Commissioners to consider purchasing temperature check tunnels, receive update on grant program

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 6, 2020

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Board of Commissioners at its meeting Monday will consider the purchase of three automatic temperature checking tunnels that would be installed in county facilities, primarily in the Rowan County Courthouse. 

The tunnels in the courthouse would replace the manual handheld temperature checking devices that are currently being used at entrances now.

The county received a bid for the tunnels from Salisbury-based Integro Technologies. The three tunnels from Integro would cost the county $97,500 and would qualify for reimbursement from the federal government under the COVID Relief Fund program.

Even though the money would be reimbursed to the county, Commissioners Chair Greg Edds said that it’s a steep price to pay for technology that he hopes won’t be needed forever.

“Our general thinking is the hope that everybody has that COVID is going away at some point and so providing very expensive equipment for what we all hope is a short-term situation just probably isn’t a good use of our funds,” Edds said. “I’m not sure that we’re real keen on that.”

Edds said that he didn’t think he or his fellow commissioners were “very interested” in the temperature check tunnels to begin with, but the news of a COVID-19 vaccine being distributed have further solidified that viewpoint.

Update on Small Business Grant program

Commissioners will also receive an update on the COVID-19 Small Business Grant program. The program seeks to distribute $350,000 in funds to local small businesses that have faced hardships due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The application period for the grant opened on Nov. 23 and closed on Friday at 5 p.m. McGill Associates has been tasked with distributing the grant and verifying the details provided by applicants. Commissioners will hear a status update on the number of applications received and the current state of the verification process. 

“We want to know, from an operational standpoint, if it’s operating smoothly,” Edds said. “We know we’ve gotten a lot of applications. We know that our grant administrator has been working hard.”

The board may also partake in discussion on ways to ensure that all available funds are awarded as grants to applicants. While Edds said that the grant process has gone “smoothly” up to this point and the county has received “a lot of good applications,” he also said there could be room for improvement.

“The challenge always is, when you’ve got something new like this, you’re building a platform from the ground up and so there’s always going to be some glitches,” Edds said. “I know we have one right now that we’re probably going to have to deal with from a policy standpoint that’ll probably be brought up at Monday’s meeting.”

The Rowan County Board of Commissioners will meet at 3 p.m. in the J. Newton Cohen Sr. Room, on the second floor of the Rowan County Administration Building. Limited seating will be provided for those who wish to attend in-person. The meeting can be viewed online at https://bit.ly/rowanboc1207. The password for Monday’s meeting will be 120720. To join by phone, dial 602-753-0140,  720-928-9299 or 213-338-8477. The webinar ID is 953 6017 9823. The agenda can be found online.

In other meeting business:

• At the beginning of the meeting, Mike Caskey and Craig Pierce will take the oath of office as they officially begin their new terms as commissioners. Both commissioners were re-elected after seeing no Democratic competition in the November elections. Commissioners will also select the board’s chair and vice-chair, positions that have been held by Edds and Jim Greene since the two were initially elected to the commission in 2014.

• Three public hearings will likely be scheduled by commissioners for the first meeting of 2021 on Jan. 4. The first public hearing will be to consider a request from Steinman Storage LLC to add two additional storage buildings totaling 22,000 square-feet and additional outdoor structures. Steinman currently has a 7.78-acre conditional zoning district that is commercial, business and industrial at 4290 Long Ferry Road. The second public hearing will be for a request from Nengtou Vue for a rezoning of an approximate 21.07-acre portion of his 68.9-acre parcel located at the 5900 block of Wildwood Road from manufactured home park to rural agricultural. The third public hearing will be for a request from Mitch Wilson on behalf of Rowan Clearing Partners to rezone properly at the 8200 block of Statesville Boulevard from rural residential to commercial, business and industrial with a conditional district to allow the placement of Gupton Land Clearning’s company office, workshop and equipment storage.

• The commissioners will consider canceling the second public hearing scheduled for the Community Development Block Grant — Coronavirus. The North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division has received requests exceeding the $28.52 million available for the grant and will therefore be accepting no new applications.

• A resolution will be considered by commissioners that authorizes the lease agreement between the county and Perkins Cafeterias for the former K&W Cafeteria restaurant building at 1925 Jake Alexander Blvd. West. The five-year lease will begin on Dec. 8 and will see Perkins Cafeterias pay the county $5,250 per month in base rent and common area maintenance. That amount will be adjusted annually by 2.5%.

• Commissioners will consider change order requests for several projects that are a part of the COVID-19 phase two plan. The total cost of the three requested construction changes is $16,323 and the county will use contingency funds to pay for them. The first change is for an additional $6,927 for additional demolition and new partitions for existing shelving in the estate office. The second is for $2,914 for new partitions for existing shelving in the civil division. The third is for $6,482 for additional demolition and floor finish as well as the relocation and mounting of a TV in the Landis office.

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About Ben Stansell

Ben Stansell covers business, county government and more for the Salisbury Post. He joined the staff in August 2020 after graduating from the University of Alabama. Email him at ben.stansell@salisburypost.com.

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