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Rowan County commissioners approve new roadside litter management program

SALISBURY — Caleb Sinclair says that litter is a growing problem in Rowan County. Once you see it, you’ll never “unsee” it, he says.

In an effort to address the problem, Sinclair proposed to the county commissioners on Monday that a full-time litter mitigation supervisor be hired at the Rowan County Department of Environmental Management.

The commissioners approved Sinclair’s request unanimously, allowing for the additional staff member, a Ford F-250 and a material collection trailer.

“I’m going to tell you, 601 is atrocious. … Jake Alexander Boulevard is an embarrassment,” said board Chairman Greg Edds. “… I’m glad we’re finally addressing this. It’s part of how we view ourselves. We can’t expect folks to view us in a positive light if we don’t view ourselves any better than what we appear to be.”

The supervisor would use community-service workers throughout the week to tend to main roads and problem areas as needed.

Sinclair, Rowan’s environmental management director, said a full-time staff member, a vehicle and equipment could come from existing landfill enterprise funds.

“(W)e can fund this program without impact to the taxpayer,” he said.  “… Our program won’t solve Rowan County’s litter problem, but it will provide us immediate response and flexibility to get some of those problematic areas.”

In other business at Monday’s meeting:

• The commissioners approved the sale of 6.98 acres off Summit Park Drive.

The land will be purchased by Keith Corp. for the potential development of “Project Wheel,” an expansion of an existing Rowan County employer.

• The board moved changes to animal ordinances to the consent agenda of its Feb. 19 meeting.

The changes are in response to nationwide changes driven by a desire to avoid euthanasia of companion animals and reduce potential costs in the event of exposure to rabies.

Bob Pendergrass, Rowan animal services director, said his staff used the incorporation of state standards to address other animal welfare concerns.

Some commissioners said that revised phrasing could potentially penalize pet owners with working dogs secured in the backs of trucks.

• The commissioners allocated $10,000 to a veterans memorial in Salisbury.

The request came from the Tourism Development Authority for a World War I and World War II memorial at Salisbury’s Patriots Flags Concourse. The concourse is at the corner of West Miller and North Jackson streets.

The board voted to give $10,000 to be used at the discretion of the city. The money will be held until the remaining funding is secured from the city and Salisbury Rotary.

• Four people were appointed to three local boards.

They included Edds to the Centralina Economic Development Committee; Myles Cannon and Toni Wingler to the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council; and Joann Diggs to the Nursing Home Advisory Committee.

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