Guilford County government has a lot of money these days – after the 2022 revaluation of property across the county gave the county more than $80 million in property tax money – but that doesn’t mean that county departments aren’t still facing challenges.
Recently, County Manager Mike Halford presented the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, in preparation for the upcoming fiscal 2023-2024 budget, with a list of those challenges.
Here are just some examples of the many issues that department directors are attempting to bring to the attention of the commissioners in hopes of getting them addressed in the next budget.
- Veteran’s Services. The department is seeing an increased caseload with over 500 clients helped in January 2023 alone. The department is also projecting an increasing case load later this year due to a collective action lawsuit regarding Camp LeJeune.
- Behavioral Health. There are currently no long-term shelters where the department can discharge clients. Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston has made this a priority this year.
- The Family Justice Center. The county department that handles domestic violence and child abuse cases in a one-stop fashion is seeing high staff turnover in its partner agencies – and Justice Center officials say that affects the quality of its services. The department also notes that “seasoned and credentialed therapists are difficult to recruit.”
- Juvenile Detention. The department is seeing older and more violent offenders who are getting more and more difficult to handle.
- Social Services. There’s a lack of mental health resources for the child population in Guilford County, and the department is seeing growing needs for the aging population as Baby Boomers get older.
- Public Health. The department is having trouble retaining staff and there are a lot of unknowns regarding the effect of Medicaid expansion in the state and how that will affect the department.
- Planning Department. The county is “infrastructurally constrained” because Guilford County doesn’t provide water and sewer services. Therefore, it needs to work with partners on development efforts.
Security Department. The staff states that it’s tools and equipment are outdated and need replacing.
Sheriff’s Department. Obtaining new vehicles is difficult and often requires a significant waiting period – and there’s also a national problem: Recruiting new officers is difficult because many people now have a negative view of law enforcement.
There were many other challenges listed as well including election security issues, cyberattacks for the Information Technology Department, and a very high number of abandoned animals after the pandemic for Animal Services.