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Granite Quarry board says let there be (better) light

By Mark Wineka

mark.wineka@salisburypost.com

GRANITE QUARRY — By spending $5,241 now for more efficient lighting throughout Town Hall, Granite Quarry could save close to $40,000 over the next five years.

Town Manager Phil Conrad shared some of the cost-saving figures Monday night with the Granite Quarry Board of Aldermen. Conrad said the LED lighting project should pay back its initial investment of $5,241 within nine months or sooner.

The  energy savings after the first year are projected at $7,939; after five years, $39,695.

Lime Energy Services, a subcontractor for Duke Energy, is installing the new LED lamps and, in some cases, retrofitting fixtures in all areas of Town Hall, including halls and offices, boardrooms and restrooms.

The work extends to the police, fire and maintenance departments, including their offices, work bays, restrooms and storage areas on all floors.

Duke Energy provides a project incentive of $20,965 on the total cost of $26,828. The town, as the participating customer, would have been responsible for $5,863, but because it went with a lump-sum payment option, its costs were $5,241 instead.

The total estimated kilowatt savings is 24.974; the total kilowatt hour savings is 98,606.

Duke Energy said the town’s annual lighting cost is $12,131. With the changes, its future annual costs drop to $4,192, or the estimated annual savings of $7,939.

In another matter Monday night, aldermen heard a presentation from Craig Lamb of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College on the Better Jobs for Better Lives in Rowan County initiative.

The program will be trying to bring together communities, the county and college in efforts to help Rowan County’s unemployed and underemployed.

The first planning forum for the Rockwell, Granite Quarry, Faith and Gold Hill communities will be at 7 tonight at the American Legion Building in Rockwell. The purpose of this meeting is to plan publicity and outreach efforts in identifying residents who might want to take advantage of services they need for higher-growth, higher-wage careers.

The model followed is the college’s R3 program and its refocus, retrain and re-employ mantra. Rowan County commissioners have committed $100,000 to the initiative.

“We hope you can provide a leadership role in moving us forward,” Lamb told aldermen Monday night. The community partnerships are important in providing support networks, facilities, employer partnerships and connections to churches and nonprofit groups.

In each community, a 90-day action plan will be drawn, Lamb said, and he promised the program can be sustainable and ongoing.

“We don’t want to be the circus coming to town, rolling up the tent and leaving,” he said.

Lamb said he hoped tonight’s meeting would bring together leaders from the local clergy, businesses, governments, nonprofits and civic clubs to help spread the word and get things going.

In another matter Monday night, aldermen approved an agreement between the town and South Salisbury Fire Department, laying out how South Salisbury could continue to provide fire service in some sections of its district, even after the town annexed those areas in the future.

Mayor Bill Feather described it as a mutually beneficial contract because it would save the town the expense of having to add a fire station, and it would not disrupt the tax revenues South Salisbury derives from that area.

Under the agreement, the town would reimburse South Salisbury at the fire district rate of 7.75 cents per $100 valuation on any properties covered by the agreement. Feather said the contract could become a model for other municipalities and fire districts in Rowan County.

In other business Monday night, aldermen:

• Swore in Scott Stewart as the town’s new deputy town clerk, with finance and human resource responsibilities. Stewart has experience in human resources, including payroll and safety training.

Stewart graduated from East Rowan High School and earned his bachelor’s degree in human resources from Kennedy-Western University. He has been employed previously at Johnson Concrete and W.A. Brown & Son.

• Approved a contract with Benchmark Planning to handle planning and code enforcement services at a rate of $65 an hour, not to exceed $9,000 for the remainder of the fiscal year. Susan Closner also will be working part time for the town in planning services.

• Learned the town has made its final payment for construction of the Brookwood Avenue culvert, which helped address flooding in that section of town several years ago. Having paid off that obligation will free more Powell Bill money to pave town streets, Feather said.

• Approved a budget amendment reflecting the transfer of $25,718 to pay for a new police car and equipment.

• Approved a budget amendment reflecting the $15,161 purchase of new air packs for the Fire Department.

• Proclaimed February as Black History Month in the town of Granite Quarry.

• Set Feb. 17 and 18 as the dates for their annual retreat at Town Hall.

• Noted the town is accepting applications from residents who want to serve on a Street Light Committee to review the town’s policies for lights in subdivisions.

• Appointed the Rev. David Trexler of Dunn’s Mountain Church Road as a member of the Planning Board.

• Appointed Rob Miller, branch manager of F&M Bank in Granite Quarry, to the town’s Revitalization Team Committee.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.

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