Showing posts from September, 2016

The Strange Case of the Slipping Bond Rating

City, Citizen-Times say it’s AAA; S&P, State Treasurer say no it’s not By Roger McCredie
On the surface it may sound like a small thing:  a discrepancy involving a single letter in the designation of Asheville’s creditworthiness.  
But the City of Asheville has been representing its Standard & Poor’s bond rating as one thing, while the state treasurer’s office and the city’s own internal documents show it as something else.
And with more than a hundred million dollars on the table in a politically-charged bond referendum set for November 8, the difference and its implications become pretty important.
The city’s website says, “Bonds are considered one of the safest municipal funding tools available. Because Asheville has an excellent credit rating (Standard & Poor's "AAA"), the City benefits from low interest on bond issues.”

Source: City of Asheville Website as of September 30, 2016 And as recently as July 18, the Asheville Citizen-Times reporter John Boyle wrote, “ I…

More money out of your pocket is "No big deal" #AVLNOGO

Between the City and the County, you will have less money next yeara pattern that will repeat each year thereafter. 
So, why vote to have even more taken out of your pocket, no matter how small? You can say NO byvoting against these three bond packages in November.No big deal says the City of Asheville

As the City works to sell the three bond packages totaling $74 million to the public, Council members got underway giving their own financial interpretation of how the bonds would impact property taxes. “This is not a big hit to do a lot of good,” says Cecil Bothwell.  He goes on to state, "“our taxes are an amazing bargain.”  In another article, Cecil speaks of it just being $20 a month ($240/year) but what Cecil fails to mention is that between the County and the City, taxpayers will actually be out twice that ($540) and up.
Local Media backs up the City

The Citizen-Times, always backing the City's position, further states "One thing that is not clear is how much the borrowin…

If Bonds pass, Asheville Taxpayers co-sign City Debt

Did you, the taxpayer in the City of Asheville, are going to be the co-signor of this $74 million debt if voters approve it in November?YEP - YOU, THE TAXPAYER are RESPONSIBLE. Not the City.  The City doesn't lose a thing.  These bonds are not backed by City Assets like property or buildings. You, the taxpayer, are held responsible.
In short, you are the co-signor of this bond debt.  If the City can't pay, the banks come to YOU by way of your property taxes.
How's that, you ask?
All of these general obligation bonds ($74 million total) are backed by property taxes of the City of Asheville property owners. This is because these are non-revenue bonds, meaning they are not backed by a revenue generating project. Sidewalks, greenways, parks and loans to private developers do not generate revenue. They are not backed by City assets either like buildings or City owned property.…

Asheville's $74 Million Bond Details Unreported

Get ready, the $74 million bond package WILL BE on the November ballot. We spoke to the assistant bond counsel at the State Treasurer's office who reviews these bond applications and they confirmed that next Tuesday, October 4th, the committee that reviews bond applications will be reviewing Asheville's applications along with 3 others across the state. The bond counsel also confirmed that they would be approving the application. So, next step: November Voting.
We also learned the following which have not been reported by the City or local media.  Details which you as taxpayers may want to know:
How Long Will We Be Paying?
Now this is a tricky question which the City has not clarified and our local media can't seem to either but we made a simple call to the LGC (NC State Treasurer's Office) who confirmed these details - it's public and all you have to do is ask. (NOTE: we also confirmed that they have received very few calls about this).
17 Years to Issue

The C…

Per Capita Debt Shenanigans: Numbers don't lie but politicians do

How Asheville's Bond Referendum really impacts taxpayers If voters approve the City's $74 million bond referendum.... There will be a 538% increase in Per Capita Debt since June 30, 2015Asheville will have the 5th highest Per Capita Debt of all cities in North Carolina with populations over 25,000Asheville Per Capita Debt will only be $103 less than Charlotte, which is in 4th place and $400 less than Raleigh which is #1 in Per Capita Debt.None of the above information has been reported by our local media. In fact, they write ad nauseum about where the money will go when really there is no guarantee or requirement by the City to stick to its stated plans as to which projects the money will be allocated. We did write that very little of it appears to be planned for South Asheville taxpayers who contribute a huge portion in taxes to City coffers. But who knows, maybe they'll change their mind.  Click here to read: Does anyone really know where the bond money will go? City works…

Asheville's New Per Capita Debt Infographic

Asheville's Per Capita Debt IF Bonds pass

Eeny Meeny Miny Moe.. Where will the bond money go?

NO ONE knows.  Not even the City of Asheville.
In the July 26, 2016 City Council meeting, "Ms. Whitehorn (City Finance Manager) said that "when we write the bond question, the question is written in such a way that it leaves the option open for Council to add or remove particular projects.""'s important we stick to that plan." Mayor Manheimer, knowing all eyes are on them, did warn "....there are expectations from the community..... Because we do have community trust that we will spend the money on what we say we will spend the money on, it's important that we stick to that plan."
Creative planning However, she also warned.... "There are other big ticket items not in this bond that will need some creative planning."   Hmmmm.  Whenever politicians talk about "creative planning" and money in the same sentence, you know it's going to be shady.
This is the problem with bond money. How money can be allocated CAN BE change…

“I think that I shall never see A greenway lovely as a tree”

IMPORTANT:  The City is busy decimating the trees along the French Broad River as we publish this article. Say goodbye to your lovely 100 year old trees before it's too late (like Monday). Read this article to learn why not having a Master Street Tree Plan is ruining your French Broad and scroll to the bottom to see the video coverage.
The city’ Master Street Tree Plan is supposed to regulate cutting.   Problem is, it doesn’t exist.  And here come the greenways. By Roger McCredie
"Cool, Green Asheville"

In the late 1970’s the Asheville Chamber of Commerce launched a promotion centered around the slogan “Cool, Green Asheville.”  Posters, billboards, buttons and bumper stickers, all saying “Cool, Green Asheville” in relaxing shades of green and blue, blossomed region-wide,  touting Asheville as a getaway haven, an oasis of peace, quiet and natural beauty in the frantic desert of  the daily national grind.

Asheville is a Tree City

And in 1980, in keeping with this positioning, As…