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Biz Briefs: Feb. 3

Rowan Chamber to hold Greece trip briefing

The Rowan County Chamber of Commerce will offer a briefing on a trip to Greece on Feb. 19.

The October trip includes a nine-day air and land package from Charlotte to Athens, with first-class hotel accommodations for seven nights. Organizes say 20 meals are included — seven breakfasts, six lunches and seven dinners. Day trips and airfare also are included.

The early-bird price for chamber members is $3,099 per person. Those reservations are due by March 29.

The highlights of the trip include:

• A tour of Athens, including the Acropolis Museum and crossing the Corinth Canal.

• A full-day excursion to ancient sites and mountainside villages of the Peloponnese Peninsula including Mycenae, Epidaurus and Nafplion.

• An optional Santorini extension tour is available.

“Greece is a home to an extraordinary collection of archeological sites as well as stunning mountain scenery and charming villages where a traditional way of life has remained unchanged for centuries,” said Chamber President Elaine Spalding.

The briefing will be at 5 p.m. Feb. 19 at the Gateway Building, 204 E. Innes St. Representatives of Aventura World will present information about the trip and answer questions. Anyone interested in attending should reserve a spot by Feb. 15 at 704-633-4221 or espalding@rowanchamber.com.

BBB annual report: Auto dealers remain top complaint generator

Better Business Bureau of Southern Piedmont and Western North Carolina released its 2018 annual report last week detailing consumer activity related to businesses in its 37-county service area.

In 2018, consumers filed more than 16,000 complaints against area businesses, showing an increase of about 1,000 complaints over 2017.

“A small increase in customer complaints is certainly not unusual. With new businesses opening regularly, it just means that there are more businesses to work with and more customers to satisfy,” said BBB President Tom Bartholomy. “Business growth is wonderful for our economy, and making sure consumers are satisfied is extremely important.”

In 2018, customers submitted more than 9,500 verified reviews about businesses, showing no change compared to 2017.

“Customer reviews are still fairly new to BBB,” Bartholomy said. “We are thrilled to see customers continuing to take advantage of this outlet by sharing positive or negative feedback about their experience with a business.”

In 2018, total inquiries were up nearly 4 percent over 2017, showing a total increase of roughly 135,000.

Top complaint generators in 2018 were new auto dealers, collection agencies, used auto dealers, auto repair and banks.

In 2017, the top generators were new auto dealers, collection agencies, used auto dealers, furniture retailers, and extended warranties.

For more information about the Better Business Bureau or to check out a business, file a complaint or leave a review, visit www.bbb.org.

Salisbury Business Center hosts photographic and digital art exhibition

The exhibit “Through the Eyes of the City,” featuring the work of photographer and digital artist Duane DuVall, will run through April 26 at the Salisbury Business Center.

An opening reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Business Center, 301 S. Main St. The reception is free and open to the public. Wine, beer and light refreshments will be served. Live acoustic music will be provided by Mama Tried.

DuVall composes a vivid portrait through the art of photography that, rather than a morose depiction of inner-city living, seeks optimism in the renewal of street corners and tucked-away alleys, a far straighter interpretation of hometown North Carolina than brush or prose.

Visit Duane DuVall Photography at ddphotography13.com/ or Multimedia Art by Duane DuVall on Facebook for more information. Each work of art featured in “Through the Eyes of the City” is available for purchase, and the artist will receive 100 percent of the purchase price.

“Through the Eyes of the City” is part of the Salisbury Business Center Art Partnerships Program and can be viewed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Salisbury Post publisher appointed to Rowan EDC board

Greg Anderson, publisher of the Salisbury Post, has been appointed to a three-year term on the board of directors of the Rowan County Economic Development Commission by the county Board of Commissioners. He succeeds Hayes Smith, whose term has expired.

“I’m excited about the direction and the momentum at the Salisbury-Rowan Economic Development Commission. I look forward to helping the EDC land quality industry and jobs. Rowan County is a great place to live, work and play,” Anderson said.  

Anderson is a graduate of the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. He has worked in upper management in the newspaper industry for 35 years and has been publisher of the Salisbury Post since 2006.

He held previous management roles at newspapers owned by E.W. Scripps in Florida, Memphis and Boulder, Colorado, where Anderson served on the Boulder Economic Council.

Locally, Anderson has served on the boards of Downtown Salisbury Inc., Rowan County Chamber of Commerce, Rowan County United Way and Pops at the Post. He is a member of the Salisbury Rotary Club.

“We are very pleased to have Greg join the board of the EDC,” said Bryan Overcash, chairman of the board of directors. “His business acumen, knowledge of Salisbury and Rowan County, and track record of community engagement will contribute greatly to our efforts. We are honored he agreed to serve.”

Southern Power Rowan helps fulfill electric demands across the South

Southern Power, a subsidiary of Southern Co., is a leading wholesale energy provider meeting the electricity needs of municipalities, electric cooperatives, investor-owned utilities and other energy customers. 

Located off U.S. 70 near Cleveland, Southern’s Plant Rowan is a natural gas-fueled, simple-cycle combustion turbine electric generating and combined-cycle plant. It is also capable of burning fuel oil as a backup.

The plant is used to generate electricity for use across the Southern U.S. The plant was purchased by Southern Co. from Progress Ventures in the summer of 2006. The combustion turbines went online in 2001, and the combined cycle in 2003. The plant has three combustion turbine units and a combined-cycle unit with a combined capacity of 985 megawatts.

Recently, the Rowan County Economic Development Commission staff visited Chris Lane, the plant manager, to learn more about the generating capacity and expansion possibilities. Southern Power Rowan employs 32 people on two shifts.

State Treasurer Folwell releases debt affordability study

State Treasurer Dale R. Folwell this week announced the results of the 2019 Debt Affordability Advisory Committee Study, advising the governor and General Assembly on the estimated debt capacity of the general and transportation funds for the upcoming 10 fiscal years.

The annual study, approved by the Debt Affordability Advisory Committee, provides analysis of future debt issuance on the state’s fiscal position. A secondary purpose of the report is to provide a methodology for measuring, monitoring and managing the state’s debt levels.

The analysis includes the projected issuance of the remaining $1.4 billion of authorized but unissued Connect NC Bonds and the $3 billion Build NC Bonds.

The committee reiterated its recommendation that the state recognize the magnitude of its unfunded pension and other post-employment obligations that cover retiree health care costs and to begin to fund these liabilities using principles of gradualism that are appropriate for a state with a long history of good fiscal management and high financial ratings. It was also noted that in 2018, the state’s pension liability increased by more than $2 billion.

State Budget Director Charlie Perusse initiated a discussion on whether the recommendations from the committee should take into consideration the decrease in future debt service payments over the next 10 years in light of statewide capital and infrastructure needs. The majority of the committee voted to support the recommendation with no changes.

Folwell acknowledged the capital infrastructure needs of the state including school construction, noting that nothing in the committee’s recommendation prevents the governor or General Assembly from approving expenditures, including debt, to address those issues.

 “This is not political or emotional, but mathematical,” said Folwell. “We have almost $40 billion in unfunded pension and health care liabilities. That bill will come due much sooner than people realize. We’re doing what’s necessary at this point in the state’s history because others didn’t. As Gov. Martin said, ‘Doing right is rarely wrong.’” 

The 2019 Debt Affordability Study was prepared by the staff of the State and Local Government Finance Division of the N.C. Department of State Treasurer.

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