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County commissioners to hold public hearing for 2021-22 budget

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Board of Commissioners on Monday will host a public hearing for the county’s proposed fiscal year 2021-22 budget.

Commissioners have been familiarizing themselves with the budget since it was proposed by County Manager Aaron Church last month. The proposed budget spends $174.46 million, which is a $20.94 million increase from the current year budget, and projects higher revenues and expenditures.

Church is projecting sales tax revenue to total $29.67 million, which would represent a $1.14-million increase from the actual sales tax revenue received this year. Sales tax revenues in the previous year have reached record highs despite the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Church is also projecting gasoline costs to increase 100%, which equates to $680,798.

The recommended tax rate for the upcoming fiscal year will remain the same at 65.75 cents per $100 in valuation.

The recommended budget includes $2.19 million in one-time capital expenditures. It will have the county take on $38 million in total debt to be paid off at an annual cost of $3.6 million and will allow for $55 million in new debt for the Rowan-Salisbury School System.

Those who wish to speak during the public hearing will be limited to three minutes and can only speak about the budget. Following the public hearing, commissioners will discuss the budget, which must be approved before the fiscal year starts on July 1.

Commissioners will meet 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 bit.ly/rowanboc0607 with password 060721 or by phone at: 602-753-0140, 720-928-9299 or 213-338-8477.

Also on the meeting agenda:

• Commissioners will consider a request from Airport and Transit Director Valerie Steele for Rowan County’s staff to negotiate with Aviation Management Consulting Group for consulting services for the Mid-Carolina Regional Airport. The Finance Department received statements of qualifications from four firms who were vying to provide consultation services, including The Aviation Consulting Group, QED Airport and Aviation Consultants and Baldwin Safety and Compliance.

• Commissioners will consider authorizing the acceptance of about $27 million in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan.

• The board will consider approving the creation of four Child Protective Services social worker positions and one social work supervisor position to decrease caseload sizes and help the Department of Social Services meet state standards. The department has recently been plagued by a staff shortage, but the new positions could help change that in the long term.

• Commissioners will consider authorizing the use of Help America Vote Act funding to purchase $204,473 worth of voting equipment, software and an work station for the Board of Elections.

• Commissioners will consider a motion to create a new environmental health inspector position and authorize the payment of a $25,000 bonus for the position. A memo to commissioners states expanding the Environmental Health department will reduce wait times for citizens who have requested inspections for septic tank installations. The department cut down a backlog for inspections that reached 10 weeks at one point last year. The current wait time for an inspection is about four weeks.

• Commissioners will consider approving a change order to provide a 22-day extension for the substantial completion of the new concession stand at Dan Nicholas Park. The concession stand was designed by Bogle Firm Architecture and is being built by Salcoa Contracting. The new date for completion would be June 28. The extension is being requested due to inclement weather and COVID-related material delays.

• A public hearing will be held regarding a request from Darrell Shell to rezone a 1-acre parcel of land located at 375 Wade Drive from rural agricultural to commercial, business, industrial with a conditional district to allow “parking of equipment and vehicles; stockpile storage for stone, sand and recycled asphalt; and storage of construction materials.” Shell’s site plan indicates two structures totaling 1,440 square feet, an arrangement of material stockpiles, parking area for construction equipment, six chain link fences and a proposed 20-foot buffer along two sides of the property and a 27-foot buffer on the eastern property line.

• A public hearing will be held regarding a request made by Sam King Jr. for an amendment to a previously approved conditional district rezoning for the company located at 1840 Bostian Road in China Grove to modify the approved site plan to expand an outdoor storage area.

• Commissioners will discuss the board’s July meeting schedule. The board has typically voted to cancel its second monthly meeting during the month of July.

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