Bob Culver

Don Rush

Wicomico County will resume – what’s known as – tax sales.

That is property sold by the county to bidders who promise to pay the tax and sometimes more.

County Executive Bob Culver cancelled last year’s sales trying to recoup the back taxes by other means including payment plans.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that this year Wicomico County put out the required ads in the Daily Record which has a greater focus on legal, business and government affairs.       

They have a much smaller circulation in Wicomico County than the local papers.

Don Rush

The Wicomico County Council approved a nearly $143 million budget for the 2018 fiscal year.

The spending plan also provides a small reduction in the property tax and money for the Wicomico County School District to buy some laptop computers.

One thing missing is any funding for a new station for the volunteer fire company that broke away from the Salisbury City Fire Department.

Cory Polidore, chief of the volunteer fire company, told the Salisbury Daily Times that this was “a slap in the face.”

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Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver has named Dawn Parks to head up the Finance Department on an interim basis.

She replaces Leslie Lewis who was fired by Culver last week.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports it’s not the first time Parks has filled in.

She is a veteran of the Finance Department including serving as acting finance director two years ago.

Lewis was dismissed last week without explanation and her departure comes as the county begins its budget deliberations.

Don Rush

The company one volunteer firefighters have cut a deal to relocate to the Salisbury-Ocean City: Wicomico Regional Airport.

The move comes after deciding to separate from the Salisbury Fire Department.

Council president John Cannon told WBOC that this was a positive development.

Meanwhile, County Executive Bob Culver has proposed a budget amendment that would include the volunteer fire company.

Don Rush

Wicomico County has put some money in its budget to pay for some firefighters at the regional airport.

It is part of the plans to relocate the volunteer firefighters that have recently separated from the Salisbury Fire Department.

The work in the past has been done by crews from Piedmont Airlines.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that County Executive Bob Culver says that members of the Company 1 Volunteer Firefighters has been offered a new station at the airport.

He said he wants to put some of them on the payroll.

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It looks like ice hockey will be coming to the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center – perhaps as soon as October of 2018.

County Executive Bob Culver made the announcement today.

He was joined by Jim Calpin who represents investors who buy minor league sports teams.

The announcement comes after a report that found bringing a hockey team to Worcester County looked problematic.

Culver said that Wicomico County is different.

salisbury fire department

The volunteer firefighters at Fire Station 1 in Salisbury will be meeting with the Wicomico County Council this Thursday.

The special meeting which will take place at noon comes after the volunteer firefighters decided to leave the Salisbury Fire Department over a staffing dispute.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the council members also expect to get an update on negotiations for a fire service agreement between the city and county.

A study found that the county is not paying enough – up to a million dollars -- in actual cost for fire service from the city.

Don Rush

The departure of Volunteer Fire Company 1 in Salisbury apparently resulted from a requirement by the department that they be available overnight.

The fire chief Rick Hoopes told the Salisbury Daily Times that it was not mandatory they be at the station but rather could respond from home.

Although, he added, that new recruits would be required to man the stations.

The department said that the changes were made upon the recommendation of a taskforce to improve response time.

Don Rush

Some have called it an eyesore.

And Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver says that the rusty water tower at Perdue Stadium will be down before the Shore Birds first opening game this year.

The tower sits just off of third base near the parking lot.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that it was originally erected as part of a fire suppression system.

But in 2005 the stadium began getting its water from the city of Salisbury.

And it has not been in use since.

official photos

Wicomico County and the city of Salisbury have cut a deal to extend the municipal water lines to the Salisbury-Ocean City: Wicomico Regional Airport.

It was just one of a number of agreements signed this week by County Executive Bob Culver and Mayor Jake Day.

Other agreements ranged from deeding six acres near Naylor Mill Park to the County to easements including one for the county-owned Scenic Drive to allow Salisbury access to its Naylor Mill Park.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that Culver declared that this was a whole new era for the city and county.

Don

A third party report on the fire service to Wicomico County has issued ten recommendations to resolve the dispute with the city of Salisbury.

For years the city has said that it should be compensated for its fire department and EMS service to nearby county areas.

Among the ten recommendation one says that Wicomico County should pay the city $288 for each fire call into the suburban areas.

This would be in addition to the grant that the county pays to each fire station.

Don Rush

Wicomico County voters gave their approval to a set of charter amendments that would expand the power of the County Council.

They received from 62 percent to 77 percent of the vote.

The measures included changing the role of the county attorney representing the council to control of personnel policy in the executive branch.

County Council president John Cannon told WBOC that he was pleased with the results.

Last week County Executive Bob Culver said that while he was not against the amendments but believed the council needed to get more input from the public.

Wicomico Youth and Civic Center website

The Wicomico Youth and Civic Center in Salisbury will be allowed to serve alcohol.

The county Board of License Commissioners gave the okay for the facility to serve beer, wine and liquor at the events.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that it had been thought that the original deed had prohibited the serving of alcohol at the Center but a recent legal investigation found that was not the case.  

County Executive Bob Culver has pushed for permission to serve alcohol and it could make the center more attractive to those looking for a site to host their events.

official photo, logo

There is a standoff between Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver and County Library officials.

Culver issued a letter demanding that the library turn over 33-hundred square feet of space to store county voting machines.

That’s where the library’s Entrepreneur Center is located.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that library officials sent Culver a letter yesterday refusing to turn over the keys.

The letter said that they believed the space should solely be used for library purposes.

Don Rush

An environmental consultant says that it would be okay for Wicomico County to allow the large chicken house operation slated for Naylor Mill Road.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that John D. Hynes and Associates found that the Maryland groundwater protection rules would be strong enough to protect such areas as the Paleo Channel and nearby waterways.

The paper says that Monica Brooks, a local resident and critic of the project, called the report “passing the buck” to justify going forward.

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The proposed mega-poultry operation for Naylor Mill road riles up local residents as political leaders struggle with the new phenomenon in the chicken industry. Delmarva Public Radio's Patrick Lieb prepared this report.

Governor's Office

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan is making stops on the Lower Eastern Shore this week.

He will make an appearance at the Delmarva Poultry Industry’s annual Booster Banquet at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center tonight.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that tomorrow he is expected to make some announcements about transportation projects at the Red Lobster in Salisbury.

He is also expected to huddle with Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver and county council members.            

Don Rush

Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver unveiled his $135 million budget this week – a 5 percent increase over last year.

Under the plan county employees will get a 3 percent raise with a major contribution to the public school system to meet the rising number of new students.

On the education front high school grads would receive free tuition at Wor-Wic Community College.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that Culver keeps a lid on estate taxes and business property taxes.

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Local leaders in Wicomico County and Salisbury gathered this week to figure out how to combat rising heroin and opiod addiction rates.

Just this week the county council voted to fund a program called Community Outreach Addiction Team that uses peer counselors to help those with addiction.

Among the attendees were law enforcement officials Sheriff Mike Lewis, County State’s Attorney Matt Maciarello and Salisbury Police Chief Barbara Duncan as well as political leaders County Executive Bob Culver and Mayor Jake Day.

wicomicotourism.org

Legislative efforts to allow alcohol sales at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center may not be needed after all.

The acting county attorney Paul Wilber says that he found the covenant keeping the center from selling alcohol was actually terminated in 1971.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that for years there was a belief that the sale of alcohol was prohibited.

But County Executive Bob Culver says that a deed search found the property had changed hands twice since the late S. Franklin Woodcock gave the county the 39 acres for the center and a veterans war memorial.

Center website

The Wicomico Youth and Civic Center could begin serving alcohol.

A measure approved by the House of Delegates would end a long dry spell and would allow the county to apply for a license from the Board of License Commissioners.

Eastern Shore state Senators Jim Mathias (D) and Addie Eckardt (R) sponsored the measure.

Mathias told the Salisbury Daily Times that he believed it would be administered responsibly.

County Executive Bob Culver said allowing the sale of alcohol was a key to $3 million in renovations for the next couple of years.

Don Rush

Maryland officials told Wicomico County residents that when it came to pollution from the planned mega chicken house operation along Naylor Mill Road there would be zero tolerance.

There were around 400 people who showed up at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center for last night’s meeting put together by County Executive Bob Culver.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that among the signs at the meeting – one read: “Save our water for our future.”

elizabeth prata / creative commons

Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver is holding a public forum on the large chicken houses that are planned for the area.

Along Naylor Mill Road., north of Salisbury, a plan for a large chicken operation with 10 large houses, took country residents and local lawmakers by surprise

Local residents have been organizing and raising questions about the impact on property values as well as health and environmental concerns.

msa.maryland.gov

Local residents showed up at the Wicomico County Council meeting last night to express their dismay at the prospect of a poultry farm that is expected to have at least 10 chicken houses located just north of Salisbury along Naylor Mill Road.

Not only did the scale of the poultry house concern residents but they also worried about the impact on the Paleo Channel aquifer.

Council President John Cannon told residents that the research presented to them would be fully reviewed.

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A group in Wicomico County which is critical of a large proposed chicken operation near Naylor Mill Road is pushing to be heard by the County Council.

WBOC reports that Concerned Citizens Against Industrial CAFO’s is looking to be placed on the council agenda.

Monica Brooks, with the organization, told the television station that the group supports the small chicken farms but opposes the industrial sized operations.

A family in Virginia had proposed to build 13 chicken houses although it’s recently been reported they would come down to 10.

Don Rush

Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver has issued a statement to reassure local residents about the large poultry operation planned for the Naylor Mill Road area.

Culver said that many of the statements at public meetings and in the media have been “less than accurate”.

But he added that he did have concerns about the issue and would reach out to experts who are charged with the responsibility of protecting public health and the environment.

Wicomico Public Schools logo

Wicomico County officials made their pitch to the Maryland Board of Public Works for $5 million to be used to construct a new West Salisbury Elementary School.

The Board of Education wants to fast track the funding for an opening in the fall of 2018.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the Board of Education approved the schematic design for the school in early January.

The paper reports that a decision on the state funding won’t come for the 2017 fiscal year until May.

center website

Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver wants to lift the ban on alcohol sales at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center.

And, he has the county’s attorney Paul Wilbur looking into whether it can happen.

It’s been in place since 1946 when the property was donated to the county to include the Center and a veteran’s war memorial.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the Center has seen a decline in attendance from around 239-thousand around 9 years ago to 169-thousand in 2011.

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The battle over the cost of fire and ambulance service by Salisbury for Wicomico County residents is going to a study.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the county says the cost is around $956-thousand while the city say it’s more like $2.2 million.

Next month the City and County Councils are expected to approve a contract with Tri-Data of Arlington, Virginia for the study.

The conflict over the cost heated up last April when then Mayor Jim Ireton threatened to withhold service if the city was not fairly compensated.

Don Rush

Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver’s daughter has been hired as a revenue specialist in the county’s Finance Department.

An ethics commission has ruled that there are no violations in hiring Courtney Culver who will be paid $13 an hour.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the job description includes responsibilities for billing and collecting all Real Estate and other taxes for County Mall Tax notices.

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