County Council Slashes Public Safety, but Presents Highest Budget in Wicomico History

seal for Wicomico County, Maryland

On Tuesday June 4, the County Council passed a budget that may not sit too well with most county residents.  The budget included a cut to the Salisbury Fire Department of $400,000 which appeared to be quite controversial based on a press release from Salisbury Career Fire Fighters Local 4246.  President of the Volunteer Fire Chiefs, J.T. Tyler, stated, “It needs to be noted that not one county fire department was aware that any money was being cut nor did we support it.  This was a decision made by the county council.”  

“Our county citizens deserve better.  The safety of our citizens, no matter where they live in the county, is a top concern of my administration.  How do you even put a price on people’s lives?  Public safety is just not something that should be used for political posturing.” Julie Giordano- County Executive 

Other public safety cuts were made to the Corrections Department for expansions that are needed to meet state mandates, as well as cuts made to positions including Correctional Officers, Master Correctional Officers, and 911 Specialists.  In a time where public safety is a top concern and priority of Wicomico County citizens, it is quite alarming that the County Council would even consider these cuts.  “This is no longer the Executive Budget.  As a huge supporter of public safety, I am shocked at what our County Council has done.  We are working so hard on recruitment and retention, especially with public safety positions.  It is just really disheartening.” Julie Giordano, County Executive 

To add to the controversy, the County Council has passed a budget that is the highest budget in Wicomico County history.  The County Executive proposed a budget at 198 million dollars, a 2.5% increase from FY24 budget, which had no cuts to any public safety entity in the county.  The County Council’s budget was passed at $205,919,475 which includes 10 million dollars out of the county’s general fund to pay the construction of Fruitland Primary.  This is a 7 million dollar increase with multiple cuts to public safety, employee raises, and capital projects.