Age-Friendly Coordinator Billie Breeden with the Older Americans Month proclamation
The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners is moving forward with a moratorium on cryptocurrency mining. Commissioners approved the one-year ban after holding a public hearing during their meeting on 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. The temporary pause will help protect the public interest until regulations regarding cryptocurrency mining are adopted. The one-year ban is effective immediately through May 1, 2024. You can read the ordinance here.
In 2021, Buncombe County was a leader in honoring the Juneteenth holiday and set the County’s holiday for the Friday on or before June 19. Last year, the federal government made Juneteenth and official federal holiday. To keep services in sync with federal and city partners, Buncombe County will follow the lead of federal closures. Moving forward, the County will celebrate the Juneteenth holiday on June 19 unless that date falls on a weekend. In that case, the holiday will be celebrated on Monday (if the holiday falls on Sunday) or Friday (if the holiday falls on Saturday). This year, the County will celebrate Juneteenth on Monday, June 19. All administrative offices will be closed on that day. You can view a list of the upcoming years’ County holidays here.
Older Americans Month
May is Older Americans Month and the Commissioners approved a proclamation to recognize the month. It reads in parts: “Buncombe County is home to over 78,000 older Americans over the age of 60 who contribute their time, wisdom, and experience to our community benefiting the economic, social, and cultural well-being of the County.” You can read the entire proclamation here.
AAPI Heritage Month
May is also Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month and Commissioners are recognizing the month with a proclamation. It reads in part: “While the population of people who identify as Asian or Pacific Islander in Buncombe County is just shy of two percent, the artistic, culinary, and educational contributions are immeasurable. We are also aware of and deeply concerned about the dramatic increase in the violent and hateful crimes and incidents targeting AAPI communities.” You can read the entire proclamation here.
Third-quarter financial report
Staff provided Commissioners with an update on the third quarter of fiscal year 2023. Some highlights from the revenues and expenditures include:
- General Fund budgeted revenues are $408.9 million and actual revenues as of March 31 are $333.8 million or 81.6% of budgeted revenue and compared to last year at the same time, revenues are 5% above fiscal year 2022.
- General Fund budget expenditures are $408.9 million and actual expenditures as of March 31 are $275.4 million or 67.4% of budget and compared to the same time last year, expenditures are above fiscal year 2022 by 12.2%. At this point, all categories of expenditures are coming in under budget. There are no areas of concern regarding expenditures compared to budget.
Staff will continue to provide regular reports to the Commissioners. You can read the entire report here.
Open Space Bond conservation easement criteria
As work moves forward with using the $30 million Open Space Bond to help with recreation and conservation efforts, the Board discussed a set of criteria that will define how proposed areas will be evaluated for land conservation. The criteria was created by County staff with input from the Agriculture Advisory Board, Land Conservation Advisory Board, and the public. The evaluation method creates an overall score based on various factors such as:
- The size of the land
- Proximity to existing preserved land
- Scenic viewshed protection
- Farmland preservation
- Public benefit
With approval of the conservation easement criteria, staff and relevant boards will begin the process of evaluating projects to recommend for funding. You can read more here and keep up with the Open Space Bond process here.