Wake commissioners allocate money for community services, agree to meet with school board

mquillin@newsobserver.comJanuary 24, 2014 

— Wake County commissioners voted Monday to invest in projects to help teens succeed in school, provide mental health support for the homeless, teach families how to grow and sell their own food, add hospice beds, and provide medical services for people who don’t qualify for Medicaid or private insurance subsidies.

The projects will be funded over five years with $2.6 million from the county’s Community Capital Project Fund, set up in 2002 to address critical communitywide needs.

The Boys and Girls Club will get a total of $815,000 for a new teen center. SouthLight Healthcare will get $750,000 to build medical and mental-health respite facilities for the county’s homeless population. The Inter-Faith Food Shuttle will get $140,000 for its planned Urban Agricultural Training Center. Hospice of Wake County, which is expanding its 30-bed inpatient facility in Cary by 10 beds, will get $450,000. Wake Health Services also will get $450,000, to help build a new medical office building where it will provide primary care for low-income residents.

Also at Monday’s meeting, commissioners agreed to a memorandum of understanding with UNC Health Care under which the health care system will begin the work of adding 12 beds to the WakeBrook psychiatric unit in Raleigh. The county will own the addition, which UNC Health Care will pay to build. The county and UNC will share the cost of operations.

WakeBrook currently has 16 inpatient beds.

Commissioners also voted to combine some of the county’s transportation services with those of the City of Raleigh to improve services for the disabled and elderly and to save both operations some money.

Under the plan, the city and the county would combine scheduling and dispatching, now done by several vendors. The city has offered the county a free lease of the old Capital Area Transit building on South Blount Street in which to house the operations. The deal could save the county $90,000.

Also, commissioners agreed to meet with members of the county school board on Feb. 21 to discuss ways the boards can work together to plan and build schools. Friction between the two boards over the details of land purchases and building design and construction has threatened to derail the schedule for opening new schools that are needed to handle student population growth.

Quillin: 919-829-8989

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