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ABC board giving federal funds to police agencies

By Jessie Burchette
jburchette@salisburypost.com
Local law enforcement agencies will be getting a mini-windfall courtesy of the Rowan-Kannapolis ABC Board.
The board voted unanimously to distribute most of its $40,000 federal seizure funds to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office and the nine municipal police departments.
The Sheriff’s Office, Salisbury police and Kannapolis police will get $8,500 each.
The remaining departments ó Spencer, East Spencer, Granite Quarry-Faith, Rockwell, Cleveland, China Grove and Landis ó will get $1,500 each.
Marny Hendrick, chairman of the local Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, said he talked with officials in the Salisbury and Kannapolis departments and the Sheriff’s Office.
He said they indicated they would use the money to buy digital cameras, body armor and other needed equipment.
Hendrick said he didn’t talk with the other departments but expressed confidence they can use the money.
Hendrick noted the federal seizure funds guidelines recommend that funds not be retained more than two years. By giving it to the other agencies, Hendrick said it will help them and will remove an administrative headache in the accounting process.
The checks will be issued before the end of the fiscal year on June 30.
Board member Ken Argo asked if the distribution matched the required distribution of profits. That’s 40 percent for the county, 22 percent each for Kannapolis and Salisbury and the other eight municipalities split the remaining 15 percent.
Hendrick said he didn’t consider the distribution formula but wanted to treat everyone equally.
In other matters, the board:
– Noted the health insurance plan with Blue Cross and Blue Shield will increase by $4,325 to a total of $151,000. The cost per employee is $8,443.
– Discussed the coming visit on Wednesday of an efficiency committee from the N.C. Association of ABC Boards.
Hendrick said the board would not meet with the group as a whole, but the committee members may want to talk with individual members.
Osborne said they plan to visit stores and talk with personnel as well as review records.
Osborne said he wasn’t sure when the group would arrive on Wednesday or their exact schedule.
Hendrick and Osborne said the report should be available within a few days and will be provided to the Rowan County Board of Commissioners.
The ABC Board asked for the review after a request from commissioners concerned about the lack of profits.
The ABC Board will meet with commissioners on July 6 to do a presentation and respond to questions.
– Osborne reported the system had saved more than $50,000 this fiscal year through buy-ins ó buying large quantities of popular products immediately prior to a company’s planned price hike.
– Agreed to send a letter to state Sens. Fletcher Hartsell and Andrew Brock urging them to vote against a Senate version of the budget that would increase excise taxes on liquor from 25 to 30 percent.
ABC members also noted that beer and wine would be exempt from the tax increase.
Contact Jessie Burchette at 704-797-4254.

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