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Buncombe County 2022 Bonds

In November 2022, Buncombe County voters will have the opportunity to vote on two bonds: open space and housing.

If approved, the two bonds will support conservation of open space, greenways, and increase the number of housing units for people of low to moderate income in Buncombe County.

If approved by voters this November, a $30 million bond would cost typical households a maximum of $14 a year for 20 years, and a $40 million bond would cost typical households a maximum of $18 a year for 20 years.

Open Space Bond - $30 Million

Conservation

Goals: Protect farmland and natural resources while also contributing to Buncombe County’s goal of conserving 20% of the County’s land by 2030

Proposed Project Selection Process:

  1. Ag Advisory Board reviews applications based on the following potential criteria:
    • Soil classification
    • Farmland potential
    • Clustering potential
    • Regional prioritization mapping
    • Stewardship
  2. Land Conservation Advisory Board reviews applications based on the following potential criteria:
    • Scenic quality/viewshed
    • Natural areas
    • Farmland preservation
    • Public benefit/recreation
    • Leveraged funding/track record
  3. A site visit occurs
  4. Advisory Boards review and make recommendations. Board of Commissioners approves final projects.

Open Space

Goal: Increase access to recreational activities like hiking that have minimal environmental impacts on sites and protect natural resources

Proposed Project Selection Process:

  1. Land Conservation Advisory Board and Recreation Advisory Board review applications based on the following potential criteria:
    • Provides recreation
    • Aligns with existing County plans
    • Other public benefit
  2. A site visit occurs
  3. Advisory Boards review and make recommendations. Board of Commissioners approves final projects.

Greenways

Goals: Support greenway infrastructure

Proposed Project Selection Process:

  1. Application review for projects based on the following criteria:
    • Feasibility study
    • Design status
    • Project's inclusion on the N.C. Department of Transportation State Transportation Improvement Program

Proposed Open Space Bond Oversight and Transparency Measures:

  1. Advisory Boards receive regular reports
  2. Board of Commissioners receives regular reports
  3. Annual independent audit conducted, presented to the Board of Commissioners
  4. Transparency webpage dedicated to bond Investments
  5. Regular reporting to Community Oversight Committee

Housing Bond - $40 Million

Goal: Increase construction of housing for people of low to moderate incomes

Proposed Project Selection Process:

  1. Staff reviews applications prioritizing those that include construction
  2. Buncombe County Affordable Housing Committee reviews and makes recommendation
  3. Board of Commissioners reviews and approves final projects

Proposed Oversight and Transparency Measures:

  1. Buncombe County Affordable Housing Committee receives regular reports
  2. Board of Commissioners receives regular reports
  3. Annual independent audit conducted; presented to the Board of Commissioners
  4. Transparency webpage dedicated to bond investments
  5. Regular reporting to Community Oversight Committee

Leverage

All programs will continue to aggressively seek outside funding from Federal, State, and other sources, leveraging bond funds to their maximum potential

Learn more:


FAQs about General Obligation bonds

Bond financing is often used for capital projects that are above and beyond the scope of the annual operating budget or are for projects that will benefit residents for many years in the future. General Obligation (G.O.) bonds typically offer the lowest interest rate for a local government, because under this type of long-term borrowing, a local government like Buncombe pledges its full faith and credit (taxing power) to repay the debt over a specified term. While there are several ways to finance the construction of major capital projects – current revenues, capital reserve funds (setting aside money over time), and other bonds, G.O. bonds provide the least costly source of borrowed cash to fund major projects

A bond referendum gives voters the power to decide if a municipality should be authorized to raise funds through the sale of general obligation (G.O.) bonds. A G.O. bond is long-term borrowing tool (typically 20 years) in which a municipality pledges its full faith and credit (taxing power) to repay the debt over a specified term. Generally, G.O. bonds are the least costly financing option available to the town for potential bond projects being considered.

Under North Carolina law, a local government holding a referendum for the purpose of issuing general obligation (G.O.) bonds must specify general categories of capital projects for which bond proceeds may be used. Within these categories, a local government may identify specific projects that are intended to be funded by the bond proceeds – the “bond package.” However, due to the lengthy process involved with identifying, designing, and implementing projects, as well as the lack of detailed cost and other project information available at the time of the bond referendum, the specific projects identified in the bond package may change over time. The question that the actual bond referendum therefore asks of voters is whether they authorize local government to use the G.O. bonds as a financing tool for the general category of projects up to the amount specified in the question.

Bond referenda can be held during a regular election when the polls are open across the entire jurisdiction affected by the referendum. Voters in Buncombe County will be able to vote on the two bonds during the Nov. 8 General Election. Check your voter registration status here.

The County will share information through:

  • Social media
  • County Manager’s reports
  • Website (including FAQs)
  • Newsletter
  • Text messages
  • BCTV

Absolutely no public funds may be expended for the purpose of advocating for or against a bond referendum. The County may only provide information to voters to assist them in making an informed decision.

News

Locate & Contact

Communications

Contact

Lillian M. Govus, APR
Director of Communications and Public Engagement
P: (828) 250-4140

199 College Street
Asheville, NC 28801

Hours of Operation

Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.