YADKINVILLE — Yadkin County commissioners showed solidarity with their youngest constituents by declaring August 2017 Child Support Awareness Month in Yadkin County.
“August 2017 is the opportunity to promote Child Support Service’s national incentive,” said Human Services Agency Director Kim Harrell.
Harrell described the goal of the program, “to help inform families about child support and the services that are available to assist our children and families.”
“Children are our future,” said Harrell. “Child Support Awareness Month is a time to recognize the critical role child support plays in the lives of our children, recognizes the importance of providing financial and emotional support to the lives of our children and families.”
Harrell and her staff are serious about collecting child support to lead the state in collections.
According to Harrell, Yadkin County was able to reach 96 percent of its goal for fiscal year 2016-17, collecting about $2.4 million in child support.
“The majority of our cases are done through wage withholding,” said Harrell, “although we do have some that don’t like to pay that way and have to be brought to court.”
This success is due to the efforts of the Child Support Enforcement staff. “These ladies do a great and wonderful job for the citizens of Yadkin County,” said Harrell, who also informed the board that computer program changes in the department have been progressing as anticipated.
“[Yadkin County has] one of the highest records in the state on collections,” said Commissioner David Moxley, who said he appreciated the hard work of all the staff working in the various departments within Yadkin County.
“It highlights the quality of the people we have working here,” noted Commissioner Frank Zachary.
Commissioner Gilbert Hemric agreed, “I think we’ve got a good set of employees in Yadkin County.”
Among those is Jessica Wall, assistant to the director of Human Services/Med Clinic/Enviro Health and WIC, who explained the request for approval to apply for Community Health Medical Access Program grant funds in the amount of $12,000.
“We did take a Maternal and Child Health Block Grant cut across the state of North Carolina,” said Wall. “The General Assembly carved out some funds to some other programs that aren’t based in local health departments so that did affect the allocation that we were originally told we would get.”
Wall clarified, presenting details of how the amount was decided and other details of the grant. “This is a one-time, 10-month grant opportunity so that counties can attempt to fill the hole that we do have from that cut. Basically what we are telling the state is that over this 10-month time period we are going to see 120 patients for a $100 reimbursement.”
Previous programs were a set amount instead of per patient.
“[The state is] encouraging all local health departments to apply for this opportunity to replace [the block grant] cut,” said Wall, explaining the change in both state and federal fund allocations to county services and programs.
“So it’s like when they restructured the lottery,” said Commissioner Kevin Austin. “It’s taking it out of your right pocket and putting it in your left. I think they make this confusing intentionally.”
“I’m kind of like Kevin on that,” agreed Moxley. “The money still came from the same place, but it’s the way they divvy it out, but you want to be informed on how they are doing that I know.”
The informed board voted to have Wall pursue the grant on behalf of the county, as well as approving the request of Emergency Services Director Keith Vestal to approve the bid from First Priority to replace the chassis for two county ambulances.
“I’ve already apologized to the chairman for this motion,” joked the director of emergency services. “The reason [to request the remount of two existing ambulance boxes on new chassis] being the existing chassis are getting older and very high mileage and less dependable.
“The top boxes that we [need chassis for] are just like the majority of our ambulances that we have,” explained Vestal. “They are a van body with cut away for the box that go on the back. They are either e450 or g4500 class based on the weight that these things carry.”
Because they are specialized, the county is limited in available chassis. “The only engine you can get with this kind of chassis is a gasoline,” said Vestal, who would prefer diesel based on other equipment.
Previous experience is also why Vestal prefers the 6.0 Vortec Chevy chassis to the Ford that is available. “We’ve had two of those and we’ve had major issues with repairs to include blown engines in both and they have no power.”
“I know he’s researched that a lot,” said Moxley. “I understand now what he’s talking about because once you have a chassis that’s the van style, you’ve got to remount it with that same sort of box so you have to go with that until you buy a completely new unit.”
Also providing the results of his research, Director of Parks and Recreation Jason Walker presented the board with information on the HVAC systems around the county due to the need for approval for a contract with Dorsett Technologies.
“I have had one unit on this building that went out,” said County Manager Lisa Hughes.
“It serves a main portion of this building,” including where there technology equipment is stored, according to Walker, who outlined the spaces controlled by the offending unit.
“This unit’s about 29 years old,” said Walker. “That’s when this building was built.”
The age of the 10-ton unit is why of the three companies that provided quotes to replace the unit, two would not repair it.
“All the county’s  HVAC units are older,” said Hughes. “They have not been maintained as most of you probably maintain your units at home and these are larger units.
“I think we finally have staff who in the future can adequately maintain our HVAC units,” said Hughes, “so we should see improvements.”
Due to the holiday, September’s meeting will take place the day after Labor Day at 9 a.m. on Sept. 5.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.