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Fryar gives update on agreement on A-B Tech tax issue
Tuesday, 02 April 2019 22:48

From Staff Reports

The Buncombe Board of Commissioners and A-B Tech Board of Trustees had “been working on this for a long time,” Mike Fryar said — of an agreement that had been reached recently between the two parties — in an address at the March 1 meeting of the Council of Independence Business Owners in UNC Asheville’s Sherill Center.

“I didn’t vote for it, but here it is.” He noted that, on a split vote, the A-B Tech trustees agreed to accept a settlement offer from the county. (A story on the settlement appears on Page A2.)

Fryar also complained that “you don’t need all the building” that has occurred at A-B Tech in the last few years, when “what we have (already built) needs to be fixed.”

As for former long-time County Manager Wanda Greene, Fryar said, “Basically, she robbed the 1/4-cent sales tax.” While he admitted that Greene’s activity happened while he was on the board, “I kept asking questions” of Greene’s spending practices.

Regarding the referendum vote for the tax, he said, “It won in a citywide election by 500 votes,” in a campaign backed by a coalition of political progressives.

In referring to a story about the A-B Tech tax issue that appeared recently in the Asheville Citizen Times, Fryar said that, “in that article, I basically called it (the A-B Tech tax funds) a ‘slush fund’ that Wanda” had raided.

In an apparent reference to commissioners’ Chairman Brownie Newman, who Fryar never named, Fryar asserted, “Then there was someone who said he didn’t feel committed to using the money just for buildings”

While some money has been spent at A-B Tech on new building construction, he reiterated, “I’m working hard to make sure that the buildings (already existing) at A-B Tech are fixed. They are ‘down.’

“We’d like to get them to at least ‘fours,’ but we’ll never get them back to ‘fives’” on a scale of one to 10, best to worst, Fryar said.

In criticizing some of the building use on the campus, he noted that “a computer lab at A-B Tech is used two hours a week.”

In a reference to fellow Commissioner Amanda Edwards, Fryar said, “Ms. Edwards needs to take a lesson. I wish she was here.”

Fryar then triggered laughter from the CIBO crowd when he quipped, “For what they’re paying for salaries at the fire training center… I wish I worked there.”

Regarding the spending of A-B Tech funds for new construction, he said, “We get a parking deck. That’s wasn’t on this deal. We get a multipurpose building. That wasn’t on this deal....”

Fryar also lamented that “people don’t understand what I tried to do for this school….”

During a brief question-and-answer session that followed, an unidentified man thanked Fryar for his presentation. He also asked two questions: “Does that (1/4-cent sales tax) ‘sunset?’ By whom or to whom do we have recourse against Mr. Newman?” (The term “sunset,” in this context, refers to preovisions whereby a law shall cease to have effect after a specific date, unless further legislative action is taken to extend the law).

Succinctly Fryar replied that the “quarter-cent tax can’t ‘sunset.’” He did not address the question about Newman. 

CIBO member Swicegood asked, “How can we fix all this, as it’s been a train-wreck?

Fryar nodded, but did not address Swicegood’s query, perhaps assuming it was a rhetocial question. He was applauded for his presentation as he took a seat.


 



 


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