I attended both Moscow city budget workshops in July and the budget hearing on Aug. 5. I also attend City Council meetings all year and see how city officials manage money. I wish they would just print, by the numbers, a list of how much foregone tax we would pay if it is passed at the next City Council meeting.
From the discussed examples given, with a homeowners exemption, a property assessment of $200,000 would pay $9 per year while an assessment of $250,000 would pay $14. I’m not sure on the fine points. Commercial property doesn’t have a homeowners exemption.
An extensive salary study was done in order to bring all city wages up to competitive fair-market value. Don’t we all want/need to be paid a fair wage? The major piece of salary adjustment from foregone tax now is for police officers, whom we cannot pay what Washington does. But it was carefully determined that if we pay a strong starting pay, attracting the best and brightest, we stand a good chance of retaining them even at lower raises after that.
A website job search for police officers isn’t going to sell a low-paid Moscow position when there’s a high national vacancy and insufficient applicants. However, we believe and see evidence that once someone’s here, they find there’s more than money to keep them. Training is an expense you don’t want to lose to a better-paying job elsewhere. To me, that’s worth the tax increase.
Moscow has been short a shift for 18 months; current officers have stepped up, but overtime hours, strain, loss of family time, etc., can’t be covered unendingly. If we are the fine and fair town we say we are, can’t we forego a few lattes and extras to fairly pay our police officers?