salisbury city council

Salisbury City Seal

The first African American to serve on the Salisbury city council could be honored with a small park or garden on land once owned by Gertrude Shockley.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that council member April Jackson who represents the district where it is located said she would like the land turned into a garden with benches and flowers.

Shockley was appointed to the council in 1987 to fill a vacancy after Norm Conway’s resignation.

She was later elected to the seat in May of 1990…and served until her death in March of 1991.


The Salisbury City Council decided not to hire the law firm of Cockey, Brennan and Maloney last night.

There were two no votes and one abstention.

The abstention came from R. Hardy Rudasill who has just come on the council to replace Laura Mitchell.            

He said that he had a conflict of interest since he worked for the firm.

Council members Jim Ireton and April Jackson rejected the law firm while Jack Heath and Muir Boda voted yes.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that Robin Cockey represented the City Council from 1986 to 1994.


R. Hardy Rudasill has been appointed to serve out the rest of the term on the Salisbury City Council that had been left vacant by the departure of Laura Mitchell at the end of last month.

The vote was 4 to 0 yesterday.

The 38 year-old attorney and compliance officer for the University of Maryland Eastern Shore said he applied because his friends and neighbors believed he would be a good fit.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that he is a native of Prince George’s County and graduated from UMES in 2006.

Laura Mitchell left the Salisbury City Council this week. She came in at a time of great political turmoil as the city faced some of its toughest challenges. Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush spoke with Mitchell as she settled in at her new home in Montgomery County about her experience and the issues that she faced at the time.

Don Rush

The Port of Salisbury could be getting a new look.

The Salisbury City Council okayed the development of two pieces of property for commercial and residential use.

The vacant lots are wedged between a city park and a residential complex and encompasses around 15-thousand square feet.

WBOC reports that it would include retail along with apartments, a boat house and an outdoor recreation area.  

Completion is expected over the next three years.

We could see one of the more interesting congressional races on Delmarva next year. Mayor Jim Ireton who has just been elected to the Salisbury City Council is contemplating a run against Representative Andy Harris in Maryland's First District. In part 2 of our interview with Ireton we talk with him about the issues and his chances in this conservative district.

Congressman Jim Ireton?

Nov 5, 2015
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Fresh off his victory in Salisbury’s District 4 municipal election Mayor Jim Ireton appears to be eyeing another political job.

This time it’s a challenge to Representative Andy Harris in the Eastern Shore’s First District.

Just a few hours after winning his election on Tuesday he told WBOC that he might just take a shot at the Maryland Republican.

He told the television station that his voice would best be suited in Washington.

At Harris’s congressional office the reaction was not so subtle.

Don Rush

Salisbury voters will be going to the polls today to choose a Mayor and for the first time five council members running in five separate districts.

In District 1 incumbent Shanie Shields faces challenger April Jackson and Sarah Halcott.

In District 2, a new minority-majority seat, there are four candidates who include Keyvan Aarabi, Marvin Ames, Muir Boda and Justin Gregoli.

In District 3 two incumbents Tim Spies and Jack Heath are vying for the seat along with Kevin Lindsay.

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Mayor Jim Ireton’s plans for rent stabilization ran into stiff resistance last night as municipal elections loom next month that could dramatically change the composition of the Salisbury City Council.

The council chamber was packed with landlords who spoke out – sometimes fiercely – against the proposal that would tie rents to assessed-property value for certain homes.

But it was council member Jack Heath who got the attention of the Mayor.

Cassius Methyl / creative commons -

There was no money in the Salisbury City budget for police body cameras despite strong support on the council.

During yesterday’s meeting council member Shanie Shields noted that with the climate in the nation she said she would support putting the devices on police officers.

Others in the chamber including Council President Jake Day and council member Jack Heath also said they were for officers wearing them.

Salisbury Fire Department website

The Salisbury Fire Chief Richard Hoppes wants to increase some EMS Ambulance fees to better match other agencies.

The increases would range from $70 to $144 depending on the circumstance.

The basic Life Support Services would go up from $431 to $500.

In addition, the department wants non-residents to pay more than local residents for EMS ambulance services.

The Salisbury City Council last night asked the department to look at how the fee changes would affect the city’s mutual agreements with other communities.

Jack Heath was sworn in last night to succeed Terry Cohen to the Salisbury City Council.

Heath was appointed by the four remaining council members from a dozen applicants after Cohen abruptly resigned citing personal obligations

He said that his top priority is revitalization of the city and bringing more jobs into the municipality.

Heath is the former CEO of Lower Shore enterprises which provides job training and assistance to the disabled.

He also currently serves as a Volunteer Fire Officer in Fruitland.

(Tom Hunt contributed to this story.)

68-year old Jack Heath is set to succeed Terry Cohen on the Salisbury City Council.

Last night the council met and announced their choice out of dozen applicants.

Heath was the former CEO of Lower Shore Enterprises which provides job assistance and training for the disabled.

He said that he would rely on his decades of business experience in an effort to revive the local economy.

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There are 12 candidates who have applied to fill the seat on the Salisbury City Council vacated by Terry Cohen who abruptly left the council due to personal obligations.

The four remaining council members interviewed all of the candidates yesterday afternoon during a three and a half hour session.

Council member Tim Spies told the Salisbury Daily Times that he was pleased with the variety of the candidate’s backgrounds.

The Salisbury City Council will now be looking for a replacement for council member Terry Cohen who announced this week that she was stepping down as of this Friday due to personal reasons.

She is one of the longest serving members.

The council will now have until September 5th to replace Cohen.

Council President Jake Day told the Salisbury Daily Times that the council will look at how best to deal with the application process at its meeting next Monday on August 11th.

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.

The Salisbury City Council gave Mayor Jim Ireton last night the green light to open up talks with Wicomico County for the donation of land to nearly double the size of the Henry S. Parker Athletic Complex.

The $3 million project is aimed at attracting more youth sports tournaments.

Currently, the Naylor Mill Road complex hosts the United States Specialty Sports Association’s Fastpitch Eastern World Series.

The County is already talking with the Association and other groups to add a baseball tournament and three more field sports events.

Don Rush

The Salisbury City Council held a hearing on a proposal to dramatically alter the political landscape by dividing the town up into 5 separate districts.

creative commons

WESTMINSTER, Md. (AP) - The Carroll County Commissioners aren't yet resuming Christian prayer at their public meetings despite court action that apparently allows it.

Board President Dave Roush opened Tuesday's meeting in Westminster with a prayer to the "God of us all," a generic deity. Roush said the five commissioners will discuss the matter during their public meeting Thursday.

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The Salisbury city council remained split on whether to give pay raises to council members and the Mayor.

During last night's council meeting, Council member Tim Spies said he felt being on the council should be considered a public service and that he would vote against the raise. 

Council President Jake Day said felt similar qualms about taking such an increase in the stipend calling his felling "icky".

He said believes the council members do their jobs out of love and dedication to the city.

creative commons

Last night, the Salisbury City Council unanimously approved $12,500 in funding for nine tasers for the Police Department.

Council President Jake Day said, "There's no situation where you do not want somebody to live. That's not something anyone would ever want to see. And this, based on everything we're hearing, would prevent the loss of life."

Assistant Police Chief Ivan Barkley said that the devices would be used to prevent injuries to officers and detainees while using a controlled force when necessary.

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The Salisbury City Council is set to hold a final hearing tonight on the city’s $53 million budget that could include the town’s first property tax rate hike in years.

More than half of the nearly 11-thousand property owners would see an increase in their tax bills while the rest could see a slight decrease.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the rate will jump by 65 cents per $1-thousand of assessed property value just to keep the revenue from the property tax the same in the face of declining property values resulting from the Great Recession.

Salsibury Police Department, salisbury police

Salisbury City leaders have put a price tag on the decision to increase the salaries of police officers and emergency dispatchers.

It’s $488,000 and would cover the rest of the fiscal year through next June.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that this is around $40,000 more than the original amount because it includes pay hikes for the city’s nine dispatchers along with the 60 rank-in-file officers.

The Salisbury City Council tonight will be looking at a cut in the city’s water and sewer connection fees by 60 percent for those buildings which are not connected to the city’s system.

This would mean a reduction from $8500 to just under $3400.

The Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce says the fee reduction will stimulate growth.

The revenue from the capacity fees has dropped dramatically from $1.6 million four years ago to $114,000 this year.  

Water capacity fees for new developments look like they should be coming down in the city of Salisbury.

This week the City Council voted unanimously to cut the current fee by 65 percent – from $85-hundred to just under $34-hundred per equivalent dwelling unit.

Council President Terry Cohen noted that the reduction comes in the wake of the dramatic slowdown in growth.

Brad Gillis with the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce told the council that the cut in the capacity fees will help with the economic slowdown and put people back to work.  

The Salisbury City Council is expected to begin voting tonight on a plan to cut the water capacity fee by as much as 65 percent.

That would put it at around $38-thousand down from the current $85-hundred dollars.

Under the proposal by Mayor Jim Ireton that would make it the second most attractive municipality in Maryland for a developer.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that advisers have told the Salisbury City Council there could be legal implications if the capacity fees do not reflect upcoming projects.

The Salisbury City Council gave its approval during a special meeting yesterday to make Bateman Road one-way westbound including bike lanes paid for by the city.

The stretch of road between South Division and Wayne Streets would prohibit left turns from South Division Street.

In Addition, traffic signals will be installed and pedestrian crosswalks established at the intersection of Onley Road and South Division Streets.

Teresa Gardner, City Public Works director, said that anyone leaving from Wayne Street will Still be able to make left-hand turns onto Route 13.

Bateman Road in Salisbury could be on its way to becoming a one-way street.

The controversial road is set to come up before the Salisbury City Council tonight for a final vote.

Lore’ Chambers, assistant city administrator, says that converting the road to one-way would improve safety and would avoid having to change the way the intersection is aligned.

One stipulation for the legislation is that the city expends the least amount of dollars on the project.  

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that making Bateman one-way goes back to 2005. 

At tonight’s work session the Salisbury City Council will consider authorizing the police chief to enter into contractual agreements with businesses that request law enforcement services.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that officers with the Police Department have been working extra duty assignments at The Centre at Salisbury for some time.

The resolution says that the police department has developed a policy and standard contract that lays out the rules for all extra duty and secondary employment for its personnel.


The new proposals before the Salisbury City Council that would expand minority representation on the Salisbury City Council has drawn sharp criticism from Council member Shanie Shields, who represents the only minority majority district on the council. Delmarva Public Radio's Jamyla Krempel prepared this report.