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County manager reviews updated Strategic Plan for Buncombe; fields questions
Sunday, 03 November 2019 13:58

From Staff Reports

Buncombe County Manager Avril Pinder addressed the county’s Strategic Plan being developed by the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners and county staff during a meeting of the Council of Independent Business Owners on Oct. 4 in UNC Asheville’s Sherrill Center.

Pinder began her presentation by noting that “I’ve been here seven months. Six months later, after introducing myself to you, I’m back!

“Today I’m here to talk about the good things going on here in Buncombe County.  (Her reference was to  the attention given recently to bad news regarding former Buncombe officials and a contractor being found guilty, fined and incarcerated in a corruption scandal, with some positives.)

“So back In July, the county started talking about its Strategic Plan.”

At that time, among the “most critical” values for the county government identified by the county comumissioners were “respect,” “honesty-integrity” and “embracing a culture of collaboration,” Pinder noted.

Some — among many — areas on which the commissioners said they wanted to focus were affordable housing, clean energy, diverse community, early childhood and justice resources, she said.

“What’s next?” the county manager asked, rhetorically. “Public input and engagement!”

To that end, she said a series of public engagement sessions has been scheduled…. The goal is to have ones in the mornings and others in the evenings — and some one weekends — to reach all demographics.”

Pinder concluded her address by asking the CIBO audience to consider the question: “What does success look like?”

In a brief question-and-answer period afterward, CIBO member Mac Swicegood asked, “Can you tell me how this all came about?”

Swicegood added that he suspected that “it came through the chamber to the county? Why did it cost $40,000 to pay for that strategic plan?”

“It didn’t come from the chamber,” Pinder replied. “The chamber already is doing a strategic plan.

“We had someone very qualified to do the strategic plan — the same consultant as the chamber, while she was (still) in town. It usually costs $100,000, so I thought it was a bargain,” the county manager told Swicegood.

An unidentified man then asksd “if the county is going to do anything with a comprehensive land use plan?”

“It’s being looked at,” Pinder answered.

Another man asked, “The cost of new construction is extremely high. It’s much more efficient to use existing construction — and renovating it …. What are you thinking about that —  regarding affordable housing?”

“We looked at affordable housing, but the real question was around (public) transportation,” Pinder replied. “One was the (New) Leicester Highway expansion. They’re looking at January 2020 (for) that being ready. We’re looking how we can partner with the existing transportation system to provide service....”



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