Salisbury’s Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee Calls for a Much Needed Change in Salisbury’s Direction

Posted on July 25, 2016

RFP Staff

♦ Sunday the local print media provided an update concerning Salisbury’s Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee who were meeting with each other and a consultant to try to update Salisbury’s Vision 2020 Comprehensive Plan originally approved by City Council in 2001. Of course this committee is merely advisory and City Council can adopt or not adopt any plan they wish.

The last “Vision” plan is primarily a pleasant set of goals and beautiful maps if implemented might’ve changed the face of Salisbury in many ways. While we haven’t looked at those plans in a while, most were never implemented.

In 2001, no one on the original committee would’ve predicted that City Council (Mayor Susan Kluttz, Pete Kennedy, Paul Woodson, Mark Lewis, and Bill Bergin) in 2008 would make the ruinous decision to build the Fibrant broadband now operating at a massive $10,000 dollar per day loss.

In an article in “The Salisbury Post” by Amanda Raymond on July 24, 2016 entitled, “Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee Says Changes are Needed in Salisbury” four persons made statements grounded in reality.  Bill Burgin, said “I do think we can recognize a failure and set the course right, at least to the point where we could sell a plan.” Jane Creech “I think we can’t keep going the way we’re going.” Sarah Walker mentioned the problem with gangs and drugs locally.  And Preston Mitchell, Development Services Manager, said the city has had its problems with unsolved murders and other serious crimes, but petty crimes were also bad for the city’s sense of safety.

The most telling information was an almost universal call from citizens at “kitchen table” meetings requesting increased public safety. Perhaps RFP’s reality-based reporting is having a positive impact on the city. The Fibrant debacle reduced Salisbury Police Department, down in numbers from 2007 from around 100 plus employees to a number that fluctuates in between 71 and 81 just can not provide the numbers of officers required to protect the city’s residents. The Fibrant debacle and its massive losses, if never undertaken, would allow for thirty more police officers, complete with cars.

In the end, the last vision plan is no longer workable because Fibrant negatively drives the city budget and no funds are available to implement any of the “grand visions”.

A U-turn is necessary. With $10,000.00 a day Fibrant deficit, no money exists for pocket parks, bike lanes, and traffic calming or much of anything else. We have bunch of pretty plans in 2001 no longer affordable as the Fibrant debacle negatively drives the entire city budget. The 2001 Plan did not foresee this financial carnage. Salisbury’s “Cadillac Plan” must be revised into a “Yugo Plan” and we will have make do and prepare for the worst.

In the future the remaining residents of Salisbury would do well to vote out those members of Salisbury City Council who persist in keeping the Fibrant debacle alive even in the face of 6 years of abject failure and its ruinous affects on Salisbury.

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