Rowan bans ‘unauthorized aliens’ from projects getting tax breaks

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Jessie Burchette
Companies seeking tax rebates from Rowan County will have to ensure no illegal immigrants are employed on the project beginning at construction under an amendment to the county’s industrial incentives policy approved this week.
If illegal immigrants ó termed unauthorized aliens in the county policy ó are employed, the company would receive no further tax rebates from the county.
The prohibition also includes the company’s general contractor for the construction phase.
Vice Chairman Jon Barber proposed the addition to the county’s incentive grant policy Monday night and it won unanimous approval from the Rowan County Board of Commissioners.
Duke Energy previously agreed to an addendum to its investment grant contract to adhere with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.
Earlier this month, officials of Southern Power Co. agreed to the same requirements. Commissioners agreed to rebate 68 percent of the company’s taxes over 10 years on an estimated $400 million investment.
Under the amended policy, the company receiving an incentive grant would be required to certify annually that no unauthorized alien has been employed.
Barber also proposed including the same requirement for all future county building projects.
“Doesn’t the county follow the federal law?” Commissioner Tina Hall asked, noting the requirement has been in place for 20 years.
“That’s a touchy question,” County Attorney Jay Dees responded.
He suggested holding off until the General Assembly completes its current session. Dees said a bill under consideration would require the county and municipalities to perform verifications of employees.
Chairman Carl Ford questioned the use of the term “unauthorized aliens.”
Dees responded that is the specified term in the federal law.
And he asked for more time to dig into the legislation and possible impact, joking that he may need a raise because of the complexity.
Ford had a one word answer: “No.”
In other matters, the board:
– Approved several names for roads at the request of the county’s 911 center.
The board approved the name Highland Hills Trail for a road off Old Mocksville Road that has been known locally as Highland Trail.
Several residents complained to the county that all they needed was a road sign, not a new name.
County Telecommunications Director Rob Robinson said Highland Trail was too similar to other road names in the county.
After extended discussion and comment from residents, commissioners reluctantly approved the name Highland Hills Trail.
The board also approved the name Brindles Hillside Lane for a street off the 2100 block of Shue Road; Dortons Horse Road for a road off the 7200 block of N.C. 152 East; and Peace Wood Road, off the 7100 block of Stokes Ferry Road.