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County commissioners asked to schedule public hearing for local business tax incentive

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — The Rowan Economic Development Commission is requesting that the Board of Commissioners schedule a public hearing for the April 20 meeting to consider a tax incentive request for “Project Gauge.”

The company behind “Project Gauge” seeks to acquire an existing employer’s facility in the county, retain 40 current employees at the facility and create 46 new jobs over the next four years. The company also estimates it will invest approximately $5.1 million in building improvements and new equipment.

County commissioners will have a “virtual meeting” from the Rowan County Administration Building, located at 130 West Innes St., on Monday at 3 p.m. to consider the incentive request.

Another item on the consent agenda includes a request for a $20,000 grant to the Rowan County Department of Social Services’ Rowan One Church One Child Ministry organization. The funding will be used for children and teenagers in the county who are victims of trauma due to child neglect and abuse, or who are actively receiving child protective or foster care services from the county DSS.

The budget for the requested funds includes beds, utility and rent assistance, baby items, clothes and shoes, food gift cards or food, personal hygiene items and linens. According to the grant request, put together by Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, by shipping needed essential items to clients’ homes, families will be able to remain in their home, avoid exposure to COVID-19, receive life necessities free of charge and relieve stress due to the financial strain caused by the virus when parents are unable to work and are living together in a close environment.

Other items on the agenda include:

  • A request from Rowan County Pretrial Services Coordinator Janet Ruffin to amend the requirement of waiting at least 48 hours before releasing an inmate. The requested amendment is to allow for immediate release from the Rowan County Detention Center under pretrial if an inmate presents symptoms of COVID-19, caused by the coronavirus.
  • A request from the Rowan Tourism Development Authority to defer the 2019-20 payment for the Railwalk Pavilion via an extension of one fiscal year. In a memo from James Meacham, CEO of the tourism authority, the tourism sector has reduced operating costs by 50% through reductions in labor costs, including wage reductions, halting contributions to retirement accounts, expenses reductions and furloughs in an effort to absorb short-term decreases in revenue.
  • A revisit of updated standards regarding a six-month solar farm moratorium enacted in December. The board voted on March 16 to send the revised standards back to the Planning Board, scheduled a public hearing for April 6 and extended the solar farm moratorium by another four months, effective April 7. The county planning director Ed Muire said in a memo that the moratorium could be extended for up to, but not exceeding, six months instead of four due to the current state of affairs amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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