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Commission Capsule for Sept 1, 2009

Audit Review Committee Report

The Board approved several recommendations from the Audit Review Committee. The ARC oversees independent audits of Mecklenburg County and is responsible for recommending a resolution to any discrepancies in audit findings. The committee has been reviewing the audit of the Department of Social Services. In the process, the committee identified two areas of concern regarding the County's audit review process. First is the level of staffing in the County Internal Audit Department. The committee wants a review of the department and feels additional personnel are needed. Second, the Board approved a change in the make-up of the Audit Review Committee, adding two more commissioners for a total of four plus a citizen with accounting/auditing background appointed by the Board through the normal advisory board process. Two staff members who had been voting members of the committee will become non-voting members.

H1N1 Update

County Health Director Dr. Wynn Mabry and Medical Director Dr. Stephen Keener updated the Board on County preparations for dealing with the H1N1 virus, that's the influenza variety sometimes known as the swine flu. The County Health Department follows the lead of the Federal Centers for Disease Control in recommending shots for the normal annual strain of flu for everyone in what is considered a high risk group. Those are small children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with depressed immunity. The County's primary message regarding swine flu is one of prevention. Find out how to prepare for H1N1 in Mecklenburg County.

Jail Expansion Project

The Board received an update on the new jail facility proposed for construction on land adjacent to Jail North on Spector Drive. In 2008, the Board approved a capital funding ordinance that included a 1,700 bed facility for inmates funded with Certificates of Participation. Programming work on the jail began in January of this year and master planning started in April. Estimate cost of construction is between $220 and $240 Million.

Facility Naming Policy

This item was discussed at both the July 7 and August 4 meetings and was sent back to staff for further changes. The County Park and Recreation Department already has a facility naming policy and the countywide policy is patterned after it. The new policy adopted by the Board tonight  includes adding a background check and public hearing, changing some of the language, placing a five year time requirement on naming facilities for living former elected officials, placing no time limit on naming facilities for deceased former elected officials and excluding the Mecklenburg County Courthouse from the facility naming policy.

Swimming from Parks

After several highly publicized drownings at McDowell Park in the 1970's, Mecklenburg County banned swimming in local lakes and ponds. Since then, there has been growing interest in allowing swimming on our major lakes and the Catawba River. Based on feedback from customers, the Park and Recreation department recommended to the Board that the swimming ban be lifted and that Park and Rec be allowed to create designated swimming areas on the major lakes and on lakes and ponds inside some County parks. The Board's approval of the recommendation begins a series of steps that could take up to three years. Those include negotiations with Duke Energy for shoreline property and approval by the federal agency that oversees Duke Operations along the Catawba River.

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