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The best use of our tax dollars?

February 3, 2010

Last year when the Marshall County Compensation Board handed down a 5 percent pay increase recommendation, Marshall County Supervisors shot that number down to a zero increase, citing the economy.

This year it appears our local leaders must have seen some economic uptick to justify raises.

The supervisors will each take home a 3.5 percent salary increase. So will the county recorder, (until the position is cut) the county auditor and the county treasurer. Meanwhile, both our county sheriff and county attorney will get a 5.6 percent boost.

We agree our county officials are doing an good job. However, that is also the case for workers all over the state and all over the country. Over the past year and a half, millions of workers have been laid off, leaving those behind to add more work to their already full plates, and with no more money.

In fact, many public and private workers have been forced to take unpaid furloughs, receive pay cuts, see their hours cut and watch as hundreds of companies go out of business.

None of those workers deserved that - it's simply the result of a vicious economy.

In light of that, Marshall County should again freeze pay like so many companies in Marshall County and around the state and nation have been forced to do.

One justification for these raises referenced a comparison of elected officials' salaries for 2009. The survey, distributed by the Iowa State Association of Counties, shows that Marshall County ranks 16th in the state for population, but most elected officials' salaries rank in the 30s.

We believe this consideration is shortsighted in this devastating economic atmosphere. If the goal is to keep the Marshall County competitive, this should be an effort enacted gradually, and one which should have begun years ago.

Now is not the time to grant pay raises when so many others are suffering the wrath of the recession. This is not a way of saying the workers do not deserve a raise, rather, it is the reality of these economic times.

The board of supervisors should be looking at ways to cut expenses and save taxpayers money while we continue to weather the worst recession since the Great Depression.



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