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Commissioners Approve County Budget, Maintain Current Property Tax Rate

Updated: You can now view the Budget in Brief here.

On June 18, Commissioners approved Buncombe County’s budget for fiscal year 2020. The $334,450,200  general fund maintains the current property tax of 52.9 cents while continuing to provide existing services and sustain funding for all of the Commissioners’ strategic priorities. The three largest areas of spending are: 27 percent for education; 26.5 percent for human services; and 19 percent for public safety. For a more in-depth look at the FY20 budget, use our interactive budget explorer.

“I’d like to highlight the prioritization of affordable housing and early childhood education,” said Commission Chair Brownie Newman. “I appreciate that we set priorities and worked hard to identify opportunities to really advance them in a meaningful way. We appreciate discussions with the Sheriff’s Office around their priorities, and we’re trying to tackle many of those this year.”

Here are some highlights of the FY20 budget:

  • A balanced general fund of $334,450,200  which includes an appropriated fund balance of $12,980,963.
  • Maintains the current property tax rate of 52.9 cents.
  • Creates 21 new County positions for departments with significant, immediate needs. The additional Deputies will now provide an average of 14 Deputies per shift, to patrol more than 600 square miles. The additional Detention Officers will provide better coverage and oversight within the jail. The Human Services positions are in response to new rules as the County had to cancel a third-party contract and provide those services in-house.
  • $3.6 million for early childhood education programs. This is an influx of $1.9 million from the previous budget year as the County continues its commitment to existing contracts while increasing efforts to provide more children with quality early education.
  • $3.7 million for affordable housing efforts. This investment is $1.6 million more than the previous budget year as the County will work with Habitat for Humanity, Mountain Opportunities, and Homeward Bound all aimed at providing more affordable rental and home ownership opportunities throughout the County.
  • Establishes a new minimum starting pay for regular full- and part-time employees at $15 per hour based on a 2,080-hour year.
  • Provides 1.77 percent cost of living adjustment for all full-time, regular employees.

“I’m supporting the budget for a few reasons, one is the flat tax rate that sustains the cut from last year,” said Commissioner Joe Belcher. “This budget supports County employees and their families, supports education at our highest level, promotes public safety, and contributes to affordable housing and early childhood education. I think all the Commissioners up here worked hard with new County Manager on the budget.”

Again, for a more in-depth look at the FY20 budget, use our interactive budget explorer.