Salisbury City Council reevaluates proposed Fire and Life Safety Fee following resident concerns



SALISBURY, Md. – “It was overwhelming,” Jackson said.

The hot topic at Monday night’s Salisbury City Council meeting was a recently proposed Fire and Life Safety Fee.

It’s a move that would increase funding for the Salisbury Fire Department by over $4 million dollars.

After residents raised concerns Monday, City Councilwoman April Jackson says they’re going back to the drawing board. Due to that community response, the press conference set for Tuesday was canceled. “It’s easy to put something on paper and say this is the way it’s going to be done.  When you have an overwhelming response from your citizens that makes the difference,” Jackson said.

The proposed fee would be paid by all residents within the city’s fire service district.

The city says the additional funding would allow the fire department to upgrade equipment, offer competitive pay, and decrease their response times.

Councilwoman Michelle Gregory called the move a necessity. “If we do not find some way to raise the funding for this particular service, we could either face cutbacks in other ways that folks may not necessarily like or agree with,” Gregory said.

The cost is the biggest worry for residents like Dolores Nagler, which would be a $300 addition to her annual property taxes. It would be less for those renting apartments, currently at a rate of $50 a unit.

Nagler tells us she supports anything to help first responders but worries about the affordability. “Some people are on fixed incomes and can’t afford a $300 increase in their budgets,” Nagler said.

If approved, the new fee would begin July 1st. Although they’re taking a step back, city council members say decisions must be made. “I want to make sure we do this right and that we move forward in a way that is positive for the city and the people who will impacted by this,” Gregory said.

“We have to look out for the City of Salisbury as well. We have to look out for our fireman. They’re our safety net,” Jackson said.

Councilwoman April Jackson tells us she’d also like the county to step in to help iron out this plan.

The city says that fee rates will be based on market research and an assessment of fire services. Currently, a reduced rate is not being offered.

The fee is set to be a part of the council’s next work session this upcoming Monday, May 5th. Community members are again welcomed to come out and let their voices be heard.

To find out more about the fee, click here

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