Weather for the Following Location: North Carolina on Map

Asheville City Council is moving forward with a bond referendum for the November 2024 ballot. The referendum will allow voters to decide on general obligation bonds (GOBs) to fund capital projects in Asheville. The specific projects and funding amounts are yet to be determined. In the previous 2016 referendum, voters approved $75 million for Parks, Transportation, and Housing. A public hearing for the upcoming referendum is scheduled for July 23.

The Finance Director, Tony McDowell, highlighted that GOBs offer the lowest interest rate on debt due to the city’s full faith and credit pledge. The ballot language will include estimates of property tax increases and overall costs. Staff recommended pursuing $75 million in GOBs and $10 million in limited obligation bonds (LOBs) for facility maintenance.

  • Housing: $25 million
  • Transportation: $20 million
  • Parks and Recreation: $15 million
  • Public Safety: $15 million

The $90 million proposal would necessitate a property tax increase and allocate funds to various categories based on council recommendations.

City Manager Debra Campbell suggested a recurring $150 million bond cycle to address deferred maintenance. While the council requested $90 million, staff’s recommendation still stands at $75 million. The goal is to effectively deliver projects without disappointing elected officials or the community.

Mayor Esther Manheimer expressed confidence in the bond referendum’s success, citing past voter support and the strategic distribution of projects within the city.

  • Complexities in land acquisition
  • Challenges in hiring project managers
  • Limited staff capacity
  • Shortage of private contractors

Efforts to maximize bond revenues were cautioned against to prevent administrative complexities. The focus is on appropriately allocating funds to different categories. The council members expressed varying perspectives and concerns related to the bond referendum and allocations, reflecting community feedback and priorities.

HERE Asheville
Author: HERE Asheville