Guilford County Manager Mike Halford is pretty new to that job – he just started at the first of the year – but, already, Halford has made the rounds to many towns, cities and nooks and crannies in Guilford County like no other county manager this century.
Since Halford served for years as Guilford County’s budget director, he already had some familiarity with many of the leaders of the local governments in the county. However, as county manager, Halford has been taking that cooperation effort to a new level.
These days, just about every time Halford addresses the county commissioners, he has several new visits to area local governments to report.
At the most recent Guilford County Board of Commissioners meeting, Halford announced that he, and brand new assistant Guilford County Manager Jason Jones, visited High Point and met with leaders there.
“We were seeing some of the work going on in High Point and talking about various additional cooperation between the city and county,” Halford said.
He’d also just been to Pleasant Garden to meet with town officials and see what was going on there. Though Pleasant Garden is a town in Guilford County, in the past the communication between the county and that town hasn’t – publicly, at least – been as pronounced as it has been with some other towns.
Halford said those discussions hit on, among other things, possible expanded recreational opportunities in Pleasant Garden.
Halford and Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston have both been communicating in other ways with the towns and cities as well. Prior to this year, it had been nearly two decades since anything resembling a meeting between the county and mayors of all the municipalities in the county had taken place – but, so far in 2021, there have already been two countywide meetings – one public and one private.
Halford is also taking input from the towns and cities in response to county inquiries as to projects that the towns want to see implemented – in large part with a mass of funding that is flowing into Guilford County and its cities and towns in federal COVID-19 relief money.
The large influx of federal money is just one reason for the instant increase in communication between the county and the municipalities.
Another is the brand new “One Guilford” effort being implemented by Alston, who said earlier this year that he’s attempting to get the county and its municipalities to be more unified.
In the past, Alston said, all of Guilford County’s local governments have pretty much been doing their own thing, but it makes sense, he added, to cooperate more now, when spending the millions and millions coming in from the federal government.