Carteret County

BEAUFORT — The Carteret County Board of Commissioners has approved adding a new, permanent full-time public health nurse to the payroll as the health department continues its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The board of commissioners, which convened for its regular monthly meeting Feb. 15, also approved converting a part-time administrative assistant position to full time. County Consolidated Human Services Director Cindy Holman appeared at the meeting to make the request. 

“These positions would be dedicated totally to our COVID response. The nurse would obviously be put on the vaccine rollout, and the administrative assistant would schedule, register and do data entry for the COVID response,” she said. “We ask that these be made permanent, not just temporary, because we are in this for the long haul. We anticipate that we’ll be vaccinating for many months.”

Ms. Holman added because of the pandemic, the health department has had to scale back the myriad of services it typically offers, like physicals, disease screening and family planning, and she expects having to play “catch up” for a while after COVID-19 subsides. She also reminded commissioners the department was short-handed even before the pandemic.

“All of those things we have had to pare back to one day a week at a clinic,” Ms. Holman noted.

According to information found in the agenda packet for the Feb. 15 meeting, the public health nurse earns an annual salary of around $56,800 with benefits, and the administrative assistant would be bumped from about $16,900 to $31,200, plus they’d see an increase in benefits. Ms. Holman said federal funds from the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act may partially pay those salaries at least through the end of this fiscal year.

“The good thing is that we have a lot of nurses in the community that are volunteering to help work at our vaccine clinic that we might be able to recruit,” she said, adding she plans to make a hire as soon as possible.

In other business at the February commissioners’ meeting, the board approved an offer of $8,000 to purchase county-owned land on Silver Dollar Road. As County Manager Tommy Burns explained, the county purchased the property for $2,753.33 as a result of tax foreclosure in 2017, and the property is currently valued at $31,975. The board voted unanimously to accept the purchase offer.

The board also adopted the consent agenda, which included the following items:

  • Approval of Jan. 25 meeting minutes.
  • Tax releases and refunds and tax collector’s report.
  • Approval of amended audit contract.
  • Approval of three-year Cisco Enterprise agreement for software products.
  • Approval to accept state funding for COVID-19 mass vaccination clinics and corresponding budget amendment, $38,164.
  • Approval of occupancy tax penalty waiver for Atlantis Lodge, $979.33.
  • Approval to authorize a letter regarding the county’s intent to not enter into a project partnership agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding Bogue Banks coastal storm risk management project.
  • Acknowledgement of receipt and review of documents in support of Coastal Community Action’s Community Services Block Grant for 2021-22.
  • A request to accept funding agreement addendum 543 and corresponding budget amendment: $16,896.
  • Approval for the health department to apply for the N.C. Office of Rural Health Community Health Grant, $150,000.
  • Approval of solid waste budget amendment, $250,000.
  • Approval to deny a waiver of GreenBox fees for Thomas and Elizabeth Somers for 2017, 18 and 19.
  • Approval of lease agreement for sheriff’s office.
  • Approval of budget amendment in support of federal CARES Act funding to assist households with paying for their primary heating source, $150,048.
  • Approval of grant award materials for large sediment sampling, $28,903.
  • Approval of roll-forward budget amendment appropriating funding for HVAC cooling tower project, $253,600.

The board of commissioners also made appointments to various county boards and commissions.

 

Contact Elise Clouser at elise@thenewstimes.com; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.

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