Laurels: Town of Spencer making right call with sheriff’s office agreement

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Laurel to the town of Spencer for considering decisive action to ensure residents have law enforcement protection.

The town has lost several of its officers for one reason or another in recent months. After this week, it’ll be down to nine of its budgeted 14 officers. With many law enforcement agencies facing shortages of good candidates, there’s not an easy solution.  Earlier this year, Salisbury Police Chief Jerry Stokes told the City Council the number of students entering N.C. basic law enforcement training in 2020 hit a six-year low.

Some candidates want bigger city action or state trooper duties instead of small town policing, but chiefs across the country are undoubtedly approaching their managers, city councils or town boards to advocate for better compensation packages. They may also be doing more recruiting than usual for the policing profession in general.

For Spencer, recruitment is likely to be an issue that remains prominent into budget discussions next year. It is a good, proactive step, however, to forge an agreement with Rowan County sheriff’s deputies to patrol the town as Spencer works to recruit more officers.

It will be more expensive to pay the sheriff’s office for temporary help, but Spencer residents should see it as an indication town leaders are prioritizing public safety.

Laurel to positive energy community events have brought to Bell Tower Green Park.

From Halloween and movies in the park to a community concert, Bell Tower Green has become Salisbury’s central gathering space.  The best is still to come, with Christmas parade festivities planned in the park later this month and other possibilities for holiday-related events. New Year’s Eve festivities will be better than ever, too.

Salisbury lost a lot of parking spots when Bell Tower Green construction started, but the product is worth much more than hundreds of parking spaces.

While the park’s grass and some of its plants may go dormant during the winter, Salisburians should be particularly excited for Bell Tower Green to bloom beautifully in the spring.

Laurel to the Rowan County Board of Commissioners for a wisely choosing rural fire departments for American Rescue Plan funding.

Much of the COVID-19 relief funding received by local entities remains unallocated. So, it’s good that commissioners chose to spend $1.2 million to help non-municipal fire departments, with each receiving $50,000. That’ll mean more to some departments than others, but the money will be welcome in every case.

With a total of $27 million coming its way, commissioners still have a lot more to spend. It’s best to allocate that money to projects and entities than can make a lasting difference in Rowan County.

Laurel to news developers are eying China Grove for a massive logistics center at exit 68 near Carson High School.

It’s clear that residential, commercial and industrial developers have turned their attention to the north after a decade of explosive growth in Cabarrus County.

That means more jobs for local residents and more tax revenue for local governments to fund public services.

While it hasn’t been officially connected to the logistics center, China Grove is also considering tax incentives for a 1,000-job project that could bring a $400 million investment.

As they consider tax incentives and any zoning approvals, county and China Grove officials should think carefully about whether they’re incentivizing jobs below the community’s average wage and any traffic concerns that may emerge near the logistics center, which is near Carson High School.

New jobs are good, but not all are worth incentivizing with tax breaks.

Additionally, early morning and afternoon traffic during the school year could become a real headache if the there aren’t changes to road configuration and its width.