OXFORD — The Granville County Board of Commissioners has said yes to a lease extension primed to benefit Granville County Social Services.

During the Jan. 4 meeting of the Granville County Commissioners, the item of existing DSS’s temporary facility lease that the county has with the Central Children’s Home came up.

Approval was obtained to extend the lease agreement for a temporary DSS facility for three to six months. At the meeting, Vice Chair Tony W. Cozart moved that “the recommendation as requested authorizing the county manager to execute an amendment to the existing lease with the Central Children’s Home for the use of temporary space for an additional three to six months at the current lease rate of $5,000 per month be approved.” Commissioner Zelodis Jay seconded and it was approved.

The address to the leased facility is 1307 Raleigh Street in Oxford.

“As you know with the pandemic and our current COVID restrictions, we’re just not able to consolidate staff back into the Spring Street location because of space needs in order to maintain not only social distance for our staff but also to help provide the community the distancing that’s needed as they interact with our staff,” County Manager Mike Felts said during the meeting before the motion was made and ultimately approved.

On March 16 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic response measures, the social services director and county manager actually met to “discuss the need for temporary facility space in order to implement sufficient social distancing within the DSS office area,” it’s noted on the full agenda for the meeting.

“After an exhaustive search and review of available space, a facility on the campus of the Central Children’s Home was identified which met the criteria outlined by the Social Services Director,” the full agenda goes on to say. “The Executive Director and Board of the Central Children’s Home did not hesitate to partner with the county to meet our emergency need. We were able to secure a six-month lease with the option to extend the lease through Jan. 15, 2021.”

The existing lease was originally set to expire in October of 2020 and had one three-month extension, which the board authorized the county to extend.

The county’s current lease with the Central Children’s Home expires on Jan. 15 2021, Felts noted.

“Assuming” the board permits the county to work with the county attorney to do an amendment to the lease, to extend it from three to six more months “forward”, it would be subject to county board approval and the Central Children’s Home board, he said during the meeting before action was taken. “We believe that everybody is in favor of allowing the extension but it would need to be approved by both boards,” Felts said.

The lease extension will be subject to final approval by the Central Children’s Home of North Carolina board, Felts said. “To my knowledge they have not met to approve it as of today,” he said in an email Wednesday.

Funding doesn’t seem like it’ll be a problem.

The funding through Jan. 15 2021, has been included in the existing budget and the additional three to six months would be funded within the existing budget or a budget amendment to “appropriate some additional fund balance” would be supplied to the board at a future meeting date, Felts said.