Rowan Free Press Predictions for Salisbury, N.C. in 2018

Posted on January 21, 2018

Steve Mensing, Editor

♦ I’d originally planned to forgo making predictions for Salisbury, N.C. in 2018 because taking the pulse of a corpse isn’t a joyous event for many.  However, numerous requests for 2018 version of the Salisbury, N.C. predictions swayed me to change my mind and put on my swami’s turban with its plastic “Star of India” ruby.  I claim no psychic powers in making our successful 2017 predictions, just observing clearly discernable patterns and existing statistics.

Our predictions for Salisbury, N.C. in 2017:

Our predictions for Salisbury, N.C. in 2018:

Salisbury will be walking into a brick wall again in 2018. No real improvement in violent and felonious crime in Salisbury where 10 homicides were recorded and plenty of shootings, stabbings, strong arm robberies, and armed robberies. If there is any minimal improvement it’s because of the Sheriff’s Office’s assistance, the police manipulating statistics deliberately downgrading felonius crimes to look good, and the fact that people avoid traveling into Salisbury due to it’s reputation as dangerous city.

The city’s 4 public schools will continue their woeful D and F grades from the State Department of Education. Those letter grades are all important because it makes many parents decide that their children will not attend city schools as well as serves as a turnoff for economic development. About 25% of the city’s population lives below the poverty line. A high probability exists that percentage will climb higher next time the census is actually taken. Upper and middle income persons are moving out of the city. The city keeps on overbuilding subsidized housing.

The “big 3” statistics make it almost impossible to do economic development and to keep the working class and upper income people here or attract new persons to the city. Those three statistics are devastating and they impact Rowan County’s statistics, dragging them down. Salisbury, N.C. Statistics:

As usual in the late fall of 2018 the latest FBI crime statistics for 2017 will appear. Murders, rapes, assaults, shootings, arsons, and armed robbery stats will likely remain about the same.

The Fibrant debacle continues taking big gulps from Salisbury’s ability to provide city services. In the city’s current financial condition it will be forced to substantially raise taxes and fees to meet its public safety obligation. More residents packing up and leaving for safer communities elsewhere doesn’t help the city’s tax base. Salisbury’s city hall usual choice is to hide “negative” information from the public rather than fix its massive problems has never worked and continues to create worsening conditions.

Predictions for the City of Salisbury 2018 (some of the predictions are copied almost verbatim from 2017’s):

• In previous years the city of Salisbury government typically ran a series of community meetings throughout Salisbury where they will allegedly “listen” to their residents. The city government has their own agenda and any “listening” they do is generally feigned. Their “listening” is to pacify folks’ anger and frustration. Their “listening” seldom passes the action test. They will give you the Salisbury runaround and do nothing actively to respond to citizens concerns and requests unless it fits their agenda. They will say: “We’re taking your requests seriously” or “You made a good point–we will give it full consideration and get back to you.” “Excellent ideas–we’re studying this very carefully.” But taking action on it? Nada. They may even get you to form small groups at different tables and use divide and conquer techniques with city staffers altering your ideas on paper or leaving them out entirely. Or they may pack the meeting with their friends. The school system does this too by padding committees with administrators and teachers. But actual listening or taking all important action? Not really.

But judging from new Mayor Al Heggins actions so far we suspect “feigned listening” may get the heave-ho as a city hall tactic.

• Better homes in Salisbury will continue to tumble in price and more vacant and abandoned houses will be created as more people move away to safer less impoverished places with decent public education. The working class is melting away. Good paying jobs are almost impossible to find in the Bury.

• The Empire Hotel, last opened as a flophouse in 1963, now a decrepit eye-sore waits patiently for demolition in the South Main Badlands and for years the alleged hordes of interested developers who never materialized. The great expense of gutting the moldy interior and abating the Empire are prohibitive. The structure will sit idly by with its “promise” to buy it and develop it by someone who allegedly took a wrong turn and was charmed by Downtown Salisbury. Good luck. After reading the laundry list of hurdles by the developer most people believe the Empire will remain in its current state well into 2018 contributing to the South Main Badlands blight and to the heady Municipal Services District tax–the highest in North Carolina. Last August’s deadline in 2017 came and went. So far we get nothing but updates.

• Downtown will continue as a hodgepodge of vacant store fronts, musical chair businesses that close with rapidity, little parking, an excessive municipal Service District tax, and few people venturing into the ghostly confines. Vibrant? The motion detectors aren’t picking up any lifeforms. Little real attractions and a lack of safety means no people. Many stores and a few eateries Downtown will call it quits before May 2018.

• Fibrant continues as an unqualified debacle, mulching the Salisbury’s city services and police department. No need to beat this dead horse. Spectrum’s prices and services eat Fibrant’s lunch. Fibrant TV is blown away by AT&T U-verse, DirecTV, Spectrum, and DISH. VOIP phone? Fibrant is non competitive in price with most VOIP phone providers and the reality that many people just use their smartphones. Fibrant has virtually no marketing while the incumbents flood every possible medium. Fibrant is eating the City of Salisbury alive and has greatly harmed the city’s ability to provide basic services and police. Fibrant borrowed $7.6 million dollars from the water and sewer funds and not paid it back. This puts them in a tenuous position with the bond raters. And good grief Spectrum just raised their basic speed from 100 Mbps to 200 Mbps at no addition rise in price.

• Salisbury will continue to suffer under a major epidemic of meth, heroin, crack, opioid pills, and alcohol. This epidemic fuels much of the city’s crime. Many will die again this year from laced heroin.

• Salisbury and Rowan County will continue to experience massive retail leakage to the internet in a huge way and to the brick and mortar chain stores in Afton Ridge, Concord Mills, Huntersville, Winston-Salem, and Mooresville. Also spendable income is Salisbury will continue to drop in the city as the middle and upper class move away.

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