The squeaky wheel may be the one that gets the grease, but the Guilford County Board of Commissioners has been as quiet as a mouse when it comes to what the county, through official channels, is asking state legislators for in terms of favors, wishes, funding – you name it.
Every two years, the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) goes through a lengthy and involved process to put together its wish list, otherwise known as its “legislative goals.”
The NCACC collects proposals from counties across the state, hones that list down and ends up with the final legislative agenda approved at the NCACC Legislative Goals Conference – which this year will be held in Raleigh on Thursday, Jan 10 and Friday, Jan. 11.
All counties and all county officials have been encouraged to participate in the process. In past years, the Board of Commissioners has had a lot to say when it comes to those official requests that are ultimately printed up in brochure form and sent to every state legislator; however, this year there’s been complete radio silence from Guilford County.
Despite the Board of Commissioners’ silence, Guilford County will have some say in the 2019 legislative goals process. That’s because Guilford County Commissioner Kay Cashion was appointed to the NCACC Legislative Goals Committee.
Cashion said she wishes the Guilford County Board of Commissioners had been a more vocal participant in the process this time around.
“We have not been taking full-advantage of this opportunity to have a voice in the development of the goals,” Cashion wrote in an email this week. “However, I have been on the NCACC board.”
She added that she’s been a part of the discussions and the votes so far and will play a role in the final outcome.
Cashion said she believes the work at the state level is very important and she added that she wishes Guilford County commissioners were more active in the NCACC as a whole.
“We need more of our commissioners involved in the various state committees’ work,” Cashion wrote. “I keep trying to get various ones to do so because we do have talent to offer in leadership.”
Guilford County certainly wants state help on some projects. For instance, it has been seeking state funding for a proposed regional juvenile detention center that may be located in Guilford County, and the county is also seeking state funding for a giant new mental health services initiative.
Cashion said she’ll be advocating for those. She said no one knows at this point what will make it onto the final list.
“The Legislative Goals Committee has submitted to the NCACC Board of Directors our list for review and we will be working with the vetted list,” Cashion wrote, adding that the list will be pared down from its current form.
One reason the Republican-majority Guilford County Board of Commissioners may not be going through the NCACC is that they’ve had pretty good success in recent years talking with state legislators one on one. For instance, Commissioner Jeff Phillips has been talking with state legislators about getting some funding for the new mental health initiative Guilford County is undertaking and, at this point at least, prospects for some state help on that project look promising.