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City council sends $74 million bond referendums to voters in November

Asheville City Council holds a meeting on August 9, 2016. City council voted to put $74 million worth of bonds on the November ballot at Tuesday's meeting. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Asheville City Council voted to put $74 million worth of bonds on the November ballot.

City council approved three referendums unanimously at Tuesday's meeting. The bonds will be used for transportation, parks and rec, and housing.

Only a few people gave city council their opinions. Councilman Cecil Bothwell said the point is for voters to debate the issue through Election Day.

"The question of whether you support it tonight, or not is not the question," Bothwell said. "The question is can we have a discussion about this going forward."

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A couple people expressed concerns about taxes going up if the bonds were approved.

"You people don't know anything about budgets. I'm sorry. You need some business people to advise you, to tell you the truth, tell you the numbers. Like I said, they don't lie. Only politicians lie," Asheville developer Chris Peterson said.

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At most, the city could raise property taxes $110 a year for a home valued at $275,000.

"If we see growth in revenues, or in property values, it may not be necessary to raise taxes," Mayor Esther Manheimer said.

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Greg Borom from Children First said a $25 million bond dedicated to housing would help the city.

"We're very encouraged and pleased by your continued focus on trying to make housing affordable to more families," Borom said.

City council had previously debated the bonds. Tuesday night they passed them without much discussion.

"What these bond questions allow is for the people of Asheville to decide whether to accelerate towards those aspirations they've communicated to us," City Council Member Gordon Smith said.

Click here to see what the bond question will look like on the November ballot.

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