jim ireton

Don Rush

In the ongoing dispute over fire and EMS service Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver has some questions about any agreement with the city of Salisbury.

Mayor Jim Ireton has threatened to cut off city fire and EMS service to surrounding county areas by July 1st  if city taxpayers are not given some form of tax relief for those services.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that many of the questions center on funding mechanisms.

The two sides are to meet on April 28th to discuss the issue.

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The best way to deal with providing fire and EMS service in Salisbury and the surrounding area is for Wicomico County to agree to some form of tax relief.

That’s was the opinion of the Salisbury Fire Chief Rick Hoppes.

Mayor Jim Ireton has laid down a deadline for later this year for the county to come to some agreement with the city or fire and EMS service will be restricted to the city limits of Salisbury.

The comments by the chief came during a roundtable discussion yesterday looking at options to resolve the issue.

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If there is no meeting between Mayor Jim Ireton and Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver by April 28th the Mayor says he will outline a number options to the public on the issue of city fire and EMS service to the county.

Ireton declared, ”You have city taxpayer money and you have to give it back.”

This week the Mayor said that if there is no agreement by July 1st on tax relief for city residents who provide fire and EMS services to the county he will keep those services to within the city limits.

Don Rush

Mayor Jim Ireton has set a deadline of July 1st for Wicomico County to come to an agreement on tax relief for city residents when it comes to providing  city fire and emergency services.

If the deadline is not met those services will no longer be extended beyond the city limits.

That was the message from the Mayor to the City Council yesterday during a discussion of his plans for the 2016 fiscal year.

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Mayor Jim Ireton will lay out his 2016 fiscal budget for the Salisbury City Council this afternoon.

Issues in his spending plan range from the first ever reduction in Urban Service sewer rates and public safety to infrastructure improvements and a new zoo exhibit.

In addition, the Mayor is expected to bring up – what has been called -- the Nuclear Option for Fire Department and EMS service.

The Mayor is seeking tax relief from Wicomico County for duplicative services.

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Mayor Jim Ireton and Wicomico’s NAACP Chapter president Marty Ashanti said they opposed legislation in Annapolis that would allow for an elected school board in Wicomico County.

During a state Senate hearing the Salisbury official said there has been little community input with only one public hearing on the proposal.

If approved the measure would present the question of an elected school board to the voters during the general election next year.

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Mayor Jim Ireton unveiled his 5 year $63.6 million spending plan on capital improvements for Salisbury.

The biggest expenditure is $4.1 million for the “Main Street Masterplan” that would renovate a number of structures along East Main Street in the downtown area.

The money would come from a number sources including from the town’s water and sewer revolving fund and bond sales.

In addition, the Salisbury Daily Times reports that it will also include investment in new police vehicles and residential paving.

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Mayor Jim Ireton gave his State of the City address yesterday.

And, he stressed the need to attack the city blight saying that property owners need to be held accountable.

In his "broken windows" approach, Ireton pushed an initiative to place QR codes on signs in front of abandoned buildings that would link to online sites providing details about the property’s history and current status.

cassius methyl / theantimedia.org

There will be a presentation for body cameras that will be worn by the Salisbury police.

Mayor Jim Ireton and Police Chief Barbara Duncan announced plans for the presentation that will take place at the monthly Mayor’s Neighborhood Roundtable tonight at 6 p.m. at the Government Office Building.

The presentation will range from the history of body cameras and sample videos to concerns about them, police considerations and their limitations.

The city is planning to spend around a $140-thousand on the initiative.

Salisbury Fire Department Website

Mayor Jim Ireton says the Salisbury is not being fairly compensated for the services that its fire department  provides in Wicomico County.

Under the current agreement the department serves over 56 percent of the county population and responds to more than 62% of the service calls.

But, says the Mayor, it does not get equal funding for the amount of work it does.

Ireton wants the new county leaders to take up the issue in the next fiscal year to address of a gap that, he says, amounts to over $2 million which has been paid by the city tax payers.

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A jury has found Mayor Jim Ireton guilty of verbally assaulting the woman who was his second in command.

But the court also found that it was done without actual malice thus denying her monetary damages in the civil case.

It was a mixed ruling for the Salisbury official from a jury of four women and two men.

It allowed the city to escape having to pay former assistant city administrator Lore’ Chambers thousands of dollars in damages.

Joe Gratz / creative commons

Mayor Jim Ireton’s former second in command Lore’ Chambers found themselves squaring off yesterday in court.

At issue is her charge of civil assault that Ireton made her fear for her safety during a series of incidents on July 12th of last year.

Her attorney Neil Duke essentially called the Mayor a “bully.”

Chambers had been assistant city administrator for five years until Ireton fired her that day.

During her testimony she said that Ireton became angrier than she had ever seen him after she submitted an application to fill the city administrator position.

joe buckingham / creative commons

SALISBURY, Md. (AP) - Three men protesting the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers in New York City and Ferguson, Missouri were arrested on Maryland's Eastern shore just as an annual Christmas parade was about to start.

About 50 protesters marched from a middle school to the parade route in Salisbury on Sunday. Some of the protesters then linked arms and blocked the parade route.

After ignoring police orders to move to the sidewalk, officers wrestled two men to the ground and handcuffed them. A third was handcuffed nearby.

salisbury fire department website

Most of the firefighters in Salisbury who lost their jobs when a federal grant ran out last week have been brought back – part time.

Mayor Jim Ireton said that the 10 will be used to fill in the schedule as needed.

They will be paid $15.74 an hour.

That money will come from the $19-thousand in remaining overtime funds in the department’s budget.

The Mayor has proposed hiring four firefighter/emergency medical technicians for an estimated cost of $160-thousand through the end of the fiscal year.

Third Lawsuit Filed Against Salisbury Police

Oct 6, 2014

A third lawsuit has been filed against the Salisbury Police.

This time by Darryle Smith and two passengers for being pulled over by the police on August 24th.

Smith said that he gave one officer his license and registration while another pointed a gun at him and his two friends who were in the car.

Smith and his friends Julian Washington and Brian Louck -- all in their early 20’s -- were searched along with the car.

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Mayor Jim Ireton has asked the Salisbury City Council to take a look at proposals for alternative energy sources to be included in plans to rebuild the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

The mayor says that the proposals from wind and solar companies such as Pioneer Green and SolarCity could offset the electricity costs of the facility.

The city wants to rebuild the plant after an $80 million upgrade of the plant has left it in disrepair.

It was one of 66 facilities chosen to be upgraded to cut its nitrogen and phosphorus output by 70 percent.

 

Tom Hunt

It’s called the Downtown Trolley.

And, Salisbury City officials were out yesterday to inaugurate its service that will run from Salisbury University to the downtown area Thursday through Saturday 7 p.m. through 2 p.m. for a dollar a ride.  

Mayor Jim Ireton told the gathering that the trolley was part of the revitalization of the downtown area.

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The Wicomico Branch of the NAACP will be holding a forum on police conduct.

It comes in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death at the hands of a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

It is to be held at the Chipman Cultural Center Thursday evening with goals to engage citizens in developing strategies to deal with charges of police misconduct as well as sustaining the relationship between police and the community.

In addition, the meeting hopes to address racial profiling.

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Salisbury may soon allow bed and breakfasts to operate in the Historic Newtown Community.

The City Council took up the idea last night during its works session and recently got the attention of city leaders during a Newtown Association dinner last October.

Supporters say that a bed and breakfast could be better for the neighborhood -- especially in dealing with abandoned and foreclosed homes as well as the problem of single-family homes conversions into rental properties.  

Council President Jake Day says he believes they could really benefit the community.

Salisbury City website

Salisbury Council member Terry Cohen says she is resigning citing family obligations in the coming months.

Her resignation date is effective August 8th.

Cohen made the announcement at the end of last night’s meeting.

She said in the last ten months or so she and her family have had major life changes that include a recent tragic loss.

Cohen said what lies ahead will demand too much attention to continue on the council at the level she demands of herself.

Cohen was elected in 2007 and won a second term in 2011.

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Salisbury kicks off Safe Streets Week.

Mayor Jim Ireton and Police Chief Barbara Duncan announced that the city will be participating in the National Night Out.

The City of Salisbury will hold a Safe Streets Prayer Service at Saint Francis De Sales Catholic church to commence this week’s activities to fight crime.

Tomorrow neighborhoods around the city are being invited to join with thousands of other communities across the nation for the 31st Annual National Night Out.

Don Rush

Salisbury is moving toward drawing up five separate districts for its city council from the two districts it now has.

Council President Jake Day along with council Vice President Laura Mitchell and council member Shanie Shields voted to put the plan on the August 11th meeting agenda.

Supporters of the plan say they want the system in place for the September 9th primary next year.

But objections came from to other council members.

salisbury.edu

Wicomico County Executive Rick Pollitt says he would like to get together with Salisbury City officials at Salisbury University Bosserman Center for Conflict Resolution to hammer out a new fire-service agreement.

The old agreement expired four years ago but the Salisbury fire department still responds to fire and medical calls in parts of the county.

At issue is the city demand that the county come up with more cash for its services.

salisburypd.gov

Salisbury police could have 15 more police officers out on the streets within the next 18 months.

At least that’s what Mayor Jim Ireton and Police Chief Barbara Duncan are pushing for.

Duncan said the new personal would consist of 10 new officers and moving five additional officers back out on patrol.

They would be replaced by five additional civilians.

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Mayor Jim Ireton told an audience gathered on the campus of Salisbury University last night that the state of the city was sound.

The Mayor along with City Council President Jake Day declared Salisbury the Capital of the Eastern Shore touting accomplishments with of the previous year during his state of the city address.

The Mayor also touted last year’s downtown New Year’s Eve party in downtown that drew 33-hundred “the crowning achievement of the year.”

Don Rush

The battle over the store “Red Light District" in Salisbury is over.

The store which bills itself as a romantic superstore has cleared the regulatory hurdles which would have forced it to close.

It’s an adult-themed retail chain that came to North Salisbury Boulevard last August and was immediately hit with city code violations incurring $750 in fines.

City officials would not approve the Red Light District sign unless it qualified as an adult store.

Don Rush

Salisbury has a new assistant city administrator.

Terrence Arrington has been on the job two weeks and lists a long list of tasks that he has gotten from the Mayor and interim city administrator.

And the Salisbury Daily Times reports that on that list is revitalizing the downtown area.

Other tasks include revising the city’s emergency management plan and changing how the city applies for grants.

Don Rush

The crime rate in Salisbury is at its lowest level in at least 10 years.

Part One crimes that include homicide, rape and robbery dropped to just 2,091 this past year -- close the target of 2,000 set by city officials in their efforts to bring down the crime rate.

There were three homicides in all of Wicomico County this year, compared with five in the county last year.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that of the 10-year span from 2004 to 2013, this was the first year there were no homicides within the city limits, though two were close to the city line.

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Mayor Jim Ireton has decided to reopen the search to fill the Salisbury’s City Administrtor’s job now occupied by Tom Stevenson on an interim basis.

Council President Jake Day said yesterday that there was no consensus on the council to conduct interviews after Ireton submitted the names of Stevenson and former assistant administrator Lore’ Chambers.

Ireton dismissed Chambers after a public exchange.

He said he nominated her along with Stevenson because he promised he would do so with the departure of longtime City Administrator John Pick.

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SALISBURY, Md. (AP) - Many city employees in Salisbury haven't had a raise in six years, but a new analysis shows the cost of benefits is substantially increasing city spending.

An analysis by The Daily Times shows spending on salaries, benefits and employee costs have jumped 52 percent in the past decade, from $17.4 million in 2004 to $26.6 million.

There hasn't been a hiring spree, though. The city added just 45 staff members over the past 10 years, an increase of 13 percent.

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