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.

Asheville City Council at 2020 retreat

Asheville City Council contemplat­es next year’s budget amid COVID-19 fears

“Anybody that follows the economy or follows the news will tell you that there’s a big elephant in the room that we can’t measure, and we’re all thinking about it, and it’s going to affect your planning,” Tom Tveidt, president of SYNEVA Economics, told Council members at their March 13 annual retreat. “That being said, I think there will be a pre-coronavirus economy and a post-coronavirus economy.”

Mission Hospital

Lower-than-expected Mission tax revenues crunch Asheville budget

At a budget work session on March 26, city CFO Barbara Whitehorn reported that Asheville can expect to receive $2.5 million in property and sales taxes from the health system in fiscal year 2019-20 — only half of the $5 million initially estimated by the Buncombe County tax office — then $5 million instead of $8 million for every year to follow.

Ed Manning at Asheville City Council retreat

Budget outlook challenges Council at annual retreat

“This may hurt some feelings, but you can no longer operate the city of Asheville like it’s the Oprah Winfrey talk show, where you get a car and you get a car,” said Council member Keith Young, referencing the daytime TV host’s famous giveaways. “As much as we love all these programs and trying to help the public good… this is the time to close the bank.”

Asheville city seal

Council to hear residents’ input on bond referendum­; take deciding vote

City Council will hear public input on a proposed $74 million bond referendum at its Aug. 9 meeting — but all Council can do in response to those comments is vote for or against including each of the three bond categories on the general election ballot in November. The deadline to adjust the total borrowing amount in each category was July 26.

Buncombe County commission­ers spar over perceived transparen­cy issue

Another issue that put the commissioners’ divide on display was a resolution concerning the creation of a Utility Energy Innovation Task Force. The venture is a partnership with Duke Energy and the City of Asheville aimed at, “working to delay or avoid the construction of an additional fossil fuel powered combustion turbine electricity generating facility at the Asheville Plant site in 2023.”

County Republican­s stave off property reappraisa­ls for now

County Commissioners deadlocked on a request from tax director Gary Roberts to reappraise county real estate in 2017. With Commissioner Ellen Frost absent, the board members voted 3-3 along party lines, delaying for at least a few weeks a decision on whether the county will voluntarily undertake a reappraisal before the state Department of Revenue forces its hand.