Washtenaw County board of commissioners meeting (April 6, 2011): An initiative that’s providing refurbished computers to low-income residents won praise from county commissioners at their most recent meeting.
The board heard a report on the Digital Inclusion project, which was launched in 2008 to help address the county’s “digital divide” – the gap between people with computers and Internet access, and residents who lack those resources. Run by B.Side: The Business Side of Youth at Eastern Michigan University, the program uses old computers donated by the county government, and trains youth to refurbish them for re-use. To date, the program has distributed over 200 computers to low-income residents.
Also at their April 6 meeting, commissioners gave initial approval to a new fee structure for the county’s soil erosion control program. Proposed by the office of the water resources commissioner, the new fees – part of a broader ordinance overhaul – aim to recoup staff expenses associated with administering the program.
Commissioners also honored the county’s dispatch operators during Wednesday’s meeting. And as one of two appointments to county committees and boards, former county commissioner Ken Schwartz was re-appointed to a four-year term on the veterans affairs committee, which advises the county’s department of veteran services.
Several people spoke during public commentary – topics included criticism of the cost of public health inspections for small businesses, concerns over the results of an autopsy for a man who died after being Tasered last year, and denunciation of the University of Michigan’s relationship with China.