The Wicomico Council-appointed Citizens Charter Review Committee has recommended the county restructure its government to include an elected County Executive. Under the current charter, the seven-member council also serves as the executive branch. Support for an elected executive has surged since a landmark tax increase last year which prompted voters to repeal a 1 percent real estate transfer tax and impose a revenue cap on property taxes.
Route 50 Bypass construction will see the half of the cloverleaf at Route 50 and Route 13 demolished to make way for new spur ramps. The design of the new spurs is controversial, because drivers will have to cross Route 50 at two locations, rather than merely following a cloverleaf lane.
Wicomico County Administrative Director Matt Creamer is sticking to his promise to retire in two months from the job he has held for 27 years. Creamer has served under eight County Councils. “I was hired by a Republican council and will retire under a Republican council,” Creamer said. Creamer has long been lauded for his unique ability to steer clear from politics, which can hamper an administrator’s focus.
The price tag for the renovation of two City Park landmarks could reach as much as $200,000. Both the historic bandstand and footbridge are in need of major repairs. City Public Works Director John Jacobs said he discovered damage under the bridge while riding a paddle boat with his daughter. The bandstand floor has been damaged by termites and might soon be declared unsafe for use. Mayor Barrie Parsons Tilghman said the city will implement a program to evaluate other municipal properties to ensure they do not fall into disrepair.
The Wicomico County Council will delay a planned vote on whether to sell alcohol at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center. A citizen panel has recommended the county challenge a deed restriction imposed 55 years ago by the late Franklyn Woodcock which prevents alcohol sales on the property. Woodcock donated 39 acres for a park and ballfield on which the Civic Center was eventually built.
A four-year effort to open a military-style facility for juvenile offenders suffered a setback when organizers learned the lowest construction bid is more than $1.6 million over budget. Wicomico Sheriff R. Hunter Nelms said he would seek an infusion of private capital -- as well as consider using cheaper building materials -- to have the facility constructed. The academy project has thus far received $2.6 million in total funding, with contributions coming from Wicomico, Worcester, Dorchester and Somerset counties, with about $240,000 coming from private sources.
The Salisbury City Council will consider new voting districts to give the city’s minority population more representation. Residents of District 1 -- Salisbury’s minority-majority district -- elect a council member every four years, while the rest of the city elects council members every two years. Council members Rachel Polk and Lavonzella Siggers have argued the setup allows most city residents to vote twice as often as District 1 residents.