FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – The following is a summary of the Nov. 9, 2023, Cumberland County Board of Commissioners Agenda Session, which was held at 1 p.m. in Room 564 of the Judge E. Maurice Braswell Cumberland County Courthouse. To view the agenda and supporting materials for this meeting, go to www.cumberlandcountync.gov/bocmeetingmaterials.
Commissioner Jimmy Keefe gave a presentation to the Board recommending the County establish an International Farmers Market near Veterans Park at the intersection of Bragg Blvd. and West Rowan St. in Fayetteville. Keefe presented a proposed site rendering that included space for street food and pop-up vendors, as well as amenities such as a main hall, farmer co-op, incubator kitchen, international market, admin building, food education area, restrooms, splash pad and a stage. He said the project could be a partnership between the County, City of Fayetteville, Cooperative Extension, USDA and others. He provided a cost estimate ranging between $15 million and $23.7 million and suggested the County could pursue funding from grants and other sources, including the use of a portion of the County’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.
“I think it would be a dynamic place where the community can come together,” said Keefe, saying the project would achieve numerous priorities including enhancing education, medical and public health, public safety, connectivity, quality of life and provide opportunities for the community.
Following the presentation, the Board gave consensus for staff to begin engaging identified partner agencies and investigate opportunities to move the project forward.
Jeffrey Brooks from the Broadband Infrastructure Office of the N.C. Department of Information Technology (NCDIT) provided an overview of Current Broadband Programs, including the Completing Access to Broadband (CAB) Program, which provides an opportunity for counties to partner with NCDIT to fund broadband deployment projects in unserved areas of the county. He said there is $400 million for the CAB program and NCDIT is currently reviewing 43 service providers who want to partner with counties to help expand Broadband in communities. Assistant County Manager Sally Shutt said the County has assembled an internal team to develop a broadband plan to bring back to the Board of Commissioners at a future meeting.
The Board voted unanimously to move the following items forward to the Nov. 20, 2023, regular meeting to be approved as part of the Consent Agenda, unless otherwise noted below:
- Contract Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks & Recreation FY 2024 District Capital Park Improvement Project Requests – Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks & Recreation is requesting that $455,000 from the FY2024 recreation district tax proceeds be retained by the County to be used to fund capital park improvement projects throughout the contributing municipalities and communities that make up the District. Proposed P&R improvements for FY24 include $300,000 for J.D. Pone Recreation Center Athletic Field Lighting and $155,000 for the Arnette Park LLP Drainfield System. The Board voted unanimously to move the request forward to the Nov. 20, 2023 regular meeting consent agenda, and also instructed FCPR Director Michael Gibson to include funding for a splash pad at J.D. Pone Recreation Center.
- Request to Add RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) Vaccine to the Fee Schedule and Establish a fee for the Covid Vaccine and Covid Administration – The Health Department is requesting to add the RSV vaccine and COVID Administration fee to the Fee Schedule and add a fee to the existing COVID Vaccine service, effective Oct. 23, 2023. Additionally, the department requested the Board waive the fee for the RSV vaccine for uninsured or underinsured adults age 60 and above.
- Contract for Health Care Delivery Services at the Detention Center and Associated Budget Ordinance Amendment B#241019 – Following the issuance of an RFP in May 2023 seeking proposals from vendors to provide healthcare services at the Cumberland County Detention Center, the Board of Commissioners approved Wellpath as the recommended vendor and directed staff to bring a contract to the Board for approval. The County’s contract with the previous vendor expired on June 30, 2023, and since July 1, the Health Department has provided jail health services using temporary staff and temporary contracted services until a contract with Wellpath is approved. Public Health Director Dr. Jennifer Green requested the Board approve a contract with Wellpath effective Dec. 1, 2023, at a cost of $2,511,283.81 through June 30, 2024. She also asked for approval of a Budget Ordinance Amendment for $1,725,000 to fund Jail Health through June 30, 2024 and to support health care service delivery by Wellpath at the Detention Center.
- Medicaid Expansion Local Plan – Social Services Director Brenda Jackson gave a presentation on the local plan for Medicaid Expansion, which will be implemented on Dec. 1, 2023, and will result in between 35,000 and 40,000 additional Cumberland County residents becoming eligible for Medicaid and will require additional capacity from the Department of Social Services to process the additional applications. Jackson noted that DSS will direct applicants to ePASS at epass.nc.gov, which is the quickest and easiest way to apply for benefits and services and can be accessed around the clock using a mobile device, cell phone or computer. Additionally, she said the County’s local plan will involve establishing a Medicaid Call Center and self-service registration kiosks, increasing staffing, working with the County’s Public Information Office to educate citizens through a public information campaign, and continuing to monitor capacity and stay up-to-date following implementation on Dec. 1. Jackson said the anticipated cost of implementing the local plan is $2,484,556 for the remainder of the fiscal year with $162,397 required in County funding. She asked that the Board approve the Local Medicaid Expansion Plan to support implementation of the state’s Medicaid changes.
- Application and Enforcement of County’s Abandoned, Nuisance and Junked Motor Vehicles Ordinance in Municipalities – The county manager requested to establish a mechanism for the County to apply and enforce its Abandoned, Nuisance and Junked Motor Vehicles Ordinance within the corporate limits of municipalities within the county. This can be done by the board adopting a resolution finding the necessity for it and adopting a text amendment to the ordinance which expands the county’s jurisdiction to include those municipalities which adopt a resolution permitting it. The County is not required to hold a public hearing for such an action.
- Application and Enforcement of County’s Minimum Housing and Nonresidential Building Code in Municipalities – The county manager requested to finalize what is needed for the county to apply and enforce its Minimum Housing and Nonresidential Building Code in the municipalities that request the county to do so. A text amendment must be adopted after a public hearing with two weeks’ public notice. The county attorney recommends the following actions to commence application and enforcement of the county’s minimum housing code in the towns that have requested it and the board has accepted:
- The board continue to require interlocal agreements which shift the liability and responsibility for all costs associated with any claim made or lawsuit filed against the county or any of its officials or employees arising out of enforcement of the ordinance to the town.
- The board adopt a single resolution accepting the jurisdiction of all the towns to be maintained with the ordinance in the ordinance book.
- The board adopt a text amendment to the Minimum Housing and Nonresidential Building Code expanding the county’s jurisdiction into those municipalities which have requested it and the board has accepted, after a public hearing upon two-weeks’ public notice.
- Zoning Ordinance Amendment to Regulate the Location of Businesses Selling Tobacco and Hemp Products As Their Principal Sale – Board Vice Chairman Glenn Adams requested the county attorney advise the board of commissioners on what can be done to impose location restrictions on businesses commonly referred to as vape shops. This followed Wake County’s amendment of its Unified Development Ordinance on Oct. 16, 2023, to restrict the location of new businesses selling tobacco and hemp products as their principal sales. These businesses are now prohibited from locating within 1,000 feet of any other business selling tobacco and hemp products as their principal sales or any property used as a school, public park, greenway or residence. This is a regulation of land use that must be done through the zoning ordinance. The Board directed that the item be referred to the Board of Health and then to the Planning Board for a recommendation before coming back to the Board of Commissioners for final consideration.
Commissioners received the following monthly reports in their agenda packet:
- Financial Report
- ARPA Quarterly Project and Expenditure Report as of Sept. 30, 2023
- Health Insurance Update
- Project Updates
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