At a June 10 meeting of the Council of Independent Business Owners, Republican Sen. Chuck Edwards said he had “come around to the way of thinking of the folks in the county” who want less of the tax to go toward tourism marketing.
2020 was the year of the nurse, proclaimed Greg Lowe, the president of HCA Healthcare’s North Carolina division. But Mission’s eight hospitals are now gearing up for a major nursing shortage, he told members of Asheville’s Council of Independent Business Owners.
“This is not the time to talk about redistribution in any manner,” Republican Sen. Edwards told the Council of Independent Business owners regarding changes to the allocation of Buncombe County’s occupancy tax revenue. “The tourism industry has just been destroyed.”
At a Jan. 29 meeting of the Council of Independent Business Owners, Cawthorn told attendees that his goal is to divert as much federal spending to the region as possible to get residents back to work.
As Asheville takes steps to reckon with its long history of systemic racism and economic inequity, local business owners are wondering what impacts the city’s ambitious initiatives will have on them.
If the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners were to maintain the property tax rate at 52.9 cents per $100 of assessed value for fiscal year 2021-22, noted Buncombe budget analyst Rusty Mau, the county would see about $237 million in property tax revenue, up nearly 12% from the $212 million budgeted for 2020-21.
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.
A group of West Asheville residents proposed changes to House Bill 972, the law that legalized needle exchanges throughout the state, that would greatly restrict where and the programs operate.
Since leaving her previous role as Charlotte’s assistant city manager to take the Asheville job in December, Campbell said, she has focused on meeting as many community stakeholders as possible. Those discussions, she explained, have led to a slate of priorities with the common theme of making the city “the best partner that we can be.”
After Democrats broke the Republican supermajority in the N.C. House of Representatives and Senate in the 2018 election, State Sen. Terry Van Duyn believes her party colleagues in the General Assembly will have more political clout during the upcoming session.
“Unless you are using the city and county tools and financing from either the city’s housing trust fund, the county’s affordable housing fund or some kind of funds from a taxpayer project,” real estate developer Kirk Booth told around 40 people at the Council of Independent Business Owners’ Dec. 6 breakfast meeting, “it’s not going to happen.”
The Council of Independent Business Owners hosted a debate at Highland Brewing Company between two candidates for the District 10 seat in the U.S. House of Representatives: Incumbent Patrick McHenry, a Republican, and challenger David Wilson Brown, a Democrat.
During a debate organized by the Council of Independent Business Owners on Oct. 5, candidates vying for seats on the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners talked school safety, affordable housing and how the county should respond to the fallout from the Wanda Greene investigation.
“When local workers can’t find housing they can afford and our less fortunate population — including families with children — is one rent check away from living on the street, this predicament has reached critical mass.”
A proposed change to the Buncombe County zoning ordinance would require developers to submit a traffic impact study for any residential development with more than 75 units. The Planning Board discussed the issue at its Feb. 5 meeting and will invite public comment later this month.
At a meeting of the Council of Independent Business Owners on July 14, Sen. Chuck Edwards, Rep. Brian Turner and Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer briefed the crowd on issues including the state economy, taxes, judicial matters, education, Asheville district elections and the River Arts District Transportation Improvement Project. Edwards also used the forum to complain about bias in local media coverage.
The Council of Independent Business Owners returned to the topic of district elections for seats on Asheville City Council at its monthly Issues Meeting on Feb. 10. Unsurprisingly, opinions on the wisdom of making a change were mixed.
State Senator Tom Apodaca (R) and Robert Sipes, General Manager for Duke Energy’s western zone, discussed Duke Energy’s revised Western Carolinas Modernization Plan with a crowd of local business leaders at a meeting of the Council of Independent Business Owners on Nov. 12.
The Council of Independent Business Owners has been called a lot of things over the years.
Few could argue that the nonprofit — whose members serve on such powerful public bodies as Asheville’s City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission, the Western North Carolina Regional Air Quality Agency’s board and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners — lacks influence. But how far does it reach? And does the group still have the kind of impact that it did in the past?
Kelly Martin of the Western North Carolina Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal initiative spoke at the Council of Independent Business Owners’ Friday, Feb. 7, meeting to address future goals and investments that could help wean the region off coal energy dependency.