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Commissioners give surplus equipment to non-profit group

A nonprofit group based in the former Salisbury Mall will receive more than four dozen pieces of surplus equipment after a vote by Rowan County commissioners.

Commissioners on Monday voted to donate dozens of pieces of office equipment to Tsunami Development, a nonprofit literacy development group. The group leases space from Rowan County government in the former Salisbury Mall, now West End Plaza. Tsunami Development was founded by Chris Sifford, Kenneth Hardin, Nicolas Means and Pastor Anthony Smith.

The surplus equipment donation was originally on the commissioners’ list of regular business items, but was moved to the consent agenda after a motion by Commissioner Craig Pierce.

Pierce, who initially requested the surplus equipment be used by Tsunami, said he supports the nonprofit group because of the nature of its work, specifically referencing hands-on learning.

“I realize the deficiencies that we have with our younger students in their ability to read and write,” Pierce said after Monday’s meeting. “If you don’t comprehend at an early age, then you’re going to have a problem as you get older. I just feel like we depend too much on electronic information instead of hands-on learning.”

The surplus property includes: one metal book cart, four desks, two wooden counters, four black metal filing cabinets, one hall tree, eight desk chairs, one media stand, one table, one rolling metal file cabinet, one high back red desk chair, one top desk shelf, one couch and 32 stackable chairs.

Pierce said members of Tsunami Development were allowed to tour the county’s Facilities Department and select any surplus equipment that could be used.

When asked about giving away county property, Pierce said Tsunami Development would only be able to use the various equipment if the organization stayed in the West End Plaza. If Tsunami moves at any point, Pierce said, the surplus equipment would stay in the former mall.

He also said the quality of the various property was subpar and needed work. In other words, Pierce said, the county wasn’t buying brand new items for Tsunami Development.

“None of this merchandise, honestly, is sellable,” Pierce said. “There were chairs that came from the jail, chairs that are going to have to be re-upholstered.”

In other business from Monday’s meeting:

• Commissioners held a 90-minute closed session to address a property at 418 South Carolina Ave. in Spencer, personnel and an economic development matter at the airport.

The commissioners didn’t take any action on the Spencer property or economic development matter.

As for personnel, commissioners voted to give the Rowan County register of deeds a $2,200 salary stipend. The stipend could either be paid over the course of six months or all at once, according to County Manager Aaron Church. The commissioners also voted to not reimburse incoming employees for moving expenses unless they move to Rowan County.

After the meeting, county attorney Jay Dees declined to describe details of the economic development matter, saying it was confidential.

Even though the commissioners didn’t take any formal action on the Spencer property, Dees said he and Church would meet with town of Spencer officials to determine whether or not the owners of the property, which is colloquially called The Veterans Home, meet the intent of a previous property transfer.

The county transferred the property to the Col. Abram Penn Veterans Foundation, with an understanding that it would be used to house homeless veterans, Dees said.

“Spencer is currently having zoning issues and police department issues in regard to how it’s being used,” Dees said after the meeting. “So, we need to determine whether it meets the intent of the transfer. Then, the options would include them continuing to pay us or taking the property back.”

• Commissioners approved a resolution that asks for emergency repairs or a temporary solution to the closed St. Matthews Church Road causeway at High Rock Lake.

• Commissioners approved a capital building project for the South Salisbury Fire Department.

• The board granted a conditional use permit to Robert Severt to build a storage facility on his property on the 8600 block of Old Beatty Ford Road. Severt said he would build the 2,000-square-foot storage facility first and later build a house.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

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