David Post says he wants to “grease the wheels,” facilitate communication

Published 12:42 am Thursday, October 12, 2017

SALISBURY — As a City Council member, there are some things you can do and some things you can’t, says David Post.

“The one thing that I’m very sensitive to is micromanaging as a council person,” said the incumbent running for re-election. “I don’t want to tell a department how to run.”

On things the council has no control over, he said, the best thing the council can do is make sure the appropriate staff person or department has the resources they need.

“If you have a pothole, you call the maintenance people, you don’t call City Council,” Post said. “My job is to hand it off to someone who can.”

But Post said he recognizes that as a member of the council, he has more access to those in charge than ordinary residents might.

He said he trusts that city employees would communicate with any resident who reached out to them.

“But to whatever extent we can facilitate communication and grease the wheels, that’s a good thing,” Post said.

On schools

Post said that closing the “homework gap” would help lower-income students catch up with their peers in school.

“There’s a thing called the homework gap, which is the ability to have access to the tools you need to do homework. So we have the tools to close that because we have Fibrant,” Post said.

Should he be re-elected, he wants to “light up” — give Wi-Fi access — to the West End, East End and Park Avenue neighborhoods.

“We can say we have these hot spots all over the city, but a kid is not going to walk from a mile away to the library,” Post said. “We can give them access to the internet 24/7. We could do it; we should do it.”

For about $50,000, the city can give Wi-Fi access to a square mile of the city, he said.

Post said he also wants to look into the idea of making Salisbury a charter school district.

“I think the Salisbury school systems are different than the county. We’ve got a higher poverty rate. … We’ve got a much higher level of diversity. And so there are different issues to deal with,” Post said.

By having a separate school district from the county, Salisbury would get a certain amount of money per student, he said.

“(Superintendent) Lynn Moody’s job is to manage the whole county and, if there are schools in Salisbury that are suffering, it commands the same resources. But maybe they would be spent differently if it were under local control,” Post said.

On Fibrant

Post said it’s unlikely that the city will be able to sell or keep Fibrant.

“We can’t sell it because the value is so low that, if we tried to sell it to somebody, they would take it away from us but we’d still be stuck with the debt,” Post said.

He said he used to think the city could operate the service but no longer does.

“Because we don’t have a business mindset and we don’t react to the market,” Post said. “We’re very slow and plotting.”

The only option is to lease the service to an agency that “knows exactly what they’re doing.”

“If we lease it, it will look like we own the asset, we own Fibrant, but they get all the money and give us a percentage back,” Post said.

If the city decides to lease it, a referendum would likely be required, he said. He thinks voters would “overwhelmingly” be in favor of a lease agreement.

On recruiting business

Post said Salisbury’s downtown is the “heart of the county” and is the most valuable property in the city per acre.

“We’ve got to find a way to incentivize — or disincentivize — vacant stores from being vacant. We’ve got to find an incentive for them to stay open,” Post said.

One way to avoid empty buildings downtown would be to “streetscape,” which has worked for towns like Statesville, Post said. That would involve narrowing roads and making sidewalks wider and “more pedestrian friendly.”

He said the city does not have the money for it now, but that it should start moving toward it as a long-term goal.

Post said the city needs to come up with a slogan for downtown, something like Lee Theater’s “Experience the feeling.”

Contact reporter Jessica Coates at 704-797-4222.