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Commissioners look to streamline county departments

SALISBURY — On Monday, the Rowan County commissioners voted to bring in a consulting group to review the county’s development processes, which could result in streamlining some departments.

The California-based Matrix Consulting Group was given the following tasks: understand issues and existing operations; conduct stakeholder meetings and focus groups; compare existing practices to “best management practices;” evaluate the use of staffing; review the permit process; and provide a final report.

Specific departments the consulting group’s project will review include building inspections, environmental health, environmental management, fire marshal and planning departments.

“Rowan County is trying to become more competitive in the region, and frankly this is a global economy now,” said commissioners Chairman Greg Edds. “As communities around us and around the state and around the region are paying attention to their development process, in trying to improve that quality … we are looking at the same thing.”

The county wants to look at this process from “start to finish,” Edds said.

“We want to take a look at that entire process and see what things we can consolidate and what things we need to expand on,” he said.

Some changes in county processes are within the county’s control, he said.

Overall, the goal is to make the development process more efficient and predictable, Edds said in an interview after the meeting.

However, Edds referred to an article published in the Post on Sunday (“Commissioners to hear about consolidating departments”) when saying the goal of bringing Matrix Consulting in is not to “consolidate” departments.

“We are looking at the process,” he said.

Asked to give examples, Edds provided four — the tax rate, infrastructure, development process, and rules and regulations.

The goal is to move closer to a perfect process, Edds said.

The project employed by the consulting group is tallied to cost no more than $72,000 and will span a 14-week period.

The motion to move forward with the consulting group passed unanimously.

In other business:

• The commissioners heard a presentation by Assistant Planning Director Shane Stewart, representing a request from Mikey Wetzel, to exceed the noise ordinance to have a event near Goat Island on High Rock Lake. The event will feature Darrel Harwood, a local country musician.

Jim Shepherd, a High Rock Lake property owner, raised concerns about the negative atmosphere such a venue would create.

Several other property owners from High Rock Lake echoed this sentiment.

Wetzel said during the public-comment period that the concerns mainly pertain to ongoing activities near Goat Island.

Commissioner Mike Caskey, who voted in favor of the request, raised concerns that the event is not thoroughly organized.

Edds added that the way it goes could decide the future for future activities at the lake.

Commissioner Craig Pierce voted against the motion to allow the event to exceed the noise ordinance. All others voted in favor.

• A motion passed to allow the Dragon Boat Festival at High Rock Lake to exceed the noise ordinance.

• A motion passed to dedicate a bridge on Stokes Ferry Road to fallen police Officer Robert Y. Clement.

• The Register of Deeds Office gave a presentation on its new software system used to search through county records, Cott Systems.

Contact reporter Samuel Motley at 704-797-4264. 



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