SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

February 27, 2014

Letter: Salem council should reject raises

To the editor:

There appears to be a growing sense of dissatisfaction among city voters with regard to the pending salary adjustments for both the mayor and city councilors. I believe the issue will be addressed tonight. You may have read in The Salem News (Feb. 25) that the Peabody City Council opted not to approve said measure.

City Hall now has a very expensive new copper roof, Bertram Field has artificial turf where boys played football for more than 100 years without ill effect, grant positions became paid city jobs, our building inspector actually has two jobs, water/sewer taxes as well as property taxes have increased, all in recent years. Our streets throughout the city are in serious disrepair and not just from potholes. As for “pot,” we now will have a dispensary. If you think marijuana isn’t a gateway drug, then think again. Amazing what $50,000 will buy.

Many people are unemployed or underemployed or have their hours cut back. The cost of living has increased for all commodities, from the cost of home heating oil to food to health insurance. This presents as a true hardship for people with young families and the elderly, where the medium income in Salem is around $40,000. Think about that if you approve a raise.

My point here is that many people are having a difficult time making ends meet. Now is not the time to vote yourselves or the mayor a raise. You ran for office as the mayor did and were aware of the compensation. No one disputes the time commitment, but it is something you chose. There are only so many times that you can put your hand in the taxpayers’ wallets.

There is something I would really like to know, and maybe one of you can help me. I want to know: Salem’s total bonded indebtedness and our pension liability — what percentage is funded? Can you answer these questions?

I urge you, in good conscience, to vote NO on a raise for both you and the mayor tonight.

Mary E. Madore

Salem

Editor’s note: The Salem City Council is expected to take up raises at its meeting tonight at 7 in the council chambers at City Hall.

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