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Public hearing on consolidation of human services to be held during commissioners meeting

SALISBURY — A public hearing will be held during the Rowan County Board of Commissioners meeting on Monday regarding plans to create a consolidated human services agency.

The move would give the board of commissioners and the county manager more authority over both the Health Department and the Department of Veterans’ Services.

“All we’re doing is bringing the Health Department and Veterans’ Services consolidated underneath the county manager’s purview,” County Commissioner Judy Klusman said.

The move to explore consolidating human service agencies came after a request from Vice Chairman Jim Greene, who expressed concern months ago about a lack of communication between commissioners and the Environmental Health Department, which is housed under the Health Department.

At a meeting in September, County Manager Aaron Church presented commissioners with several plans to consolidate human service agencies.

Currently, the Health Department is governed primarily by the Board of Health, of which Klusman is a current member. Under the proposed new structure, the Health Department and Department of Veterans’ Services would be combined and would be under the direct control of a newly-created position: human services director.

The human services director would be appointed by and report directly to Church. Klusman said that the new position would likely be filled by a current county employee.

Even though the Board of Health would lose governing power under the potential change in structure, Klusman said that the board would still be an integral part of the process and would continue to advise the Board of Commissioners and Church on health-related matters.

Klusman said that more details about the consolidation will be ironed out after the public hearing and commissioners will likely take action on the proposal at its second meeting in January.

The Rowan County Board of Commissioners meeting will take place on Monday at 3 p.m. in the J. Newton Cohen Sr. Room on the second floor of the Rowan County Administration Building. The meeting can be joined virtually at https://bit.ly/rowanboc0104 with password 010421 or by phone at: 602-753-0140, 720-928-9299, 213-338-8477.

In other meeting business:

• A public hearing will be held regarding Eric Dixon Sr. and Leona F. Dixon’s property at the 8200 block of Statesville Boulevard. On behalf of Rowan Clearing Partners LLC, Mitch Wilson is requesting a rezoning of the property from rural residential to commercial, business and industrial to allow the placement of Gupton Land Clearing’s company office, workshop and storage area.

• A public hearing will be held regarding a request from Nengtou Vue for the rezoning of approximately 21.07 acres of his 68.9-acre parcel located at 5900 block of Wildwood Road from manufactured home park to rural agricultural.

• A public hearing will be held to consider a request from Steinman Storage to amend its existing 7.78 acre-conditional zoning district, which is currently zoned commercial, business and industrial. Steinman Storage wishes to add two additional storage buildings totaling 22,000 square-feet and additional outdoor storage behind its existing structures. The property is located at 4290 Long Ferry Road.

• Commissioners will consider authorizing County Manager Aaron Church to sign the application for approval of engineering plans to build a chemical booster station. The chemical booster station is set to be installed on Long Ferry Road and will improve lead levels in the drinking water for residents in the northeastern part of the county. Hazen and Sawyer is the engineering firm that is being contracted to build the booster station.

• The Board of Commissioners will consider scheduling a public hearing for Jan. 19 to consider a request from the county’s animal services staff to create an ordinance prohibiting feeding animal carcasses to domestic animals in public view.

• Commissioners will consider awarding a bid to J.D. Goodrum, a Cornelius-based general contractor, for the construction phase of the glideslope replacement project at the Mid-Carolina Regional Airport. The project was approved and a grant was awarded by the North Carolina Department of Transportation in 2018. The project will cost $491,001.28.

• Commissioners will receive an update on Coronavirus Relief Funds spending and will consider approving the CRF expenditure report to be filed with the state by Jan. 8.

• The board will consider a request to grant an easement to Duke Energy for the installation and required servicing of utility equipment associated with the proposed construction project to build a dog wing at the Rowan County Animal Services Facility.

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