To the Editor:
Why is it when industries move into town creating new revenues our taxes never go down? I recently submitted a few questions to the clerk’s office regarding contracts but was told I would have to pay a fee to retrieve the information that could and should be at the fingertips of every Johnston Taxpayer.
Why would our elected officials not want to develop a database that would enable taxpayers to see where every tax dollar is going via logging on, examine the contracts and type in questions regarding the expense of the provisions. Is it any wonder our states ranks #7 for having the highest overall taxes, #1 for vehicle taxes and we are 1 of 13 states that taxes social security benefits, double taxation. Anyone advocating cost effective government "BEWARE" indeed.
Here is a "partial list" of provisions that taxpayers would want to inquire i.e. how much was paid to provide workers for an hour at time and one half when they worked 15 minutes over their scheduled shift? What was paid in Double Holiday Pay, in which when a holiday falls on a day a worker is off not only do they get paid for said holiday they also get a day off with pay? What was the cost to provide 20 sick days and 3 personal days including the resulting cost in overtime for minimum staffing requirements for police and fire? Just those 3 provisions is in the $hundreds of thousands annually. How much was paid in Longevity Bonuses that average town workers $3,200 multiplied by approximately 800 workers? What was the cost in Grace Pay in which workers are paid for half the time they are late for work? What's the cost to provide healthcare for approximately 700 retirees, now we're talking millions annually?
In closing, the above is just the tip of the endless provisions that's costing millions annually that not only undermine the spirit of our taxation but also the financial security for many residents. Paying wages and benefits that reflect 90 percent of the non-union workforce, including affordability, is long overdue. Our streets are deplorable, we have crumpling sewage and water lines etc. and yet we pay out unnecessary $millions annually on endless provisions that never should have been. We all have family, friends and neighbors in civil service but we owe it to ourselves to acknowledge the above. Every life long democrat should be outraged realizing not one democrat representing our town has ever noted the above expenses and need for privatization. I hope the readers will show a little courage and ask the politicians when they come around making small talk what they think of this commentary. Is it any wonder we don't broadcast the town council meetings?
Peter A. Filippi III