A closer look at Buncombe’s commercial property assessment­s

Issues of racial and economic equity dominated the debate over residential valuations, with critics arguing that Buncombe’s practices are unfair to low-income residents and communities of color. While those issues aren’t immediately apparent with commercial property, suggests ad hoc committee member Ori Baber, other deficiencies with county assessments likely do carry over from the residential side.

Ori Baber

Commission­ers consider equity through reparation­s, property taxes

The county’s ad hoc reappraisal committee, tasked with reviewing allegations that Buncombe’s tax assessment process was unfair to low-income residents and communities of color, presented its recommendations to the board. And commissioners approved annual funding for reparations, honoring a request from the joint Asheville-Buncombe Community Reparations Commission.

Kim Roney with cardboard box

Asheville Council approves tax increase, gets crime update

During its June 22 meeting, Asheville City Council voted 6-1 to approve the $201.67 million operating budget for fiscal year 2021-22, which includes an effective property tax increase of 2 cents per $100 in valuation and $8.7 million in new spending. Kim Roney was the sole vote against the budget, arguing that the tax increase would harm poorer residents.

Reid Thompson before Council

City could face equal protection suit after short-term rental vote

Reid Thompson has lost the most recent battle in his 13-plus-year fight with the city of Asheville. But the war, suggested Thompson’s representative and urban planner Joe Minicozzi, is far from over. “He’s got to file a civil suit to get his civil rights upheld,” Minicozzi said. “You can’t enforce the law on one side of the street and not enforce it on the other.”

Former Asheville City Manager Gary Jackson

Former City Manager Gary Jackson leaves mixed legacy

As Asheville gears up to begin a new chapter in its administration, Xpress asks what lessons, if any, can be learned from Jackson’s time as the city’s top employee. But given the reluctance of so many current and former city officials to discuss either Jackson’s firing or his legacy, any final assessment of this recent history may have to wait.

Annual State of Downtown event focuses on investment­, opportunit­y

At the Asheville Downtown Association’s annual State of Downtown luncheon, Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer and Buncombe County Commission Chair Brownie Newman touted lists of major public projects and initiatives that benefit downtown. Meanwhile, urban planning consultant Joe Minicozzi argued that tax revenue data show more municipal investment in downtown is both warranted and needed.

Portrait of CIBO: Council of Independen­t Business Owners rallies Asheville business community

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?

Considerin­g the alternativ­es

The Asheville Design Center (ADC), which has been involved voluntarily with the work on the I-26 project since 2006, anticipates that the N.C. Department of Transportation will vote soon to include Alternate 4b in their Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). When this happens, we will have better data available to plan and communicate changes that will […]