The word “God” doesn’t come up much at Guilford County Board of Commissioners meetings after Guilford County Tax Director Ben Chavis, who’s also a certified minister, finishes his prayer to open the meetings.

However, the word will no doubt come up quite a bit at the board’s Thursday, Aug. 17 meeting, when the commissioners are expected to vote to put the phrase “In God We Trust” on 10 county buildings.

Republican Commissioner James Upchurch is bringing the move to the commissioners, who will discuss and vote on it at the board’s meeting this week.

Upchurch said the county owns about 100 buildings, and he knew it would be cost prohibitive to put the phrase on every one, so he decided on a list of 10 key ones.

“I knew I couldn’t get every county building,” he said.

The move, which is expected to be approved by the board, will cost about $40,000.

Upchurch said he thinks it’s important to make a statement about Guilford County’s values at this time when – both statewide and nationally – traditional values are under attack.

He said he was approached earlier this year by a citizen supporting the idea and said that discussion with fellow commissioners let him know that a majority of the board would likely back the move.  He added that he expects at least six commissioners to vote yes on the matter on Thursday.

Here are the 10 Guilford County buildings that will display the phrase:

  • Courthouse in Greensboro
  • Courthouse in High Point
  • County jail in Greensboro
  • County jail in High Point
  • Maple Street Human Services Building in Greensboro
  • Social Services Building in High Point
  • The Old Guilford County Court House
  • County health division building in High Point
  • Health department building on Wendover in Greensboro
  • The Guilford County Animal Shelter

Upchurch said the buildings were chosen largely for their prominence.  He said he knew it would be difficult to get the phrase put on, say, every county storage building and fire station, but that this was a good compromise.

“I decided to suggest 10 and I was willing to negotiate,” he said.

He added that, in the end, he didn’t have to reduce the number because there was little pushback from county staff and other commissioners at the $40,000 price point.