The Anson County Board of Commissioners heard a report on the 2012 Community Health Assessment during the regular monthly meeting March 5.
Acting health department director Carol Gibson reported to the commissioners that the assessment is the result of 671 public surveys administered in various locations throughout the county. The assessment also includes interviews with 120 health providers in the county.
Gibson said that as of the meeting last Tuesday night, the 350-page document had not yet been approved by the state, but when it is approved, it will be available for the public to view on the county’s website, at Hampton B. Allen Library and at the Chamber of Commerce.
The Community Health Assessment clearly identified two priorities for this year, Gibson said — obesity and diabetes. She added that 36 percent of the population is morbidly obese.
Anson County residents identified their top five health concerns as illegal drug use, tobacco abuse, teen pregnancy, alcoholism and obesity, while health care professionals said their top concerns centered around diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
“I think we’re on the right track, choosing our objectives this year,” Gibson said.
Also at the meeting, the commissioners unanimously approved increases in several health department fees, including an increase in the returned check fee from $25 to $30. Gibson explained that the increase was needed because the majority of the health department’s returned checks are for the $20 TB test. In order to report an unpaid balance to N.C. Debt Setoff, the total must be at least $50, so the new $30 fee would meet that requirement, she said.
The proposed increased fees also included various new fees for immunizations. The state of North Carolina currently does not allow health departments to give immunizations to anyone covered by insurance, Gibson said. Many county residents who have insurance are being referred to the health department by their private doctors, she added, and because the health department previously had no fees for vaccines for those with health insurance, Anson residents had to be sent to Richmond County for their needed vaccinations. “It’s embarrassing to have to send people to Richmond County,” Gibson said.
State-supplied vaccines will still be available for Medicaid patients, she added.
In other business at the March meeting, Robert Levine spoke before the commissioners to introduce them to a project he’s working on called Joshua House. The Anson County-based Joshua House will help prepare prison inmates for re-entry into society, Levine said. He added that he will be looking for the commissioners’ support in the form of grants, moral support and any information on potential locations within the county.
Levine explained that the facility will be similar to a halfway house, or transitional housing, and that he envisions eventually having it on a ranch he hopes to call Hope Ranch.
Anson County Cooperative Extension director Janine Rywak introduced the board to new local foods agent Dustin Adcock. Adcock’s main focus will be the Farm Fresh program, which will provide fresh local produce to citizens in three counties through a subscription process. Adcock is a native of Union County, and will be serving Anson, Stanly and Union in his new position.
Jeddie Bowman of Polkton also spoke with the commissioners about a legal problem he has been having with a neighbor. The commissioners suggested he contact an attorney, and County Attorney Scott Forbes spoke with Bowman after the meeting.
The commissioners unanimously approved an intergovernmental agreement with the town of Mount Gilead, which will allow Mary Beck, the county’s grant management, economic and community development director, to work with the town on its grant applications.
The commissioners also reversed a vote made last month regarding the county’s personnel policy. Commission Vice Chair Ross Streater motioned to amend the last vote so that no changes are made to the policy regarding relatives working together in the county.
During his monthly report, County Manager Lawrence Gatewood reported that delinquent taxes owed to the county total $1.38 million. A list of delinquent taxes was printed in last week’s Anson Record.
Gatewood also recognized Commissioner Vancine Sturdivant for her recent honor of being chosen as the Anson County Partnership for Children’s Champion for Children. Gatewood also announced upcoming joint meetings with the South Piedmont Community College board of trustees on April 16, and with the Board of Education on April 23.
He also praised the utilities department, DOT and prison inmates for working together to clean up an illegal tire dump on Crawford Pond road. An estimated 600 tires were dumped in a gully recently, and were removed on March 4. Gatewood announced two promotion in the county’s water department — Chris Harrington to distribution system superintendent and Roman Henry to distribution system supervisor. One vacancy still remains at the health department for a health director.
After a closed session, the commissioners appointed Ross Hendley to the EMS advisory board, and appointed Commissioner Jarvis Woodburn to the Centralina CONNECT Consortium.
During the commissioner concerns portion of the meeting, Woodburn mentioned a 911 call from his church on Sunday. He stated that it took 20-30 minutes for an ambulance to arrive on the scene. Gatewood will look into the situation.
The commissioners will next meet at 6 p.m. on April 2 at the County Government Center in Wadesboro.