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Buncombe County Commissioners Receive Final Budget Recommendation

After months of work dating back to last year, Buncombe County Commissioners were presented with the final version of the recommended Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) budget during their meeting on May 19. Through a series of work sessions, presentations, and identifying priorities, the proposed spending plan sits at $399.2 million and holds the current property tax rate of 48.8 cents. The formal recommendation outlines how the budget would supplement community survey results and 2025 Strategic Plan goals focused on the following community- and foundational-focused areas:

  • Educated and capable community
    • $104.9 million for education partners with a 10.9% increase for K-12 and A-B Tech
    • $3.82 million for early childhood education
  • Environmental and energy stewardship
    • $4 million for solar projects
    • $1.6 million for alternatively fueled vehicles
  • Resident well-being
    • $564,146 for recreation projects
    • $326,055 worth of additional investment for the Community Paramedicine program
  • Vibrant economy
    • $4.3 million for economic development programs
    • $2.3 million for affordable housing support
  • Equity, operational excellence
    • 63 new positions for 23 departments
    • $5.1 million for implementation of the compensation study
    • $2 million for reparations

Revenue breakdown

The vast majority of the budget comes from property taxes. The following is a breakdown of most of the revenue sources:

  • Property tax: 63% or $240.3 million
  • Intergovernmental: 12% or $45.6 million
  • Local option sales tax: 12% or $47.8 million
  • Sales and services: 5% or $17.9 million

Additional money comes from additional taxes and licenses, permits and fees, interfund transfers, and other sources of revenue.

Expenditure breakdown

Education, human services, and public safety are the three largest areas of spending for the proposed spending plan. The education funding would bring all locally funded Buncombe County Schools employees to a $15/hour minimum or provide a 2.5% pay increase while also helping reduce salary compression issues. The following shows a breakdown of expenditures:

  • Education: 27% or $109.2 million
    • A-B Tech: $7.7 million
    • Asheville City Schools: $15.3 million
    • Buncombe County Schools: $81.9 million
    • Pre-k funding and various education support contracts: $4.3 million
  • Human services: 23% or $91.5 million
  • Public safety: 21% or $82.7 million
  • General government: 17% or $67.7 million
  • Debt: 5% or $19.1 million
  • Economic and physical development: 2% or $8.8
  • Cultural and recreational: 2% or $9.9 million
  • Other financing sources: 3% or $10.3 million

Capital projects

County staff recommends seven capital projects for FY23 at a total of $16.5 million. Those projects include:

  • Emergency Services base construction: $7,250,000 (debt)
  • Public Safety Training Center generator: $230,000 (capital funds)
  • Comprehensive Facility Assessment plan renovations and repairs: $4,010,000 (debt)
  • Library renovations and repairs: $691,654 (capital funds)
  • Recreation Services master plan: $200,000 (capital funds)
  • Electric vehicle charging infrastructure: $120,000 (capital funds)
  • Solar panel installations for schools and public buildings: $4,000,000 (debt)

Recommended tax rates

Only three tax rate adjustments have been requested, and County staff only recommends approving one of those for the FY23 budget.

  • Asheville City Schools
    • Current rate: 10.62
    • Requested rate: 12.00
    • Recommended rate: 10.62
  • Barnardsville fire district
    • Current rate: 20.00
    • Requested rate: 22.00
    • Recommended rate: 22.00
  • Skyland fire district
    • Current rate: 9.80
    • Requested rate: 10.30
    • Recommended rate: 9.80

Next steps

  • Public Hearing – June 7 regular meeting. The public is invited to give in-person feedback during this meeting.
  • Budget Adoption – June 21 regular meeting

All work sessions, meetings, and public hearings are streamed live on Buncombe County’s Facebook page.

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Article Information

Updated May 20, 2022 11:12 AM
Published May 19, 2022 06:30 PM

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