Leslee Kulba

Does Asheville Spend Funds as Allocated?

Concerns grow over the allocation and management of $74 million in bond money intended for transportation, affordable housing, and parks and recreation improvements in Asheville, raising questions about fiscal transparency and accountability as residents consider supporting new financial initiatives.

City Council Doesn’t Like Its Housing Policies

Three requests for housing subsidies stirred debate among Asheville City Councilwomen. They argued that the city's Land Use Incentive Grants are targeting the missing white middle instead of the poorest of the poor. Members of the public and city staff, however, reminded council that every time they reject a multifamily development proposal that doesn't meet 100% of their wishes, they're driving up the city's already inflated housing costs - for all residents.

Roney Questions Reparations Committee Expenditures

Although it might be considered poetic justice for people of color to now live large off the public dime, that is certainly not what most people were hearing in demands for social justice by way of reparations.

The Angst of Youth, Rebranded, Resurfaces

The Hamas rallies are not coming to a town near you. They're already here. This time, they were framed as a protest against building a training facility for the new Pratt & Whitney plant because some of the turbines made there are used by Israeli fighter jets.

Buncombe Considers Incentivizing Non-Airbnbs

Following in the footsteps of other jurisdictions, Buncombe County is considering paying landlords to convert their Airbnbs into long-term rental units. The program has already been halted in two of the three towns county staff held up as comparables. It is hoped that Buncombe will get more buy-in by offering higher incentives for renting to harder-to-house populations.

It’s Not Easy Being Green

In Buncombe County, as elsewhere, a major hurdle to electrifying the government's fleet has proven to be unforeseen scarcity, driven by ongoing semiconductor chip shortages and high consumer demand. Foreseen was the shortage of charging stations, which is part of a long list of neglected capital projects county leadership wishes to make strides to address.

Buncombe Commissioners Consider Reserve Funding

Buncombe County's debt service is projected to double by 2029, and this does not even include paying for things the commissioners have promised voters like affordable housing projects and greenways. Escalating and substantial tax increases, another bond referendum, setting up a capital reserve, and making deep cuts were some ideas batted around.

Whitesides: Reparations Committee Insults My Ancestors

When Buncombe County's Assistant Manager DK Wesley told the commissioners the Community Reparations Commission wanted to extend its life anywhere from eight months to two years, Al Whitesides said he had watched their meetings inasmuch he could tolerate them, and it was time to hand their responsibilities off to more capable hands.

Do Prices Justify Training a New Hauler?

Citing inflationary forces, Waste Pro has asked the Buncome County Commissioners to accept a change in their contract to allow incremental rate increases. The commissioners responded with a vote to open a request for proposals for upset bids. Waste Pro's representative, Chip Gingles, however, remains confident that the county will not find another hauler that knows the county and can provide the level of customization that Waste Pro can.

Energy Community Status Sways Council

Another multifamily residential development for Long Shoals Road came before Asheville City Council. Unable to promise members of council their eleventh-hour requests for solar panels, bike infrastructure, subsidized units, density, tree canopy, and more, the developer agreed to continuing the hearing until December 12.