Edgecombe County Manager Lorenzo Carmon told county commissioners on Monday that the Edgecombe County Human Services Building, which will house the Department of Social Service and the County Health Department, will be operational by the end of the month.
With the exception of tying up a few loose ends, renovations on the building are complete. A public open house is scheduled from 3-6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27 — two days after the projected move-in date.
The long-anticipated announcement comes on the heels of the proposed consolidation of the Department of Social Services and the Health Department. The board unanimously approved a call for a public hearing on the consolidation during the boards regularly scheduled meeting in September. The DSS has 148 employees and is currently located in a dilapidated building on North Main Street. The Health Department, also located on North Main, has 94 employees.
The county began pursuing placing the departments together before legislation was passed to allow the move.
"It just fell in place," Carmon said. "It was like a perfect storm. It worked itself out."
Carmon said thus far, about 14 counties are pursuing the change. Before the legislation, only two counties — Wake and Mecklenburg — were eligible to consolidate the entities.
In other action, the board unanimously passed a resolution to allow the county to apply for a $250,000 grant from the North Carolina Department of Commerce 2012 Small Business and Entrepreneurship Assistance Program. If funded, the grant will provide funds for building improvements for ProClean, a professional power washing, industrial cleaning and parking lot repair company in Conetoe, In return, ProClean must pay $50,000 in matching funds and hire at least 10 people within the next two years.
The board also passed a resolution to apply for a $225,000 Scattered Housing Community Development Block Grant to be used for the rehabilitation of approximately four dwellings in the county. The county has been awarded similar grants in the past and county planning director Ola Pittman said those grants have been very helpful.
On a jobs-related note, it was announced that Superior Essex Inc. will have its grand opening at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday for its new facility on Anaconda Road. Superior Essex Inc. broke ground for the building in May 2011. During the groundbreaking ceremony Superior Essex Inc. officials announced the new building will produce 116 jobs.