To the editor:
Every day we hear that our economic future is uncertain and, locally, we have faced declining sales tax receipts for the past seven months and increased foreclosures.
Recently, the city council approved an important issue that has far-reaching consequences into our financial future. This vote involved pay increases for both police and fire under their union contracts.
It is obvious why, during this first contract negotiation in our history, these unions have become so politically active in support of their cause. Expect them to continue to flex their political muscle during future elections, particularly when their contracts are up for renegotiation.
My vote against these contracts can be summarized simply: too political, too expensive, and not the right time.
The decisions made increased spending by $2.8 million over the next three years, supposedly to address retention and recruitment within our police and fire departments. City records indicate that these departments have some of the lowest rates of turnover in the city. As for recruitment, we had almost 20 applicants apply for every job opening this year.
During negotiations, we conducted salary comparisons with cities like San Marcos and found that we already pay five to 15 percent more than our peer cities. The contracts give across-the-board wage and guaranteed civil service pay increases, only adding to wages already above the average.
The bottom line is that during the next three years, pay increase will average for each current fire and police officer a total of $19,500. This unnecessary burden to our city’s budget comes with no additional fire or police.
Folks, decisions involving our city budget should not be taken lightly. Declining sales tax revenues, combined with unnecessary spending, can only lead to higher taxes, something I do not support.
We should make our budget decisions based upon our current economic situation and what is right, not politics at City Hall.
San Marcos City Council Place 6