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Commissioners split corrections into three buildings

The state’s Division of Community Corrections in Rowan County could soon be split into three different buildings.

With seven new probation officers coming in and no remaining space in community corrections’ current buildings, county commissioners voted Monday to lease a portion of a building on North Lee Street. The exact cost of the lease could change, as the official vote was to allow county manager Aaron Church to negotiate the exact space in the lease. The agreed terms of the lease would be three years with the cost being $11.50 per square foot.

With the newly approved lease, the Division of Community Corrections would use a building that’s adjacent to the magistrate’s office and two buildings located one block away from the courthouse.

Much of the discussion during Monday’s meeting focused on the term of the lease. Because commissioners are required to provide space for community corrections that’s close to the courthouse, commissioner Craig Pierce said three years was the best option.

“We don’t have a lot of options and I think that needs to be discussed,” Pierce said. “It’s not like we’ve got 10 different places we can move to. This is about our only option.”

Pierce, who made the motion that was ultimately approved, said leasing a third building was the best option because a move could be complicated for those set up in a different building. Another option considered included putting all of the Division of Community Corrections in the two buildings located one block from the courthouse.

Commission chairman Greg Edds said leasing the approved building for three years could allow the county to find a more permanent solution for the three-building situation.

Before the vote, vice-chairman Jim Greene asked about the meaning of the word “close” as a requirement for the space. Greene asked if anything in the city limits would be considered close. County attorney Jay Dees say any building in walking distance would likely be considered close enough to meet the requirement.

The commissioners briefly discussed extending a lease for community corrections at its building on W. Kerr Street to match the recently approved lease, but didn’t take any formal action.

In other news from Monday’s meeting:

• Commissioners picked appointments to more than a dozen county boards.

A few of the available appointments were for liaisons from the board of commissioners. Commissioners picked Mike Caskey to serve as the Rescue Squad liason. Edds was selected for the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council. Judy Klusman was picked for the Board of Health and Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Solutions Board.

One of the most notable names dotting the applications list was Jim Sides, who applied for the Rescue Squad board and Health Department Board. Sides is currently the chairman of the Department of Social Services Board.

During the meeting, commissioners nominated applicants for appointment and later voted on the nominees.

Sides didn’t receive a nomination for the Health Department Board. Commissioner Mike Caskey nominated Sides for the Rescue Squad Board, but Sides didn’t receive enough votes to be appointed. He needed three votes and only received two — Caskey and Pierce.

• Commissioners approved a more-than $1 million loan to pay for the purchase of additional county vehicles.

The bulk of the vehicles — 25 — are in the sheriff’s office.

The approved loan came from Regions Equipment Finance Corporation at an interest rate of 0.97 percent, which would result in a total interest amount of $16,439.60.

The next lowest proposed loan was from PNC Equipment Finance, which came with an interest rate of 1.06 percent.

• The commissioners approved a measure that would allow Church to solicit proposals from companies for a county-wide compensation study.

Church said the length of time since the last complete study, which occurred in the 90s, was one reason the county should proceed with a new compensation study.

The county was in the midst of a compensation study in 2007, but didn’t complete it, Church said.

• Commissioners set a public hearing for a $6.5 million loan that would be used to pay for the Rowan-Salisbury Schools central office building.

The public hearing was scheduled for Jan. 5, which is during the commissioners’ regularly scheduled meeting.

The actual opening of the submitted loans will be today at 10 a.m.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246





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