Complete Democratic control of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, a better-than-expected performance by Jasmine Beach-Ferrara and $70 million in new spending for county initiatives all emerged from this year’s midterm election results.
In preparation for the 2022 general election of Tuesday, Nov. 8, Xpress sent questions to all candidates in contested local races representing Buncombe County voters. Responses from candidates for the N.C. General Assembly, Buncombe County-level races, Asheville city government and local school boards are all collected here.
In November’s general election, Buncombe County citizens will vote on two bond referendums that could together authorize up to $70 million in county borrowing for open space conservation and affordable housing projects.
“Using very simple math, you can see how unrealistic these goals are!”
This November, Buncombe County voters will determine if the county pursues up to $70 million in bonds. If approved, $30 million would go toward land conservation and greenways, while $40 million would fund up to 3,100 affordable housing units.
The resolution would take effect if either or both of the bond referendums up for November votes were approved. The oversight committee would monitor investments made with up to $70 million in bond money and ensure the funds were being used to meet Buncombe’s goals: conserve 20% of county land and increase affordable housing by up to 3,150 units, both by 2030.
“We still have to work other jobs to make ends meet,” said Melanie Allen, a 26-year veteran of BCS’ technology department. “We’re struggling. We feel like nobody cares. Morale is low. We have watched other counties and agencies enable steps and raises. We’re keep thinking we’re next, that we’ll be able to make it. Then nothing happens.”
A letter drafted by Chair Brownie Newman and scheduled for a June 7 vote of approval by the full Board of Commissioners urges state regulators to favor nonprofit health care systems over HCA Healthcare, which owns Mission, when considering applications to build new hospital capacity.
One referendum would authorize $30 million in borrowing for conservation projects while a second referendum would authorize $40 million in bonds for affordable housing efforts.
During an April 19 briefing, the county Board of Commissioners heard a presentation by the nonprofit Trust for Public Land about the feasibility of issuing $70 million in bonds for housing and land conservation, which in this case would require approval through referendums of Buncombe voters.
In a unanimous vote, the county Board of Commissioners directed staff to maintain the county’s current library branches — including those in Black Mountain, Oakley/South Asheville and Swannanoa — and explore other ways to improve the system.
City Manager Debra Campbell called the Feb. 12 capital budget briefing “food for thought” as she encouraged Council members to focus and prioritize their objectives. “This is why we’re presenting this information,” she said. “We’ve got some tough decisions that we need to make over the next several years.”
A proposal to provide more parking prompted a plethora of public comments at the Sept. 12 Asheville City Council meeting. Council also considered a subdivision in the Shiloh community and learned about the possibilities and pitfalls of bond refinancing.
The question that may surprise and even confuse some Woodfin residents as they dutifully mark their ballots is: Should the 6,300 residents of the town of Woodfin take on an additional $4.5 million in debt to pay for a greenway, parks and other public works projects along the stretch of the French Broad that flows through […]
“The $74 million in bonds means that these projects would be completed within the next five to seven years, a timeline well ahead of how much time it would take individual projects without a new source of funding.”
The Governance Committee of City Council voted on Monday, June 13 to move forward with exploring a potential city bond referendum that would appear on November’s general election ballot.
Town of Woodfin $4.5 million dollar bond For more information click the graphics below: Xpress: Big Funding, Big Debt