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City resolves to work with Rowan County commissioners to benefit residents

SALISBURY — City Council on Tuesday passed a resolution to work with Rowan County commissioners to benefit all residents, although one council member said the effort was likely futile.
Resident GeoRene Jones, who wants county commissioners to consult with all Rowan municipalities on what to do with the former Salisbury Mall, suggested the resolution.
The city and county have a rocky relationship, battling over the airport, the school system central office and more.
“We are all in the same space,” Councilman Brian Miller said. “We have to find ways to work together.”
While Miller said he supported the public statement that City Council members are willing to move forward with the county despite past differences, he said he was “very cynical” that passing the resolution would make a difference.
Mayor Pro Tem Maggie Blackwell said she was not cynical or skeptical and expressed faith that commissioners will “recognize our gesture in good faith and will respond likewise.”
Council members Pete Kennedy and Karen Alexander expressed support for the resolution.
Mayor Paul Woodson also voted in favor and reminded people that all citizens, including Salisbury residents, vote for county commissioners. He said Salisbury represents one of the biggest property taxpayers in the county.
In other business at Tuesday’s City Council meeting:
• Blackwell said despite an online petition with more than 60 signatures, she would not ask City Council to rescind a special use permit issued last month allowing Inksane Tattoo to serve alcohol to customers.
The petition on www.change.org says artists should not tattoo people who have been drinking. Inksane Tattoo owner Mike Jones has said alcohol consumption immediately before getting inked is not a problem.
Blackwell and Woodson pointed out that because issuing a special use permit is a quasi-judicial process, City Council members cannot talk to people with opinions about the topic.
City Attorney Rivers Lawther said the petition does not offer enough factual information for City Council to rescind the special use permit, and both tattoos and alcohol are legal. Rescinding the permit likely would be overturned in court, he said.
Councilwoman Karen Alexander pointed out that only a handful of petition signers are from Salisbury, and the rest are from across the country.
• Catherine Garner, originally of Kernersville, is the newest city planner. She takes the place in the One Stop Development Shop on North Main Street of Trey Cleaton, a city planner who now works in City Hall.
Garner, who has a master’s degree in historic preservation from the University of Georgia, will serve as staff for the city’s Historic Preservation Commission. Her salary is $44,000 a year.
• The Community Appearance Commission set goals for the upcoming year, including continued promotion of the spring and fall Spruce-up Days, Landscape of the Month, Adopt-a-Salisbury Street and other programs; hold annual BlockWork program to promote neighborhood improvements block-by-block; continue to expand Salisbury History and Art Trail marker program and host the sculpture show.
The commission will request $83,000 from City Council in the upcoming budget for grant programs, events and improvements.
Additional goals include supporting the city’s code services staff and Housing Advocacy Commission to address deteriorated housing.
• The Greenway Committee’s goals for 2014 include phase three of greenway development at the Kelsey Scott/Grants Creek connector, pursuing grants and easement agreements for phase three, coordinating 17th annual 5k run/walk for the greenway and coordinating an Earth Day event.
• The Salisbury-Rowan Human Relations Council’s goals include presenting recommended ordinance changes to City Council, evaluating events, a resource directory, supporting the Salisbury Youth Council, addressing community needs identified through the Communities at Risk discussions and partnering with the Housing Advocacy Commission Fair Housing Workshop.
• Blackwell thanked city staff for pulling together the Bell Tower New Year’s Eve celebration at the last minute.

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