A New Salisbury City Council Faces Monumental Challenges: Crime-Fibrant-Poverty-Blighted Downtown-2,000 Plus Vacant Houses-and More

Posted on December 6, 2017

Steve Mensing, Editor and the RFP Staff

♦ As of Tuesday night we have a new Mayor Al Heggins, a new Mayor Pro Tem David Post, a new City Councilperson Tamara Sheffield, and incumbents Karen Alexander and Brian Miller.  The newly elected folks are question marks until we see them in action.

Salisbury faces a staggering wall of challenges, many of which are beyond the control of city council.  Hopefully they let go of hiding difficulties and not fixing them.  As it stands Salisbury is a place to avoid or leave.  Folks continue to unload their homes, often at a loss and relocate to far safer and more prosperous places.  Here is a short list of Salisbury’s many challenges:

Safety. Salisbury’s violent and property crime is astounding.  The Police Department remains understaffed and in the near future they are losing more officers to retirement with few new recruits coming on board.  It’s difficult to recruit new officers for a number of reasons.  Salisbury is rightfully perceived as a dangerous place.  Word is out that perfectly decent officers, who have tried to get job elsewhere, were blackballed.  Working conditions are not so hot. Other police departments and sheriff’s offices pay more and provide better benefits.

Salisbury’s record with murder, shootings, stabbings, home invasions, larcenies, burglaries and break-ins, vehicle break-ins and vehicle stealing, and vandalism is sky high.

Salisbury, N.C. Ranked No. 1 Per-Capita in Murder and Arson among North Carolina Cities with Populations of 25,000 Plus:


Poverty. Poverty continues to hover around 25% of Salisbury’s population living below the poverty line according to the U.S. Census Bureau. With a quarter of the city’s population dwelling in poverty that leads to major stresses on the city’s and county’s systems. The city’s answer is to get more grants to overbuild subsidized housing which in turn draws more poor to an area. Meanwhile the percentage of persons living in poverty also grows due to  families leaving Salisbury because of safety issues, better public education elsewhere, and Salisbury’s noted lack of economic opportunity.

US Census Bureau stats for Salisbury (current 2015 estimates) verify that over one fourth of the City’s population is living in poverty:


The Fibrant Debacle simply can’t be fixed much.  Perhaps some of its $3,000,000 plus losses can be staunched.  Pouring money into this deadbeat albatross siphoning from the water and sewer funds and devouring Salisbury basic city services will continue to send Salisbury straight to the bottom.  Heaven forbid any Fibrant subscriber owns a business and uses their erratic VOIP phone.  Outages still occur.  The TV still has its problems and is expensive.  Spectrum and AT&T are eating Fibrant’s lunch. Fibrant never went to 10 gigs or turned any corner.

To learn more about the Fibrant Debacle:


Salisbury suffers from over 2,000 vacant and abandoned houses, many of which are occupied by vagrant squatters who may be involved in Salisbury’s rising burglary statistics, vehicle break-ins, shoplifting, drug overdoses, and panhandling.

Video: Salisbury City Councilman David Post Reveals There are Almost 2000 Vacant Houses in Salisbury, N.C.:


Salisbury’s Downtown with its boring and elderly mercantile buildings, many of them vacant, offer little. Some of the restaurants Downtown get an A+ like the Sidewalk Deli, Bangkok Downtown, and the Smokepit BBQ. There’s a couple of worthwhile niche retail stores and a recycled goods shop “Growing Pains”. Trouble is many folks fear coming Downtown as darkness approaches. Nightlife is pretty lacking. Bars and clubs close earlier in recent years. Cars risk being broken into in parking lots and on side streets. Retail shops, selling at list, are challenged by internet shopping which has clobbered brick and mortar corporate big box stores. Fix the crime in Salisbury and focus on restaurants and coffee shops. Problem is only a few restaurants and bars can succeed because of Salisbury’s lack of spendable income.

Photo Adventure: September Tour 2017 through Downtown Salisbury, N.C. Part I and II::


The Empire Hotel, Queen of the South Main Bad Lands:


• Outside of City Council’s Control are the city’s public schools (K-12), inside of Salisbury’s city limits, have substandard grades on the N.C. Department of Education’s Report Card:


Other major challenges are Salisbury-Rowan Utility’s water supply with it’s toxic hexavalent chromium and it’s aging concrete-asbestos water mains. The Smart Meters jack up water bills. Historic Preservation control and codes used as vendettas. Toxic waste sites in Salisbury. Toxic Cronyism in city hall.

Livability. Last time we looked Salisbury sank to it’s all time low at well-regarded areavibes.com as the 542th ranked city/town in North Carolina:


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