Salisbury Approves $65 Million Budget and other key items

June 9th, 2020 – Salisbury, MD:

The Salisbury City Council approved several items including the 2021 Budget in their June 8th, 2020 legislative meeting. Several other items included providing some additional funds as grants to small businesses affected by COVID-19, property tax credits for Police Officers and Firefighters, and bonus stipends to frontline employees with direct public contact during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The 2021 Salisbury City Budget was approved with a 4-0 vote from City Council Members that were present via zoom including President Jack Heath, Vice-President Muir Boda, Councilwoman Angela Blake, and Councilwoman Michele Gregory. Councilwoman April Jackson was not present. The budget itself, including the water and sewer fund was nearly $65 Million. Several big ticket items include $2 Million for the Field Operations Facility, $175,000 for the GOB Roof and Air Handler replacement (the City shares in costs of the Government Building with Wicomico County), $1.2 Million for Well #3 at the Paleo Water Plant, $1.5 Million from the Safer Grant for Firefighter Salaries, $150,000 for the SWIFT team, and $443,469 for Adult Drug Treatment through Drug Court.

Amendments were made to the budget and to the Fee Ordinance which removed the increases that were originally slated for the Landlord License Fees. This appears to be a compromise with regards to the recent emergency legislation passed restricting rental fee increases during a state of emergency.

Resolution 3040 created a Micro-Grant program where $69,888 (1/4 of the available funds in the Revolving Loan Fund) was transfered out of the Revolving Loan Fund into the new program. These grants are available to small businesses in Downtown Salisbury that were affected by COVID-19. Eligible businesses may receive up to $2,300 if approved.

Ordinance 2598 created a chapter to the Salisbury Municipal Code that will allow Public Safety Officers, including Police Officers, Salaried Firefighters, and Volunteer Firefighters who maintain their principle resident within the municipal limits of Salisbury to receive Property Tax Credits up to $1,000 in 2020 and 2021, $1,500 in 2022 and 2023, $2,000 in 2024 and 2025, and $2,500 in 2026 and beyond. This will apply to retirees and Lifetime members of the Volunteer Fire Department in Salisbury.

Ordinance 2600 was a budget amendment that provided $151, 248 as direct stipends to frontline employees who direct or secondary contact with the public during the COVID-19 pandemic. Employees who made direct contact will receive $750 and those employees who are considered secondary contact (in contact with those in direct contact) will receive $500.

Lower Eastern Shore News will strive to provide accurate and fair reporting of our local municipalities and the Wicomico County Government.

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