Council District 3: Heath turns back challenger

City Council President Jack Heath on Tuesday easily turned back a challenge from political newcomer Riley S. Smith, prevailing in District 3 balloting.

Jack Heath.

Heath won 542 votes to 128 votes for Smith.

Heath, 72, a Sandy Bottom Court resident, was originally appointed to the council but was elected in his own right four years ago. He has been lauded for cultivating civility on the council.

Winning with 80 percent of the vote, “reaffirms what I believe we’ve done the last four years,” he said. “It’s a mandate from the city of Salisbury that we’re going in the right direction.”

A retired businessman and former CEO of Lower Shore Enterprises, Heath said efforts to revitalize Downtown have created momentum and enthusiasm. As a result, young people are staying or returning to their hometown.

Smith, a former accountant, said during the campaign that he was fed up with increases in city assessments that increased property tax bills and hikes in city water and sewer fees.

A South Boulevard resident. Smith also called for officials to rein in city spending and was a bitter critic of the city’s Bikeways Program that has created dedicated bicycle lanes, especially on Waverly Drive.

Known for being gentlemanly and affable, Heath has maintained that a growing Downtown is good for the city and the community can be further enlivened by offering incentives to attract manufacturing jobs.

He wants to see intervention for at-risk youth, plans to reduce juvenile crime and good reasons for Salisbury University graduates to stay in town after they graduate, to live and work here.

A supporter of arts and entertainment, Heath has called them catalysts for the future of Downtown.

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