Commissioners to consider incentive package for economic project, hold public hearing on solar rules
SALISBURY — The Rowan County Board of Commissioners on Monday will hear more details and vote on an incentive package for a company that is planning an expansion in Rowan County.
Rowan Economic Development Commission Vice President Scott Shelton will give a presentation to commissioners on “Project ACDC.”
The company behind the project is an existing Rowan County business described as an “advanced manufacturer” that is considering expanding its operations, which would result in the creation of 75 new jobs and a $28 million investment in building improvements and equipment. The improvements would be completed by 2022.
“That always verifies something is going right,” Chairman Greg Edds said. “It’s like getting a yes on a second date. The first one went well. This is always great news because they’re happy with the community, the amenities, the way local government worked with them to bring about their initial investment.”
The company is requesting a level one grant, which would have Rowan County return 75% of the company’s paid taxes over a five-year period. During the five incentivized years, Rowan County would collect $814,906 in revenue and provide incentive grants totaling $611,180. The county would retain $203,726 of revenue during this five-year period. During the next five non-incentivized years, Rowan County would collect a total of $489,443 in revenue.
Modeled with a 10-year horizon, Rowan County would retain an estimated $693,169 of new revenue.
The company is also considering applying for a building reuse grant from the state of North Carolina. The required local match for this grant would be satisfied through the county’s level one grant. However, if the state were to recommend a building reuse grant for this project, the county would have to apply for the grant on behalf of the company.
Also on Monday, proposed changes to the county’s rules regarding solar energy systems and land use plan will be open for public comment.
The Rowan County Planning Board has been working under the direction of Planning Director Ed Muire to develop new ordinances since commissioners placed a moratorium on applications for new or expanded large solar energy systems in the fall of 2019. Over the past few months, the proposed changes have been approved by the planning board and presented to commissioners.
“It’s something that really needed to be done to address these because when we had our first solar farm come to the county years ago, we didn’t have a place for them so we quickly created a place for them,” Edds said. “As these have continued to pick up speed and size, we recognized pretty quickly that we needed to come up with some fair rules that would take into account everybody’s concerns on both sides.”
Vice Chair Jim Greene said that he has not received much feedback personally from citizens for or against the proposed rules, but he believes that they are “what our citizens have wanted.” Unless major concerns are brought up during the hearing, he anticipates the board officially adopting the changes and lifting the moratorium.
Greene pointed to a new decommissioning plan for defunct or idle solar energy system as a potential change that he thinks is especially important.
If more changes are needed, commissioners may consider once again extending the moratorium, which is set to expire on April 5.
The Rowan County Board of Commissioners meeting will take place on Monday at 6 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 bit.ly/rowanboc0315 with password 031521 or by phone at: 602-753-0140, 720-928-9299 or 213-338-8477.
Also on the meeting agenda:
• Commissioners will consider approving a request from interim Health Director Alyssa Harris for a health education program manager, which will help facilitate and coordinate Healthy Rowan meetings and coordinate evidence-based interventions from the Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas grant program. The position will require no county funding as salary, fringe benefits, and operational costs of the Healthy Rowan program are covered by the Duke Endowment foundation.
• Commissioners will consider authorizing the payment for County Manager Aaron Church and Assistant County Manager and Chief Information Officer Randy Cress to enroll in online professional development classes. Church would be enrolled in a course to receive the ECornell Psychology of Leadership Certificate and will apply for three courses in the Harvard Executive Certificate in Public Leadership Program. The ECornell course will cost $3,600 and will last three months. If Church is accepted to the Harvard course, it would cost no more than $5,000 per course. Cress will also apply to enroll in three courses in the Harvard Certificate in Public Leadership Program, which would cost no more than $5,000 per course.
• The Board of Commissioners will consider approving BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina as the insurance carrier for the Rowan County Employee Group Health Plan. Blue Cross NC was picked by the county as the best fit of the four insurance companies that responded to the request for proposal.
• A public hearing will be held regarding the extension of a no-wake zone on High Rock Lake at Tamarac Shores Marina. The process was initiated as a result of a request from resident Michael Barron who lives on Tamarac Shores Drive. After conducting an investigation on the area, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission decided a no-wake zone is appropriate for an area that is smaller than what Barron has requested.
• A public hearing will be held regarding the HOME Funding Action Plan. The 2021-22 HOME program monetary allocation will be used to provide housing rehabilitation assistance to five households within Rowan County limits, excluding the Salisbury and Kannapolis entitlement areas. Individuals or families whose incomes are 80% or less of the area median income are eligible for assistance. The program will be administered by Salisbury Community Development Corporation (SCDC), a nonprofit organization that has administered the program in the past. As a member of the Cabarrus, Iredell, Rowan HOME Consortium, Rowan County has been advised by the city of Concord that it may receive funding for fiscal year 2021-22 similar to last fiscal year, which was approximately $178,200 in project funds.