Salisbury seeking Covid battle reimbursements

The city of Salisbury is on track to be reimbursed for expenses related to Covid-19, including the purchase of personal protection equipment such as face shields and masks.

A $109,028 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency has already been approved and will cover 75 percent of the cost, Fire Chief John Tull told City Council members during a Monday work session.

The Fire Department also applied for an additional $36,416 grant from the Wicomico County Health Department which received funds through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to cover the remaining 25 percent. Tull said he was awaiting final approval.

“This was a huge effort and no small task at all,” City Administrator Julia Glanz said of the Fire Department’s efforts to write the grant applications.

Since the start of the pandemic, the city has spent $145,662.43 on supplies such as face shields, digital thermometers, sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, cleaning supplies and acrylic barriers.

The Police Department spent $68,319 on equipment – the highest of all city departments – followed by $9,001 for the Fire Department, $9,563 in Procurement, $3,289 in Water Works and $2,262 in Field Operations.

Property acquisitions

During the same work session, City Council members agreed to move forward with plans to acquire three properties that are contiguous to the Department of Field Operations at 500 Mack Ave.

The purchases will allow the department to expand its footprint with a new administration building as part of the city’s master plan, said Tom Stevenson, Director of Field Operations.

The properties are 519 Delaware Ave. owned by Twilley Construction Inc., 601 W. Isabella St. owned by Block Investment Group LLC and 605 W. Isabella St. owned by St. Fleur Family Investments. The city would pay $60,000 each.

Stevenson said the $180,000 cost would use up the remaining money budgeted this year for the project.

Council President Jack Heath said he would like to have environmental surveys performed on all three properties before the city commits to the purchase and then is potentially faced with an unforeseen problem.

The city faced such a problem in 2016 at the start of the Main Street revitalization project when the cleanup of contaminated soil from old leaking underground fuel tanks led to a months-long delay.

Heath said he wants to be careful before entering into contracts on any of the three properties.

“Who knows what was there in 1915?” he said.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Maryland Department of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage

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