Guilford County already has about 2,500 staff positions and, if Guilford County Manager Mike Halford has his way, that number will grow in the fiscal 2021-2022 county budget.
Halford recently offered his proposed budget to the Guilford County Board of Commissioners – which will make the ultimate decision on the final budget. The manager’s recommended budget includes adding nine new positions to the county’s payroll and helping Guilford County Schools increase the number of nurses in schools.
Halford’s budget recommendation includes a new Human Resources position to assist departments “in talent acquisition and retention,” as well as a “grants and management analyst” – which will hopefully bring in more money than the position costs.
Halford’s budget proposal also adds a deputy register of deeds position to help meet increased demand for land and vital records filings and requests, a Veterans’ Services administrative assistant to help out veterans who seek support services from that office, a new building inspector to reduce delays on inspections, and four new Adult Services social worker positions to handle increased applications for social services benefits.
The nine Guilford County commissioners are expected to adopt a final county budget in late June.
According to Halford’s analysis, the cost of the new positions will partially be offset by revenue. The net cost for the nine positions comes to just over $300,000 a year. That’s a $565,000 total cost minus $262,000 in revenue the county expects to generate from the additions.
Guilford County Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen’s office brings in a good deal of revenue from fees and Thigpen said this week that adding the requested position for his office would be a big help.
“It’s due to the volume of electronic land transactions going up,” Thigpen said, “as well as to supplement the operation of a walk-in passport office that nets out around $150,000 to the county after expenses.”
Thigpen said the money to pay for the position would come from a land transactions fund in the budget.
The county commissioners have had a lot of discussions in recent months regarding what to do about school nurse funding. However, they haven’t come to any agreement.
Halford’s recommended budget reflects a partnership between Guilford County Schools and Guilford County government with a hope to add 40 school nurses. The decision may hinge on federal money. County officials expect to see some funding to cover those from the “Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund” to pay for perhaps 40 school nurses over the next several years. That’s one of many programs enacted over the last year and half to help address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Halford’s budget message states that the county will partner with the school system to coordinate arrangements for the new nursing resources.
Here’s the catch: the federal money for school nurses will “not be available indefinitely” and, after those federal funds are exhausted, Guilford County and the school system will be on the hook for the annual cost if the nurses are to continue serving the kids in those schools.