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 The staff states that it’s tools and equipment are outdated and need replacing.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.
Nothing Skip can’t solve and he has the money to waste trying to accomplish something besides his own pat on the back.
With very little exception all of this has trickled down from Biden’s administration.
Let’s not forget about the aged who are consistently neglected by every department and commissioner in Guilford County. They’re the most vulnerable yet most neglected of group.
I have my own list of suggestions…….
“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.”
Guilford County once had their own mental health department, which included a lot of services, counseling, etc. So what happened? It was decided by the board (in the late 1990s & early 2000’s) to outsource the operation to a public/private entity headquartered in Sanford, NC and all the employees were terminated or transferred to other jobs in the county if qualified. Billy Martin Pierce was the director, and am sure she could provide a “much different” picture of why there are no mental health services in Greensboro (Guilford County), if anyone wanted to investigate.
Headquartered in West End, NC. Sanford is a booming metropolis compared to West End.
What does “… county is “infrastructurally constrained” ” even mean? People live in the County because they don’t want to pay for city services. We like having our own wells and septic tanks, we prefer not being surrounded by shopping centers and fast food joints. The County only wants a bigger tax base brought by more business development, but we prefer more open space and the rural development that’s been here for generations. Leave us alone.
Right! Leave us the F alone.
In the words of Jefferson Davis, “We just want to be let alone.” How did that work out? Government will not allow people to be left alone. Look at the elected politicians. It would be difficult to find one politician who ran for political office merely to serve…except to serve themselves or a special group.