ASHEBORO — Advertising of construction bids for the county’s Northgate Plaza renovation project have been authorized by the Randolph County Board of Commissioners.
The project will provide new homes for the Board of Elections, Adult Day Reporting Center, and Probation and Parole. Smith Sinnett Architecture completed the designs for the new office complexes and prepared bid documents. The commissioners gave the authorization for advertising at their Nov. 5 meeting.
Robert Carmac of Smith Sinnett told the board that hopes are to award a bid on Dec. 3, with construction to start in January. Completion of the Board of Elections portion is scheduled for October of next year and the remainder in December.
Carmac provided designs of the project, which includes a park-like area with a covered plaza in front of the Board of Elections. He said voters will have the option of drive-thru voting near the front door and some of the commissioners asked about including a canopy over the drive-thru. Carmac said he would do an add-on with the plans.
Another item on the agenda concerned the relocation of the Randolph County Economic Development Authority (EDC) to the former First Bank office at 176 N. Fayetteville St., Asheboro. County Manager Hal Johnson said the EDC only needs about one-third of the space and recommended that the remainder of the building be used “to host some of the activities related to the newly-established Randolph County Corporate-Municipal Wellness Coalition. This very successful coalition is coordinated by the Department of Public Health and the county wellness administrator.
“This would be an excellent opportunity to provide additional support to the EDC’s efforts to provide assistance to existing Randolph County industry and business,” Johnson said.
“… If Randolph County is known as a healthy county, that becomes a positive thing for economic development recruitment. If our county is known as a county that thinks about the health of our workforce, then it is a positive for both new and existing industries.”
Relevant to the former First Bank building was a request by the State Employees Credit Union (SECU) to lease an existing ATM site on the property. SECU had offered to pay the county $200 per month under a lease agreement to use that site for their own ATM. The commissioners approved the request unanimously.
In other business, the commissioners:
* Received an update from Veterans Service Officer Chad Gurley.
He said Randolph County’s veteran population has grown from 9,522 in 2016 to 15,014 this year. Gurley concluded that veterans are moving here from northern states because of a lower cost of living.
Veterans Services, he said, is helping veterans with assistance through cooperation with the Goodwill Career Center for jobs, Volunteers of American and Housing Coalition for housing assistance, Operation Home Front for food assistance, and the Randolph County Veterans Council and NC Heroes Fund for emergency grants.
Gurley said the Veterans Council and Wayne Thomas Chevrolet have held fundraising efforts the past few years to help veterans in need. Between 2015 and the present, 81 grants totaling $49,500 have been approved. In addition, the NC Heroes Fund has provided $9,958 in aid for 20 applications, and Operation Home Front has given $5,000 in gift cards for 30 applications.
The Goodwill Career Center, Gurley said, has teamed up with Veterans Services to refer 25 veterans for job assistance and/or training. On Nov. 13, there will be a veterans resource day at Randolph Community College from 3-5 p.m. to honor veterans and inform them of what’s available for them.
Veterans Services averages 400 walk-ins per month, according to Gurley, 450 telephone requests, 40 requests for burials with military honors, 150 compensation claims filed, 225 pension claims filed and 100 VA insurance elections. The office has sought $452,941.56 in retroactive benefits.
* Approved the purchase of patient stretchers by Emergency Services.
Donovan Davis, chief of Emergency Services, said the purchase was necessary due to normal wear and tear as well as federal safety changes for stretcher mounting systems. He said the current mounting systems don’t meet new federal requirements.
Davis said two quotes were received from companies who offer the stretchers and mounts. Stryker Corporation’s quote was $323,850 with three-year financing at 0 percent interest at $107,950 per year. Ferno-Washington’s quote was $317,174.43 with three-year financing at 0 percent interest at $113,035.62 per year.
Davis said his staff liked the Ferno-Washington stretchers better for a number of reasons and he recommended that company. He said the first-year funds were available in his budget.
* Honored a request by Apprenticeship Randolph to proclaim the second full week of November each year as Apprenticeship Randolph Week in Randolph County.
Apprenticeship Randolph is a partnership between industry, the Asheboro-Randolph Chamber of Commerce, Randolph Community College, Asheboro City Schools and the Randolph County School System to promote high-wage, in-demand career opportunities for students while supporting industries with trained employees.
* Voted to adopt the present use schedule of values, standards and rules to be used in the 2019 county reappraisal and to adopt the true (market) value schedule of values, standards and rules for reappraisal.
* Agreed to the repeal of the Library Board of Trustees bylaws and adoption of new bylaws.
Ross Holt, director of the Randolph County Public Library system, said the current bylaws were out of date.
* Set dates for three meetings, including a special joint meeting with the Randolph County Board of Education for Jan. 14, the annual commissioners planning retreat for Feb. 19 and a special joint meeting with the Asheboro City Board of Education for Feb. 21.
* Held special recognitions for:
— Erin Wills, the youth delegate at the N.C. Association of County Commissioners conference.
— A World War I memorial plaque to honor men from Randolph County who died in the war.
— The Randolph County Mayors Committee for Disabled Persons Employee of the Year (Lindsey Pizzola) and Employer of the Year (The Preppy Possum).
— County employees who had earned service awards for years completed.