The Guilford County commissioners have a lot of things on their plate that they want to ask the State of North Carolina for help with – and now they’re going to get the chance to make those asks while looking the state legislators straight in the eye.
Guilford County has just announced that the Board of Commissioners will meet with the local legislative delegation – that is, the group of state senators and representatives with constituents in Guilford County.
On Monday, March 18, the state legislators and the county commissioners will meet at 9 a.m. in the Blue Room – a first-floor meeting room in the Old Guilford County Court House in downtown Greensboro. At the meeting, the commissioners will get a chance to ask the delegation for project funding, the removal of unfunded mandates and anything else the county’s heart desires.
Guilford County Commissioner Jeff Phillips said the county is going to stay concentrated on the main needs from the state.
“We’re going to try to keep it simple and focus on a few key issues,” he said.
Phillips said the legislators are likely to already have a pretty good idea of what the county will ask for based on one on one meetings and on media reports.
One of the main requests Guilford County is expected to present to the group is one for as much funding as possible to help pay for a new mental health facility that’s estimated to cost about $20 million. The state may be willing to play a role in that project because Guilford County – along with Cone Health and Sandhills Center Inc.– is undertaking a massive transformation in the way mental health care is delivered in Guilford County – and the county’s new program may become a model for how health care is provided across the state.
The commissioners could also ask for help regarding a state law that’s about to require that the county purchase new voting machines at a cost of roughly $8 million even though the ones the county currently owns work fine.
Guilford County has also been in talks with the state about potential help funding an expansion of the Guilford County Juvenile Detention Center. There could possibly be state money for that project because the county could in turn hold delinquents that are the responsibility of the state.
The March 18 meeting comes on the heels of a Town Hall meeting that the local delegation held in Greensboro to hear requests from area citizens.
At that Town Hall meeting, state Senators Gladys Robinson, Michael Garrett and Jerry Tillman, and state Reps. Cecil Brockman, Ashton Clemmons, Amos Quick, Pricey Harrison and John Faircloth listened for two hours to the speakers, who each got three minutes to make their cases to the legislators. State Rep. Jon Hardister, and state Senator Rick Gunn, who also have constituents in Guilford County, were unable to attend that meeting.