The 28072: If only it were true for most Granite Quarry residents
GRANITE QUARRY — Bill Feather says it’s not right for the mayor of Granite Quarry to have a Salisbury address.
But that’s the position Feather, Granite Quarry’s mayor, and most of the other residents in his town have found themselves in for a long time. Though they live within the town limits of Granite Quarry, they have a Salisbury address and a 28146 zip code.
At their two-day retreat, which wrapped up Saturday afternoon at Town Hall, the Granite Quarry Board of Aldermen returned more than once to this pet peeve — the address issue. Board members think it’s costing the town money, not to mention all the misdirected mail and packages through the years.
Granite Quarry has a post office and its own zip code, which is 28072. But only residents and businesses that have a post office box at the post office have Granite Quarry and 28072 as part of their mailing addresses.
The mail carriers delivering to people’s doors in Granite Quarry work out of the Salisbury Post Office, so they must deliver to homes and businesses with a Salisbury address.
“I don’t think we know how much damage it’s doing to Granite Quarry,” Alderman Mike Brinkley said.
Because of the confusion the Salisbury addresses cause, town officials think Granite Quarry sometimes is not receiving property tax money on vehicles.
Feather claims — and he has personal experience with this — that the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles often misses, because of the Salisbury address, that a vehicle should be subject to Granite Quarry property taxes.
Instead, the vehicle owner is considered as living in rural Rowan County, or the DMV concludes he lives in Salisbury and computes his municipal taxes at Salisbury’s higher rate.
To try and get it right, the DMV included the notation “GQ Street” next to Feather’s Kerns Street address. He opened up his billfold Saturday and pulled out his driver’s license to show the “GQ Street” on his address line. But his city and zip code are prinited as “Salisbury, NC 28146.”
Many other Granite Quarry residents also make sure that mail addressed to them includes “GQ Street” in parentheses on the address line. Brinkley said if someone mailed him a letter today to his Jack Street home but included “Granite Quarry, NC 28072,” he would never receive it.
Aldermen also are concerned that with every census Granite Quarry loses population that should be counted for the town. How good are the volunteer census takers at differentiating between a Granite Quarry and Salisbury resident, especially when the Granite Quarry resident has a Salisbury address?
Federal dollars often are doled out based on a town’s population, Brinkley said.
The big question for aldermen: Where do they start in trying to provide Granite Quarry addresses for Granite Quarry residents? When they’ve taken their complaints to the Salisbury Post Office in the past, they have not had success in bringing about a change.
The next time town officials go to the Postal Service, they have to give the postmaster the facts, Brinkley said. One thing the town must do, Feather added, is show the Postal Service where Granite Quarry’s town limits are and how many 28146 addresses are in those boundaries.
“We just need to plug away at it,” Brinkley said.
Overall, aldermen spent Saturday discussing their short-term and long-term goals for 2015-16 and assigning priority status to them.
As much as the aldermen talked about the address issue, they spent a similar amount of time expressing their frustration over not having a grocery store in Granite Quarry. Residents regularly ask them why the town doesn’t have one.
Winn-Dixie closed its Granite Quarry store about 10 years ago.
“All I know is, I’ve been threatened,” Feather jokingly said Friday, “and I was threatened again today.”
Alderman Arin Wilhelm said he hears from residents about the need for a grocery store three to four times a week. The nearest supermarkets now are Food Lions in Salisbury and Rockwell.
Wilhelm has made efforts to contact grocery chains personally. This past week, Feather met on site at the old grocery store trying to get a conversation going between a representative of the building’s S.C. owner and a local party.
But the aldermen said recruitment of something as specific as a grocery store comes down to demographics. When the numbers are right, a store will come, but town officials have heard more than once that the numbers won’t justify a store now.
“Are the demographics right?” Mayor Pro Tem Jim LaFevers asked.
Brinkley said LaFevers might be on to something and that the town needs to make sure the numbers being used are correct.
Here are some other short-term, high priority goals established by aldermen Sunday:
• Move forward with a planned urban development — PUD — off Faith Road. Plans for a subdivision there have been dormant for several years, sidetracked by a down economy. Also on this western side of town, aldermen want to work on developing an industrial park off Heilig Road, served by the new access road to Gildan.
• Try to make the town “contiguous.” Granite Quarry has several property doughnut holes and satellite annexations beyond the town limits. “It’s going to be a challenge,” connecting those dots, Feather said.
• Address vacant lots and the zoning on those lots.
• Work on existing studies, the biggest of which will be a downtown revitalization plan led the Arnett Mulrow, a planning firm from Greenville, S.C. As part of the plan, aldermen will continue to look at the possibility of a municipal service district and work with property owners in the target area.
• Extend a new water line down Lyerly Street to the Old Stone House. The town could use $50,000 provided to the town by Salisbury-Rowan Utilities to pay for the line.
Aldermen touched on many other subjects in the two days. To help develop a pedestrian plan, Wilhelm said he will walk the whole town with his wife and daughter and take an inventory of all the town’s sidewalks and their condition.
There also was considerable discussion on what Granite Quarry should do as a town on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.
“Do we need a Facebook page today?” Feather asked. “I would say, not today.”
Wilhelm said he thinks Granite Quarry should have some kind of presence on social media because it’s important to get the town’s message out and let residents know what’s happening.
Brinkley asked who would, for example, monitor a Facebook page and be responsible for the posts to it. Aldermen all agreed the town should have an informative and user-friendly website.
In another matter, Town Manger Justin Price suggested that aldermen consider a 3 percent cost-of-living pay adjustment for employees, but aldermen seemed in favor of conducting a pay study for all town positions first.
Aldermen also want to see what Waste Management’s costs would be for adding recycling pickup and leaf pickup (over nine weeks) beside garbage collection.
“I’d be willing to look at the numbers,” Wilhelm said.
Waste Management collects garbage on a year-to-year contract, which has an automatic renewal unless the town gives the company 90 days prior notice of a change. Recycling is picked up by another company, and aldermen had high praise for the job it’s doing.
The town does its own leaf collection at present.
Price said he thinks he has a good understanding of where the town board wants to go short-term and long-term, and he will use that information in putting together a preliminary budget for 2015-16.
In summing up what the two-day retreat focused on, Feather said it was about future planning, development and accomplishing things outside Town Hall or, in other words “beyond these walls.”
“I don’t think we missed anything,” Brinkley said.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.
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