Commissioners resworn in, positions approved for new cycle

ASHEBORO — The Randolph County Board of Commissioners met Monday, where the board had select members resworn in and updates on various county projects were provided.

Commissioners Darrell Frye, David Allen, and Hope Haywood – all of whom won reelection back in November – were resworn into their positions. Following that, the board also voted to reappoint Frye as the chairman of the board and Allen as the vice chair.

Other positions that were voted in were the reappointment of Ben Morgan as the county attorney, Dana Crisco as clerk to the board, and Sarah Pack as deputy clerk to the board.

The other board representative positions were all reappointed en masse, the only difference being a change to the representative to the Animal Services Advisory Board. Both Frye and Allen served on it as a newly formed board, but moving forward, only Allen will continue those duties.

The board was then briefed on a potential partnership between the health department and Kintegra Family Dentistry.

“The health department has provided much-needed dental services for many, many years,” said Public Health Director Tara Aker. “Probably for the last six to eight years, though, we’ve had difficulty finding full-time dentists. There’s just not enough dentists to go around, and a public health department has a really hard time recruiting and retaining a dentist because we just can’t compete with a private practice.”

According to Aker, Randolph County has been unable to recruit and retain a dentist on staff and so to help meet demand, they have decided to partner with Kintegra Family Dentistry.

“Our plan is for Kintegra Family Dental, which is a part of a federally qualified health center, to come into our health department, and they will be taking over our dental clinic and providing staff and equipment to continue the services that are needed here in the county,” Aker said.

“The key is partnership,” said Kintegra Family Dentistry Chief Dental Officer Dr. William Donigan. “Kintegra is the largest federally qualified health center in the state of North Carolina. Our dental program last year saw 35,000 patient visits. Our school-based learning program is the largest in the state, and last year, with two mobile units, we saw over 6,000 children in the schools. We have seven fixed brick-and-mortar sites, and now we’ve added a third mobile dental unit. And we just purchased, for Randolph County, a three-chair mobile dentistry unit because we want to get into those schools where we can help reach them. The purpose of the whole partnership is to serve the people of Randolph County.”

According to Aker, the estimated go date for the restart of the county dental services with Kintegra is February 1.

The board was also given an update on the historic courthouse museum project.

As the design stage of the project started, the scope of it began to increase with a focus on the additions of improved accessibility in and out, improved egress from the building, replacement of outdated building systems, and addressing water intrusion in the basement, according to Hobbs Architects Principal and Architect Chevon Moore.

According to Moore, while the last estimate was $2.88 million, additions to the project and inflation have affected the price estimate, bringing the estimated total project cost up to $3.44 million. Moore also said that construction is projected to begin in early May, with a construction schedule of 12 months.

“This is not what we would say in any typical time,” Moore said. “We would think in a typical time, this would be more along the lines of nine months for this construction scope, but given the lead times for particular items, we would recommend assuming a 12-month schedule.”

The board also held the public hearings for the third set of fire district restructurings to remove the 15-cent tax cap from them.

“Many of our current fire protection tax districts still have a 15-cent cap,” said Associate County Attorney Aimee Scotton. “You have moved forward on eliminating that cap for several districts, and this is our third group. At your October meeting, you officially considered moving forward to abolish the currently capped county service districts for fire protection for Bennett, Seagrove, Southwest, and Ulah and replacing them with districts that do not have a cap on taxation. The proposed new service districts contain the exact same properties that are currently contained in the capped districts that they would be replacing.”

“This is not a tax increase. It simply gives the ability for these departments to ask for taxes in excess of 15 cents, but any request would still come before the board as they always do for any other manner.”

The board approved the restructuring of each of the four districts and the Building Reuse Grant for Mid-State Trailers.

“Mid-State Trailers was recently acquired back in the spring by ITZ, Inc., who will continue to do business as Mid-State Trailers,” said Economic Development Corporation Business Recruitment Director Crystal Gettys. “ITZ took over the manufacturing of trailers from Mid-State, and they will be adding their own Handy Ramp line to the production.”

“The company anticipates investing $527,829 in property and will be creating 19 new jobs paying an average wage of $46,967. This is well above our current average wage for Randolph County. The company is seeking and qualifies for a Reuse grant in the amount of $100,000. There is no anticipated match for Randolph County; however, the company investment certainly covers the traditional 5% that used to be required.”

Finally, the board approved the formation of an Executive Committee of Opioid Settlement Funding and appointed the Juvenile Day Reporting Center director, DSS director, Randolph County Emergency Management chief, the Adult Day Reporting Center director, Sandhills representative, Sheriff’s Office representative, assistant health director, and health director as voting members of the committee, with the county manager as an ex officio member.

The Randolph County Board of Commissioners will next meet January 2.

By Ryan Henkel, North State Journal