If I had waited to write my recent letter on the proposed city budget — and read The Dispatch editorial on that topic in last Friday’s paper first — I’d have given it more thought before spouting off. I can, in fact, support budgeting for fewer positions if it leads to more appropriate wages for both the fire and police departments. Higher pay should lead to more filled positions — if it is increased sufficiently, that is. I think most would agree that we need more than 35 officers on the force, especially since not all 35 can be patrolling at any one time.
I still don’t understand why police and fire department officers and staff have been paid so poorly for so long in the first place, nor why the budget included such an unrealistic number of positions for so long, presumably the driver of that low pay.
And I still wonder why the council has chosen this year, of all years, to raise their own pay. While this raise may be appropriate, in the absence of specific justification it appears unnecessarily high when contrasted with the relatively small pay increase proposed for city workers. It also seems poorly timed with inflation still very much in the spotlight, especially considering that city voters have no direct say. Why not phase in a smaller increase over a period of 3-4 years? Wouldn’t that make greater fiscal and political sense?
Paul Mack, Columbus
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