March 28, 2007
New Castle County Council rejects cost-cutting proposals
Here’s some of the cost-cutting measures they refused:
1. canceling catered dinners before council meetings
2. freezing pay for certain employees (apparently non union employees, who got the same percentage raises as union staffers, typically 5% raises and 3% cost of living adjustments. Can I become a County employee?)
3. reducing the money council members give away in each community grant from $15,000 to $10,500
Let’s leave aside the second issue just because I don’t feel like dealing with it at this point.
The first issue is crazy. Councilman George Smiley suggested that council members could bring their own food to the meals or have potluck dinners. But, “Some council members balked at the idea, saying the meal was not a luxury during busy meetings days during which they often don’t have time for a long dinner break.” Notice that this objection doesn’t actually address the point Smiley was making. How does the busy day prevent them from bringing food with them when they show up? I do it every day at work. (They could also have ordered food in, if they’re really busy.)
The third issue is also ludicrous. Why should we be giving any money to legislators to dole out as they see fit? Is this really any different from the earmarks that are so controversial in Congress right now? This system is rife with potential for scandal and abuse, as office holders could pass out these community grants as favors to political allies or to buy support. This should be abolished completely, but Council refused any cut.
These refusals to cut needless spending come at a time when County residents face a 17.5% property tax hike. While this isn’t a back-breaking hike for most, it is illuminating that our elected officials don’t seem to think they need to share the pain they’re about to inflict on their constituents. I can picture the ads now:
Oh, that would be sweet.
Crossposted at Gazizza