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Commissioners Get Tropical Storm Fred Recovery Update, Apply for Federal Funding to Assist with Affordable Housing Projects

More disaster relief funding is available as work continues on responding to the damage from last year’s Tropical Storm Fred. The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners received an update on the effort during its meeting on Sept. 20. As of earlier this month, more than 700 applications for state assistance have been filed, with the majority coming from Buncombe, Haywood, McDowell, and Yancey counties. The state allocated $44 million in recovery funding for Western North Carolina to help with the following categories:

  • Home reconstructions
  • Private roads and bridges
  • Short-term housing for displaced families
  • Home repairs
  • Landlord assistance

To date, Buncombe County has 82 housing and bridge repair projects underway or completed, helping more than 200 families in the County. Overall, there have been $3.1 million of recovery funding allocated to Buncombe County. “I appreciate the members of your team working to help people impacted by this extreme weather event… we know folks have pulled together as a region to get back people back on their feet,” said Commission Chair Brownie Newman.  

State officials are still looking for relief projects such as damaged roads and bridges and people living in unsafe housing. You can learn more about Tropical Storm Fred recovery funding, find contact information, and apply online for relief here.

Board of Equalization and Review update

For 2021, the Board of Equalization and Review considered 383 property tax appeals. The group is appointed by the Board of Commissioners and ultimately decides on appeals concerning property tax assessment. Last year, the Board considered the following:

  • 65 business personal property appeals
  • 5 exemption appeals
  • 191 builder’s inventory appeals
  • 1 commercial appeal (Mission Hospital)
  • 121 residential real estate appeals

The Board of Equalization and Appeals will begin to meet again next month and continue its work through December until all appeals are heard and decided.

Public transportation grant application

Looking ahead, Buncombe County is applying for public transportation dollars for fiscal year 2024. The goal is to secure $327,469 in federal funding and $20,464 in state grant money that would help the County fund rural transportation efforts through Mountain Mobility. If the grant money is awarded, Buncombe County would need to provide a $61,396 match.

Mountain Mobility is an important County resource providing transportation to older adults, persons with disabilities, Medicaid recipients, and others that need help getting rides to basic services. You can learn more about Mountain Mobility here.

Community Development Block Grant neighborhood revitalization

Buncombe County Commissioners are moving forward with plans to seek federal funding for affordable housing and other community-related projects. Commissioners approved applying for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding. The federal grant program will distribute nearly $21 million across North Carolina, and Buncombe County could be eligible for $950,000 of that funding.

Projects eligible for CDBG funding include:

  • Promoting equitable and affordable housing
  • Housing rehabilitation
  • Scattered-site housing
  • Housing development
  • Community revitalization
  • Public facilities
  • Water and sewer connections to existing homes

The County anticipates hearing if it’s been awarded CDBG funding in November, at which time it will develop an implementation plan. For additional information on the CDBG process, click here.

Construction easements for Dominion Energy

Commissioners approved a permanent easement for Dominion Energy to relocate and maintain a replacement underground gas pipeline, and a temporary easement for the installation of the same, on County properties located on Old US Highway 70 and adjacent to the Swannanoa River. The replacement underground gas pipeline will take the place of a currently existing line in need of repair, relocating the same more than forty (40) feet beneath the river. The County owns these properties and they are not developable due to deed restrictions. Click here for additional information.

Budget amendment for state lottery project award

$1.7 million in state lottery funds is going to Buncombe County Schools to help with security hardware upgrades. Commissioners unanimously approved the funding, and you can read more here.

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Updated Sep 23, 2022 12:32 PM
Published Sep 20, 2022 06:00 PM

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