Woodfin Approves More Than $8 Million Budget - TribPapers

Woodfin Approves More Than $8 Million Budget

Woodfin Town Hall. Photo by Clint Parker

Weaverville – The Woodfin Board of Commissioners held their regular monthly meeting where they approved the budget for the 2022–2023 fiscal year, among other new business. 

Before they got to the new business on the agenda, the board approved the appointment of Jo Ann Feingold to the town’s ABC Board. And under the consent agenda, the board approved a budget amendment for the Woodfin Greenway/Blueway Capital Projects Fund, a budget amendment for the general fund for the November 2021 election, to sell a police department vehicle, changed the board of commissioners’ meeting time to 5 pm on Tuesdays instead of 6:30 pm, and approved the annual town audit contract. 

At the end of the meeting, Commissioner Ronnie Lundsford, not realizing the change in the meeting time had already been made, asked if there would be a discussion on the change. After being told the item had already been voted on during the consent agenda, Lundsford said that he was concerned people getting off from work would not have a chance to speak on matters and asked if public comment could be moved to the end of the meeting. After some discussion, he withdrew his motion.

New business at the meeting

The first item of new business was an update on the town’s $3 million paving project, which included several streets in the town. Town Finance Director Sheri Powers asked the board to pass a resolution spending the money the town had on-hand first and also pass a resolution approving paving installment financing with Truist Bank. The board passed both.

The board then held a hearing on the town budget, in which Powers gave a quick overview of the $8.041 million with no tax increase budget. She listed for new board members and a new town attorney the town’s accomplishments over the last year and then went into items being expanded from last year’s budget. The $8.041 million is an increase of over $1.36 million, or about 17%, from the town’s current $6.680 million budget. The American Rescue Plan (ARP) money makes most of the expansion possible without a tax increase. The budget also includes two additional employees—a stormwater administrator and an additional police officer—this is in addition to the town’s already largest staff expansion in recent history. 

No one spoke at the public hearing, but Commissioner Jim McAlister did have questions for Powers before the vote was taken. His questions related to three line items that he was not clear on and a $6,000 contribution to the Woodfin Golden Age Club, which all were answered to his satisfaction. Commissioner Eric Edgerton also interjected that this year the position of a stormwater administrator was being paid for by ARP funds, but a fee on stormwater (also dubbed the rain tax by some) would be needed and called for it to be “as equitable as possible.” The board then approved the budget.

The commissioners also received an update on the new steep slope ordinance. Town Planner Adrienne Isenhower told the board that changes are needed for clarification and compliance with state law. Isenhower said part of the clarification had to do with elevation and overall slope. New definitions, shortened explanations, height limits for accessory structures, and other changes were also a part of the new ordinance.

While no one spoke at the public hearing, Commissioner Elisabeth Ervin had a question about the height limits for accessory structures, asking if that included things like fences and retaining walls. Isenhower said the planning board had the same concern, saying that fences and retaining walls could be singled out for a separate height or the overall height for accessory structures could be lowered. “Either way, we probably want to define what accessory structures mean,” Isenhower concluded.

After some discussion, the ordinance was approved with a promise to revisit the accessory structures as it pertained to fences and retaining walls after Isenhower had a chance to work out the language. 

The board also reappointed Anne Kaltreider and Bryan Messing to the park and greenway advisory committee.