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Letters to the editor – Thursday (3-12-09)

This isn’t time to devote fund balance to RSS office
Last Sunday, the Post encouraged county commissioners to build a new school central office building because the economy has provided “a rare moment” whereby construction prices are ideal.
While this may be true, I feel the editorial writer has missed the bigger picture. The economy is experiencing some of the most challenging times since the Great Depression. All levels of government are facing tough spending decisions. State leaders are scrambling to find $2.2 billion right now to balance the budget. Last week, the legislature reclaimed $300 million, affecting school systems across our state, including Rowan-Salisbury. The education lottery was one of the first funding sources to be drained. Next year, our state is projecting a $3.6 billion shortfall. Since counties are considered an extension of the state, what future cuts will affect Rowan County government and the services that it provides for citizens?
If your editorial writer had looked at the bigger picture just locally, the writer would have seen that unemployment numbers in Rowan County are now in double digits and rising alarmingly. At a time when county revenues are plummeting, increasing assistance is expected from our Health Department and Social Services. Our libraries and parks are also seeing larger and larger numbers of citizens. The needs go on and on. Should commissioners put all of the county’s eggs in one basket now by committing required fund balance to build a new school central office?
Commissioners have been advised that a quarter-cent sales tax referendum is needed to build a state-mandated jail and purchase necessary radios for emergency services personnel. What if the economy continues to decline and sales taxes do not match projected numbers? What if the referendum does not pass? When rainy days come, taxpayers will be grateful for saving the fund balance.
ó Tina Hall
Mt. Ulla
Hall serves on the Rowan County Board of Commissioners.
Use facts, not assumptions
County commissioners opposed House Bill 6 (HB 6) at their March 2 meeting, which can be viewed at www.co.rowan.nc.us by clicking on “commission” and “archived meetings.”
This was the first bill regarding animal welfare before this year’s General Assembly and was introduced by the American Humane Association. HB 6 would ban animal shelters from using gas chambers and, instead, require them to use euthanasia by injection (EBI).
At the meeting, County Manager Gary Page was incorrect when he “guessed” 75 percent of North Carolina counties use gas chambers. The fact is that 64 of North Carolina’s 100 counties use EBI. Fifty-nine N.C. counties use it exclusively. Chairman Carl Ford had anecdotal information saying that using EBI would cost a quarter of million dollars but had no documentation to back that statement. There are numerous published studies outlining the cost-effectiveness of EBI. If it wasn’t cost effective, why would so many counties and states use it?
The commissioners’ decision to send a letter to Rep. Fred Steen opposing HB 6 was based on erroneous information and opinion, not fact. Tina Hall tried to probe for specific facts but was give none.
It was as if the commission preferred to assume rather than take the time to gather the facts. They never mentioned HB 27, which requires EBI but allows the gas chamber on an “as-needed” basis.
The discussion on HB 6 was ridiculous. Commissioners, please get your facts straight before making future decisions.
ó Suzanne Blunk
Salisbury
No reason for change
We have lived here for more than 50-plus years and have enjoyed this community. Institute Street has been a quiet street with little or no serious traffic difficulty. As residents here, we have seen growth in auto and foot traffic. We have seen the lack of respect from those who walk, litter our yards and use loud, foul language on their way to and from Livingstone College.
Instead of changing our street name, which is an external, cosmetic approach, we would appreciate the college devoting more time to internal changes on the campus.
Changing the street name will not change those who walk or ride to and from the college along Institute Street. This “bright” idea to make the changes cited in the letter sent to us was not well thought out before the mailing. We should have been contacted prior to receiving this letter, so all details could have been discussed. There seems to be a divide between Livingstone College and the community that has just recently become a problem.
Some new residents want to help make history, but history has already been established. Why change it?
As concerned citizens, we want Institute Street to remain as it has been for more than a century.
ó Faye A. Hunt
Salisbury
Just one win away
Congratulations to Coach Andrew Mitchell and the Salisbury High girls basketball team (which advanced to the 2A state final).
Hope you bring a trophy home Saturday.
ó Ben Wood
Salisbury
Correction
A Postscript item in the March 8 edition of the Salisbury Post made an inaccurate reference to the tax rate at the Rowan County Airport. The item should have said that Salisbury’s annexation of a section of the airport effectively doubled the tax rate to $1.185 per $100 valuation.

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