Drug treatment court gets $91K grant
by Kellen Moore
The Board of Commissioners voted to accept the grant at its meeting Tuesday, offering the matching requirement of $30,543 over the grant’s two-year period. That money will come from the ABC alcohol tax.
The court will be administered through an agreement between the county and the Mediation and Restorative Justice Center, a nonprofit based in Boone.
The county provided funding last fiscal year to help continue the drug court after it faced state funding cuts. The court provides low-level drug offenders an opportunity to undergo treatment under the strict oversight of the court system.
“We felt that it was a worthwhile program,” Chairman Nathan Miller said.
Melissa Johnson, executive director of the Mediation and Restorative Justice Center, said staff members will use the money to continue and enhance the program.
“I’m really pleased that we were successful with the award,” she said. “A lot of people did a lot of hard work on this project, and I think it will give us a good start toward continuing this program years in the future.”
The board also approved a resolution requesting that U.S. 421 from Vilas to Tennessee be designated a Strategic Highway Corridor and Intrastate Highway Trust Fund project.
That designation currently belongs to U.S. 321 from Vilas to Tennessee.
The change would make that portion of U.S. 421 eligible for additional funding for future widening.
The change was proposed because U.S. 421 provides a more direct connection than U.S. 321 to an interstate, has heavier traffic and has lower estimates for widening costs.
The change was a recommendation from the Watauga County Comprehensive Transportation Plan steering committee and still must be approved by the N.C. Department of Transportation before a change is made to the N.C. general statutes that outline the trust fund projects.
The board also:
— Approved a resolution commending Veterans’ Service Officer Donna Lyons for her years of service to the county, its veterans and their families. Lyons will retire at the end of September.
— Tabled a request to recommend renaming a portion of N.C. 194 from Valle Crucis to the Avery County line in honor of Ed Yates, a local road builder involved in several projects that advanced the development of Watauga County. The board is inviting community members to share their thoughts on the proposal at the Oct. 16 board meeting.
— Approved an application for N.C. Education Lottery funds for several school improvement projects.
— Approved the purchase of a new forklift for the sanitation department.
— Approved the hiring of Moretz Paving to fix several potholes and add gravel to a road in poor condition near the Hunger and Health Coalition.
— Accepted additional funding for the Lois E. Harrill Senior Center ($11,753) and the Western Watauga Community Center ($3,917) to be used for ongoing expenses. The county will provide a 25 percent local match to come from the agency’s current budget.
— Received no public comment during three public hearings on a funding application for scattered-site housing projects, a change to the county gate ordinance and changes to the wireless towers ordinance.
— Met in closed session to discuss attorney-client matters.