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Another furlough on tap for county employees

By Jessie Burchette
jburchette@salisburypost.comCounty employees will take a third unpaid furlough day later this month.
County Manager Gary Page told the Rowan County Board of Commissioners Monday night that sales tax collections have improved some, but not are not good.
As a result, Page notified employees they’ll take another unpaid day off June 26. Most county offices will be closed.
The two previous furlough days saved the county a total of $254,000.
The furloughs, along with cuts in department budgets, freezes on non-emergency hiring and a 1 percent reduction in school funding, are expected to save nearly $1 million in the current budget.
Page also noted that he instructed the county’s finance department to withhold $345,000 ó the 1 percent in school funding ó from the Rowan-Salisbury and Kannapolis City Schools.
In other matters, the board:
– Unanimously approved an agreement dealing with the widening of Interstate 85 and the planned construction of a new Yadkin River Bridge.
The agreement involved the Federal Highway Administration, the N.C. Department of Administration and various local governments in the area. Rowan County was the last to consider approval.
Initially on the consent agenda for approval without discussion, Commissioner Chad Mitchell had the item moved to the regular agenda.
Mitchell said the state highway commission was supposed to contact local property owners. “It was not done,” he said, citing comments from property owners. “The state is not following its procedures.”
Chairman Carl Ford cited his attempts to get information about the Trading Ford Historic District from the State Historic Preservation Office.
Ford said he got the runaround from an official who was a “little rude.”
– Agreed for staff to look at the feasibility of posting minutes from all county-appointed boards on the county Web site to improve public access.
Commissioner Tina Hall proposed the idea, drawing support from Vice Chairman Jon Barber.
Other commissioners also endorsed the concept but wanted details on how much staff time would be required.
– Discussed a proposal that would have given Jim Cowden, county cooperative extension director, the authority to sign contracts involving grants from the state. Cowden said most counties are agreeing to the request.
Commissioner Raymond Coltrain and Barber supported the request, but Ford, Mitchell and Hall combined to keep the current procedure in place. Currently, the county manager or finance director have signing authority.
Mitchell said he saw no reason to change the procedure used by all other county departments.
– Approved budget amendments including an allocation of $21,500 for purchase of a new patrol car to replace a Sheriff’s Office car that was totalled in an accident. The county received $18,543 from the insurance settlement.

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