Last night Salisbury City council voted to establish a Foreclosure Task Force to help stop the high number of foreclosures in the area.
The task force will be made up of nine individuals such as bank representatives, realtors, and residents.
Council President Jake Day said, "We have this incredibly rapidly increasing rate of foreclosures -- an increase of 430% year over year from last year. So we’ve got have this rapidly increasing problem and we’re trying to create a group of people who know something about it to begin to address it and reduce those rates."
Day said the city is implementing an idea used by Prince George’s County, which started a very similar task force to help bring down their home foreclosure rate.
Day said PG County utilized financial education among other strategies to prevent community members from losing their houses by teaching them money management skills.
But long time Salisbury resident Mary Kay Gibson who spoke at the meeting said the council should focus more on the number of vacant homes in the area.
"It really doesn’t matter why they’re vacant, whether it’s foreclosures or other reasons," she said. "The fact that so many of our neighborhoods have such a high level of vacant homes that cannot be sold, hurts the neighborhood."
Day said the council has not forgotten about the vacancy issue in the city, but the high number of foreclosures is a separate problem.
Day said that he had shared with fellow council member Tim Spies a report about addressing vacant lands. He said "We can do that in a number of ways in vacant properties in our city. But we need to address both problems." He added, "It’s not a choice. We have to do both."
Mayor Jim Ireton will now appoint each of the nine members.