Like many people do in their own lives each year about this time, the Guilford County commissioners look back at their accomplishments during the year.
At a Monday, Dec. 5 meeting when newly elected and reelected commissioners were sworn in, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston – who’ll hold that title for another 12 months – summed up the extremely eventful year of 2022 when it came to the board’s actions.
At the meeting, he said he was thrilled that fellow commissioners had voted for him to be chairman again and stated that he wanted to take some time to recap some things that the Board of Commissioners had accomplished.
“As you can recall, last December we were still challenged with high community COVID transmission rates,” he said.
The board, he noted, took action with mask mandates and mass vaccination programs to bring that threat down.
He said 2022 was a year when the county moved from emergency actions meant to ensure community safety to beginning the recovery phase.
In 2022, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners allocated over $104 million in American Rescue Plan money to, Alston said, “support sustainable long-term community improvements.”
“We spent the better part of the year working through proposals submitted by our citizens,” the chairman said.
“I want to point out also that we were recognized nationally by the US Treasury Department for our plan and our communication efforts,” he added.
Alston thanked fellow commissioners, county staff and the citizens who took their time to provide input as to how the funds should be spent.
Now, Alston said, the important thing is to work with community partners to see those funded projects successfully completed over the next few years.
Other board accomplishments included approving money for animal shelter needs, food security initiatives and EMT training programs meant “to ensure a stronger pipeline of essential workers.”
Like many local governments and private companies, Guilford County government has been experiencing a huge problem with vacancies.
Alston also spoke on the county’s dedication to workforce development efforts in light of Toyota and Boom Supersonic coming to the area, as well as multiple business expansions in High Point.
Then he brought up the crown jewel of the board’s accomplishments in 2022: “committing ourselves to funding our school infrastructure needs.”
“This board supported successfully a $1.7 billion bond package,’ Alston said proudly, “the largest bond for education ever passed in the state of North Carolina.
“It will propel our schools into 21st-century learning,” he said.
The board also increased county employee pay and benefits in 2022, and Alston said those employees “have shown over and over again during the pandemic what quality public servants we have in Guilford County.”
He said that working as “One Guilford County” – a consistent theme of Alston’s over the last two years – a great deal had been accomplished in 2022.
“But we still have a long way to go,” he added before asking for a round of applause for county staff.