Alpena taxpayers learned this week that included in the proposed new fiscal year budget are 1.5 percent pay raises for city department heads.
Since taxpayers are, in essence, responsible for paying the salaries of city employees, we ask you this morning, are you in favor of the increase? To make this question interactive with you, we ask you vote on that question at our website - thealpenanews.com - and next week we all can learn the results.
We are not taking a position one way or the other on the proposal. We believe there are good reasons to justify the increase, and we believe there can be made arguments against it.
One thing we do wholeheartedly agree with is the opinion of Councilwoman Susan Nielsen, who at a council meeting Monday said city staff were "great" and the city was lucky to have them. From the city manager on down the line, Alpena is blessed to have quality department heads and employees.
Inevitably, if city taxpayers believe the city has made progress on issues of importance to them and they believe municipal council has been good stewards of the finances, then we expect the raises can be justified.
If, on the other hand, taxpayers believe finances aren't where they should be, or if they've struggled with some of the decisions city department heads have been involved in, then we expect their support of raises at this time would be lukewarm at best.
Ultimately, it matters not what the newspaper thinks on this issue. This is a matter where city taxpayers should have the ability to give either a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" to the proposal.
Your opinion matters, you're the one who pays these employees' salaries, and we want to know what you think.