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Buncombe County Commissioners Look at First Pass FY25 Budget

On March 26, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners took a look at the first pass of the proposed FY25 budget. With three months to go before the budget is complete, the first pass revenue budget reflects a conservative local economic climate that has seen decreases in occupancy taxes and the cessation of one-time funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and Coronavirus Relief Fund.

The $412.5 million revenue budget is based on the following revenue sources for FY25:

  • $264,900,000 from property taxes
  • $47,600,000 from intergovernmental transfers
  • $46,600,000 from the local option sales tax
  • $24,800,000 from sales & services
  • $5,000,000 from interfund transfers
  • $6,700,000 from other taxes & licenses
  • $5,700,000 from permits & fees
  • $11,000,000 from other revenues like interest earnings and sales of assets

The proposed FY25 revenue budget reflects a $200,000 increase from the FY24 amended budget.

On the expenditures side of the budget, the proposed budget includes 45 new positions in the Division of Social Services, Libraries, Sheriff’s Office, Family Justice Center, and more. Three of those positions are requested in Solid Waste Services to be paid from the Solid Waste Enterprise Fund.

The first pass budget also includes a Cost of Living Adjustment for employees of 4.89%, the two-year average annual change in the CPI-W. Overall, budgeted expenditures are 5.4% over FY24.

The first pass budget includes placeholders for local education funding. The Board of Commissioners will hold a work session with education partners and fire districts on May 9, so the placeholder budgets are flat at $17.7 million for Asheville City Schools and $95.6 million for Buncombe County Schools. Since FY20, K-12 education appropriation has grown by more than $35 million while enrollment has declined by 6%. With an unrestricted revenue rate of 3.52% for post-secondary education, AB Tech is slated at $8.4 million, an increase of $286,000 from FY24.

Commissioners received updates on the following programs:

The Board heard the following new proposals from staff:

  • An estimated $180,000 for a beautification effort to supplement secondary road cleanups
  • An estimated $75,000 for a Code Enforcement Pilot Program to support repairs and outreach to properties at risk of condemnation where that condemnation can result in housing instability

FY25 Information Technology Projects include:

  • $350,000 – Content Management System for website transition
  • $11,000 – EMS Inventory Management
  • $41,000 – Enterprise Risk Management (COSO)
  • $3,000 – Energy Manager Replacement
  • $8,000 – Cobblestone Digital Signature
  • $15,000 – Cobblestone Collaboration

The proposed FY25 budget also includes Capital Improvement Plan pay-go projects at Lake Julian, Enka Recreation Destination, 40 Coxe main lobby, the Detention Center, and comprehensive facility assessment renovation and repair. FY25 Capital Improvement Plan  projects slated for debt include an EMS local base, EMS regional base, solar on public buildings and schools, roofing and repairs at County buildings and parking decks, and more.

While Commissioners already approved $4.9 million for transportation infrastructure at Ferry Road, there is potential to fund a $7.8 million affordable housing loan to turn County-owned property at 50-52 Coxe Ave. in downtown Asheville into affordable housing through the FY23 General Obligation bonds.

The capital funding strategies include a combination of debt and cash to address the capital funding drivers of the County’s aging infrastructure, master and feasibility planning, and operating focus with a yearly capital investments. The proposed FY25 budget also includes establishing capital funding targets of 70% debt financing and 30% pay go financing.

To find the full agenda and presentations, click here. The meeting can be viewed at

Next up for the budget:

  • 9 a.m. April 23, FY25 Budget Work Session, 200 College St., first floor conference room
  • 9 a.m. May 9, Education & Fire Districts Work Session, 200 College St., first floor conference room
  • 5 p.m. May 21, Recommended Budget, 200 College St., third floor Board chambers
  • 5 p.m. June 4, Public Hearing, 200 College St., third floor Board chambers
  • 5 p.m. June 18, Budget Adoption, 200 College St., third floor Board chambers

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Updated Mar 26, 2024 02:48 PM
Published Mar 26, 2024 01:30 PM

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