It’s not exactly the State of the Union address delivered each year by the president; however, the annual “State of the County” address acts as an important barometer each year that helps summarize where Guilford County government’s mindset is at the present time and what the coming year is expected to hold. On Thursday evening, April 18, Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Alan Branson will give the 2019 State of the County address and county officials say they’re expecting a big turnout for the event.
Branson will deliver the address at 5:30 p.m. on April 18 in the commissioners meeting room on the second floor of the Old Guilford County Court House. The speech, which will come immediately before the Board of Commissioners’ regular meeting, will also be televised on Spectrum cable network’s Channel 13.
Branson hasn’t disclosed what he’s going to say; however, he will no doubt review some of the county’s successes of the past year – such as the addition of new businesses and a solid amount of job creation in Guilford County – and he’ll also likely focus on some of the upcoming challenges. Perhaps the biggest challenge Guilford County currently faces is the fact that it has a lot of major capital expenditures on the slate for 2019 and 2020, with several new buildings on the way – including a new mental health facility, new animal shelter, new Sheriff’s Department headquarters and new Emergency Services vehicle maintenance facility.
Oh, and then there’s also the hundreds of millions of dollars said to be needed for school capital projects. The Guilford County Board of Commissioners, which hasn’t raised property taxes since 2012, is currently having a very hard time trying to come up with the money to pay for all that.
The tradition of an annual State of the County address began in 2017 when Commissioner Jeff Phillips, then chairman of the Board of Commissioners, delivered the county’s first ever such address.
Phillips also held a press conference immediately after his State of the County speech, but that apparently is a practice that’s now gone by the wayside.
Mecklenburg County has had a State of the County address for years, as has Wake County. The decision several years ago to start having a similar address in Guilford County seems to have been a part of an effort by county staff and commissioners to create a more professional and polished image of Guilford County government.
A press release from Guilford County sent out on Wednesday, April 17, stated that a large turnout is expected for the speech. It added that those who wish to attend should arrive at the courthouse between 4:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. since they need to allow time to pass through security.