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RowanWorks asks city to delay cash incentive for company

By Emily Ford
eford@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — RowanWorks Economic Development Commission asked the city to delay a cash incentive with Henkel Corporation to give the company more time to meet its goals.
Salisbury City Council agreed to bump the five-year incentive deal back to 2013. Construction and installation of equipment required more time than initially projected, said Robert Van Geons, EDC executive director.
Henkel plans a separate expansion that would invest several million dollars in new equipment and create six additional jobs, Van Geons said.
Henkel plans to invest a total of $28 million in Salisbury and create 108 jobs by June 2013, up from the $25 million investment and 103 jobs the company first planned, Van Geons said.
City Council agreed to reflect the new expansion in the terms of the incentive agreement. If Henkel meets its goal, the city will reimburse 75 percent of the company’s property taxes — $128,835 — annually for five years.
Henkel has contributed $320,000 to city coffers in the past three years, Van Geons said.
In other business Tuesday, City Council:
• Awarded retired police K-9 “Smoke” to Sgt. Mark Hunter, the dog’s handler.
A chocolate Labrador from England, Smoke joined the Salisbury Police Department in 2005 as the city’s first K-9 trained to focus solely on narcotics.
Chief Rory Collins commended Smoke and Hunter for many drug busts over the years, including establishing probable cause to conduct narcotics searches. Statistics on arrests and busts attributed to Smoke and other city police dogs were lost several years ago in a computer crash, Collins said.
Smoke became ill in December 2010 and retired from duty, remaining in Hunter’s care. The city has six other K-9s on duty.
Hunter said he has been honored to be a part of the department’s K-9 unit, and Smoke has done an “outstanding job” apprehending people and helping seize drugs and money.
• Will charge the Tourism Development Authority 2 percent interest on a $294,880 loan to buy two new trolleys. The city originally had planned to loan the money for free, but Councilwoman Maggie Blackwell suggested a nominal interest fee to recoup money the city would have made if the sum had stayed in the bank.
The TDA will pay back the loan over five years.
• Passed the 2012-2013 budget, which begins July 1.
The budget includes a property tax rate of 63.74 cents per $100 of valuation, an increase of 2.39 cents over the current rate; a $7 monthly fee for garbage collection, up from $1 now; and a new stormwater fee.
• Adopted the revised Salisbury Transit System Safety Program Plan. During a recent inspection, the plan was in compliance with 104 of 106 items.
The revision adds a service truck to a maintenance plan and submits the safety program plan to the state for review. Those were the items out of compliance during the inspection.
• During public comment, William Peoples, Lou Manning and Anne Lyles praised the council for increasing the tax rate to keep four police officers on the force.
Peoples also asked the city to repair broken street lights and add more lights to dark areas like Old Concord Road from Jake Alexander Boulevard to Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue.
• Recognized Waterworks Visual Arts Center for accreditation from the American Association of Museums.
“Attaining accreditation involves taking a hard look at yourself, allowing your peers in the field to do the same and being judged superior in all areas,” Ford W. Bell, American Association of Museums president, said in a statement. “The people of Salisbury can take great pride in the fact that their local institution is one of America’s premier museums.”
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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