City District 3: Jack Heath vs. Riley Smith

City Council President Jack Heath points to his role steering Salisbury through a time of unprecedented growth while also cultivating civility on the council as reasons residents of District 3 should re-elect him for another four years in office.

Jack Heath.

His opponent, Riley S. Smith, a former accountant, says he is fed up with increases in property taxes and water and sewer fees, and wants to rein in city spending.

Voters in that district will choose between the two in the city’s nonpartisan election on Nov. 5.

Heath, who was appointed in 2014 to replace Terry Cohen and then elected in 2015, said he has worked hard to bring civility to the City Council that was once mired in controversy and divided by council members who had their own agendas.

As a result, the current mayor and council have gotten a lot of work done, he said.

Riley Smith.

“Things that we have done have impacted citizens in a positive way,” he said.

Heath, a Sandy Bottom Court resident, said efforts to revitalize downtown have created momentum and enthusiasm. As a result, young people are staying or returning to their hometown.

Work in the Downtown area has been “intense,” he said, but once the work on the Downtown Plaza is completed, the focus will shift to the neighborhoods.

If re-elected, he wants to see more youth programs in the city and hopes to explore opening a new fire station in the north end of town.

“I think we’re going in the right direction,” he said.

Smith, a South Boulevard resident, thinks city leaders should slow down and stop spending money on bikeways, particularly the one on Waverly Drive.

“I don’t see the cost benefit,” he said.

Smith questions the focus on Downtown, which he sees as more of a benefit to transient Salisbury University students rather than permanent city residents. He also doubts the benefit to the city of the National Folk Festival.

The former accountant said he is “professionally skeptical” of the crowd size numbers, and wants to see what the festival actually costs to produce.

Smith also took a look at crime statistics for the city and “reworked them,” resulting in a higher rate than reported.

“I don’t do political math, I do real math,” he said.

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