I almost didn’t write this opinion for several reasons. Mainly, due to the fact the employees in East Ridge definitely need a raise above the city’s annual small percentage. But, had administration and the governing body been doing their jobs this wouldn’t be necessary.
The pay plan and pay scale adjustments based on performance evaluations has not been used in years. This is not the fault of the employees. Leadership has failed the system.
My mother along with other seniors will be impacted the most (by a tax increase). They live on fixed incomes and between the inflation on groceries and fuel are already seeing shortfalls in their income.
I was reading the 2019-2021 census. It shows 16.5 percent of the residents in East Ridge are seniors and another 10 percent of residents are classified as disabled. This is compounded by the state of the country and how we all in one way or another have suffered from the COVID pandemic.
People have lost loved ones and their jobs. Businesses have closed, parents have had to take family leave in order to home school their children. Thank God for the local food banks and their kindness to the community. This is not the climate to raise taxes, especially since all homeowners have received new value assessments that this tax hike will be based on.
I have not seen any attention given to the city’s budget on ways to reduce the budget and still give raises.
Over the past two years over $3.5 million has been appropriated to Camp Jordan. How much has actually been spent is anyone’s guess? Many people see this expenditure as nothing short of additional support funding for the Red Wolves’ soccer group. Who knows? But, $3.5 million would have raised every employee well within the national average.
Dick Cook made a great and profound statement about speaking on deaf ears. I am certain that the vote will be 4-1 with Mr. Cagle standing firm not to burden the taxpayers with higher taxes. One might add in this budget the City Manager will get a handsome evaluation raise of $15,000 annually along with a car allowance. Since the governing body changed the Charter the City Manager no longer has to live in the city he runs. This car allowance alone is a nice raise.
In closing, I would like to ask each of the citizens to mark your calendars, make notes on your smart phones and computers to remind you come next election cycle to vote out the elected officials that vote yes to raising taxes without due diligence or process in finding ways to cut the budget. This is nothing short of a failure in stewardship and leadership that must not go unanswered.
_ John Tilley