Buildings for social services, mental health, senior center among commissioners’ top priorities

Published 1:21 pm Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Commissioners first met with Polk County Schools Supt. Bill Miller to review school operations and needs. Commissioners will also likely be faced with whether&bsp; to fund the school&squo;s Builder&squo;s Club after school and summer program, whose grant funding ends this year.

Commissioners also met with finance director Sandra Hughes to review current finances. The county learned that at the end of this fiscal year in June, the county could break even on its budget. That budget includes spending approximately $2.5 million for water and other projects.

Polk County Manager Ryan Whitson also updated commissioners on current and planned future water projects, including&bsp; connecting the Polk County Middle School well system with the Polk Central well system. Long term goals are to run lines from the Green Creek water line to the Polk Central system.

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Whitson also reviewed plans for the county to purchase land to construct a new department of social services building. Commissioners agreed to discuss at their next meeting hiring an architect to begin moving forward with that project. Whitson estimated the building would cost $2 million.

Other upcoming projects include moving the Meeting Place Senior Center out of the aging Jervey Palmer building and into the former Carolina Classical School building the county recently agreed to purchase. The closing on the property purchase, which has been held up because of&bsp; N.C. Local Government Commission requirements, is expected to occur in May. The county hopes to have plans for renovations from its architects put out for bid soon. Whitson said he wants for construction to begin on the building in June and for the senior center to move into the building in August or September.

Other discussions included constructing the DSS building so that it could temporarily house mental health services. There was some discussion of possibly building a mental health building near St. Luke&squo;s Hospital in the future.

Commissioners also said they are planning on implementing new ordinances to go along with a comprehensive plan currently being worked on. The county also discussed coming up with a maintenance replacement plan for its buildings. One upcoming issue will be to replace the roof at the jail, Whitson told commissioners.