In a Chamber membership meeting held at Green Hill Country Club, Salisbury Mayor Jack Heath outlined his five prime-focus areas for his administration: public safety, the continuation of the “Here is Home” initiative, economic growth, “Vision Zero” and public access to city government.
Heath was recently sworn in as the 28th mayor of Salisbury. He previously served as the President of the Salisbury City Council, and was elevated to mayor upon the departure of Jake Day, who is serving in Maryland Gov. Wes Moore’s administration.
Heath told the Chamber audience he had decided not to seek re-election to the City Council, but was asked to assume the mayor’s seat based on his knowledge, shared vision and experience as Council President.
“I accepted the challenge and haven’t looked back,” Heath said. “The city of Salisbury has not skipped a beat.”
On his top concern, public safety, Heath reported that the city Police Department currently has 13 sworn officer vacancies.
“We are not alone in officer vacancies – 78 percent of police agencies nationwide are having recruitment issues,” he said.
Additionally, Salisbury is facing what Heath characterized as “poaching” by other Lower Shore departments, offering more money with fewer calls to entice officers.
The “Here is Home” initiative began under former mayor Day, offering developer incentives to build affordable housing, which the city desperately needs. Heath said he is committed to continuing this initiative.
“We have extended the time frame for developers to take advantage of this program given that the pandemic set it back 18 months,” he said. “Currently, we have 848 housing units under construction in the city of Salisbury.”
Mayor Heath spoke of the “Vision Zero” program, which aims to reduce pedestrian injuries by slowing down traffic on city streets.
Heath said he will continue focusing on getting citizen input on “what’s important and where do we go as a city.”
“In the coming months, we will ramp this up to solicit more citizen and business input,” Heath said.