County commissioners will consider adopting budget today

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 17, 2013

Rowan County commissioners will consider adopting the 2013-14 budget today, though after a work session last week board members still disagreed on how much the county should allocate to local schools.
The Rowan-Salisbury School System asked for a nearly $5 million increase while County Manager Gary Page’s recommended budget would cut funding by $225,000. Page said that was based on a projected decrease in enrollment and keeps per-pupil spending the same.
The county’s proposed $129 million spending plan is $471,000 more than the current budget. It keeps the property tax rate at 62.25 cents per $100 of value, which Page said would generate about $417,000 more in collections than the current year. The budget would use $7.4 million from the county’s reserve fund.
The proposed budget includes pay raises for county employees based on their years of service and eliminating four positions.
The budget does not include a county allocation for the Salisbury Rowan Human Relations Council, and the board’s agenda includes a resolution cutting ties with the organization.
The county would withdraw financial and staff support and would no longer appoint members to the organization’s board, withdrawing from a partnership with the city of Salisbury, which also provides support and appoints board members.
This year’s county budget allocated $3,100 to the agency. The resolution says the “downward turn of the economy has forced local governments to make budget cuts where possible for non-mandated services.”
The Human Relations Council sponsors events such as the Meet Your Neighbor Forum, Let’s Get Connected Day and the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration.
In other business, commissioners will hold a hearing on a solar farm proposed for 37 acres in Gold Hill.
Sunlight Partners is requesting a conditional use permit to build a four megawatt solar energy system in the 400 block of St. Peters Church Road.
The land is zoned rural agricultural.
Rather than a public hearing, the board will conduct a quasi-judicial hearing, where speakers will be sworn in and testify.
The meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the J. Newton Cohen Sr. meeting room in the county administration building, 130 W. Innes St.