Commissioners approve contractual matters for Health Department 

Hoke County Schools aiming to reallocate capital funding 

RAEFORD – The Hoke County Board of Commissioners met Monday, August 21, with a variety of contractual matters on the agenda. 

The first action the board took was the approval of the release of delinquent taxes requested by citizens for the month of August. 

“We had a total of 17 releases for the month of August,” said Acting Tax Assessor Mandi Davis. “The total release amount is $4,917.54.” 

The board was also presented with the new director for Hoke County Cooperative Extension, Greg Huneycutt. 

“I appreciate the opportunity to work here in Hoke County,” Huneycutt said. “So far, I’ve been here for three weeks. You’ve got a great staff with Cooperative Extension, and we plan to build a little on that staff and continue to build the agricultural outreach. That’s something that we really want to focus on in the county.” Greg Huneycutt 

The board then approved two Health Department contractual matters, with the first being for Justice Involved Individuals. 

“The first contractual agreement is for the Justice Involved Individuals grant work that we’ve been doing in Hoke County,” said Health Director Helene Edwards. “Part is with the Hoke County Sheriff’s Department to fund some peer support counselors to be used with inmates, and the other part of the contract is with Tia Hart to continue the services of going into the jail and providing medical-assisted therapy, counseling and peer support with that.” 

According to Edwards, the grant was initially supposed to end in May but was extended through December 31.  

The board also approved a renewal of the Health Department’s contract with Lamar Media Campaign for the billboards the Health Department advertises on. The total cost of the renewal is $13,169 for 13 months of advertising.  

Finally, Hoke County Schools, being represented by Interim Superintendent Rodney Shotwell and Assistant Superintendent Chad Hunt, presented a request to reallocate FY24 capital funding. 

“I am here to talk about the capital outlay that you all allocated us,” Shotwell said. “We’re not asking for any more money. We had estimations over the summer, and sometimes some projects rise up that you didn’t know were going to be a problem. So that’s why we’re here tonight. To bring back more firm numbers and let you know exactly where all the taxpayer money is going for this following year.” 

According to Shotwell and Hunt, due to some rising costs, HCS aimed to pivot away from some projects and refocus their efforts on others. 

“Due to the needs of the school district, we did have to make the tough decision about the flooring at East and West Middle School, and basically, we want to request that both of those funds and part of the Turlnington project funding be used towards other safety measures and maintenance, both preventative and reactive measures that have come up across the school district since the springtime,” Hunt said. “Those funds are to be allocated towards the facelift and beautification projects at Turlington Alternative School. The difference there is $269,000.” 

However, the school board apparently did not have the opportunity to give approval for this plan, and so due to the commissioners’ desire to have prior school board approval before moving forward, the motion failed.  

“I believe some of the school board’s positions – and I think it’s from a majority of them – they want to have the opportunity to look at this and receive this report and approve it to be sent to us,” said Chair Allen Thomas, Jr. “I think that’s where we are having issues and I don’t think this board wants to get into your politics. We want to stay clear and free on our side.” 

The Hoke County Board of Commissioners will next meet September 4.