New grant to provide utility bill relief

The EFSP grant will be utilized to assist with utility payments for 42 households in Hoke County

The Hoke County Board of Commissioners met Monday, March 18, starting with the approval of a $10,500 Emergency Food and Shelter Program grant.

“The funding will address assisting with utility payments for those experiencing financial hardships,” said emergency management administrative assistant Michelle Payne. “By utilizing the EFSP funds, we aim to provide timely relief to 42 households by applying $250 to one of their household utilities: either lights, water or gas.”

According to Grants Manager Andrew Jacobs, the grant will be assessed on a first come, first served basis, although the county will set up an income standard to be approved for funding. A household can only receive funding from the grant once.

The board approved two Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (JCPC) matters: the 2024-25 funding request and the appointment of Michael Davis to the JCPC Board as the DJJ Supervising Court Counselor.

The JCPC was approved for a $165,302 budget which will cover the JCPC administration fees ($9,700), Hoke County Teen Court ($50,000), Molding Young Moguls Leadership Development Program ($55,000), Maggie’s Outreach Rebuilding the Dream Structured Day Program ($10,602) and Maggie’s Outreach Y.E.S. Community Service and Restitution Program ($40,000).

“We’re requesting that you include in your special appropriations for your budget another $10,000 for the Structured Day Program to help them along with that,” said JCPC Coordinator Lorraine Landry. “We have a risks and needs assessment committee that pretty much says, ‘What does Hoke County need?’ What are the problems we have, what do we need and what are the gaps? Out of 21 different kinds of youth programs that you can broadcast your nets out and receive applications for, they fine tune it. I think we advertised for seven programs and we did deny funding to one. The money can only go so far.”

The board also approved several health department matters including the consolidated agreement between NC Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Child and Family Well-Being, the Division of Public Health and the Hoke County Health Department in order to receive state funding and the appointment of Shirleta Lowery and the re-appointment of James Davis to the Hoke County Board of Health.

The board was also presented with the monthly tax collection report.

“The total collected for the month of February, current year, was $893,839.49 at a 93.14% rate compared to a 94.55% rate in the prior year,” said tax collector Daphne Dudley.

In addition, the board approved the reassignment of government-owned property as surplus for the intention of selling it.

“We had a bid where they paid the deposit, but never came back and paid the balance,” Daphne said. “According to our policy, he had 60-days to do that and it’s way past that time. It was brought to our attention because we have buyers who’d like to buy it now.”

The property, located at 331 Windlock Drive, was originally won through a bid for a final price of $4,210 in 2017, but after paying a deposit of $207, the winning bidder never paid the deposit. The property will now be relisted at $3,963.30 on the county’s website.

The Hoke County Board of Commissioners will next meet April 1.