RANDOLPH COUNTY — Of the requests made by department heads to increase staff size, it was the formal request that was denied which has the potential to impact Trinity most, Randolph County Sheriff Greg Seabolt says.

During the June 10 meeting of Randolph County Board of Commissioners, budget requests were made by county officials to boost the number of employees in the county. RCSO Chief Deputy Aundrea Azelton had previously presented to Trinity City Council last month the possibility of adding at least an additional deputy to help round out the city’s coverage.

Chairman Darrell Frye asked Seabolt whether, despite the additional housing coming to Trinity, city council still elected not to increase law enforcement presence beyond the two dedicated deputies responsible for patrolling the city limits. Seabolt responded by expressing his concerns about how his department could be impacted by the looming population increase in Trinity, as more than 400 townhomes and more than 1,100 new houses are expected to be added in the near future.

“We’re going to have to do something [in Trinity],” Seabolt said. “All that [additional development] is going to increase the population and the number of calls. … We’re going to need more help. It’s just going to be a nightmare if we’re behind. If we plan it and get additional men before it happens, it may help out some.”

In May, Trinity City Council decided not to add another deputy, declining the option to provide an annual total of $91,329 for one additional deputy position, plus a program investment fee and an operational expense fee.

Among requests made by other departments directly to Randolph County commissioners, an additional $50,000 to the medical examiner’s portion of the budget was requested by new health director Tara Aker, who jokingly took a dig at her predecessor.

“I’ve been health director for 10 days nows,” Aker said. “So it was not my idea to come before you and ask for money. I’m putting that blame on [recently retired director] Susan Hayes, because I’m going to ask for money.”

Aker pointed out that last year’s death toll brought unprecedented increases to national, state and regional numbers. According to the CDC, deaths increased by 18% nationally. The statewide increase was 16%, Aker said.

A proposed $143.4 million budget presented to the Randolph County Board of Commissioners would not increase the county’s tax rate for the 2021-22 fiscal year. The estimated property valuation for 2021-22 is estimated to be $11,981,000,000, which is growth of 1.2%. The proposed budget retains the 2019 revenue neutral property tax rate of 63.27 cents per $100 valuation.

At the current valuation and collection rate, one cent on the tax rate produces $1.1 million.

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at dkennedy@atnonline.net.

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at dkennedy@atnonline.net.