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Commissioners Celebrate Ag Awareness, Hear from Attorney General's Office, Support Affordable Housing and More

a photo of 200 College St.

Buncombe County has long recognized our region’s rich agricultural history with a dedication to preserving farmland. During their regular meeting, Commissioners declared March 19, 2024, as Buncombe County Ag Awareness Day to recognize the vital role of agriculture and the unique and irreplaceable value of farmers, foresters, and other agricultural stewards. The proclamation reads in part, “WHEREAS, the Buncombe County Commissioners have recognized the importance of preserving farmland in the county through its support and funding of the Farmland Preservation Program, which helps preserve working farms and open space in Buncombe County.” You can read the entire proclamation here.

Attorney General’s Office Update

Commissioners received an update from Holly Jones with Attorney General Josh Stein’s Public Protection office outlining the work of the North Carolina Department of Justice in our community.

Highlights include:

  • Opioid Settlement funding
  • Consumer & Medicaid fraud collections
  • Law enforcement
  • NCDOJ lawsuit updates

Find the entire presentation here.

Lakeshore Villas Affordable Housing Project

The Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution allowing the Housing Authority of the City of Asheville to issue up to $23,500,000 in Multifamily Housing Revenue Bonds to provide financing for Lakeshore Villas, Mountain Housing Opportunities’ Affordable Housing Development Project located in Arden. For the Lakeshore Villas project, the Housing Authority is acting as conduit issuers of debt for Mountain Housing Opportunities to utilize their 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) award. A required Public Hearing was conducted on March 4, 2024, by the Housing Authority. This approval does not subject the County to any liability for repayment of the bonds if issued; however, the County has financially supported the Lakeshore Villas project through allocations of Affordable Housing General Obligation Bonds ($3,618,318) and COVID Recovery Funds ($2,776,616).You can read the resolution here.

In 2022, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners set goals to meet the extreme need for affordable housing. These goals include a variety of different needs, including the construction of 1,500-1,850 new affordable units for rent, 500 income-eligible homes repaired for families in Buncombe County, and much more. To see how we have progressed through these goals, please see our Affordable Housing Goals & Accomplishments Dashboard.

School Consolidation Feasibility Study

In September of 2023 the North Carolina General Assembly mandated that the Asheville City and Buncombe County school systems jointly study the feasibility of a merger. To date, Buncombe County Commissioners were designated the lead entity for this project and issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to select a vendor to facilitate the study. “This is a really important question, and I want us to do this right. I think we should follow through on this, it was not a started on the local level, but we want this to be a process with integrity,” said Chair Newman.

The Board approved an amendment to establish the budget necessary ($301,543) to pay for that study and awarded a contract to the recommended vendor Prismatic Services, Inc. The proposed timeline is:

  • April 2024: Prismatic Services to launch study
  • December 2024: Prismatic Services to submit final report
  • January 2025: Commissioners & School Boards to discuss findings/recommendations
  • February 2025: Board of Education to report to General Assembly

Find more information here.

Employee Policy Updates

As part of an annual policy review, Human Resources requested amendments to the Benefits, Leave, and Supplemental Pay policies. The policies were edited to clarify existing language and address common questions received from employees. The Board of Commissioners approved the changes as well as a new Overtime Pay policy. You can find more information about the changes here.

A-B Tech Master Plan Recommendations

A-B Technical Community College's existing facilities master plan expires this year. The current master plan needs to be updated and extended for a new 10-year period through 2034. At the Feb. 26, 2024, A-B Tech/Buncombe County Joint Capital Advisory Committee meeting, the Committee approved a recommendation to the Board of Commissioners of $500,000 for master planning services. The Board of Commissioners approved amending the FY2023-2024 Article 46 Sales Tax Capital Projects ordinance for that amount. Read the ordinance here.

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Updated Mar 22, 2024 02:22 PM
Published Mar 19, 2024 07:15 PM

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