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Excessive COLA's in public safety levy proposal

2014-08-10T00:00:00Z 2014-08-10T16:08:07Z Excessive COLA's in public safety levy proposal The Billings Gazette
August 10, 2014 12:00 am

Everyone knows we need more police officers in Billings. However the new public safety levy has COLA raises in it as well as longevity pay, increased benefits, pay for promotions and for advanced training totaling 4.5 percent.

The city has previously paid COLA increases of 2.5, 2.9 and 2.9 percent in these past three years.

In January, Chief Rich St. John appeared at a council work session and said he recently had two openings and received 140 applications. He said people want to work for the city. A private employer will advertise an open position and adjust the pay depending on the number and quality of applications.

The COLA increases in this levy are 3 percent. The Federal Reserve Board has a policy which has been in effect these same three years, calling for a 2 percent COLA which has not been reached, it is less.

Obama (a liberal Democrat) is requesting a raise of 1 percent for our military. What is the chance Congress will agree with so many conservative members who never agree with spending rates requested by a liberal? In 2013 we learned of arbitration concerning labor negotiations. An arbitrator will certainly grant raises to account for all increased taxes that were voted for, for that purpose.

I can't understand 11 council members requesting their friends, neighbors and constituents vote for tax increases that support wage increases that far exceed anything they expect to receive themselves! I can't vote for more COLA increases for city employees than I can expect to receive.

Tom Zurbuchen


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