Flights of Fancy: the tug of war over the Rowan County Airport | Business
SALISBURY - It has become a pivotal issue in Rowan County, and one that many say they didn't see coming. A tug of war has developed over the Rowan County Airport. Annexed into the City of Salisbury around eight years ago, Rowan County commissioners voted 3-1 last week to "de-annex" the airport.
To get beyond some of the speculation about why this move came from the commissioners at this time, WBTV reached out on Thursday to two of the principals involved; Salisbury City Manager Doug Paris, and Rowan County Commission Chairman Jim Sides.
Both were asked two identical questions; what is the benefit of having the airport, and what exactly would have to happen for the airport to be de-annexed.
Here, unedited, are the responses that came in email to WBTV on Thursday:
Doug Paris, Salisbury City Manager
Benefit: the airport has been a long history of cooperation and partnership between the city and county since 1928. It was originally owned by Salisbury. In fact, the it ever stops being an Airport the ownership of the land reverts back to Salisbury. Elaney, (City of Salisbury Public Information Officer Elaney Hasselmann), will release a history later today or tomorrow morning that outlines this and makes more sense. The history has been pulled from the city council minutes. The central issue is its relation to economic development and progress in the county. This vision dates back to 1928.
A local bill passed by the general assembly is required.
James B. Sides, Rowan County Commission Chairman
I am going to email you some information relating to my talking points on this issue.
I will attempt to answer the two questions you have posed here.Under the current arrangement with the City of Salisbury, the County only receives 40 cents per hundred on the tax rate for taxable property at the airport. In other words, based on the current value of taxable property at the airport, Rowan County loses the difference between the current tax rate of 62 cents per hundred and the 40 cents per hundred we now collect. With de-annexation, the County would collect its full tax rate of 62 cents per hundred and the tenants at the airport would get a tax reduction from 80 cents per hundred to 62 cents per hundred. This would give the County approximately $40,000 more per year to use for airport development.
The reduced tax rate would encourage development by current tenants, and would be an incentive for others to come to the airport with their planes. Our tax rate of 62 cents per hundred would be the most competitive rate of any of the other surrounding airports. This move to de-annex the airport is viewed by the County as simply an economic development tool.
The process for de-annexation is first to gain support of our local legislative delegation. I have a commitment from Representative Carl Ford, Representative Harry Warren, Senator Andrew Brock, and Senator Gene McLaurin to support this initiative. Carl Ford will introduce the bill and Harry Warren will co-sponsor the bill. The bill will have to pass muster in various committees and then would be sent to the House floor. Upon passage in the House, the bill would then go to the Senate, where it would go through the same process. If the Senate accepts the bill with no changes and passes it, It would then become law.
Please feel free to call me if you have further questions, or you can contact Vice Chairman Craig Pierce for comments, as he is well versed on this issue.Thanks, Jim Sides
P.S. I used round figures above, not exact figures.