Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston contacted the Rhino Times on Thursday, April 21.
Alston stated that he was concerned that some senior citizens in the county had gotten the wrong impression from a story that ran one day earlier about the way county government was set to approve a move to shift money around from certain senior services to other senior services.
Alston said that commissioners had received some questions from older adults who were worried the move might mean a loss of services. However, Alston pointed out that that’s not the case. While the money is being shifted around based on needs and other considerations, Alston said he wanted to assure all older adults in the county who rely on these services that there would be absolutely no reduction of service to those who rely on these programs.
In a conference call with the Rhino Times, Guilford County Manager Mike Halford, Social Services Director Sharon Barlow and Clerk to the Board Robin Keller also made that point. Though the county is making some housekeeping budgetary changes, enough funding is preserved for all the services mentioned in the article – such as adult day care, transportation for seniors, in-home health offerings and other programs provided by the county and community partner organizations.
Barlow pointed out that Guilford County is actually putting more money into these services than initially planned because more funds have come in from other sources – and Guilford County is providing about $27,000 in additional matching funds that will go toward senior citizen care.
The changes in funding allocations are essentially taking money from places where it was overbudgeted at the start of the budget year in June and putting it to work where it’s needed.
For instance, due to the pandemic, the money the county had budgeted last June for transportation services for the elderly was not needed to the extent predicted. So now the county can shift those funds and put them toward other senior programs.
Halford also explained that the changes will help assure full funding for these types of services in future years because, this way, all the money will get spent.
Halford pointed out that the county commissioners are merely approving changes brought to the board by the Piedmont Triad Regional Council and a local commission on aging.
Halford stated that these types of tweaks in the budget are made frequently during the year for every county department since, as the fiscal year proceeds, county officials learn more about the actual real-world needs compared with the predicted needs they planned for at the start of the budget year.