On Tuesday June 30, the East Ridge City Council decided to act like 90 percent of American consumers and go into debt for Christmas.
During budget discussions Councilman Cagle discussed including in the budget a Christmas bonus of $250 for full-time employees and $125 bonus for part-time employees. This added about $100,000 in expenditures to the budget which would require dipping into the rainy day fund to cover.
Now I understand Councilman Cagle’s reasoning. Every year around Christmastime Councilman Denny Manning pushes to give the employees a bonus and that bonus is never accounted for in the budget. Councilman Cagle has been saying for a few weeks that if we are going to give the bonus let’s budget it. I couldn’t agree more, councilman.
However if you’re going to add an additional expenditure then it’s time to do the nasty business of cutting something.
Oh, I know directors and employees don’t like cutting, they like spending because it feels good. You can’t spend money you don’t have. While technically the “rainy day fund” is surplus money, based off how much we have taken from it in the last year I wouldn’t count on that money being too safe
I think our employees are great! They must think we are great because our turnover rate is pretty low. Do they really want a raise at the expense of making the city insolvent? Do they want to pay higher property taxes to give themselves this bonus?
The citizens of this city have repeatedly handed down a mandate that we will not pay more property taxes. We have repeatedly told the council to live within its means. Those pleas have obviously fallen on deaf ears.
This is the second or third fiscal year in a row where there has been a reduction in the rainy day fund to pay the city’s expenditures. I hope the council realizes the rainy day fund isn’t a leprechaun’s pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. This isn’t some magical bank account that replenishes itself. You’re not a kid using dad’s American Express charging and just wondering how it gets paid off.
If the council wants to give the Employees $100,000 for Christmas it needs to take $100,000 of expenses away from the budget. That’s how a fiscally responsible government operates. That’s how I demand our elected officials to operate as well.
The old saying when it comes to government spending is “use it or lose it.” The idea is that if you reduce your costs by a thousand dollars you will see your next year’s budget reduced by the same. Working within a budget, well it requires work, so see that the money is spent and get plenty next year.
We can’t have that in East Ridge. Let’s break that cycle.
Let’s get rid of Christmas Bonuses and introduce “cost saving bonuses.” How about for every dollar you can actually save the city during FY 2016 you will see a 25 cent bonus? Let’s put a bounty on wasteful spending. Let’s spend more to spend less. Would it not be awesome to give every employee a $500 bonus because they found ways to save the city a million dollars? Now that’s a program we could all support.