Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 9, 2013

Yes, the time is now: With less than one week to go in our Rowan County United Way campaign, we need your support now more than ever.
This week, campaign Chairman Jim Duncan reported that $1.55 million, or 85 percent, of our $1.825 goal had been reached.
If you are one of the approximately 75 percent of Rowan County citizens who have not yet made a gift or pledge to this year’s campaign, or if you are one of the more than 72,000 citizens who benefited from one of the United Way’s 15 agencies this past year, please consider “stepping up to the plate” and helping us hit a home run at our campaign finale on Nov. 15.
Together, we can “make it happen” because the difference you make can help make all the difference!
— Ronnie Smith

During the county commissioners’ meeting Monday, Commissioner Barber raised a couple of interesting questions which seemed to get lost in the ensuing squabble between him and Commissioner Pierce.
The first issue is one of commission discretion with regard to capital appropriations, i.e. large equipment and property purchases. Certainly at the lower end of the scale commissioners can and should make reasonable decisions. But when millions are involved, there should be some public input. Currently, only spending requiring a tax increase seems to be covered. We spent $6 million on the satellite jail, with no public input. Was that in the gray, in-between area? I don’t know, but I do believe it warrants some public discussion, both to give future commissioners guidance and future taxpayers some comfort level about county spending.
This brings up the second question: Where do the commissioners want to take the county over the next five or six years? Every well-managed business sets goals for a reasonable time frame. What are Rowan County’s goals? In May 2005, commissioners approved a capital spending plan for 2006 through 2015, and the assistant county manager has been charged with preparing a new capital spending plan. While this is commendable, it’s difficult to see how she can prepare a plan without clear goals the commissioners want to accomplish. The alternative is to assume we are to continue the status quo.
Accepting the status quo leaves others in control of Rowan County’s future growth, or lack of it. No responsible business would accept that situation. Granted that the outside economic environment puts limits on what we can and cannot accomplish, goals can and should be identified within those parameters so that staff can make intelligent plans to do something other than simply react. This includes a capital spending plan.
The current commissioners all campaigned on jobs, jobs, jobs along with stable tax rates, good government, etc. Now is the time to turn that political rhetoric into some specific goals and plans to accomplish those goals. Or just admit it was all just hot political air.
— Jack Burke

I have to say that I agree 100 percent with Drew Davis’ letter in Thursday’s Post. I am a conservative Republican, but I could not be more embarrassed by Sides and Pierce. I hope everyone remembers this when it comes time to elect county commissioners again. The mall purchase is a boondoggle, and the constant, childish sniping by these two is beneath the dignity of an elected official.
— John Brincefield

There has been quiet the uproar over Rick Johnson’s video involving Jim Sides, Craig Pierce and Doug Paris. No matter what happens, Jim and Craig are always vilified. Jim and Craig were not at all upset with the fact that Doug was as the breakfast. They were frustrated and somewhat angry, and understandably so, given the fact that Doug released information publicly from a closed-session county commissioner meeting. Obviously someone violated policy and apparently gave the info to Doug. I’m pretty sure most people know who passed along the info. Jim and Craig acted properly to try and defend the county’s interest.
There is nothing wrong with heated discussions and having passion for your beliefs and doing the job that you were sent to office to do. Jim and Craig have always done what they said they would do if elected to office, and I commend them on that. It is not easy to stand your ground when the small city of Salisbury is constantly harassing you for doing what the rest of the people in the county sent you to office to do.
At least a little communication took place between the city and county. The airing of conflicts can be a good thing. But don’t air things that could hurt the county to try and further a failing agenda for the city.
Carry on, Jim and Craig. Thank you for standing your ground and fighting to better our county.
— Wes Rhinier

Why do the citizens of Rowan County need another “white elephant?” The current owner of the mall paid a little more than $2 million for the property. Our commissioners are willing to pay $3.45 million for it today. Didn’t they get the memo? In the last few years, the property has gone down in value — not up! The roof leaks, there are environmental issues and possibly sewer problems. The tenants have left the property like rats leave a sinking ship. It’s a little late for the commissioners to be getting to the party!
Doesn’t the county already own enough vacant and dilapidated buildings? The commissioners have tried several times to unload the old Social Services building on West Innes. The school system didn’t want it. The city decided that it wasn’t a good location for the business incubator. No one wants a building that needs extensive and expensive repairs to bring it to code.
Not too long ago, Commissioner Sides told us that we, the county, should not spend money that we do not have. The school system should be willing to be satisfied with a less expensive central office or wait until it could afford what it wants. The county doesn’t have the money to fund the daily educational needs of our children … our future, but they have the money to pay for a lawsuit that supports their personal beliefs and violates federal law. Now, they also seem to have the money to buy a “white elephant.” What does that tell us about their priorities?
It’s time for the county commissioners to start working for all of the citizens of Rowan County, including the citizens who live in the city of Salisbury. Personal agendas and prejudices should not be the determining factor when the public good is at stake.
— Larry C. Bowyer

My husband and I would like to thank the military uniformed gentleman who paid for our dinner Tuesday evening at Pancho Villa’s restaurant. My sister and her husband were visiting from Virginia, and we were so surprised to find there was no bill for our meals. What a generous gift! We assumed maybe you saw my husband’s Vietnam Veterans ball cap and wanted to honor Veterans Day. It was a wonderful act of kindness we won’t soon forget! Thank you!
— Anthony and Barbara Fiaschetti