The Guilford County Board of Commissioners is having a summer unlike any other this century.
While, normally, July and August are very slow for the board, with little county business conducted, this year the board’s summer months have been filled to the brim with meetings, major decisions, work sessions, job interviews, loads of staff reports and other county concerns.
A strange confluence of events has come together to create circumstances that have required the board to meet on a wide variety of issues. Usually, once the Board of Commissioners adopts a new county budget in mid-June, the board – and county staff that supports the board’s actions – gets a long break and things really don’t heat up again until the first week of September.
In summer 2022, however, the board did a lot of hard work putting together a county budget and then kept right on going. Some unusual events that have come about are changes in top county positions, a $104 million federal grant in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds that the board is distributing, major projects in the cities and towns that need county input, and the recent revelation that school projects planned for the $300 million school bond that passed in 2020 will now cost 50 percent more.
One summer process that took a lot of time was filling the job of county attorney. The board spent a great deal of time interviewing a slew of candidates before reaching a decision.
At least in this century, no summer for the board has been this jammed packed. In June of 2021, the commissioners voted themselves a 50 percent pay raise, so maybe it’s Karma that the summer of 2022 be slammed with work for them.
For those concerned about the relaxation needs of the county’s top leaders, however, there’s likely no cause for concern: Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston, for instance, still gets to hit the links between meetings and Commissioner Justin Conrad’s summer Facebook postings continue to show him pulling giant fish out of the ocean at an alarming rate.
After the pandemic, attending meetings virtually has been much easier, and that’s one thing that has helped mitigate this current workload for the board.