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Editorial: Rowan favor Salisbury?

The 33,700 Rowan County residents who live in Salisbury puzzle over the tension that surfaces when some county commission candidates talk about the city. Tuesday’s Tea Party forum was a case in point. Candidates were asked if they should favor Salisbury over other municipalities.

The anti-Salisbury sentiment there is not subtle. Someone is being accused of favoring the county seat — the place that contains three colleges and a seminary, two major medical centers, the county courthouse and not a small number of businesses and churches.

Not to mention people. More people live in Salisbury than in the eight other municipalities contained in Rowan — combined. Here are the numbers from the county’s annual report:

• China Grove 4,167

• Cleveland 870

• East Spencer 1,534

• Faith 813

• Granite Quarry 2,998

• Landis 3,108

• Rockwell 2,121

• Salisbury 33,726

• Spencer 3,285

(Part of Kannapolis lies in Rowan; most of its 44,000 residents live on the Cabarrus County side of the city.)

Salisbury residents pay county taxes, as do the folks in all the other municipalities. Municipal and county residents all use the same school system, the same courts, social services and health department. And everyone votes for the Board of Commissioners, which is supposed to serve us all.

Rowan’s $12.2 billion tax base is spread across the county. Here, according to the county manager’s annual report, are the county’s biggest taxpayers and their value, rounded off:

• Duke Energy $498 million

• Southern Power $308 million

• Food Lion $165 million

• Gildan Yarns $160 million

• Daimler $108 million

• Aldi   $42 million

• Alcoa (now Cube Hydro)…$39 million

The city’s tax base is about $2.8 billion. Salisbury’s biggest taxpayers, according to the city manager’s 2017-18 budget message, are:

• Food Lion $165 million

• Akzo Nobel $32 million

• Norandal $25 million

• Duke Energy $30 million

• Centro (Innes St. Market) $26 million

• Henkel Corp. $34 million

• Walmart $13 million

Rowan County government is clearly the big dog around here. There’s no doubt about that. Still, every municipality should be treated with respect. Maybe the better question for candidates is this: Do you harbor a grudge against Salisbury, and what is that all about?

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