CAN WE AFFORD THEM?
For the past two years the Glendale City Council has been aware of the financial difficulties of this city, county, state and country. It answered our financial problems by slashing city services, raising utility fees, parking fees, library fees, rubbish fees, etc. Also, we have passed bonds and approved, for example, every consent item on the weekly agenda worth millions of dollars.
In 2008 this council approved an unbalanced budget and shortly afterwards gave city employees over $8million in pay raises and benefits. A couple of months later our City Manager told the public that we needed to cut city services approximately $10 million, but never asked the city employees to give back their lucrative pay increases and pensions.
In 2009 another unbalanced budget was approved, but rather than giving the city employees a cost of living increase, council under pressure from a deepening recession, told the unions no pay raises. But where the private sector companies were also holding back with salary increases, this council assumed the added cost of employee medical premium increases. However, private sector companies were passing those costs on to their employees instead.
So here we are in 2010 and another budget session is in process and this council faces a city population with about 15% unemployment, about 20% office vacancies, high home foreclosures and rentals vacancies. The typical resident retires after the age of 60 and generally retires on Social Security which is generally less than $15,000 a year upon retirement.
Will the current city council seriously reign in employees’ salary and pensions with a sledge hammer, which is the number one source of our city expenses, or will they wimp-out like they did in the previous two years?
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