Wicomico County Finance Director Pat Petersen said the county finished the fiscal year with a $3.7 million surplus, even though revenues were short of estimates by about $950,000. She said the county was able to save about $4.3 million in expenses. Last year, the county had to dip into reserves to balance the $120 million budget.
City officials are still unable to decide how to improve traffic woes at the South Division Street intersection with Onley Road. The upgrade is needed to improve school bus access to James M. Bennett High School. The latest proposal is to hold another public hearing.
Emotions have been running high during the Wicomico County Board of Education’s negotiations with school bus contractors. School board member Don Fitzgerald said he was unhappy with the manner in which the contractors have conducted themselves and Superintendent John Frederickson said negotiators have managed to meet five of their seven requests. Demands have ranged from compensation, to a resolution of traffic problems near James M. Bennett High School.
Wicomico Circuit Court Judge Donald C. Davis announced he will retire when he reaches the state court system’s mandatory retirement age of 70 in October. The Lower Shore judicial system is expected to experience a talent shortage, given Davis’ departure, which was preceded by Judge Theodore Eschenburg’s retirement in Worcester in June. Davis, a former Salisbury City Council member and partner with the Salisbury firm of Perdue, Rayne and Davis, was first appointed to the bench in 1999.
Summer isn’t letting go and Wicomico public school students are still having to learn in hot classrooms. The latest audit shows that only 77 percent of the county’s instructional spaces are air conditioned, which leaves hundreds of students attending at least some classes in rooms where temperatures are 90 degrees or more. The school system is on course to have all classrooms air-conditioned by 2017.
City Council members Deborah Campbell and Terry Cohen said they’re concerned that the Salisbury Fire Department officials might have to hold off on their expected purchase of an $800,000 fireboat — financed with federal stimulus money — because the department lacks a sufficient number of trained personnel. Acting Chief Rick Hoppes has assured the council that the department can fill any scheduling holes when firefighters are called to duty on the Wicomico River.
Salisbury Christian School’s volleyball team collected its 50th straight dual match victory, defeating Holly Grove 25-8, 25-16 and 25-18. So far this season, the team has been led by Allison Merriken, Emily Hoffman and Fellissa Selby.