The Orange County Board of Commissioners held a virtual business meeting Tuesday where they approved Orange County's fiscal year 2020-21 operating budget.
At the meeting, the Board also discussed Small Business Program modifications, amendments to the Orange County Solid Waste Ordinance and a potential community forum on racial justice and equity.
The Board unanimously passed the FY 2020-21 Budget Ordinance, the FY 2020-21 County Grant Projects and the FY 2020-21 County Fee Schedule.
The Board voted unanimously to approve the first year of the Orange County Capital Investment Plan Projects. In September, they will further refine and approve the next four years to create a five-year CIP.
Sheriff Charles Blackwood delivered a report on policing, racial justice and equity in Orange County.
“As a law enforcement leader, I must accept that I am part of the problem of systemic racism,” Blackwood said.
Blackwood said he welcomes the newly generated interest by people in Orange County in the work of the sheriff’s department, and hopes it forces everyone to be urgent about making longstanding change that can prevent the events of George Floyd’s murder from happening to someone else.
Blackwood told the Board he wants to redirect approximately $900,000 intended for a sheriff’s office mobile command center towards helping people in serious mental health crisis, possibly through hiring a licensed clinical social worker to be housed in the sheriff office's community resource division crisis center.
The money would also be used to host specialized training, not just for Orange County sheriff’s deputies, but for any law enforcement officers in North Carolina who wanted to attend.