have grown – creating legislation which transgresses the unalienable individual rights of the People.

    even the MEGA-Corporations you and others rail against were created by government (members of BOTH duopoly parties) and continue to pass UN-Constitutional legislation which favors themselves & their MEGA-Corp cronies, rather than the People. (some people call this “Crony Capitalism”, because it’s a bastardization of REAL Capitalism (Free Market).

    so as long as government officials entertain abiding by such UN-Constitutional legislation which violates the unalienable rights of the individual, you had better bet We the People will continue to view those officials — regardless of political affiliation — as VILLAINS.

    therefore, consider a REAL change of thinking: how about, wherever there exists such anti-libertarian legislation, rather than acting in accordance with tyranny, DON’T. rather, act in accordance with liberty, and fulfill your oath of office to uphold the ideals of the Constitution and actually protect the unalienable rights of the People.

  145. bobaloo

    There has always been partisan reporting, but the removal of the Fairness Doctrine, and changes in FCC rules have permitted the rise of mega-corps that are choking debate, even dragging traditionally liberal media far to the right (viz: NYT complicity in Bush war policies, etc.)

    Blaming your feud with Matt Mittan on the removal of the Fairness Doctrine in a thread about forced annexation?
    No, that’s not off topic in the least.

  146. Barry Summers

    don’t think we’re all going to fall hook, line & sinker for the same old blame game which has been played for decades, and point the finger at the “right wing media”. you know as well as the rest of us that the mainstream media are controlled and no longer practice real journalism, but engage in the “left vs. right” deception that you are now promoting here.

    Winner of this weeks “Condemnation of, Then Turn Right Around And Practice, The Blame Game Award”.

    Whew, as Matt would say, my head is spinning. LOLOLOLOLOL

  147. Barry Summers

    BTW, speaking of the Mattster, still waiting for him or Agnes to provide proof of her 37% / 51% claim from a couple of weeks ago. I’m a patient man.

    *chirp*

  148. chops

    It seems so deliciously ironic that the Tribune, who has no user commenting on their website (in order to continue unfettered in their practice of distributing misinformation), is forced to reference this very thread on xpress’ site in their newspaper.

  149. Barry (the master of ceremonies for these foolish “awards”),

    i’m not blaming any one particular group at all, nor am i playing the “blame game” between the duopoly parties which promote tyranny.

    it was Cecil who decided to play the blame game here, by perpetuating the “left vs. right” deception. i am merely pointing out this fact. i’m not angry with him for doing so, because i understand that the vast majority of Americans are simply deceived by the efforts of this very long running deception.

    i’m disappointed that you would rather make stupid jokes rather than dealing with the issue directly. if you disagree with my describing this as the “left vs. right deception”, then how about saying why?

    but don’t forget to back up your points as well. after all, you continue to badger Matt & Agnes to provide proof their 37/51% claim. why should they bother when you apparently often elect to respond with foolish ridicule?

    American history contains all the proof i need to make these claims. the socialist/fascist poli-tyrants, mostly elitists who apparently have much disdain for individual liberties, have been in charge of this country for decades. the various UN-Constitutional legislation enacted by one administration is rarely — if ever — retracted by the next administration.

    BOTH duopoly parties are supported by the same corporations they created and continue to represent. the power they have usurped from the People continues to corrupt ALL branches of government.

    and the “Fairness Doctrine”? what a crock! if the title of that one doesn’t make the hairs on your neck stand up, i guess the “USA PATRIOT ACT” won’t either! 8-) eliminating that piece of crap was perhaps the best thing the Reagan administration ever did. “come on mainstream media, let’s all play fair — if you promote the BS of one side, you have to promote the BS of the other”… as if there are ONLY two sides! what ever happened to just plain old unbiased journalism? you know, just telling the facts of a situation and leaving the idiotic commentaries to the armchair warriors & their elected poli-tyrants!

    but as did Cecil, i digress. back to forced annexation…

    on that note, i forgot to ask our participants here on this commentary:

    am i the only one who finds it grossly ironic that in Cecil’s rant over how the “right wing media” is to blame for “poisoning the public conversation” (as if “left wing media” has NEVER indulged in “smears, inuendo, warped statistics, misinformation, and outright lies”), we find this little gem:

    “None of it is doing democracy any favors” – Cecil

    i’m very puzzled by this… how is it that Cecil — or ANYONE for that matter — can entertain the support of forced annexation, while simultaneously claim to be pro-democracy?

    since forced annexation usurps the right of the people being annexed to VOTE on whether or not they WANT to be annexed, does this not entirely run contrary to the very basic ideals of a democracy or republic?

    why should the People in this so called “land of the free” tolerate such tyranny?

    please help me understand this folks… or if you’d rather, take the lead of “Jester Barry” here and just play the fool and give me some other stupid “award”.

  150. Locan and Proud

    @Cecil “I think you keep confusing me with Chairman Mao.”

    Maybe he confuses you with Chairman Mao because you named your cat “Chomsky”. :)

  151. Barry Summers

    I, like George Carlin, prefer to spell it “foole”, thank you very much.

    As to your rant about the duopoly, etc., you certainly make some good points. But I also agree with Cecil that the debate in this country has been poisoned by the 24/7 screeching of the Rushes, Hannitys, etc. and locally, by the nakedly partisan spin merchant Matt Mittan, who yesterday spent his whole show trying to gin up the idea that things are as bad in America today as in 1774, and people should get ready for armed rebellion. He tried to keep it non-partisan sounding, but his guest slipped a couple of times and railed against “Pelosi and Reid” and the tactics of “the left” before going back to describing how the oppression of King George is nothing like how “We The People” are being oppressed today. Huh?

  152. Congratulations to the folks in Royal Pines on winning the battle. We’ll see if the war can be won in the future. This puts a halt (for a time) to the “annexation of the month” pattern that has been ongoing for some time.

    I’d like to see some overt austerity measures, from our elected officials.

  153. JoeP: Guess you haven’t read my Graham bio. It is a POLITICAL biography, documenting his POLITICAL advice to presidents from Truman forward—principally his advice to go to war. Graham has apparently always believed that American armies would Christianize the world. I take no exception to Graham’s (or anyone’s) beliefs. I do take exception to masking one’s politics under a veil of belief, pretending that one’s mission was to offer spiritual guidance to our leaders, and then arguing strenuously for things like bombing dikes in North Vietnam that would have killed upward of a million people. (And then, when Nixon ignored him, taking the case to Melvin Laird and Henry Kissinger.)

    It is a thoroughly documented biography, sourced in presidential libraries, diaries, letters, tapes and the Billy Graham Archives in Wheaton, Illinois. If Graham looks bad in my book, don’t blame the reporter. The story is accurate.

    There will be no tax increase to include domestic partner benefits (it actually might save money.) Bike lanes help reduce transit costs both for individuals and in health effects. No one has talked about banning cars (what are you drinking?). I want a transit system resilient enough to ramp up when escalating oil costs make people clamor for better bus service. We don’t have legislative authority to impose citywide taxes on anything, and the water system is mandated to be revenue neutral.

    You don’t seem to be up on local and state law. But opinions are easier to form without looking for facts, I guess.

  154. Two of my three cats are not named Chomsky.
    That clearly proves that I’m not in everlasting awe of the brilliant, articulate, incisive linguist and political thinker whose picture just happens to be on the tee shirt I am wearing as I type these words.

  155. Barry Summers

    Two of my three cats are not named Chomsky.

    Oh sure, like we believe that. And even if they aren’t now, they soon will be. Incrementalist.

  156. Betty

    2 MILLION tourists every year!

    How much of a BURDEN is this on city infrastructure?

    City council needs to figure out a way to get some of those taxes.

    City council needs to stop blaming people in the county, wherever they live, for the city’s problems and get real.

    Forced annexation is bad for community.

  157. mule

    “As to your rant about the duopoly, etc., you certainly make some good points. But I also agree with Cecil that the debate in this country has been poisoned by the 24/7 screeching of the Rushes, Hannitys, etc. and locally, by the nakedly partisan spin merchant Matt Mittan, who yesterday spent his whole show trying to gin up the idea that things are as bad in America today as in 1774, and people should get ready for armed rebellion. He tried to keep it non-partisan sounding, but his guest slipped a couple of times and railed against “Pelosi and Reid” and the tactics of “the left” before going back to describing how the oppression of King George is nothing like how “We The People” are being oppressed today. Huh?”

    Lol…the guest was “historian” Bill Forstchen, an employee of Newt Gingrich Inc. Go figure.

  158. Taxed Enuf Already

    Thank God the people won against the tax and spend progressives on City Council. The TEA Party is strong right down to the city level!

    NO MORE FORCED ANNEXATIONS!

  159. UnaffiliatedVoter

    It was a beautiful vote by the Council, and I commend them for it, for now.

    Now can they please try to extricate the the city from the NCLM for some increased autonomy without STATE CONTROL? Where’s THAT NOBLE mission with Council, for the PEOPLE???

  160. Barry Summers

    Lol…the guest was “historian” Bill Forstchen, an employee of Newt Gingrich Inc. Go figure.

    Yes, I believe it was.

  161. Barry Summers

    …Matt Mittan, who yesterday spent his whole show trying to gin up the idea that things are as bad in America today as in 1774, and people should get ready for armed rebellion.

    Lol…the guest was “historian” Bill Forstchen, an employee of Newt Gingrich Inc. Go figure.

    I’m also disappointed to find that Matt has ‘skipped over’ this show in his podcast & iTunes pages. Is there something here you’re not proud of, Matt? It was such an important show, you told your listeners, why wouldn’t you want to share it in repeats? Could it be that an audio of you urging people to arm themselves if they don’t like the results of the election won’t play that well, given the teabagger candidates who are getting slammed for doing the same thing?

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