by Leslee Kulba
Wild West blogger
Longtime Buncombe County Chair David Gantt is not seeking re-election. Gantt is a personable fellow who believes in what he does. I’m only recalling three times now over the years when he acted like a politician at a meeting I attended. On the downside, the following are ten great county accomplishments he listed in a press release about his tenure:
- Enactment of a model steep slope ordinance that protects the county’s mountaintops, including a zoning overlay to preserve the Blue Ridge Parkway, a Dark Skies lighting ordinance, cell tower ordinance, and measures to address water runoff and erosion control.
- Construction of 11 new schools and dozens of major renovations of school facilities in Buncombe County, City of Asheville and AB Tech totaling over $250 million.
- Partnership with other groups to preserve and permanently protect over 6,000 acres of Buncombe County farmland, ridge tops and special places.
- Partnership with WNCCHS to provide expanded access for indigent care for county residents at no cost to them – BuncombeCare for over 20 years.
- Creation of a landfill that may become the first perpetual facility in the U.S.
- Construction of a new $25 million, LEED-certified County Courthouse after decades of need.
- Accomplishment of a AAA bond rating for Buncombe County that allows efficient financing options to enable lower borrowing rates.
- Creation of new businesses and over 6,000 new jobs through a strong economic incentive program. Today, Buncombe County has one of the lowest unemployment rates in NC.
- Establishment of countywide zoning and planning ordinances that began and maintain the practice of sustainable growth.
- Creation of greenways, pools, libraries and community centers in each part of the county. County investments in new construction, renovations and infrastructure additions total over $693 million.