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Space needs study presentation scheduled for Monday

By Josh Bergeron


Rowan residents will learn the exact amount of space the county needs when the Rowan County Board of Commissioners meet Monday.

The meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. at the county’s administrative building at 130 West Innes Street, includes the presentation of a long-awaited space needs study. Commissioners will also set a public hearing date for a loan application to replenish the county’s fund balance from the Dec. 2013 purchase — $3.4 million — of the former Salisbury Mall. The loan also includes $500,000 for renovations.

County officials have long said county departments need space. The previous crop of  commissioners said the county purchased the mall to provide space for its departments. At one point, commissioners envisioned the mall as a complex for all county departments, according to closed session minutes from 2013.

During the 2014 election season, current Board of Commissioners Chairman Greg Edds repeatedly said the county shouldn’t make extreme decisions, such as selling the former mall or developing it at any cost. Most recently, Edds has said Rowan County residents want to be convinced the former mall was a good purchase.

Drafts of the study largely revealed what commissioners already knew — the county needs space for its departments. Veterans Services and the Board of Elections have repeatedly been cited as needing the most space. The Social Services and Health Departments have also been cited as needing significant space.

Though it hasn’t been voted on or approved, moving the sheriff’s office to the DSS Building on East Innes Street has repeatedly been mentioned as a possibility. When speaking to a church group last Sunday, Edds specifically said he had considered moving DSS to the mall and the sheriff’s office into the DSS building.

Edds has also mentioned conference space as a large need that will be revealed in the space needs study. He said space for up to 300 people would be needed. This week, Edds said the conference space could be used by entities other than Rowan County government, such as the Rowan-Salisbury School System.

The final space needs study hasn’t been posted as an attachment to the county’s agenda on its website. The firm doing the work — ADW Architects — is expected to bring the study with them for Monday’s presentation.

ADW Architects will only detail the amount of space the county needs in it’s Monday presentation, according to County Manager Aaron Church. At the commissioners’ second meeting in April, the architecture firm is scheduled to present a master plan, which will make suggestions about where county government departments should be relocated to.

In other business on Monday’s agenda:

• The county will consider setting a public hearing for a loan on the former Salisbury Mall, now called West End Plaza

The public hearing date proposed on Monday’s agenda is April 6 at 6 p.m.

• Commissioners will consider rescinding an agreement that establishes several oversight measures for volunteer fire departments in the county

Monday’s agenda states that fire department chiefs requested a 2012 resolution be rescinded. The resolution requires departments to hold a public hearing if a tax increase in a fire district is proposed, purchases greater than $20,000 should be listed in the fire department’s budget and notifying commissioners if an emergency purchase greater than $20,000 occurs and it’s not included in the department’s budget.

The resolution also asks departments to obtain the signature of the board of commissioners chairman for letters of approval to financial institutions.

• Consideration of a lease between county government and the Rowan County Fair Association for land located near the fairgrounds

The land would be leased to the fairgrounds at $1 per year for 15 years. The fair association would be responsible for grading and clearing the land. The fair association would only use a portion of the land initially for 500 parking spaces.

• Considering the approval of resolution for a Local Government Commission application and bond order

During the meeting, commissioners are scheduled to hear a presentation from First Tryon Advisors before considering whether to start the process of issuing $21 million in general obligation refunding bonds. The bonds would refund all or certain maturities of the county’s general obligation bonds, series 2005.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246



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