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By Jessie Burchette
Salisbury Post
Rowan County commissioners continue to offer surplus county property for sale.
The latest offering involves two properties used as group homes over the past several years.
Piedmont Behavioral Healthcare, based in Concord, has leased the properties at 6205 Mooresville Road and 418 Carolina Ave. in Spencer for several years.
The leases expired June 30, 2006. Piedmont officials recently discovered the oversight and wrote the county asking for a renewal.
Commissioners Chairman Arnold Chamberlain, who serves on the Piedmont board of directors, recommended the county reject the lease request and declare the property surplus.
Chamberlain said the county had basically been giving Piedmont use of the properties by leasing them for $1 a year and that Piedmont has not used them in some time.
At one time, the Spencer property operated as Stepping Stone Group Home and the Mooresville Highway property operated as Turning Point Group Home.
County officials apparently were not pleased when Piedmont Executive Director Dan Coughlin sent an e-mail to the county last fall saying Piedmont should share in the proceeds if the Stepping Stone property were sold.
He wrote that the agency had put between $114,000 and $121,000 into improving the building since 1999.
Chamberlain responded in a letter, citing sections of the lease that made it clear the county had no obligation to reimburse Piedmont for improvements.
Chamberlain also announced that he has submitted his resignation as a Piedmont board member and commissioners will need to select a replacement at an upcoming meeting.
He indicated that he plans to remain on the Piedmont board until an ongoing investigation of Coughlin is completed. Coughlin was placed on investigative leave in April.
The Piedmont board was scheduled to meet Wednesday night.
County Manager Bill Cowan’s office will now accept offers on the properties, which will go through the upset bid process.
The assessed value of the Spencer property is $160,200, and the assessed value of the Mooresville Highway property is $238,500.
For more information, contact the manager’s office at 704-216-8180.
In other action the board:
– Agreed to hold only one meeting in July. That will be July 16 at 4 p.m.
– Approved a change order for $89,022 for Shive Elementary School.
Gene Miller, assistant superintendent with the Rowan-Salisbury School System, said state insurance regulations changed and required additional fire walls and fire doors.
Miller noted that the county used the same design to build Millbridge and Koontz and there was no requirement for the walls and doors.
– Delayed action on renewing a lease for Alpha One Flight School at the Rowan County Airport.
Commissioner Jim Sides went through the lease and pointed out several discrepancies and questions, including contradictory statements as to who pays for utilities.
The lease is identical to the current lease, which expires June 30.
– Delayed action on proposed changes to the Historic Landmark Commission ordinance.
Sides combed through the multi-page document and cited several areas he would like changed.
Contact Jessie Burchette at 704-797-4254 or jburchette @salisburypost.com.

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