, Newburyport, MA


July 11, 2013

First, control the tax rate

To the editor:

The Amesbury City Council voted to table their pay raises, effectively erasing the possibility of a raise, and still they continue to claim. They claim their raises had nothing to do with the layoff notices that were sent to some of our school teachers. Although they are correct about this, they failed to recognize the fact that any and all monies paid out by this city are paid by taxes that are levied on our homeowners and businesses.

Ann Ferguson, who proposed the raises and said she was doing so because she is not running for re-election, must somehow think that she was benefiting the residents of Amesbury. She was also quoted as saying that the City Council and the mayor are some of the lowest paid in the state. I guess that she did her homework to get this information.

Surprisingly, she failed to mention that the Amesbury tax rate is one of the highest in the state and the highest in Essex County. I guess that issue is not as important to our city councilors. The City Council must say “no” more often on unnecessary spending. The tax rate must be a priority; if they choose to overpay our department heads, then they are not doing a good job.

If the people who are working for this city feel that they are not paid enough, they can do what people in other companies do and look for jobs elsewhere. I would guess that we would have no problem replacing them with other qualified people. These same councilors and the mayor have run for re-election in the past. Did they know what the job was about or what the salary was before they ran for office?

I truly believe that all our employees are doing and have done a good job. They need to realize that they must do something to control the tax rate. In my opinion this should be job No. 1. Controlling salaries and trying to attract new businesses and industry would obviously help our city to control taxes. Can our politicians accomplish this? I hope so.

Arthur McConologue


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