Buncombe to consider donating old laptops

Residents in need could soon receive donated laptops that previously helped run county government if the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners approve a policy change at its meeting Feb. 20.

If passed, the county would send about 450-500 laptops it decommissions every year to Land of Sky Regional Council to distribute to households in need, according to a staff presentation.

Currently, the county gets between $17,000 and $23,000 per year by selling its laptops on GovDeals.com, said Tim Love, director of economic development and governmental relations for Buncombe County, at a commission meeting Feb. 6.

According to 2021 census data, more than 10% of Buncombe County residents do not have access to a computing device, Love said.

If approved, the resolution will direct staff to donate all surplus laptops to the Land of Sky organization for three calendar years, after which the county will check on the program’s effectiveness.

In other news

Commissioners will consider a staff request to allocate an additional $299,702 from the affordable housing general obligation bond to the Lakeshore Villas project facilitated by Mountain Housing Opportunities. The project is over budget in part because organizers are pushing to complete tree clearing on a tighter timeline in order to limit any potential harm to endangered bat species that are known to exist in the area. No bats or prospective bat habitat for hibernation have been located on the project’s property, according to Mountain Housing Opportunities.

Also, commissioners will consider a rezoning request to rezone a parcel near Warren Wilson College from R-2 residential to EMP employment, which will match the zoning for neighboring properties fronting Tunnel Road.

Consent agenda

The consent agenda for the meeting contains four items, which will be approved as a package unless singled out for separate discussion. Highlights include the following:

  • Approval of a $220,000 purchase of COVID-19 vaccines for public distribution. The federal government stopped providing free vaccines in September 2023. Projected cost of the vaccines has exceeded the county’s existing pharmaceutical budget. Buncombe County Health and Human Services will bill Medicare and private health insurance companies to cover the cost of the vaccines.
  • Budget transfer of $100,000 in unused funds from the homeowner grant assistance program, which is now closed, to cover a shortage of funds in the school nursing program.

The full agenda and supporting documents for the regular meeting can be found at this link. There will be a briefing meeting proceeding the regular meeting at 3 pm. The agenda was not posted as of press time.

In-person public comment will be taken at the start of the regular meeting, which begins at 5 p.m. in room 326 at 200 College St., Asheville; no voicemail or email comments will be permitted. Both the briefing and the regular meeting will be livestreamed on the county’s Facebook page and will subsequently be available via YouTube.


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