Airport de-annexation bill yet to be heard

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 5, 2013

RALEIGH — A committee of state lawmakers ran out of time Thursday before considering a bill to remove the Rowan County Airport from the Salisbury city limits.
The House Committee on Government had a list of bills to hear at its weekly meeting and didn’t get to the proposed law to de-annex the airport, according to a legislative staffer. She said the bill could come up at next week’s committee meeting, set for 10 a.m. April 11.
The Committee on Government is co-chaired by one of the bill’s sponsors, N.C. Rep. Harry Warren, a Republican who represents Rowan County.
The legislation was introduced by fellow Republican N.C. Rep. Carl Ford after Rowan County commissioners asked lawmakers to consider de-annexing the airport property. Ford is a former chairman of the Rowan County Board of Commissioners.
Salisbury is fighting the bill and has re-hired Tom Fetzer, a high-profile lobbyist, to help.
In 2011, the city paid Fetzer, a former N.C. Republican Party chairman and past mayor of Raleigh, $5,000 a month to fight legislation backed by the cable industry that would have crippled Fibrant, the city’s new high-speed broadband utility.
Although the legislation eventually passed, Salisbury won an exemption from provisions in the law that officials said would have put Fibrant out of business and left the city millions of dollars in debt.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.