Wineka column: Rowan County should get off its duff and move the county seat

  • Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 12:09 a.m.
    UPDATED: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 1:02 a.m.
Graphic by Andy Mooney, Salisbury Post.
Graphic by Andy Mooney, Salisbury Post.

SALISBURY — If you haven’t noticed, the relationship between Rowan County and Salisbury city governments has been testy lately.

Rowan County has asked our state legislative delegation to de-annex the county-owned airport from Salisbury, contending it was a money grab by the city in the first place, with the city’s extra property tax hurting the airport’s development.


Meanwhile, the city has stepped in and offered to provide the financing Rowan-Salisbury Schools need to build a spanking new central administrative office in the 300 block of South Main Street — a site Rowan County rejects and refuses to finance.

As time moves on, it will be fun to watch the city and county cooperate on other issues such as economic development, tourism, water-sewer services, cable utility expansion, greenways, race relations, emergency services, law enforcement, the Yadkin River — you know, the little things.

I love it. The back-and-forth drama sells newspapers and provides stuff for comments on our website or through social media.

We can’t wait for the county — or city, for that matter — to propose building a wall around Salisbury with only a few gates to allow people in or out. It will be fun to see who is considered the illegal aliens in this setup and what kind of amnesty package will be offered to those illegals in the future.

But I’m getting ahead of myself with green cards and spite fences. Might I suggest, just to keep things rolling in a negative direction between the city and county, that Rowan government consider moving the county seat out of Salisbury?

In these times, “county seat” may be an out-of-vogue expression for what Salisbury is — the center of government for Rowan County.

Youngsters out there might think “The County Seat” is a good name for a jeans store, but generally where there are counties, there is a city within each county where the courthouse and jail are located.

The same city — or county seat — also serves as home for the county manager, tax assessor, tax collector, sheriff, health department, board of elections, register of deeds, department of social services and public library.

Long ago, back in the 1700s, Salisbury became the county seat for Rowan County, and all of these same county offices and departments are located within the city limits.

It’s convenient, of course, for everything to be in one place, but it doesn’t take an act of Congress or state legislation to move a county seat. You can just do it.

So, Rowan County, just do it. Move everything.

Several other Rowan County towns and communities, though not as centrally located as Salisbury, would love to serve as county seat.

I recommend China Grove, home to beautiful china berry trees.

Or Faith, as in, you gotta have it.

Cleveland relies on a big-city name, but it has a welcoming, small-town feel.

Granite Quarry is a rock-solid community.

Landis, Enochville or Kannapolis would be good choices, making residents in the southern end of Rowan County feel more included and less likely to travel to Concord.

Spencer or East Spencer — towns built by the railroad — could experience a rebirth and become towns built by government. That has a nice ring to it.

Rockwell would say “Rock on” to the idea of being the county seat.

Gold Hill carries a rich bearing to its name and might serve Rowan County well. All delinquent taxpayers could be forced down an old mine shaft until they pay up.

Millbridge would suggest a glorious bridge to the future.

The competition will be keen for the honor of being Rowan County’s seat. Poor Salisbury, all walled up with no place to go, would miss all the people who work and do business with Rowan County — but isn’t that the point?

Another municipality will have to find room for all of the county governmental entities mentioned earlier — the courthouse, a jail, social services, the health department, etc.

Many of the services could be consolidated under one big, administrative roof, if the chosen town offers locations with adequate square footage or has spots on which to build something new.

I guess what I’m saying is, Rowan County would have to decide on a central office site.

And if history tells us anything, that should be no problem.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263,or mwineka@salisburypost.com.

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