The Watauga County Board of Commissioners recently approved raises for county employees and funds for expansions at Watauga Medical Center.

The Watauga Democrat reports commissioners unanimously approved up to $120 million in tax-exempt bonds from the Public Finance Authority for the Appalachian Regional Healthcare System and the Watauga Medical Center.

According to the report, the funds will go toward a new two-story central energy plant and a four-story hospital expansion. The hospital expects the actual funds to be around $109 million, of which more than $18 million will be for medical equipment. The new energy plant would replace a unit that is more than 50-years-old.

While the county did have to approve the bonds, the county will not be on the hook for any of the debt or liability.

Commissioners also approved a request from Watauga County Sheriff’s Office Major Kelly Redmond to purchase six new Dodge Durango SUVs, a Dodge Charger, a Dodge Ram truck and eight new radios.

County Manager Deron Geouque asked the board to approve $982,500 be moved from about $5 million in unspent money to bring the minimum wage up to $15-per-hour for county employees. The request was unanimously approved.