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Buncombe County Announces 2011-2012 Budget



Highlights of the 2011-12 Buncombe County budget adopted 5-0 by county commissioners Tuesday:
Property tax rate: Unchanged at 52.5 cents per $100 valuation.
General fund total: $257.5 million, up 1.8 percent from a year ago.

Biggest expenditures:
• $76.4 million will go to human services, which includes the county Department of Social Services and Health Department, up 2.2 percent.
• Education — primarily county and city schools — will get $73.5 million, up 4.9 percent.
• Spending on public safety will be $50.4 million, up 4.9 percent.

Employees: The number of jobs in county government would drop by 93 by 1,421. Many of those jobs will now be performed by contractors and all but five of the workers affected have either found other jobs with private entities the county is contracting with or are retiring, County Manager Wanda Greene said. Employees are not scheduled to get raises.

How it balances: The county will take $7.7 million from savings. Property tax revenues are expected to increase only slightly, by 0.4 percent, and sales tax revenue is supposed to rise 0.9 percent. Transfers from other county funds will increase $3.2 million.

Privatization: Several county programs will be shifted to nonprofits or private companies, including Mountain Mobility, the county’s bus service for the elderly, disabled and others.
Fees: The budget raises fees on several services or permits provided to developers or builders by the county Planning Department. Some have not changed since the 1990s, Greene said.

Effective date: July 1.


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