Guilford County Commissioners set eyes on big year for capital projects

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Guilford County Commissioners spent two days trying to make sense of where your dollars and cents should go this upcoming fiscal year.

"We have so much family violence going on," Commissioner Katie Cashion said. "And it's not only affecting current generations, but it's carrying residuals into future generations."

Cashion has been advocating for a family justice center in High Point for years and now she's finally about to see that vision become a reality. Friday, Commissioners approved expanding the current service to the courthouse in High Point, hoping it'll be ready to open at the end of summer.

"We are averaging 40 to 50 people going in every day," Cashion said, talking about the current center in downtown Greensboro.

The City of High Point has already approved $500,000 towards renovations. The county has already allocated more than $1.5 million for the project in previous budgets and bond money.

"This is going to be a one-stop center to solve a lot of family issues," Cashion said.

Your tax dollars are also going towards improving law enforcement facilities. $8.5 million will be used to make those spaces more efficient.

"We constantly look at space utilization with buildings within the county, trying to reduce that footprint," Commissioner Alan Perdue said.

Commissioners will need to look ahead to December 2019, when the age of juveniles in North Carolina changes from 16 to 18. That means the county will need more room and resources at the juvenile detention center.

"As that number changes, we have to be prepared to address that with additional beds and facilities and staff," Perdue said.

But commissioners are not just focusing on the facilities they have. They're shaping the vision of what they can build for people who desperately need it in our area.

"It affects all walks of life, all areas of our communities, so it's important to have services available and easily available," Perdue said.

Commissioners want to build a one-stop-shop mental health facility for opioid addiction, partnering with a local hospital.

"Well it's real," Perdue said. "People are dealing with real issues and they're struggling on where to get services. It's very limited in some aspects, depending on what your demographic background is on what services are provided."

In Guilford County, emergency services responded to 10 overdose deaths in January. Commissioners believe a treatment center would put much less stress on law enforcement and first responders dealing with the crisis.

Commissioners still need more than $31 million to fund all these projects completely, but they can figure out the details over the next couple of months during the budgeting process. They could tap into bond sales, or even one-time capital expenses. It's important to note that the board could also change the scope of the project, or slide back the start date to help in funding.