September 28, 2016:The State of the City & County

The year 2016 brought new challenges for government at all levels — including Asheville and Buncombe County.  The city is experiencing a major downtown development boom while trying to balance growth with the desire to preserve Asheville’s unique character.  Now, residents are being asked to approve a $74 million dollar bond issue to help implement that effort.

Meantime, the county is working to attract new industry, enhance funding for education and create more jobs, while holding the line on property taxes.

At Leadership Asheville Forum’s September 28th  luncheon event, outgoing County Board Chairman David Gantt and Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer will discuss the issues they believe will take priority in the coming year.

After seven years  as Chairman of the Buncombe County Board of commissioners, David Gantt announced that he will not seek reelection this year.  First elected to the Buncombe County board in 1996, David served as a commissioner until 2008, when he was first elected chairman.  He has been widely praised for his performance in office. In announcing his decision not to run again, David said he wants to devote more time to his family and his law practice.



Esther Manheimer won the mayor’s seat decisively three years ago. But her first years in office produced a number of challenges. Among them, the departure of the police chief, and controversies over a long list of issues, including a surge in downtown hotel construction, a shortage of affordable housing and disagreement over what to do with the vacant lot facing St. Lawrence Basilica.  Ms. Manheimer and her husband, Mark Harris, have three sons.  She is also an attorney with the Van Winkle law firm, specializing in civil litigation.