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Teen court cut benefits school program

By Jessie Burchette
Salisbury Post
County commissioners have decided to redirect state juvenile crime prevention money from teen court to the Communities in Schools program.
The Rowan County Board of Commissioners, which routinely accepts the recommendations of the Rowan County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council, opted to make changes in the proposed funding requests. The county anticipates receiving $328,000 for the coming year.
Commissioners unanimously approved a motion by Commissioner Jim Sides to take the $21,527 recommended for the teen court operated by the Youth Services Bureau and give it instead to the Communities in Schools program. The additional funds will increase the Communities in Schools budget to $65,799.
After the meeting, Sides said the board feels that Communities in Schools is a more important program and is working to reduce the dropout rate.
The board also adjusted the proposed budget to allocate $4,510 for administrative support. An assistant in the county manager’s office provides administrative support for the program. The Juvenile Crime Prevention Council voted not to pay for the services but asked the county to provide it at no charge.
Though commissioners made the changes anticipating receiving the money, Chairman Arnold Chamberlain noted an ongoing debate in Raleigh about funding.
Other programs that use funding from the N.C. Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention as approved by the commissioners:
– Adolescent and Family Enrichment Council nurturing program, $47,578;
– Youth Services Bureau, juvenile restitution, $50,328; psychological services, $70,973; Youth train, $51,331.
– Genesis Sexually Aggressive Youth Program, $38,333.
In other matters, the board:
– Closed out one housing program and began the process of starting another.
The board went through the required procedure to close out the 2005 Scattered Site Housing Project funded through a federal Community Development Block Grant.
The county received $400,000 over a three year period to rehabilitate homes owned and occupied by low-income residents.
“It provided great benefits to eight families,” Commissioner Jim Sides said.
Alicia J. Broadway of Benchmark, the Kannapolis planning agency hired by the county to administer the program, said the county spent an average of $41,000 on each home.
Immediately after closing out the 2005 program, the board held a public hearing on the 2008 Scattered Site Housing program, a requirement of the application process.
The county is seeking $400,000 with plans to rehabilitate seven homes and make emergency repairs to eight homes.
Ed Muire, county planning director, said emergency repairs are a new feature of the program. The county would be able to spend up to $5,000 on each home.
Previously, Muire noted, some homes were excluded because the program required homes to be brought up to code where any repair was made.
The county has already selected the homes to be repaired or rehabilitated in the next phase of the program.
Muire said the county may be eligible for additional federal housing programs.
Chamberlain praised Sides for his role in getting the federal funds flowing into the county for the housing program.
“If he hadn’t been on his toes, this still wouldn’t be happening,” Chamberlain said.
Contact Jessie Burchette at 704-797-4254 or jburchette@salisburypost.com.

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