Commissioners require county-funded groups to have open meetings

  • Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 12:45 a.m.

SALISBURY — Rowan commissioners unanimously approved a resolution Monday requiring nonprofits, volunteer fire departments and other organizations that receive more than $5,000 in county funds to adhere to open meetings laws.

Commissioners OK housing rehabilitation program

Also Monday at the Rowan County commissioners meeting, board members:

• Approved the subdivision of a two acre parcel of land on Daugherty Road. A permit was required because of zoning restrictions.

• Held a public hearing on the County’s 13-14 HOME program and voted unanimously to approve it. The contract is expected to provide housing rehabilitation to three owner-occupied homes in the County, excluding municipal jurisdictions, and offer up down payment assistance of $10,000 apiece to three first-time homebuyers. No public attendees spoke on the issue.

• Voted unanimously to close out the RDH project that was approved as part of a grant award from CDBG to lengthen a waterline to RDH Tire Company in Cleveland in 2008.

The company intended to grow the business by 27 employees, but could not, citing the recession.

In closing out the project, commissioners approved the refunding of $210,988 in grant funds.

• Voted unanimously to waive landfill costs for the first 10 homes reclaimed by East Spencer as part of an urban renewal project.

Vice Commissioner Craig Pierce said the revitalization effort would be boosted by having those costs cut.

Chairman Jim Sides said organizations that violate the meetings laws will not receive county funding.

Sides said the budgeting revision would prevent future disagreements.

“In the past there have been some situations where problems developed where our attorney and an attorney with a non-profit or volunteer fire department would basically disagree to what were considered public meetings, open meetings,” Sides said.

He later detailed a specific instance involving the Rowan Rescue Squad that Sides said put the two at odds.

“We had this understanding with the Rescue Squad, and yet when they formed a committee to study the issue they argued that their meeting did not fall under that public meeting requirement and yet their board meetings they argued did,” Sides said. “We disagreed with them. This clarifies that.”

The resolution requires affected organizations to keep a record of minutes, financial documents and to post appropriate notices for special meetings.

Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.

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