Addressing the Council of Independent Business Owners, Republican Sen. Chuck Edwards argued that Asheville was “bowing to the radicals that are asking for police departments to be defunded.” To ensure law and order, Edwards continued, he is developing legislation that would strip state funds from cities that cut law enforcement.
The period between the closing of polls on Tuesday, Nov. 3, and the official declaration of results on Friday, Nov. 13, has already become the subject of intense legal debate. But local elections officials stress they’re doing everything possible to ensure that all eligible votes will be counted accurately.
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%.
The former jail worker’s lawsuit names the former sheriff, top officers, Buncombe County and the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office as defendants.
Maj. Frank Stout of the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office declined to provide additional information about the threats or their credibility, citing an ongoing investigation. However, he said that he’d observed “a lot of hostility in the campaign this year” on social media — more so than in prior election cycles.
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.
Democrats Amanda Edwards and Al Whitesides joined the board’s three Republicans in a 5-2 vote approving a proposal to hire three new detectives, which would match a $375,000 federal grant with $734,000 in county funds through fiscal year 2025.
As outlined in a presentation available before the meeting by Jeremiah LeRoy, the county’s sustainability officer, the projects could save Buncombe County, A-B Tech, Asheville City Schools and Buncombe County Schools roughly $27.2 million in total electricity costs over the next 30 years.
A new statewide face covering mandate will go into effect on Friday, June 26, at 5 p.m., a month after Buncombe County began requiring face coverings in all public indoor facilities. Under the new executive order, people are required to wear a face covering in all indoor or outdoor public spaces when physical distancing is not possible.
Over a dozen speakers ventured out on June 16 to share their thoughts during the COVID-19 era’s first county public hearing. The commissioners subsequently gave unanimous approval to a spending plan little modified from that recommended by County Manager Avril Pinder.
County government only plans to keep about $3 million of the state allocation; the remainder would be distributed to Buncombe’s municipalities and fire districts using the same formula as for county sales tax. Asheville would receive roughly $944,000, or 21% of the money, with the Skyland Fire District receiving the next largest award of nearly $67,000, or 1.5%.
Over the past month, local criminal justice officials have collaborated to reduce the number of people held at the Buncombe County Detention Facility by nearly 40%. Those efforts are aimed at helping limit the potential spread of COVID-19 among incarcerated people and community members.
“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.”
At the Black Mountain Public Library on July 23, Sheriff Quentin Miller spoke to roughly 35 people in the first of five planned listening sessions meant to build relationships with community members around public safety. Topics included compliance with Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers, school resource officers and transparency in the Sheriff’s Office.
The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners approved the proposal — including over $334.5 million in general fund spending, the portion primarily funded by property taxes — in a 6-1 vote at its June 18 regular meeting. Only Commissioner Mike Fryar cast his vote in opposition to the plan.
The Asheville Police Department trails the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office in rolling out police body cameras — but the city is trying to catch up. Police Chief Tammy Hooper outlined a draft policy for the cameras at a recent panel discussion, and says the first cameras will be deployed by summer. We look into what needs to happen between now and then to make that schedule happen.
At their May 17 session, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners heard a report from County Manager Wanda Greene on the fiscal year 2011-2012 budget. Green estimates the budget at almost $303 million, a 1.7 percent increase over last fiscal year. No tax increases are in this year’s budget