Billed as a wrap-up of a busy year for WNC’s state legislative delegation, much of the Dec. 10 gathering hosted by the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce wound up being devoted to the future of the General Assembly — a future that, following a Dec. 8 order by the North Carolina Supreme Court, faces many unknowns.
Among the largest allocations are $12.2 million to accelerate the purchase and opening of Pisgah View State Park in Buncombe County, $7.2 million for the removal of hazardous dams in WNC and $5 million to upgrade the city of Hendersonville’s wastewater treatment plant.
Chief among the issues facing the General Assembly next year, said Sen. Chuck Edwards, would be balancing the state’s next budget to reflect pandemic-driven downturns in revenue. He estimated that the shortfall compared to current spending levels could be as much as $8 billion.
The two bills signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper on May 4, both unanimously passed by the General Assembly, together designate nearly $1.6 billion for the state’s COVID-19 response and grant flexibility in many areas of regulation.
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.
The money contained in a stalled budget bill that passed the General Assembly would go to Montreat College, a school in eastern Buncombe County with an enrollment of fewer than 1,000 students. $20 million would be used to establish a center to train people to protect digital information and systems.
Despite concern that a state law passed in June could stifle early voting numbers, counties in Western North Carolina have seen turnout more consistent with a presidential election than a midterm.
Besides weighing in on assorted candidates for public office, voters in the March 15 primaries will also have the chance to help decide whether North Carolina should issue $2 billion worth of bonds to address various infrastructure needs.
Last year, relations between the North Carolina General Assembly and the city of Asheville were marked by hostility, public wars of words and even a lawsuit. At a special meeting yesterday, March 18, however, multiple Asheville City Council members expressed a desire to improve things this year, even though looming legislation could cost the city further revenue. They also signed off on efforts to better coordinate the city’s own lobbying efforts in Raleigh.
Today Asheville City Council appointed Robin Currin as the new city attorney, formally swearing her in at a special meeting. Currin, a Raleigh-based attorney with experience in local government, land and zoning law, will take office on May 1. Photo by Alicia Funderburk.
State Senator Martin Nesbitt, the minority leader and longtime Democratic legislator from Asheville, died yesterday at age 67.
While Friday’s part of Asheville City Council’s annual retreat focused on broad policy matters, Saturday morning’s session focused on perceptions (including “very bad” ones) and relationships (sometimes not very happy ones) with the legislature in Raleigh and the local public.
Gov. Pat McCrory spoke to the Council of Independent Business Owners this afternoon, asserting he was “stepping on some toes” to lower taxes and make the state run more like a business.
To a packed house at the Diana Wortham Theater last night, leaders of local and state organizations condemned the policies of the North Carolina General Assembly and heard concerns from local citizens.
Behind-the-scenes negotiations over a lawsuit, a push from Raleigh to force district-based elections for Asheville, and the fate of a parks-and-recreation bill that could save city government millions — all this and more are revealed in emails between Council members, city staff and North Carolina legislators. Recently obtained by Xpress, the documents show a candid […]
At the end of a rollercoaster budget season marked by dire predictions, unpredictability at the state level, and Asheville City Council members trying to find the cash for their own plans, there’s finally a vote on the budget this evening. For the first time since 1995, city residents could see a major tax increase, intended to pay for an “aspirational” list of major projects.
More emails obtained by Xpress shed new light on the push by some local lawmakers to impose a district election system on the city of Asheville.
What kind of mentality does it require for the N.C. Senate to pass a law restricting alternative means of transportation, legislation that could improve our physical and environmental health? Shouldn't North Carolinians seek more rail transit, bike and pedestrian projects? Our Senate has amended House Bill 817 prohibiting state funding of passenger rail service, as […]
The perfect storm of revenue overhauls in Raleigh, a property revaluation and a major reorganization of city departments make this year’s city of Asheville budget complicated, to say the least. Here’s some important things to know before tonight’s public hearing.
Emails obtained by Xpress reveal that some state legislators have asked city of Asheville representatives to drop their lawsuit contesting a state-mandated transfer of the water system to the Metropolitan Sewerage District. The emails also show legislators discussing the fate of legislation that consolidates Asheville and Buncombe County parks-and-recreation services — a move that could save the city $5 million a year. Further, the candid discussions shine a light on a long-rumored proposal that the state may force Asheville to switch to district-based elections.
After much discussion, projections of potential fiscal disaster, and speculation about the next legislation to issue forth from Raleigh, the city of Asheville’s budget is finally unveiled at tonight’s Asheville City Council meeting.