August 12, 2017 10:30:22 PM
Property taxes and pay raises
Your opinion piece in Thursday's paper about property tax increase and possible future employee pay raises (Our view: Will it improve our lives?) Is the city being prudent? was a good one in that it brought up one of the right questions -- "Would pay raises improve employee performance? Does it improve the lives of our citizens?"
I would argue that the city leaders need to deliver city services as efficiently and effectively as they can before considering an increase in pay. The first thing they need to do is to PUT THE CITY BACK TO WORK MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY.
It's incredible to me that a city of this size is closed on Friday with employees working a 10-hours per day, four-day work week, something that has been going on for eight to nine years.
Of course most city employees like this schedule, but productivity definitely suffers. City leaders need to not be more concerned with making a nice work schedule for the city workers and instead insist on getting our city back to work on a regular full-time schedule. Only then should there by any talk of raises.
Another question asked in the opinion piece is "Are our employees underpaid compared to those in comparable cities?" I would like to see if your good investigative journalists can get statistics on pay and especially health and retirement benefits from towns and cities in the area. We want our city employees fairly compensated, but not over compensated.
My final point is about property taxes. I believe local taxation is the least offensive to me of all the taxes I pay. The results of the tax increases are visible and tangible to me in the form of paved streets, landscaping, buildings being built to codes, insuring safety, parks and schools, fire and policemen. State and federal income tax by comparison is mostly flung to the wind. So, while I don't mind property tax as much, high tax rates can cause people to build in or move to lower tax areas in the county. This does not help city property values and aggravates the tax problem.
I ask my fellow Dispatch readers to please speak to your councilman and mayor about getting the city back on a five-day work week like a city that is making a maximum effort to make progress and get the most out of it's workforce. And readers, as we accept this small tax increase, let us be sure our leaders know they need to keep tax increases few and far between by getting the most out of the revenues at hand.
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