Skip to main content

COVID-19 Updates, Testing and Vaccines

Stay up to date

Strategic Priorities Update: Reflecting on FY22's Accomplishments

Conserving more than 700 acres of farmland, helping create more than 200 homes for low- to moderate-income families, implementing a comprehensive equity analysis tool, and adding Wi-Fi and a dog park to our recreation portfolio are a few ways Buncombe County continued its commitment to the Strategic Plan 2025 goals. As we reach the end of 2022, the County is reflecting on how its mission of public service helps progress the important work of the Commissioner-led strategic plan focus areas that strengthen our community. 

Below you will find a list of just some of the ways Buncombe County made significant headway in each of our strategic priority categories. You can also monitor progress on our Strategic Plan 2025 goals by viewing our dashboards that provide up-to-date information. Just click here, and then select one of the four focus areas.  

Thanks to the Board of Commissioners for funding and providing ongoing support for all these initiatives.

Strategic Priorities highlights by category for FY2023 (as of Dec. 1, 2022) 

Educated and Capable Community

  • To better share data across the County, Air Quality worked with IT to establish an air quality complaint module. This new program updates our data management system and facilitates information sharing with other County departments that enforce codes. (Air Quality, IT) 
  • The Subsidized Child Care Program is locally administered by Southwestern Child Development using state, federal, and Smart Start funds to assist families with the cost of childcare. More than $7,500,000 of this funding was distributed to qualifying Buncombe County families in FY22. (Health and Human Services) 
  • Transitioned all subdivision plat reviews to an online permitting system, creating more transparency for customers by allowing them to track the status of their review. (Planning, Permits & Inspections, IT) 
  • A comprehensive public engagement and input process has been in place since the start of the Comprehensive Planning. To date, we have had: 
    • 3,501 individuals shared  input through a poll or activity  
    • 127 businesses completed the stakeholder poll 
    • 195 children submitted drawings of their vision for the future 
    • 142,000 mailers sent to property owners 
    • 86 community meetings attended  (Planning, Communications and Public Engagement)  
  • Hosted our first affordable housing stakeholder event, gathering input from our community partners and creating opportunity for greater collaboration. (Planning) 
  • Increased public engagements and transparency around elections through a variety of activities and events such as: providing information at County library sessions, through our radio show and podcast on WRES, and other avenues; provided an observer info session on elections; worked with CAPE to meet an increase of public record requests; created the “I Voted” youth sticker contest using the Public Input portal; and added board meetings to the portal to increase access. (Election Services and Communications and Public Engagement) 

Environmental and Energy Stewardship 

  • Collaborated with UNC-Asheville (UNCA) to support a project using low-cost air quality sensors to determine potential air quality impacts associated with redlining and urban renewal in Asheville.  Sensor data will be publicly available and inform the community of air quality levels. This will increase awareness and supplement data from the County’s regulatory monitors. (Air Quality) 
  • Established a standard operating procedure to increase diversion of Construction and Demolition (C&D) material for construction projects. (General Services) 
  • Increased the County’s alternative energy portfolio by adding 22 hybrid vehicles to the fleet. (General Services)
  • In addition to passing a new sustainable fleet resolution, the County received its first four fully electric vehicles (Ford F150 Lightnings). The inclusion of these vehicles into our fleet will reduce fuel costs and greenhouse gas emissions. (Office of Sustainability, Permits and Inspections) 
  • Completed the Comprehensive Facility Plan co-location of forward-facing departments study with the Family Justice Center. (General Services) 
  • Applied for and was awarded funding from the EPA to upgrade and expand air pollution monitoring equipment that is part of the national ambient air-monitoring network. (Air Quality) 
  • Implemented an award-winning compost drop-off program. (Solid Waste) 
  • Conducted comprehensive waste audit and diversion study. (Solid Waste) 
  • Continued solar panel installations on 41 sites. Twenty-six sites are installed and either operational or awaiting final inspections or meter changes from Duke Energy. (Sustainability, General Services) 
  • Upgraded LED lighting to reduce energy consumption at Pack Library, Swannanoa Library, Oakley Library, Weaverville Library, and the College Street Parking Deck. (General Services)
  • The Syringe Services Program received more than 60,000 used syringes, keeping them out of the County landfill and away from other improper disposal areas. (Health and Human Services) 
  • Completed 14 conservation easement projects totaling more than 639 acres and initiated another 19 projects that will conserve more than 1,000 acres. (Ag and Land) 
  • Experienced a 92.6% reduction in the number of paper blueprints. (Permits & Inspections, IT) 

Operational Excellence (Foundational) 

  • Developed and implemented an Equity Analysis Tool to guide budgetary considerations, as well as the development, implementation, and evaluation of significant policies, initiatives, and programs to address equity impacts. (Equity & Human Rights) 
  • Developed and facilitated a four-module Racial Equity Training for County staff. (Equity & Human Rights) 
  • Completed a side-slope expansion project that effectively added five years of life to the County’s landfill. (Solid Waste) 
  • Strategy & Innovation received the regional air quality excellence award for improving air quality in Buncombe County through greenhouse gas emission reductions from the County's Flexible Work Policy. (Strategy & Innovation)  
  • Completed 178 evaluation projects, presenting three Focus Area updates, launching a County innovation program, and updating/writing over 20 county policies. (Strategy & Innovation)
  • Implementation of online scheduling for all inspection requests. (Permits & Inspections) 
  • Conducted a successful municipal election for Weaverville, Woodfin, and Woodfin Water and Sewer on Nov. 2, 2021. The election had 2,102 voters (19.84% turnout) and featured: 11 Election Day voting locations, three early voting locations, 15 Board meetings, eight staff, five board members, two temporary staff, 48 early voting poll workers, 40 election day poll workers for a total of 103 people working to make this a success. (Election Services) 
  • Held a successful Primary Election on May. 17, 2022 that had to be moved by three months from its original date, creating a tight turnaround for the General Election. The Primary Election had 54,036 voters (26.53% turnout) featuring: 80 Election Day voting locations, 10 early voting locations, nine staff, five board members, 15 temp staff, 160 early voting poll workers, 450 election day poll workers, 15 Country staff assisting on election night for a total of 654 people working to run this election. (Election Services)
  • Partnered with Local Health Department Regions 1 and 2 and the Western North Carolina Healthy Impact to develop and deploy a high-quality social media campaign featuring local storytellers and images. This regional campaign ended in May 2022 with a total reach of 1,769,418 people. (Health and Human Services) 
  • Tracked more than 240 media requests from March 1-June 30, 2022, and rolled out public record software to facilitate more than 300 requests for public records since its launch in June 2022. (Communications and Public Engagement) 
  • Implemented a robust Incident Action Plan, Emergency Operations Center (EOC), GPS trackers, and write-in app and piloted a scanning system to increase auditing efficiency. (Election Services, Emergency Services, and IT)

Resident Well-Being 

  • The newly consolidated 911 Center committed to functioning as an integral part of the North Carolina EMS System to provide high-quality emergency medical dispatch to the patients in its service area. This model has adequately demonstrated it meets all criteria and stands to provide such care as defined by the North Carolina Medical Care Commission and received approval as a North Carolina Emergency Medical Dispatch Center. (Public Safety Communications/911) 
  • Completed the public Wi-Fi project at Lake Julian Park in Arden. Lake Julian is the first County park to have Wi-Fi. Buncombe County Sports Park and Charles D. Owen Park are slated to install Wi-Fi in FY23. (Parks & Recreation, IT) 
  • Completed the Silver-Line Park in Woodfin. This new park offers a wide variety of recreational opportunities and amenities including boat ramp access to the French Broad River, picnic shelters, a playground, walking trails, and connection to the Craggy Mountain Rail Line. The Silver-Line Park is part of the Woodfin Greenway and Blueway project, which will include recreational facilities and five miles of greenway along the French Broad River and Beaverdam Creek. (Parks & Recreation) 
  • Justice Services worked alongside community members to develop the Violence Prevention and Community Safety Plan and received $2.5 million in grant funding to carry out recommended violence interrupter program. (Justice Services)
  • Buncombe County Social Work convened a Racial Equity Data Workgroup led by the HHS Quality Assurance team to address data collection issues and identify racial disparities in child protective services. (Health and Human Services) 
  • Completed the County's first Dog Park at the Buncombe County Sports Park. It has areas for large dogs and small dogs with pet fountains and benches for owners. (Parks & Rec) 
  • The ID Bureau implemented an ethnicity data-collecting program in collaboration with Justice Services. (ID Bureau) 
  • Streamlined a process for people who are transgender to obtain birth certificates that are consistent with their gender identity. (Register of Deeds) 
  • Economic Services distributed more than $20 million in financial support to help residents with housing costs like heating and cooling assistance, electricity bills, water bills, and rent/mortgage payments. It also provided financial assistance to local businesses that experienced financial hardship during the pandemic. (Health and Human Services) 
  • Economic Services processed 304 applications for a new water assistance program, totaling $187,292.50 in water assistance funds distributed to residents in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Health and Human Services) 
  • Social Work Services created a Family Reunification Social Work position to improve reunification outcomes for children in foster care. In FY22, 37.5% of children who achieved permanency were reunified with at least one parent. This is an improvement from a 26% reunification rate in FY20. (Health and Human Services)
  • Removed barriers to public participation through no-cost access to public transit for seniors using ART bus passes and through fare-free Mountain Mobility transportation offerings. (Planning) 
  • Obtained $400,000 in Community Development Block Grant Neighborhood Revitalization grant funds to provide home repairs to low- and moderate-income households (Planning).
  • Formed the Buncombe County Public Engagement Alliance, a convening of public service organizations looking to collaborate and streamline public engagement opportunities. (Communications and Public Engagement) 

Vibrant Economy 

  • Buncombe County partnered with the City of Asheville, Mountain BizWorks, and other financial institutions to create the Mountain Community Capital Fund. This initiative provided 24 small business loan guarantees totaling more than $800,000 for small and historically disadvantaged businesses. (County Manager’s Office) 
  • A partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and other community organizations to create the Inclusive Hiring Partners project. This initiative resulted in the placement of 20 historically economically disadvantaged individuals in jobs with an average wage of $18.62 per hour. (County Manager’s Office)
  • Increased access to broadband internet by allocating $6 million for broadband expansion. The County also worked with internet service provider Frontier Communications, which was awarded $3.3 million to expand internet service to nearly 1,000 unserved and underserved households in Buncombe County. (County Manager’s office)

Filter News:

Translate Options

Article Information

Updated Dec 16, 2022 03:27 PM
Published Dec 15, 2022 07:00 AM

Previous Article: Food Drive Update: Buncombe County Provides More Than 1 Ton of Food to MANNA FoodBank
Next Article: Our Most Popular Books of 2022