At about $32.47 million, actual sales taxes through the end of the 2020 fiscal year were still down 3.2% from the budgeted target of more than $33.53 million. But during an April 7 budget work session, Budget Director Jennifer Barnette had projected sales tax revenue at just $30 million due to the impacts of the coronavirus, a decrease of more than 8.9%.
In preparation for the general election of Tuesday, Nov. 3, Xpress sent questions to all candidates in contested races representing Buncombe County voters. Responses from candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, N.C. General Assembly, Buncombe County-level races and Asheville City Council are all collected here.
“If you vote for Terri Wells for county commissioner of District 1, you can expect an honest and hardworking person for your commissioner.”
Candidates in the 2020 general election for four seats on the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners give their answers for the Mountain Xpress voter guide.
“A vote for Terri is a vote for family farms, for education and for thriving rural communities!”
The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously on Oct. 6 to award $15,000 toward the construction of an agricultural education facility at Enka High School. But as Chair Brownie Newman noted, recommendations to support such projects are normally made by Buncombe’s School Capital Fund Commission or Board of Education and funded through the regular budget cycle.
“I have no doubt that she will bring her fair-minded dedication to this position, benefiting the whole community.”
Public comment on a grant application for federal coronavirus relief identified help with rent, mortgage and utility bills as the county’s greatest need. The Board of Commissioners is set to vote on a plan that would direct the aid, which will likely not be available until January, toward that purpose at its regular meeting of Tuesday, Oct. 6.
Eleven of the 13 local candidates on the Nov. 3 general election ballot completed the Asheville Area Arts Council’s latest survey.
“The attraction of the candidacy of Terri Wells for county commissioner is that of a person who realizes our immediate goals must be the same as our long-view goals: goals for the common good.”
The revision comes thirteen years after the county Board of Commissioners first adopted the plan and reflects myriad changes to Buncombe’s agricultural sector, from the vibrant expansion of its direct-to-consumer markets to the gradual evaporation of its commodity dairies.
“She advocates for environmental stewardship, equity and inclusion, public education and rural broadband.”
Buncombe County must submit a detailed application for up to $900,000 in federal grant funding that will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Rachel Nygaard, the county’s director of strategic partnerships, said residents should weigh in on the county’s plan as soon as possible.
The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will vote on a resolution to adopt LEED Gold standards for new public facilities over 10,000 square feet and major renovations. The county’s policy would also require all new buildings to be constructed with solar-ready design and achieve net-zero energy use “where feasible.”
After a unanimous Board of Commissioners vote on Sept. 1 to adopt a new Schedule of Values — the regulations used by Buncombe tax assessors to determine how much all property in the county is worth — owners have until Friday, Oct. 2, to file an appeal over the rules.
According to a staff report available before the meeting by Jennifer Barnette, Buncombe County’s budget director, the money comes from two federal programs funneled through the N.C. State Board of Elections. The federal coronavirus rescue package accounts for about $183,000 of the funding, while the Help America Vote Act provides the remaining $172,000.
Nearly 1,050 households have received over $453,000 in emergency assistance from the fund for necessities such as housing, utilities and transportation. And roughly $853,000 has been loaned to 92 area businesses to help them weather the coronavirus’s economic impacts, contributing to the retention of 674 jobs.
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Principal Chief Richard Sneed, whose tribe owns two casinos in Western North Carolina, had lobbied the board to oppose the rival operation at an Aug. 4 briefing. He argued that the Catawba Indian Nation, members of which primarily reside in South Carolina, were not properly authorized to operate gaming across state lines.
Al Whitesides, the sole Black member of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, and his three Democratic colleagues approved the resolution over the opposition of the board’s three Republicans. The county government is now aligned with Asheville City Council, which unanimously passed a similar measure on July 14.
After the city of Asheville enjoyed widespread national and international press for adopting a resolution in support of reparations for the Black community on July 14, Buncombe County may be next in line.