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A-B Tech wants its tax funds
Thursday, 06 December 2018 16:58

From Staff Reports

Leaders at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College have taken new — and formal — steps to find out how spent millions in sales tax dollars that were meant for the school instead were spent by Buncombe County.

Specifically, A-B Tech’s Board of Trustees is asking — through a public records request for detailed figures on the school’s sales tax — for a full accounting of $15 million earmarked for new construction at A-B Tech.

In August, the board sent a letter to the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners asking for the same information, but never got a response. This is a second try.

The A-B Tech money in question is from a quarter-cent sales tax — narrowly approved by voters seven years ago. Only a portion of the funds have been allocated to the school. 

“I think the first thing we’ve got to do is get the definitive numbers on how the money has been used thus far,” A-B Tech President Dennis King said on Nov. 14, according to the Asheville Citizen Times.

“I feel that we have a solid relationship with the county. I feel this is a bump in the road. It will be resolved, and I believe it will be resolved to our favor,” King told the ACT.

Meanwhile, Asheville television station WLOS News 13 reported in mid-November that it had obtained a copy of that letter the A-B Tech trustees sent to commissioners’ Chairman Brownie Newman.

In the letter, the board “asked Newman for details about whether the sales tax funds reserved for capital improvements were instead used to pay off any county debt or outstanding loan,” WLOS noted. “They also want itemized details on all proceeds that have been allocated or spent on items unrelated to A-B Tech.

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Ideas unveiled to shift tax burden to tourists
Thursday, 06 December 2018 16:56
By JOHN NORTH
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Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer unveiled a plan under consideration by the city to shift the tax burden more to tourists to ease the burden on locals during a Nov. 9 meeting of the Council of Independent Business Owners at UNC Asheville’s Sherrill Center.

About 65 people, including CIBO members, area government officials and others, attended the early-morning breakfast session. 

Manheimer began her CIBO address by noting, “First, I just want to say we have our interim city manager here — Cathy Ball. She’s done a fantastic job for us. Cathy is the one who has spearheaded our study on revenues.”

Turning to the topic of her talk, the mayor said, “I’ve been asked to come here and talk about hotels... It’s generated this larger discussion of how well we can manage the stresses on our infrastructure… in our discussion of hotels.

Ten hotels have opened in Asheville since 2015, with 1,183 rooms, she said, adding that seven more hotels are under construction in the city.

“Why have we seen so many hotels?” Manheimer asked, rhetorically. “Because we’re the best. We’re a top community to come visit and we’re seeing that. We’re also experiencing growth, but not at the rate of Raleigh or Charlotte.”

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