Commissioners honor Dogwood Award recipients, certify bond referendum results

Press release from Buncombe County:

Buncombe County Commissioners kicked off their Dec. 5 meeting by honoring two Dogwood Award recipients. County employee Sarah Gayton is getting statewide recognition for her exemplary efforts combatting the opioid crisis. Gayton, who works with the Sheriff’s Office, is a recipient of a 2022 Dogwood Award, which recognize North Carolinians who help make their communities safer, stronger, and healthier. Also earning a Dogwood Award is Maia Hughes with Sunrise Community for Recovery and Wellness. Buncombe County applauds both of their efforts in fighting the ongoing opioid epidemic.

Transportation grant

Commissioners are moving ahead with the process of applying for nearly $2 million in federal and state grants to help with transportation issues across Buncombe County. The grant money would be for fiscal year 2024 (starting July 1, 2023). If awarded, it would allow the County to purchase multiple, specialized vehicles and replace the camera systems for more than 40 vehicles. The County would also need to provide $208,889 in matching funds. You can read more about the transportation grant here.

Resolution on the bond referendums

Earlier this year, voters approved a $30 million bond for open space and a $40 million bond for housing. For the open space bond, 79,365 people voted yes and 35,859 voted no. For the housing bond, 71,373 people voted yes and 43,909 voted no. By state law, Commissioners have to certify those election results to move forward with the bond process, which they did unanimously. Learn more about both bonds here.

Commissioners tap Vice Chair

Commissioners unanimously voted to appoint Commissioner Terri Wells as Vice Chair. Each year, Commissioners rotate who holds the position that fills in should the Chair not be available.

Fiscal year-end 2022 audit

The County’s audit firm presented Commissioners with a yearend audit for fiscal year 2022 (ending June 30, 2022). The report states there are no major findings with the County’s finances and financial processes, and Commissioners unanimously approved its findings. You can read more about the yearend audit here.

Budget amendment for COVID-19 vaccine program

North Carolina is providing $309,269 for the County’s continued efforts to vaccinate people against COVID-19. The money is being used to specifically reach out to populations disproportionately affected by the disease with mobile outreach operations. Funding will also be used for contract nurse vaccination staff, medical supplies, vaccination marketing, and more. You can read the amendment ordinance here.

Budget amendment for Safer Together grant extension

A program aimed at providing assistance for people who have recently overdosed is getting a grant extension. The Safer Together Grant will extend the County an additional $456,100 for the Post-Overdose Response Team, which offers counseling, treatment, and more to people who overdosed in the past 24-72 hours. Commissioners unanimously approved accepting the extension, you can read the amendment here.

Budget amendment for local assistance and tribal consistency

Federal funding will help with a project that gives equity more visibility. The US Department of the Treasury is providing $153,348 from its Local Assistance and Tribal Consistency Fund (LATCF) over the course of two payments. The County is using some of the funding for its Equity Mural Project, which will allow artists to give their take on racial equity, reconciliation, and restoration through their art. Additional funding may be used for other public art funding. You can read the amendment ordinance here.

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