The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners has started the budget process for next fiscal year. During its meeting on Tuesday, March 21, 46 nonprofits asked to be a part of that budget.

Buncombe County Commission­ers argue about, hear public input on HB2

The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners slogged its way through a more than seven hour meeting while trading barbs en route to approving a resolution that reaffirms the county’s commitment to a workplace supportive of diversity, moving ahead with real estate revaluations, approving a Utility Energy Innovation Task Force and approving minutes from a contentious closed session in March, 2015. The Tuesday, April 5th, marathon meeting highlighted the ideological tension between commissioners and the public as the resolution about the county’s Personnel Ordinance became a proxy for the emotionally charged North Carolina House Bill 2 and showcased emotional pleas from both sides of the issue. Meantime, discussion about the joint task force became symbolic of the commissioners’ divisive thoughts on what constitutes transparent government.

Jasmine Beach-Ferrara (second from right) declaring victory, surrounded by her wife Meghann Burke (center), mother (far left) and members of her campaign team. Photo by Able Allen

Making history: Jasmine Beach-Ferrara to become first openly gay Buncombe County Commission­er

With her win in the District 1 Democratic primary, Jasmine Beach-Ferrara is slated to become the first openly LGBT Buncombe County Commissioner. To get there, she had strong competition from City Councilman Gordon Smith and from another civil rights activist, Isaac Coleman. Since no Republican filed to run for the District 1 seat, Beach-Ferrara is almost certain to take office in the fall after the General Election.