In any given year, Buncombe County’s Public Safety Communications answers upward of 200,000 calls at the 911 Call Center. During its meeting on April 4, the Board of Commissioners declared the week of April 9-15 as National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. The proclamation reads in part: “Public Safety Telecommunicators are the single, vital link for our police officers and firefighters by monitoring their activities by radio, providing them information, and ensuring their safety. Telecommunicators contribute substantially to the apprehension of criminals, suppression of fires, safety in our schools, and treatment of patients.”
Buncombe County applauds our Public Safety Telecommunicators and appreciates your dedication to helping keep our community safe. You can read the entire proclamation here. Want to join this critical team? Apply here.
National Public Health Week
April is also a time to honor the County’s Public Health staff with National Public Health week April 3-9. Buncombe County’s Public Health staff was crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic and offers a variety of important day-to-day services and resources such as clinical services, immunizations, and STI Testing. The Commissioners’ proclamation reads in part: “Public Health professionals help communities prevent, prepare for, mitigate, and recover from the impact of health threats including disease outbreaks (such as the COVID-19 pandemic), natural disasters, and disasters caused by human activity.”
The County is grateful for the hard work of our Public Health staff and the amazing work they do with a variety of important tasks from environmental health to immunizations. You can read the entire proclamation here.
Child Abuse Prevention Month
Finally, April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time when child welfare organizations across the nation highlight the importance of programs that put children and families first. This is an opportunity to reinforce the idea that all community members have a role in ensuring children have positive experiences and families have the resources they need when they need them, well before they are in crisis. The Commissioners’ proclamation reads in part: “All children deserve to have the safe, stable, nurturing homes and communities they need to foster their healthy growth and development. Communities that provide parents with the social support, knowledge of parenting and child development, and concrete resources they need to cope with stress and nurture their children help ensure all children grow to their full potential.” You can read the entire proclamation here.
North Carolina Child and Family Specialty Plan
Proposed state legislation could change how the North Carolina Department of Human Services operates some of its programs. The proposed law would mandate NCDHS to have a single statewide provider of the Child and Family Specialty Plan. County staff lists some of the potential benefits as:
- Plan is prevention focused
- Adults can receive treatment as well as children
- Parents whose children enter foster care can keep Medicaid eligibility and receive needed services to assist in reunification
- Children and DSS Directors (for foster children) can opt out of the plan if they prefer the
- Tailored Plan or Standard Plan
- Care managers will be available 24/7 to assist with child emergencies
- Care managers will assist with the transition out of foster care for youth
- Medication management is a core service
Commissioners approved writing a letter in support of the proposed law. You can read more here.
Moratorium on cryptocurrency mining
The Board of Commissioners is considering a moratorium on cryptocurrency mining and is scheduled to hold a public hearing about the issue on Tuesday, May 2. The County’s current ordinances do not define cryptocurrency mining as a specific use. Cryptocurrency mining operations can negatively affect surrounding neighborhoods due to excessive energy use, e-waste, pollution, and noise. A temporary pause in any such use would help protect the public interest until regulations regarding cryptocurrency mining are adopted. Commissioners approved holding a public hearing for a one-year moratorium on cryptocurrency mining. You can read more here.
Adoption of FY23 audit contract
North Carolina law requires local governments to have an annual independent financial audit. As a recipient of significant federal and state grant funding, Buncombe County must also be audited annually for compliance with certain grant guidelines and related regulations. External audit contracts are usually for terms of three to five years, and the County just completed its fifth year of engagement with its current auditor. In accordance with best practice and direction from the Audit Committee, County staff issued an RFP for independent audit services for an initial term of three years. Based on that recommendation, Commissioners approved awarding the FY23 audit contract to Mauldin & Jenkins for $185,000. The contract is initially for three years with an option to extend it for an additional two years. You can read more here.
Budget amendment for project closures
After the conclusion of the annual audit, Finance and Budget work together to close all projects that were completed as of the previous fiscal year. Commissioners approved closing out various projects from the following fund sources:
- School Capital Fund Commission Fund
- Grant Projects Fund
- Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College Capital Projects Fund
- Public Schools ADM Sales Tax & Lottery Capital Projects Fund
- Capital Projects Fund
- Solid Waste Capital Projects Fund
You can see the complete list of project closures here.