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County spending could improve services, stimulate economy

By Jessie Burchette
jburchette@salisburypost.com
County commissioners are doing a bit of stimulating the economy ó spending nearly $2 million on everything from a Trashmaster to a filing system.
And a series of budget amendments will give the Rowan Sheriff’s Office an extra $14,000 for ammunition.
The Rowan County Board of Commissioners approved a half-dozen or so contracts for equipment and services that should improve garbage handling, land record handling and expedite getting assistance from the Department of Social Services.
The spending list includes:
– Buying two new Dodge ambulances from Northwestern Emergency Vehicles at a total cost of $233,000.
The ambulances will replace two Ford units that have had major problems, including weeks of down time at dealerships awaiting repair.
Among the problems was a faulty air conditioner, which often made the unit unusable for transporting patients.
Although the money is in the budget, the county typically waits until near the end of the fiscal year to buy ambulances. Commissioners agreed to go ahead now because of the problems.
County Attorney Jay Dees said the county is part of a nationwide class action suit against Ford.
– Approved the purchase of an electronic document management system for the Department of Social Services from Northwoods Consulting Partners at a cost of $456,670.
The system is expected to eliminate some of the hundreds of file cabinets used to store records. Having run out of space for the cabinets, some are being stored at other locations.
– Approved the purchase of a new Trashmaster compactor for the Rowan County Landfill on Campbell Road at a cost of $522,898.
Road Machinery Services of Greensboro will give the county $25,000 for a trade-in of the old compactor.
– Agreed to buy a new land records system for the Register of Deeds at a cost of $238,723.
Cott Systems was selected from among five companies submitting proposals.
The system will replace a hodgepodge of systems that can’t communicate with each other.
– Hired Moseley Architects of Charlotte to design and oversee construction of a 160-bed jail annex at a site yet to be determined for a fee of $397,500.
The county is currently spending between $600,000 and $750,000 a year to house inmates in Sampson County.
Although the county will open a new 48-bed jail pod next month, Sheriff George Wilhelm said the jail will still be overcrowded and out of compliance with state requirements.
County officials hope to use proceeds from a one-quarter cent sales tax to pay for the jail annex, which is expected to cost $6 million. County voters will decide the tax issue on the Nov. 3 ballot.
Contact Jessie Burchette 704-797-4254.

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