Letters to The Editor
Posted: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 7:02 pm
To The Editor:
There is no doubt that the 2012 election for president, congressmen, senators and even down to the lower county and city governments is one of if not the most important election in the history of our nation.
As a resident of Greenfield, there is extreme concern about the future of our city government. Having the revenue to meet all the needs of our community would be the ideal solution, but we have to be realistic.
Tough decisions have been made to cut spending at all levels by all areas of government, business, and even personal incomes. This is what the elected officials of Greenfield who will be chosen in November must understand and do their best to implement. Due to the state of our economy and the loss of many jobs in our area, an overwhelming number of citizens are unemployed and unable to find jobs. Also, our seniors and disabled population are struggling just to have the necessities of life — food, housing, clothing, utilities, medical care, etc… These people are living on the very edge of survival.
Instead of making the best decisions for our city during these very difficult economic times, at the first reading of the proposed tax increase, wage increases for city employees (most of which are extremely over-compensated), and sewer service increase, board members deadlocked at 4-4 and the mayor broke the tie with a yes vote. At the third and final reading, the vote was attended by a host of concerned Greenfield citizens. Due to the time allotted for these discussions, the few citizens that were able to speak voiced their concerns and needs of our community. Those citizens speaking were definitely against a tax increase, wage increase and sewer rate increase, citing the state of the economy and the many unemployed people in our community. They felt the increase in wages could be used to fill the void for the tax increase. Any Greenfield citizen who is unemployed would be very appreciative of having a job with the city and receive the compensation our public officials enjoy (even before raises). One elderly citizen had just that day had a medical procedure costing about $500. She was very concerned about how she would pay for her medical expenses without having the burden of paying more taxes for salary increases for city employees and the increase in sewer services.
When the discussion was ended by the mayor, the measure was approved with two dissenting votes. Considering the financial struggle of a large number of the Greenfield population, it is very evident these elected officials voting yes did not listen to the very people who elected them. They seem to lack the character, courage and compassion that must be an inherent part of a successful public official.
Newly-paved streets would be really nice, but not at the expense of people having to choose between paying taxes, feeding their families, and paying for medical care.
The City of Greenfield has a population of about 2,200. There are 7 police officers on the force at the present time. Does a community the size of Greenfield need 7 policemen? Is the crime rate in Greenfield that high? Even in the event of an emergency if additional help is needed, would it not be more cost effective to pay overtime versus the salary and benefits (vacation, insurance, retirement) for a full time officer? There are currently 21 city employees. Total yearly salaries for 2012-13 for these 21 employees totals $754,484.75 with the city paying all the employees’ retirement and health insurance premiums (health, vision, dental, and life insurance). Could the city operate with fewer employees taking on additional duties as other much larger businesses have been forced to do? Could it be possible for city employees to pay a part of their retirement benefits and health insurance premiums as citizens working for other employers have been forced to do?
A reduction in the force of employees and employees paying their fair share of insurance and retirement benefits might put us in a better position to realize some of the needs that could be met with these savings in lieu of raising taxes and water bills. Recognizing that the city is paying this much money in salaries and benefits, do you wonder why we have no money for street improvement which one board member thought was the biggest problem facing our town? The board also voted in December 2009 to purchase the old Weakley County Municipal Electric building for $50,000. This building is still sitting empty with no known plans for its use. Couldn’t the city use this $50,000 for paving streets?
In the upcoming November election, we as citizens of the United States, the state of Tennessee and the city of Greenfield can and must choose a new direction for our country, state, and city governments.
If we want change in Greenfield, we as citizens must vote and choose wisely the direction in which we want to go.
Keep God, Bible
in mind at booth
To The Editor:
What is it going to take for this great nation of ours to stand?
First, each Christian must distance him/herself from anything that opposes the teaching of the Bible (appears to be sin 1Thess. 5:22).
Second, vote for the candidates that want to make laws more nearly in harmony with the Bible (righteousness exalteth any nation Pro. 14:34).
Third, pray that our freedom may continue for God’s people to be able to worship Him according to the teaching of the Bible (in spirit and truth, James 4:24).
When this is done, the dollars and cents of government matters will be right — if we haven’t already gone too far from Him.
God has always and will continue to ruler in the affairs of men.
Joe C. Turbeville
Published in The WCP 10.23.12