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Budget Update: Commissioners Hold Public Hearing on Budget, Proposal Maintains Current Tax Rate

The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners held its public hearing on a proposed budget that would hold the current tax rate of 48.8 cents. On June 6, nearly 30 community members signed up to speak during the public hearing for the spending plan for fiscal year 2024, which runs from July 1, 2023-June 30, 2024. The next step will be for Commissioners to vote on the proposed budget during their next meeting on Tuesday, June 20.

If approved, the overall budget would be $423,560,422 and would keep the current property tax rate of 48.8 cents for the third consecutive year. Below is a recap of what the proposed budget looks like.

Budget retreat priorities

During the Commissioners’ initial budget retreat last year, they identified five priorities for the FY24 budget. In the recommended budget, those priorities look like this:

  • $6.6 million for public safety and expansion of emergency medical services.
  • $698,000 for homelessness and continuum of care.
  • $3.9 million for early childhood education workforce development.
  • $637,000 for infrastructure in unincorporated and growth areas.
  • On hold: Consolidation of school systems. All parties agreed to revisit this later.

Community investment through strategic priorities

In regard to community investments, Commissioners will continue to fund focus areas from the 2025 Strategic Plan. The following is a breakdown of some of the proposed community investments:

  • $3,892,756 for early childhood and development:
    • Helping to ensure every child in Buncombe County has an equal opportunity to thrive during their first 2,000 days, including access to early childhood education. The funding would go to 16 organizations supporting 21 programs.
  • $500,000 for Isaac Coleman grants:
    • Targeted investments that are currently working toward eliminating racial disparities and to champion equitable opportunities. Five organizations would be funded.
  • $100,000 for Tipping Point grants:
    • Amplify community efforts toward building resiliency by funding 20 local organizations.
  • $900,000 for Strategic Partnership grants:
    • Support nonprofit organizations working toward outcomes in alignment the County’s adopted Strategic Plan by funding 22 organizations that support 23 programs.
  • $644,477 for Juvenile Crime Prevention Council:
    • To reduce and prevent juvenile crime by funding five organizations supporting six programs.
  • $2,200,000 for Home and Community Care Block Grant and Buncombe County supplemental aging funds:
    • To encourage and maintain independence for persons over 60 and provide protection for older adults by funding 15 organizations supporting 20 programs.
  • $4,064,714 for affordable housing services program:
    • To support public and private sector organizations to promote, preserve, and prioritize affordable housing within the County by funding nine organizations supporting 514 affordable housing units.
  • $13,394,195 for affordable housing general obligation bond projects:
    • To help support the goal of increasing affordable housing by funding four organizations that are helping provide 398 affordable housing units.

Education funding

The proposed budget has $115.3 million worth of funding for A-B Tech and the Asheville City and Buncombe County school systems. You can see a breakdown of those proposed figures below:

*Request includes the amount that would result from an increase in the ACS Supplemental Tax Rate from 10.62¢ to 12¢.

Special district tax rate recommendations

Asheville City Schools and five fire districts are asking for an increase in tax rates. The proposed budget recommends moving forward with the fire district increases while keeping the city school district tax rate at its current level. You can see a breakdown of the special district tax rates below:

Commissioners are slated to vote on adopting the budget on Tuesday, June 20. If you can’t attend the meeting, you can watch it here.

Previous budget meetings

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Updated Jun 09, 2023 03:58 PM
Published Jun 06, 2023 07:00 PM

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