More Buncombe County voters — 81,887, or 41.79% of all eligible residents — took part in the primary elections that wrapped up March 3 than in any previous primary in the county’s history. Xpress outlines the winners and losers for levels of elected office from president to Asheville City Council.
The final cost for the library now comes in at roughly $6.98 million, which includes previously unaccounted-for expenses to provide fixtures, furniture and equipment for the building. The project had initially been estimated at $4.5 million, and commissioners approved a $1.3 million budget increase last year.
Commissioner Amanda Edwards and Rachael Nygaard, the county’s director of strategic partnerships, proposed substantial revisions for Buncombe’s approach to Strategic Partnership Grants. The changes, which will likely be put to a vote on Tuesday, Nov. 5, included the establishment of a volunteer grant review committee, strict adherence to deadlines and standardized criteria for judging applications.
“The recent scandals about misspent economic development funds show that the game was really to create a pool of funds, which certain officials could dip into to spend tax money for their personal benefit.”
The board tagged a higher overall population, greater burdens associated with chronic health conditions and obesity, growing racial gaps in academic achievement, a rising jail population, loss of farmland, higher housing costs and increased public health care spending as high-certainty, high-impact trends.
Republican members of the board argued that their Democratic colleagues were out of place in issuing official letters against pending state HB 370, which would require Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller and other sheriffs throughout North Carolina to comply with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer requests on penalty of removal from office.
Buncombe’s current policy, said County Manager Avril Pinder, requires a fund balance of at least 15%, or $47.35 million. However, the projected fiscal 2020 budget would put the balance at 14.76%, and if a $5.25 million sale of county property on Ferry Road is delayed or falls through, the balance could drop to as little as 13.09%.
The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a zoning amendment that allows manufactured homes in more county residential districts.
In Buncombe County, manufactured housing is limited to certain zoning designations, but the county planning board recently voted in favor of an amendment that would expand the list of areas where manufactured homes would be allowed. The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing about the change in the coming weeks.
The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to appoint Avril Pinder, the former deputy county manager for New Hanover County, to the role of county manager during a special meeting on Feb. 5. The county anticipates that her first day will be Monday, March 4.
Like an airplane leveling off after a rapid ascent, local Realtors believe the strong upward climb in property values in the Asheville housing market could be giving way to a more relaxed rate of growth.
With apologies to Jane Austen, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a resident of Western North Carolina in possession of little fortune must be in want of affordable housing. In 2018, governments and organizations throughout the area tried to tackle the problem with a range of creative solutions.
“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.”
Watch this space for the latest election results and commentary from the Mountain Xpress news team. The post will be updated regularly throughout the evening.
Over the protests of Republicans, who felt the allotment was too large and would put a burden on taxpayers, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners approved a multimillion dollar investment in early childhood education on Oct. 30.
Commissioners voted Oct. 16 to put a 40-hour cap on the number of hours employees can sell back to the county, a decision that could save the county about $370,000 per year.
Many accused the representative, in his House leadership position as chief deputy majority whip, of giving a free pass to President Donald Trump for behavior they believe to be unethical. McHenry responded by saying he’s chosen to focus on achieving legislative goals, not sharing his opinions on Trump’s communication style.
“It is too much: five years of this for nonwoven fabric for baby wipes.”
Last month, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners approved moving forward with litigation against the opioid industry and now it officially has a federal lawsuit against pain pill manufacturers and distributors.
The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners approved a measure to strip the chair’s ability to shepherd items onto the agenda in favor of solely giving that procedural power to a group of three or more commissioners.
Buncombe County commissioners signed off on amending economic development incentives, expanding preschool offerings and moving forward with a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers.