Airport de-annexation bill passes second Senate reading
By Nathan Hardin
RALEIGH — A bill to de-annex the Rowan County Airport passed its second reading in the Senate Wednesday and appears poised to move to the N.C. House of Representatives.
Sen. Andrew Brock said a third reading for the airport de-annexation legislation will be held Thursday. The bill passed by a 45-1 vote Wednesday afternoon.
The vote came a day after the measure cleared another hurdle in a Senate Finance Committee.
Brock’s bill appears likely to cross over to the House before the May 17 legislation cutoff date. A companion bill filed by Rep. Carl Ford has remained in a House Finance Subcommittee in recent weeks.
In brief remarks supporting the legislation during Tuesday’s committee meeting, Brock said Salisbury took in the airport, “just to annex the airplanes to get the tax revenue … and since that time, the city has put no money into the airport.”
Rowan County commissioners have made that argument in asking the General Assembly to remove the airport from Salisbury.
But city leaders say Salisbury has spent millions extending water and sewer lines since the 2004 annexation and provides fire protection to the airport. They’ve also offered to lower the city’s property tax rate at the airport.
Salisbury City Manager Doug Paris said Wednesday the city didn’t oppose the Senate bill because guidelines for the House Finance Subcommittee should preclude the bill’s passage.
“It’s cross-over week. In order for legislation to be considered the remainder of the session, it has to go through one chamber,” Paris said. “We did not actively oppose that because we don’t mind the bill being considered further. We think the House Finance Subcommittee will take appropriate action under their charge and under their standards that were provided for de-annexation.”
Brock’s bill was originally written to make the de-annexation effective as soon as the measure became law. But Brock amended it during the Finance Committee meeting to make it effective at the end of the current fiscal year, to avoid the governments having to prorate taxes.
Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.