DSS office downsized

Published 9:12 am Thursday, March 18, 2010

JACKSON — The new Northampton County Department of Social Services building is being downsized to fit the funding available for the project.

On Monday, the Northampton County Board of Commissioners voted to approve downsizing the project in a 4-1 vote.

County Manager Wayne Jenkins brought the matter before the board. Jenkins said when project was first brought to the commissioners the new building was estimated to cost $9.4 million. The commissioners have received a letter of conditions from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development for a loan of $6.94 million and a $200,000 grant.

Jenkins said since that time an additional $300,000 in grant money has been secured. He added the Department of Social Service board has voted to downsize the project to fit the available funding with a new cost of $7.44 million.

Jenkins also explained that 65 percent of the project is reimbursable to the county by federal government mandates because of the services Northampton provides.

Commissioner Robert Carter motioned to approve downsizing the project; Commission Vice Chair James Hester offered a second.

Before the vote, Commissioner Chester Deloatch suggested that good business sense would tell you to build a new high school before a new DSS building.

“That’s not what’s before us,” said Commissioner Virginia Spruill.

The motion passed in a 4-1 vote with Deloatch voicing the only objection.