03/16/09 — County asked to fund program

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County asked to fund program

By Steve Herring
Published in News on March 16, 2009 1:46 PM

Wayne County commissioners Tuesday are expected to be asked to find $121,255 in local dollars to continue a state-funded program that this past year saved the county some $1.2 million, but is now facing the state's budget ax.

The county has learned that the Criminal Justice Partnership Program is among state programs whose funding might be eliminated as Gov. Beverly Perdue looks for ways to fill a $2 billion budget shortfall.

The cut would jeopardize the county Day Reporting Center program that is designed to reduce the cost of operating the jail by placing defendants on programs such as electronic monitoring.

Commissioners will meet at 9 a.m. in their meeting room on the fourth floor of the courthouse annex. A briefing session to review the agenda gets under way at 8 a.m.

The state's $121,225 is used for contractual services, operating costs and a portion of the director and administrative assistant's salary. Currently, the county provides $24,301, which covered the remaining part of salary and retirement.

The county pays all costs related to the Day Reporting Center up front and is then reimbursed by the state.

Center Director Theresa Barratt, in a written appeal to the board, said the program had saved the county just over $1.2 million based on incarceration costs and an additional $27,090 in jail fees.

People in the program are able to remain at work and those without jobs are required to perform volunteer work and they all take educational classes and work toward their GEDs.

Commissioners last month appropriated $16,535 to expand the electronic monitoring program.

At that time, Ms. Barratt told commissioners the units not only help relieve overcrowding at the jail, they will save the county a considerable amount of money -- $4 per day per person versus about $45 to have a person sitting in jail.

In other business on Tuesday, the board will be asked to endorse a resolution in opposition to allowing privately owned stores to sell liquor now controlled through the state ABC Board system.

A state study has suggested allowing such sales in counties and/or municipalities where ABC store sales are weak.

It is being opposed by the N.C. Association of ABC Boards.

Association officials warn that allowing the sales would "open the door" in other areas. Allowing privately owned stores to sell the liquor would mean less control as well, the officials said.

In addition, counties and municipalities would lose revenue from the sales.

Commissioners will hold a public hearing at 9:15 a.m. as required by a 2009 N.C. Community Development Block Grant.

The county intends to apply for a $75,000 grant and the application must be submitted to the N.C. Office of Rural Development Programs before March 31.

The funds would be used to partner with the East Carolina University Office of Engagement, Innovation and Economic Development to perform feasibility studies to be used for future Community Development Block Grant applications.

In another grant-related issue, commissioners will have to adopt several documents pertaining to $400,000 in Single Family Rehabilita-tion funds from the N.C. Housing Finance Agency. The funds will be used for the rehabilitation of approximately 10 owner-occupied houses.

Commissioners are expected to adopt a financial management resolution, grant project budget ordinance, assistance policy, procurement and disbursement policy and temporary relocation policy.

The board also will establish a public hearing on a request to rename (Moye Road) Secondary Road 1504 at Fremont to New Daniels Chapel Road.

The Planning Board reviewed the request made by members of New Daniels Chapel Church at its March meeting. The request was recommended by the Planning Board, but commissioners are required to conduct a public hearing before the name change can be adopted.