The Asheville Daily Planet covered a recent meeting of the Council of Independent Business Owners. In one presentation, Asheville’s Assistant City Manager Cathy Ball fielded concerns about road damage from excessive rainfall. As usual, most of the problems pertained to state-maintained roads. Another complaint was lodged against stormwater fees. About 70 percent of revenues, it was claimed, go toward administration. Ball replied the administration is required by the federal government. In spite of demand for essential repairs, streetscaping is still budgeted.

In the second presentation, Assistant County Manager Mandy Stone spoke about the county’s $4.8 million Health and Human Services budget. 94% of the budget is controlled by state and federal mandates. Stone estimated only about 1% of the budget is discretionary. Buncombe County is way below the national average in food stamp consumption. The 40,000 recipients comprise only 16% of the population. Said Stone:

Most economists will tell you in the U.S. that a first indicator of economic stress is a jump in food stamp recipients.

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