If you give a raise, give it to everyone

Published 7:00 am Thursday, August 31, 2017

Members of the Picayune City Council have a tough decision in front of them; do they approve a move to increase taxes to provide raises to emergency personnel and leave the other city employees out, provide raises to all city employees at a greater expense or reject the idea of increasing taxes altogether.

Tuesday evening, the Council voted down a motion to approve moving into the next fiscal year under the current millage rate, so it appears the third option is out. While that would mean property owners in the city would not see their taxes go up, it would also mean the city’s budget would remain the same.

A legal notice in today’s paper now states that the Council will hold a public hearing on Sept. 8, to hear comments about a proposed increase of 4.75 mills that would generate an estimated $200,000 in additional revenue, which could be used to provide pay raises to emergency responders employed by the city. 

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Comments from some Council members state that the aim is to bring the pay of these men and women in line with surrounding agencies to dissuade them from leaving city employment for higher paying jobs nearby.

But what this increase may not do is provide pay raises to the other people employed by the city in departments not considered “emergency responders.”

That means some employees would receive raises, while others did not, if the Council approves that path.

While not every Council member polled so far is on board with such a move, if for some reason that is the decision of the Council, it would be wholly unfair to provide a raise to one set of employees, while ignoring the rest, no matter their job title.

We agree that police officers and firefighters are some of the hardest working people our city employs, but the contributions of all other city employees is just as important.

It is our hope that if the Council truly feels a tax increase is warranted for the purpose of providing raises, then all city employees should benefit.