Polk could create own health district 

Published 11:47 pm Thursday, March 14, 2019

Consolidated Human Services Agency Board approves resolution in support 


COLUMBUS—Polk County could create its own health district and now has the support of its Consolidated Human Services Agency Board.  

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The CHSA board met Wednesday and approved a resolution in support of the county breaking off from the current Rutherford, Polk, McDowell Health District and creating its own health district.  

CHSA Director Joshua Kennedy said the proposal is to remove Polk from the district and he will present the proposal to county commissioners on Monday. Kennedy said Polk County’s Health District will use slightly less money than the county spends on the joint health district. He said Polk County operating its own health district will cost approximately $2,000 less per year, and he was very conservative on the budget.  

Kennedy also said by creating its own district, Polk residents will have more local services. He also said, for example, WIC is currently a two-day a week service, and with Polk’s district, that service will be offered five days per week.  

Kennedy said after the meeting if commissioners approve creating their own health district, the county plans to hire eight employees.  

Polk County owns its health department building, located on Walker Street in Columbus. Polk has not run its own health district since the mid 1970s.  

During a county commissioner meeting earlier this year, commissioners instructed staff to research if breaking off from the joint district would be feasible.  

The idea to research creating its own district came after the Rutherford Polk McDowell Health Department was 12 weeks behind on septic permits last year. The most recent data was that septic permits were behind 7 weeks, as of January this year. Several real estate agents attended the January commissioner meeting expressing concern over the delays, which are making sales difficult in the county.  

Commissioners are scheduled to hear a presentation by Kennedy during a meeting on Monday.  

Commissioners will then decide whether or not to create its own district, which if approved, will likely be budgeted for next fiscal year, which begins July 1.  

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the R. Jay Foster Hall of Justice, located on the second floor of the Womack building in Columbus.  

Following is the resolution the CHSA board unanimously approved on Wednesday:  

WHEREAS, a major legislative goal of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners has been to secure legislation that would enable all counties in North Carolina to consolidate the Departments of Health and Social Services, thus affording counties the flexibility to organize human serves in such a way as to promote efficiency and effectiveness in their administration by removing the population threshold of 425,000 which rendered only three counties in the state eligible; and  

WHEREAS, during the legislative session of 2012, the North Carolina General Assembly adopted House Bill 438 which amends G.S. 153A-76 and 153A-77, thereby enabling all counties having a county manager to consolidate the Departments of Health and Human Services into a consolidated Human Services Agency and to appoint a Human Services Board with authority to exercise the powers conferred by the statute; and 

WHEREAS, the Polk County Board of Consolidated Human Services believes it is in the best interest of the citizens of Polk County to consolidate the Departments of Health and Human Services thus promoting efficiency and effectiveness in the administration of human services under one Human Services Board.  

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Polk County Consolidated Human Services Agency Board that:  

  1. The Polk County Consolidated Human Services Agency Board is in full support of consolidating Public Health Services with the CHSA Board.  


  1. The CHSA Board accepts the responsibility of having the authority to carry out the functions of the local health department in addition to existing human services responsibilities.  


  1. That the CHSA Board accepts the responsibility to serve as the policy making, rule-making and administrative board of the Consolidated Human Services Agency and which shall have the powers conferred by G.S. 153A-77.