Commissioners approve new departmental positions and reclassifications

ASHEBORO — The Randolph County Board of Commissioners met Tuesday, January 3, with a full agenda to kick off the new year.

The board was first presented with its annual audit report, which was conducted by Cherry Bekaert LLC.

“We issued what we call an unmodified opinion on your financial statements,” said April Adams, a partner at Cherry Bekaert LLP who oversaw the audit. “That is otherwise known as the clean opinion. That’s the opinion that you want. It’s the highest level of assurance that we can give you as an audit firm that your financial statements are free from material misstatements.”

Adams stated that the audit found no issues with any of the financials for the county, and the only thing they found was one non-material, noncompliance which was issued for the single audit for one of the 60 employees tested where there were inconsistencies with how they reported their time.

The board was also presented with an update on the Business Gym program they previously approved funding for.

“The Business Gym is basically a learning portal for anyone and everyone, and it’s free, and it’s on-demand training,” said Asheboro/Randolph Chamber of Commerce President Linda Brown. “Just the meat and potatoes, five to eight minute videos, quick, downloadable information packets that they can take, and the beauty of it is it is available 24/7, 365. It’s the same information every time, so it’s very consistent.”

The Business Gym’s purpose is to standardize and streamline the information given to businesses and to be easier to access to a wide array of people.

“We had a 62.5% increase in new business startups in Randolph County, and historically as much as 70% of those businesses will fail if they don’t have some sort of support or assistance. So, we had a two-fold problem, not just people trying to start new businesses, but people who had existing businesses that struggled through COVID and were trying to rebuild and become sustainable once again.”

The board also approved four funding requests, one for $152,265 for the Randolph Heritage Conservancy, Inc., to pay for an engineering study, an environmental study, and a rendering of what architects think the rebuilding outside of the Textile Museum would look like. In addition, the board also approved a $25,000 request for the Trinity Museum, $416,501 for the Sheriff’s Office to purchase nine new vehicles (three 2023 Chrysler 300 Touring and six 2023 Ford 150s), and $161,450 to Dbm Construction for the paving the parking lot of the Sheriff’s Office Fleet Maintenance Garage.

In order to keep funding from the Duke Endowment Grant for a school-based oral health program, the board approved subcontracting the grant to Kintegra Family Dentistry, with whom the board had previously approved entering into a partnership with to take over the county dentistry services. 

“In late 2020, early 2021, our public health dental clinic team applied for a Duke Endowment grant,” said Public Health Director Tara Aker. “The intent of that grant was to be used for us to implement a school-based oral health program to do preventive services on-site at schools. In the summer of 2021, the county was awarded that grant for $375,000, and the intent was for us to do it. But as you may recall, we entered into a partnership with Kintegra Family Dentistry to take over the dental services for the county since we were unsuccessful in finding a dentist. We want those funds to stay here and for Kintegra to assume those funds and implement that school-based oral health program.”

According to Aker, the Duke Endowment is aware and supportive of the plan for Kintegra to assume the funding.

The board approved a request by county staff to add a few departmental positions and reclassify some others.

“Our staff and employees are the ones that provide services that our citizens require more now than they ever have required from county government,” said County Manager Hal Johnson. “The whole role of county government, and in particular Randolph County government, has also been transformational in the last decade, and the citizens turn to the county for so many issues that they didn’t use to do in those earlier years, and this all falls back onto our employees.”

The request approves a $355,307 budget amendment to add 12 new positions and 12 position reclassifications to specific county employees.

Finally, the board approved two building reuse grants for Kraftsman Trailers and Mid-State Trailers, with $140,000 passing through the county for Kraftsman with 20 new jobs being required and $100,000 passing through for Mid-State with 19 new jobs being required, and approved an amendment to the I-74 Sewer Line grants to reflect a change in funding. 

The Randolph County Board of Commissioners will next meet February 6.

By Ryan Henkel, North State Journal