For the median home in Buncombe County — worth $231,400 before revaluation and $291,000 now — the new rate would boost taxes by over 16%, from $1,224 to $1,423 per year. The percentage increase is greater than the roughly 14% rise commissioners approved in 2017.
The ordinance drew over an hour of public comment, with the majority of speakers in favor of the law.
“The path we’re on right now is a collision that puts us backwards and actually takes classrooms offline,” said Buncombe County Commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, regarding the Asheville City Schools plan to relocate preschool classrooms from Asheville Primary School to other elementary schools and Asheville Housing Authority developments.
“We would end up basically having to raise taxes on everyone else to fund these rebates to businesses that we understand have had a tough year, but many of which have had a great decade ahead of this year,” said Board of Commissioners Chair Brownie Newman.
Presentations by the Buncombe County Board of Adjustment and Planning Board, both delivered to the county Board of Commissioners on Feb. 2, emphasized the need for changes in how the county handles its zoning and land use policy.
Seven North Carolina counties now offer paid days off to care for a new child or an ailing family member.
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.
Sandra Kilgore, Sage Turner and Kim Roney will officially become Asheville City Council members on Tuesday, Dec. 1. And on Dec. 7, newcomers Terri Wells and Parker Sloan will be sworn in to the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners alongside returning incumbents Jasmine Beach-Ferrara and Brownie Newman.
No Buncombe County commissioners addressed why the subsidy was necessary for the company to make its investment during their Nov. 17 meeting. P&W is a division of Raytheon Technologies, a Fortune 50 company with approximately $10 billion in cash reserves.
Xpress has compiled election night summaries for each of the contests previously included in our general election voter guide. The Buncombe County Board of Elections will not officially certify results until Friday, Nov. 13, and the state board will not issue certification until Tuesday, Nov. 24.
“People are out and about, sometimes with symptoms, putting people at risk,” said Stacie Saunders, Buncombe County’s public health director, during an Oct. 20 update to the county Board of Commissioners. “Folks are not adhering to the precautions like keeping 6 feet apart.”
Candidates in the 2020 general election for four seats on the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners give their answers for the Mountain Xpress voter guide.
Al Whitesides, the sole Black member of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, and his three Democratic colleagues approved the resolution over the opposition of the board’s three Republicans. The county government is now aligned with Asheville City Council, which unanimously passed a similar measure on July 14.
After the city of Asheville enjoyed widespread national and international press for adopting a resolution in support of reparations for the Black community on July 14, Buncombe County may be next in line.
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.
The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners remained divided along partisan lines. Chair Brownie Newman and his three Democratic colleagues voted for the removal of Confederate monuments at Pack Square Park and the county courthouse, as well as establishing a task force on the Vance Monument, while Republicans Joe Belcher, Anthony Penland and Robert Pressley voted against those moves.
As they also had argued during an April 16 special meeting, Republicans Joe Belcher, Anthony Penland and Robert Pressley said they continued to be left out of key decisions about how to restrict business and social activity in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
The commission’s Democratic members passed direction for expanded community testing and contact tracing over the objections of its Republican contingent. Joe Belcher, Anthony Penland and Robert Pressley stressed their commitment to ensuring the county’s safety but expressed concern over the process by which the resolution was introduced and some of its terms.
According to the formal agreement, up for a Board of Commissioners vote on Tuesday, April 21, both city and county staffers would remain employees of and still be paid by their respective governments while carrying out their new duties. Asheville and Buncombe County would be required to cover the expense of all personal protective equipment for workers from the other government.
Due to the county’s heavy reliance on tourism — an industry especially vulnerable to travel and business restrictions imposed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 — Budget Director Jennifer Barnette estimated that April, May and June would all see sales tax receipts 35% less than in 2019.
The county is now more than halfway through year one of a $3.6 million annual commitment for its Early Childhood Education and Development Fund. Commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, who chairs the committee that oversees the fund, says the initial investment is already paying dividends.