Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Spend Taxes Wisely

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Spend Taxes Wisely

With regard to the proposed FY 2020 budget for the City of Alexandria, I am very much against the announced policy of converting consultant positions in the IT department to full-time positions. Full-time salary positions bring with them reduced flexibility in staffing decisions and an undefined obligation for retirement and medical benefits. It behooves the City of Alexandria to spend its taxpayer dollars very carefully. IT skills decay rapidly and outsourcing provides protection for the city in terms of ability to bring new skills into the department at short notice when technology changes, which it does and very quickly.

A similar argument can be made with respect to janitorial/custodial positions in ACPS. The fact that ACPS has not managed to implement this outsourcing does not mean that it is not desirable. Please do not allow inertia to determine policy on this issue.

I also urge the City Council to use plain English when discussing budget issues. In particular, the term "affordable" housing is a euphemism for taxpayer-subsidized housing. Please call it what it is. I am very much opposed to such taxpayer subsidies whether direct or indirect, because it distorts the wages that are/should be paid to workers in the city.

When workers are subsidized, it is the employer that benefits, not the employee. The employer gets to pay less for workers, thus increasing his profit margin and squeezing the worker. The City of Alexandria should not be in the business of picking and choosing winners and losers in this way. I urge you to call a halt to subsidized housing.

Janet L. Bates