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Political notebook: Barber lays out ideas for future in farewell speech

Earlier this week, three commissioners bid farewell to their positions as heads of county government. One former commissioner in particular left Rowan County residents with a potential plan for the future.

In a lengthy soliloquy, former County Commissioner Jon Barber laid out eight goals for Rowan County.

“These suggestions can be done without spending much, if any, tax dollars and some could even save the county tax dollars,” Barber said in the prepared speech.

A few of his goals include:

• Set a planning retreat and rewrite a strategic plan that was started in 1995 and was an ongoing process until October 2003.

• Drop an appeal of the City of Salisbury’s special use permit denial. The permit requested was for government services at the former Salisbury Mall.

• Work with the public school system to foster the success of the 1:1 technology program by establishing wi-fi hotspots around the county.

• Resume participation in several different groups, including: the Salisbury-Rowan Human Relations Council, Centralina Council of Government and Charlotte Regional Partnership.

• Join the Carolina Thread Trail, as most municipalities in the county have already agreed to participate.

There already appears to be some friction between two commissioners, so perhaps a planning retreat isn’t the best idea, but developing a strategic plan may fit well with the goals laid out by commission chairman Greg Edds during the campaign season and a speech made by Edds at the beginning of this week’s meeting.

As for stopping an appeal of the city’s special use permit denial, it looks as if the new commissioners along with Caskey and Pierce have already made up their minds. This week, the commissioners voted to continue the appeal, but begin discussions with the city about the best way to proceed. Unless the appeal is dropped during discussions with city officials, it’s going forward as a way for the county to keep its options open, according to county attorney Jay Dees.

The Carolina Thread Trail is an interesting one, with several municipalities already approving resolutions in support of the idea. The thread trail is a network of trails and greenways in 15 counties, even a few in South Carolina.  Yet, a map of the thread trail noticeably wraps around Rowan County, without crossing the borders at all.

Hudson’s bill heads to president’s desk

One of Rowan County’s U.S. representatives may soon have his first bill ever signed into law.

This week the Senate unanimously passed a bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, a Republican whose district includes southern Rowan County. In part, the bill limits fees charged to passengers of air carriers. The bill is expected to be signed into law by President Barack Obama as early as next week. If signed, the bill would be Hudson’s first bill signed into law in his first term and first overall.

In response to the senate’s passage of his bill, Hudson said reducing taxes and fees on airline passengers benefits everyone, including families traveling for the holidays.

“I’m proud of the bipartisan, bicameral support this legislation received, and I hope the President will join us in our efforts to save American taxpayers from shelling out millions of dollars in extra fees,” Hudson said. “I came to Washington to make life better for folks in North Carolina, and I remain committed to working with leaders on both sides of the aisle to champion real solutions like this.”

Hudson’s bill is officially titled H.R. 5462.

Rowan Republicans plan Christmas Social as way to get involved

It’ll be a bit of business, but mostly talking and eating.

Rowan Republican Party Chairman John Leatherman said the party will have a Christmas Social Event on Dec 9, partially as a way to get Rowan County residents who may not be knowledgeable about politics more involved.

The meeting will be in the Rowan County  Commissioners’ meeting room starting at 7 p.m., Leatherman said. He said it would start off with a brief business meeting, but mostly just be a way for local Republicans to network.

“We want to welcome and invite people who may have a desire to get involved, but don’t know how,” he said.

He said generally 40 or so people attend the event. Leatherman asked for attendees to bring food and email him at john.leatherman.bwkw@statefarm.com or call 704-637-0775 for more information.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246




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