Mayor England gave his "State of the City" address last night at the City Council meeting. Although many people seemed to be pleased with his take on our local government, as for me, not so much.
He expressed disappointment that the LOIT tax was not passed. He said the police and fire department employees need the additional funds to hire additional workers. I think we need additional workers also. There are a lot of people who need these jobs, but in my opinion we did not need the LOIT tax. Even though this would have been a relatively small deduction, it was still another deduction to an already shrinking paycheck for many people.
One major problem that I had was the remark he made concerning the police and fire department salary increases. He said the City workers were still working at their 2007 salaries. Though I agree with him on that matter, concerning the people working in the City/County Building I disagree when it comes to our police officers and fire fighters.
I did a little research and pulled a Tribune article dated 10/24/08 in which it stated that the 2009 budget would be cut by $600,000. The council voted to use rainy day funds to cover the shortfall. It went on to say, "The amount would still be nearly $210,000 short because of retroactive pay increases. Mayor Doug England signed a contract this week that gives the police and fire department a three percent raise for 2008."
Even though he was probably just talking about the above mentioned City/County employees regarding the salary freeze, I consider the police and fire employees to be employed by the city of New Albany just as the others. Nothing against these people but I believe that other city employees work hard also and are just as loyal. Everyone deserves to be treated equally whether they are making arrests, fighting fires or answering 911 calls or helping citizens with their tax bills or utility bills.
Times are hard for all of us and it will probably get worse before it gets better. Everyone needs to sacrifice.