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Breaking down the recommended Buncombe County FY25 budget

Before the final public hearing next week, take a close look at where county funds will be going next fiscal year.

A skyline view of Asheville with a pink hue

The new fiscal year is coming up quick.

Last week, Buncombe County Manager Avril Pinder presented the recommended fiscal year (FY) 2025 budget to the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. Before the board makes its final budget vote on Tuesday, June 18, there will be a public hearing on Tuesday, June 4.

Since (1) public means you and (2) we love a good deep dive into civic reports, let’s take a look at where those recommended funds are going.

Note: The 2025 fiscal year begins on Monday, July 1 and runs through Monday, June 30, 2025.

A few quick facts to get us started:

  • The recommended budget across all annual funds is $628 million, and the General Fund is $441.9 million.
  • The total budget is broken into different types of funds, like transportation or insurance, because some activities have to be separated due to regulations (the General Fund covers most county activities).
  • The budget recommends a 52.35-cent property tax rate — an increase of 2.55 cents from the current rate, with 1.8 cents for county operations and .75 cents for public schools.
  • The cost of living adjustment for county employees is 4.89%.

The $441.9 million in expenditures is divided into eight functions, with education, human services, and public safety allotted the largest percentages.

Buncombe County FY25 budget broken down by function

Education takes the top budget spot.

Chart via Buncombe County

Here are just a few of the investments on the proposed books:

Education ($126.2 million)

  • $98.9 million for Buncombe County Schools and $18.3 million for Asheville City Schools
  • $3.9 million for early childhood education programs
  • $4.1 million for solar on public buildings + schools
  • Proposed budgeting is increased $4 million from FY 2024.

Human services ($96.7 million)

  • One new position to assist with managing Medicaid expansion
  • $3.3 million in behavioral health investments through opioid settlement funding
  • Proposed budgeting is increased $400,000 from FY 2024.

Public safety ($95.3 million)

  • Eight new paramedic positions
  • $14.4 million for capital projects for EMS bases and detention center infrastructure
  • Proposed budgeting is increased $4.8 million from FY 2024.

General government ($69 million)

  • $520,000 for community reparations
  • $426,000 for charging infrastructure for electric vehicles
  • New positions in maintenance + repair, human resources, and IT
  • An additional $308,000 for election services
  • Proposed budgeting is decreased $3.2 million from FY 2024.

Cultural and recreational ($11.3 million)

  • $450,000 grant match for phase two of the Enka Recreation Destination
  • One new position to support the library staffing plan
  • Proposed budgeting is increased $400,000 from FY 2024.

Economic and physical development ($9.7 million)

  • New positions for code enforcement, permit + inspection administration, and business property appraisal
  • $2.6 million for economic development incentive programs
  • Proposed budgeting is decreased $800,000 from FY 2024.

The eight functions also include $21.7 million for debt services and $12.1 million for other financing sources.

Buncombe County FY25 budget broken down by strategic plan focus area

The budget takes into account the 2030 Strategic Plan.

Chart via Buncombe County

If you’ve been doing the math as you read, you’ll know these investments are only the beginning. County Manager Pinder’s presentation gives a high-level overview, and the county’s budget explorer dashboard gives a detailed look.

Once you crunch the numbers, join the public hearing at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 4 at 200 College St. to share your thoughts on the proposed budget.

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