Commissioners to consider asking lawmakers for airport de-annexation

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 18, 2013

SALISBURY — Rowan County commissioners will consider asking state legislators to de-annex the Rowan County airport during the county’s board meeting tonight.
But in a letter to commissioners Monday, Salisbury Mayor Paul Woodson asked the matter to be postponed and that the two boards convene a joint meeting.
We “request that this agenda item be tabled and discussed at a joint meeting of both the Rowan County Board of Commissioners and the Salisbury City Council, called at your convenience,” Woodson wrote.
The city also reached out to commissioners at the city’s retreat Friday.
At the retreat, Woodson suggested cutting the combined city-county tax rate on personal property and businesses at the airport to 70 cents per $100 valuation.
By setting the city and county rates each at 35 cents per $100 valuation, combining for the 70 cents total, Woodson said, the Rowan County airport would be “ultra competitive” with neighboring airports.
In a Feb. 11 memo to commissioners, Chairman Jim Sides said the county intends to invest $1.7 million in a new hanger with the goal of wooing a new corporate client to the airport.
The airport was annexed by the city in 2005, but has since been a source of contention, prompting de-annexation talks in recent years and the creation of the airport development zone economic incentive grant.
Sides said the 2005 annexation virtually doubled the tax rate, hindering the county’s competitiveness.
The 2009 economic incentive grant cut the tax rate from $1.185 per $100 valuation to 80 cents per $100 valuation.
But Sides has favored de-annexation for years.
“It has been my intent for a number of years to pursue a bill through the N.C. legislature to de-annex the airport property,” Sides wrote.
The commissioners will meet tonight at 6 p.m. in the J. Newton Cohen Sr. Room on the second floor at 130 W. Innes Street.
See Tuesday’s Salisbury Post for more information.