New rules proposed by high-level county staff, which some employees argue have not been appropriately reviewed by the Board of Commissioners, will require all workers and their spouses to submit to intravenous blood draws and other medical testing or pay double their current premiums.
According to a staff report available before the Tuesday, Jan. 21, meeting of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, design of the project’s Riverside Drive segment had initially been estimated at $660,000, with 80% of the cost to be covered by federal grants. That projection, however, covers just 40% of the now-finalized price for laying out the greenway.
When the taxman comes calling to inspect each of Buncombe County’s 127,000 individual properties for the purpose of establishing their tax value this year, in many cases he won’t be a man at all. Reveal 250, a high-definition camera system deployed using flyover technology, and Cyclomedia, a vehicle-based 360-degree measurement system, will be among the […]
The county planning department supports changing the roughly 6.4-acre property from its current residential zoning to commercial service. The Buncombe County Planning Board, however, recommended denial of the rezoning in a 6-1 decision on Oct. 21, citing concerns over resident displacement and steep slopes.
A total of 19 candidates are currently in the running for Rep. Mark Meadows’ 11th Congressional District seat, including 12 Republicans, five Democrats and one candidate each from the Green and Libertarian parties. But even beyond that contentious federal race, the 2020 election season promises plenty of action for Western North Carolina.
Judy Mattox, chair of the Western North Carolina Sierra Club Group, shared her top five highlights from a year of advocacy with Mountain Xpress.
“Cutting down a tree unnecessarily is like throwing the original ‘Mona Lisa’ into a fire. There is great urgency to save the Ravenscroft acreage.”
Speaking at a Dec. 17 meeting of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, attorney Ron Payne said that Stanley had been accused in a sworn deposition by former Assistant County Manager Jon Creighton of improperly accepting unspecified “things of value” from former county contractor Joseph Wiseman Jr.
The final cost for the library now comes in at roughly $6.98 million, which includes previously unaccounted-for expenses to provide fixtures, furniture and equipment for the building. The project had initially been estimated at $4.5 million, and commissioners approved a $1.3 million budget increase last year.
During their Dec. 3 meeting, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners were told that while corrective measures to right years of financial mishandling are beginning to take hold, the county’s most recent audit still reflects the previous mismanagement.
The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners must whittle down 25 applicants to fill nine available slots on the new advisory group. According to the resolution establishing the group, members must be selected evenly from each commission district and should represent the community’s gender, age and racial diversity; notably, all of the current applicants are white.
After former Buncombe County Commissioner Holly Jones finished her questions about an allegedly improper $20,000 allocation of county money to build an animal barn at Charles D. Owen High School, her colleague Ellen Frost messaged then-County Manager Wanda Greene: “Like you said earlier, silence is a beautiful sound.”
During a Nov. 19 meeting of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, attorney Ron Payne said the settlement would bring the suit to an end, “hopefully in somewhat of an expeditious manner.” All six commissioners present were in favor of accepting the settlement, with Vice Chair Jasmine Beach-Ferrara absent for the vote.
As outlined in a presentation available before the meeting, Buncombe’s 26 county-owned buildings have an average age of nearly 50 years, with total maintenance costs running over $789,000 in each of the past two fiscal cycles. The county hopes to hire an outside firm to evaluate those buildings against Buncombe’s needs.
Many public commenters urged the commissioners to act even more decisively on transitioning away from fossil fuels in the context of climate change. Chloe Moore with the Sunrise Movement referenced a scientific paper, published earlier that day, in which over 11,000 scientists from 153 countries declared a “climate emergency” and warned of “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” if stronger measures were not taken.
Buncombe County has identified over $2.9 million in solar energy projects that could be installed at government-owned facilities. The projects are estimated to generate more than $4.7 million in energy savings over their estimated 30-year operational lifespan and help the county reach its goal of powering all government operations with 100% renewable energy by 2030.
“As law enforcement, our mission is to protect the public and to seek to provide justice to victims of crime. Sheriff Miller’s current policy serves neither [purpose],” said Andrew Murray, U.S. attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, after Miller refused to honor an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer request. “It also breeds mistrust among law enforcement agencies and puts in danger the very communities it purports to protect.”
Commissioner Amanda Edwards and Rachael Nygaard, the county’s director of strategic partnerships, proposed substantial revisions for Buncombe’s approach to Strategic Partnership Grants. The changes, which will likely be put to a vote on Tuesday, Nov. 5, included the establishment of a volunteer grant review committee, strict adherence to deadlines and standardized criteria for judging applications.
County planning staff members say special and family subdivisions have been abused by developers to skirt regulations on infrastructure and hillside protection. The Board of Commissioners will consider whether to approve new rules to fix those issues during its regular meeting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 15, in room 326 at 200 College St.
Nine residents spoke at the Oct. 1 meeting of the Board of Commissioners about the county’s new agreement with residential waste collection contractor Waste Pro, the second consecutive meeting at which the issue was on the agenda. All of the commenters were critical of the contract, which requires customers to use Waste Pro-provided carts for their trash and recycling.