Caldwell County still facing food stamp backlog
After Caldwell County shipped its 1,400-case backlog of food stamp applications to Raleigh two weeks ago, the county Department of Social Serices is “nearly caught up” with cases, county commissioners were told Monday night.
Will Wakefield, adult and family services program administrator at the Caldwell County Department of Social Services, updated the board on NCFAST, the state’s new computer system to consolidate benefits and social services. The rollout of NCFAST started in January. Benefits in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, were the first benefits the system handled, and counties across the state have suffered a backlog ever since.
Two weeks ago, the state had the counties with the worst backlogs, which included Caldwell County, send their backlogged files to Raeligh.
Chairman Randy Church asked whether there was a number he could direct people to if they are having problems with their benefits, saying, “This has been a hot topic on my phone the last several months.”
Wakefield said anyone with problems can call the main DSS number, 828-426-8200.
In other business, the commissioners approved allocating $62,000, matched by double that amount by a state grant, to pay for three new school resource officers for middle and elementary schools.
Steve Stone, superintendent of Caldwell County Schools, said the town of Sawmills has agreed to offer funds for a fourth school resource officer, and that currently the school system has 16 schools without officers.
The board also approved an economic incentive package for Timber Wolf Forest Products, which plans to add 10 jobs in the next 12 months and invest approximately $40,000 related to a new project. The new jobswill pay approximately $25,000 a year, and the company will receive $2,000 per job created. It currently employs 16 full-time and two part-time employees at its Hudson facility.