by Rose Anthony, Granby
November 7 was the Town of Granby’s open budget hearing where every townsperson is supposedly allowed to attend and voice their opinion on the town budget plans.
For many years, it has become customary to give many Granby town employees raises every year. As I am always concerned about how our tax dollars are spent, I attended this meeting and questioned town councilors Lori Blackburn, Sue Richardson and Joe Cortini why they planned to give a town employee a $1,200 hike in pay when she didn’t request a raise.
Her duties had evidently not increased as well. No one was able to give me a reason or support this decision in any way.
When our town highway superintendent ran for his position the starting pay was $39,000. Then it increased to $43,000. How could this position suddenly merit a $4,000 raise in the economy? In this present budget, there is projected an additional $2,000 raise, which amounts to $45,000 for the first year on the job for someone not even proven yet.
January, February, March and April are the busiest months for our highway department. Luckily, last winter was an unusually mild winter and perhaps did not require the highway superintendent to put in a lot of hours.
But this year, if we have our normal number of blizzard-like snowstorms with the highway department working day and night so people can get to work, will the superintendent be able to devote the time needed to his town highway job?
The highway department’s top priority is reacting to the prevailing weather conditions to maintain public safety on the “68 plus miles of roads with experienced drivers as the backbone of the program,” notes the town web site. “It takes the highway team 3–4 hours to make one full pass through the town.”
Town highway supervisory positions are 24-hours working or on-call in our tough winters. It is simply the required responsibility that comes with the position.
Per capita income in Granby is $16,826; the median income is under $29,000. Starting salary of $39,000 in our county for a highway job without the prerequisite of a college degree is very generous in my book.
Our previous superintendent, who retired, worked 16 years to get where he got and this super wants to get there in one year.
But again, not one single person on our town council could explain why this large raise is merited or even why it is proposed.
I am truly against the practice of automatically giving raises for personnel at budget time every year. This has been the custom of Granby for years.
It is time to think about it, stop it and change it, to be equitable for all townspeople.