Category: Finance


636253019957898821-ashbrd-01-24-2017-act-1-a005-2017-01-23-img-embassy-suites.jpg-1-1-lih525cq-l960998779-img-embassy-suites.jpg-1-1-lih525cq(Asheville Citizen-Times)  The city and a Raleigh development company spent nearly half a million dollars in a legal fight over the construction of a downtown hotel, according city records and the company, Parks Hospitality Group. The city ultimately lost the battle to stop the construction of the Embassy Suites at 192 Haywood St., with the NC Supreme Court ruling April 3 that PHG had the right to a building permit.

A public records request by PHG confirmed by the Citizen Times showed the city spent $212,925 from August 2018 to April 6 of this year. Most of the money went to Poyner Spruill, a law firm with offices in Charlotte, Raleigh, Rocky Mount and Southern Pines. A small portion, $7,515, went to expenses such as filing fees and legal research, city staff said.

PHG President Shaunak Patel said his company spent $245,000.  In statements on April 3 and May 11 Patel called the fight a waste of private and public funds. He attacked Mayor Esther Manheimer, saying it was she who “misled” the City Council into appealing the case and to decline a $4.1 million settlement offer.

Manheimer on May 11 said the council understood there would be a cost. Money spent on the city’s legal fees would have been enough to cover pay and benefits of three new police officers.

Read the full article HERE>

7a7dbf3c-5313-4863-8c7e-49c70d50b007-downtown_coronavirus_006(Asheville Citizen-Times)  A bill to redirect $5 million in Buncombe County hotel taxes to aid local tourism-related businesses has been signed by Gov. Roy Cooper as part of a larger coronavirus relief package.

Buncombe County Tourism Jobs Recovery Act sponsor NC Sen. Chuck Edwards, R-Flat Rock, said grants of up to $50,000 given to eligible small businesses and nonprofits will help them restart once the recovery begins, “in turn providing jobs and allowing workers to return to the workforce.”

Even before the economic shutdown the hotel tax had been the subject of a heated debate with critics saying the millions of dollars used for boosting tourism should be redirected to services for locals. The hotel tax-controlling body, the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority, has defended the expenditures saying economic benefits ripple throughout the region.

Read the full details about the program in the article HERE>

folwell-dmid1-5bbxnt27c-640x360-1Matt plans to ask our State Treasurer about:
– the impact of the lock-downs on the state economy
– how lost tax revenue will impact budgets and operations for local governments
– the State Health Plan’s current effort to get corrections officials across the state tested for COVID-19,
– how well the state pension plan investment portfolio is doing.

florence-95closed-1024x683-1(Carolina Journal)  The N.C. Department of Transportation overspent its budget by $742 million last year, a new state audit report shows.

The DOT is in hot water over poor money management, which, in 2019, sent its bank accounts plummeting close to a legally required cash floor. The department planned to spend $5.94 billion last year, but exceeded that amount by more than 12%, says a May report from State Auditor Beth Wood. Transportation officials overspent because they didn’t base their budget on actual cost estimates for projects. The department also failed to monitor or enforce its spending plan at DOT’s 14 highway divisions.

Operations and maintenance make up the largest part of that $742 million overspend, costing the department an extra $578 million. Construction projects cost DOT $124 million more than planned. Two miscellaneous categories make up the remaining $108 million.

Review the full feature HERE>