Darts and laurels (3-28-15)
Laurels to Rep. Carl Ford and Rep. Harry Warren and all their N.C House colleagues who voted in favor of legislation this week that would restore tax credits for the preservation of historic structures. Those credits have helped create jobs and spur millions of dollars of investment in Rowan County and $1.5 billion across the state since 1998, but the General Assembly let them expire at the end of 2014. Republicans who now hold majorities in both chambers have criticized the credits as too targeted, but Gov. Pat McCrory, also a Republican, has supported them for their economic and workforce impact, not to mention their helping to save the state’s historic structures. Hopefully, the State Senate will see the light and pass its version of the bill.
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Dart to state government for cutting funding for driver education but still requiring schools to provide it. Part of this unfunded mandate is being passed on to Rowan-Salisbury School System parents, who will now have to pay a $65 fee — the most the state will allow school systems to charge — for the course beginning later this year. Even so, that will cover only part of the $319,000 annual cost of providing driver education, an amount that is the equivalent of six teacher positions, Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody said. “The impact to us is huge,” Moody said, as it undoubtedly will be to many families who already struggle to cover necessities.
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Laurels to the Enochville Fire Department, which this week took delivery of a 34-foot-tall water tank to provide a ready supply of water for its main task of protecting lives and property from fire. Getting the tank was key, Chief Clark Macky said, because there are few fire hydrants in the department’s 9.8-square-mile district and no nearby ponds from which to draw. It will also improve the fire department’s insurance rating, which usually results in lower insurance premiums for property owners. That’s certainly good news for the 4,400 people who live in the district and the 2,400 homes, schools and businesses.