Published 12:00 am Friday, November 22, 2013

Concerning mall and 329 S. Main St.
The county has made an offer for the Salisbury Mall of $3.45 million. The real questions are, is this the best price and how much extra expense will there be? I join with Commissioner Sides in wondering if the top bid in the auction was real. Given that, I wonder whether there were any real bidders after the auction closed. I wonder how much a half empty mall with no anchor stores is worth on the retail market. Did we over-bid? How about other expenses?
Assuming a 20-year mortgage at 3 percent, the interest amounts to $1.1 million, not an insignificant sum. With the mall off the tax rolls at $0.6225 per $100, the taxes lost amount to $429,525 over 20 years if we assume no tax increases during that period. The present value of those lost tax dollars is a little under $335,000. Added to these costs are the expected loss in sales by downtown businesses and resulting loss of sales tax dollars. These are unknown but were clearly a big concern of downtown business people as 160-170 county employees are shifted out of downtown. Were all of these costs added in? There are a lot of unanswered questions about this deal.
On to the central office issue. Three commissioners have voiced two areas of concern — environmental issues and costs. On the environmental front, we have received a No Further Action Required letter from the state, which should answer Commissioner Pierce’s concerns. In addition, the city has offered to indemnify the county and school board for any future environmental issues. That should answer the environmental issues. Architect Bill Burgin has estimated additional costs of $600,000 to build on Julian Road and $900,000 for the old DSS building on West Innes. Fiscal responsibility demands the lowest acceptable option, which is South Main.
I can only hope commissioners will do the fiscally prudent thing and close this issue for good by approving the 329 S. Main St. site.
— Jack Burke

Barber must go
I am amused at all the recent wailing and gnashing of teeth about wanting the early exodus of Chairman Jim Sides and Vice Chairman Craig Pierce from the Rowan Board of County Commissioners.
I suggest that such anger should be redirected toward the only member who has remained on the board way past his bedtime, and that is Commissioner Jon Barber.
Here we have a convicted drunken driver and thief, and he still thinks he is fit to serve in office. Like an obstinate child, he refuses to resign. He repeatedly has betrayed the public trust and serves as the Otis Campbell of Salisbury. My apologies to Otis; at least he was not a convicted thief.
I have not worked in the Republican Party for over 50 years to see our GOP nominations wasted. There will be many fine Republican conservative men and women to choose from without the likes of Mr. Barber. So, Republicans of Rowan County, make sure you do not waste your vote and renominate Mr. Barber in May of 2014. We have enough problems without nursing him for another four years.
— Mac Butner

After reading the Nov. 13 editorial page article titled “Charisma doesn’t govern,” I think the title should have been “How bad I hate a Democrat.” Columnist Jay Ambrose has got to be a right-wing Tea Party Christian conservative.
A president, a former Navy officer, gets his head blown off in front of his wife and thousands of people and children, and this is the way some people show respect.
Maybe Mr. Ambrose can do some research on Richard Nixon or George Bush to make a good report. He can call on Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity for honest information.
— Jerry King

Bravo for series
I’d like to trumpet the masterful job Mark Wineka did in his recent five-part series on Post Publisher Greg Anderson’s father’s war-time letters to his beloved wife Faye. I found myself anxiously awaiting the morning paper so I could settle in with my cup of coffee and pore over every treasured detail. What an enormous amount of time it took to read all those 400-plus letters, research their historical context, and fashion stories that not only brought the horrors of war to life but even more importantly for me, captured the fierce courage of a young soldier and his all-consuming love for his wife. Bravo to Mark for his remarkable writing skills, and to Greg for the gift of two extraordinary parents.
— Mary James