Commissioners to look at sales tax for capital projects

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Steve Huffman
Rowan County commissioners will consider Monday a resolution to rescind a quarter-cent sales tax once capital projects are completed and the work is paid for.
But before the tax is levied, voters must decide its fate in November’s general election.
The money is to go for $18 million in capital projects รณ $6 million for construction of a new jail and $12 million for emergency services radio equipment.
Just like televisions were recently converted from analog to digital, emergency radio equipment must undergo a similar conversion by 2013. The $12 million that would come from the tax increase would cover everything, including new radios for emergency responders, cell towers and 911 equipment.
Commissioners earlier this year voted to place the tax referendum on the November ballot. If approved, for every $4 that Rowan County residents spend, the tax will cost them an extra penny.
Rowan County Manager Gary Page said the resolution that commissioners will consider Monday says they back the tax, but only through the 10 years it’ll take to pay back the $18 million in capital improvements.
“It says we endorse the tax, but at the end of the debt, the board will rescind it,” Page said.
He said that once the debt is paid off, the N.C. Department of Revenue will be notified to remove the tax.
If voters reject the tax increase in the November vote, Monday’s resolution by commissioners will be a moot point.
Commissioners meet at 4 p.m. Monday in the J. Newton Cohen Sr. Room of the Rowan County Administration Building at 130 W. Innes St., Salisbury.
A public comment session is one of the first items on the agenda.
In other matters on Monday’s agenda, commissioners will:
– hear a presentation from Page about a Rowan County Airport Economic Development Zone.
– consider the approval of various board appointments.