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Salisbury implements mass notification system

By Amanda Raymond
amanda.raymond@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — The city is now partnering with a notification system company to give citizens real-time emergency alerts.

Linda McElroy, director of communications, discussed the system at the City Council meeting on Tuesday.

McElroy said even though the city sends information through social media, flyers, its website, the Access 16 television channel and the city’s new newsletters, people were still missing information.

“Even with all of these communications methods, we realized that residents still were missing key information about city programs, services and even emergency notifications,” she said.

Through the new service, citizens will be alerted to local emergency situations and relevant community advisories. The alerts can be sent via text message, email, voice, web, social media and the mobile application OneBridge.

The service is free, and will be most effective if a large number of Salisbury citizens subscribe. Standard messaging rates will apply.

Residents are able to change the language preference of the service, submit anonymous crime tips and also receive alerts from the National Weather Service for severe weather. They will also be able to opt-out of certain notifications.

To register to receive the alerts, you can:

  1. Text your ZIP code or “SALISBURY” to 888777.
  2. Visit nixle.com.
  3. Visit salisburync.gov and sign up through the Nixle widget.
  4. Download the OneBridge app, available through the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

The alert settings can be customized by visiting www.nixle.com and creating a user profile. Citizens can also stop the alerts by texting “STOP” to the same number.

The city hopes to have 2,000 residents signed up for the service within one year.

In other business, the council:

  • Approved the retirement of Police Service K9 Jack and giving him to his handler Officer J.W. Martinez.
  • Adopted the consent agenda, which included:
    • A $14,937 budget ordinance amendment to the fiscal year 2016-17 budget to appropriate Parks and Recreation donations.
    • A $260,000 budget ordinance amendment to the fiscal year 2016-17 budget to appropriate Water and Sewer Asset Inventory Grant funds.
    • A $94,340 budget ordinance in the fiscal year 2016-2017 budget to appropriate Downtown Revitalization Grant funds.
  • Heard from Principal Michael Waiksnis about the current initiatives at Knox Middle School.
  • Heard a presentation from the Salisbury Community Development Corporation about its programs and goals.
  • Heard an update on the revisions to the city’s special event permitting ordinance and set a public hearing for Nov. 15.
  • Made appointments to boards and commissions. Liliana Spears was reappointed to the city seat in the Human Relations Council and Jonathan Chamberlain was appointed to the Historic Preservation Commission.
  • Heard public comments.
  • Heard comments from the city manager, including a first quarter financial report.
  • Went into a closed session to discuss an economic development matter.

The mayor proclaimed November 2016 as Native American Recognition Month.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.

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