New Budget Passed w/ No Tax Increase; Waterline to Be Run to Homes Near CTS Site
At their June 19th meeting, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a 2012-2013 budget with no changes to the property tax rate or county employee compensation. Buncombe will spend $337 million for all purposes in the budget year that begins July 1, an increase of about 1 percent over last year.
About 50 county employees attended the meeting to express their concern over a proposal by Commissioner Holly Jones to cap longevity pay at $3,000 per year per employee. Currently, the county’s most-senior workers receive up to 7% of their annual salary as a retention incentive. Jones did not raise the issue at this meeting, telling the Asheville Citizen-Times later that she is waiting for the results of a study of pay issues that will be presented at the Board’s next meeting on August 7th.
David Gantt told the Asheville-Citizen Times that he sees little or no support among other commissioners for a reduction of longevity payments. He told the county employees at the meeting, “We have consistently asked you to do more with less … and you come through. …as long as I’m on this board, we will keep our promises to you and we will fairly compensate you”.
Commissioners also voted 5-0 to seek a no-interest loan of $4 million from the state to extend waterlines to serve more people in the area around the former CTS plant, where chemicals have contaminated groundwater. County Manager Wanda Greene told commissioners that the county will try to make CTS reimburse Buncombe for the cost of building waterlines to more than 100 homes.