O'Fallon Progress

Letter to the Editor: Stick to the issue

To the Editor:

I would like to thank the VoteYesPleaseOfallon folks for all the fliers in my paper this past week.

If you shred them, they make great kitty litter. That’s about all their “facts” are good for.

First of all, there is no such thing as an average median household income. It’s either an average or a median. Here is the truth; the median annual base wage (that would be the middle number in a data set) for a water/sewer worker in O’Fallon is $57,304. They are hourly workers and many earn overtime just like every other hourly worker in this country. Do you want them to respond to emergencies in the middle of the night or on weekends? Do you want them to plow your streets in the winter? Do you expect them to do this for free?

They are also entitled to the same medical benefits as any other city employee. Whether you are a secretary, department head, or city administrator, everyone is entitled to the same medical benefits. Is the VoteYes committee suggesting no city employee should have these benefits?

And who pays for these wages and benefits? The city pays nothing out of its revenue sources to operate and maintain these utilities. Every expense from personnel, to debt payment, to paper and pencils is borne by rate-payers through our monthly billings. That means the vast majority of our friends in Fairview Heights as well as the unincorporated areas around O’Fallon contribute too.

As for the threat of property taxes going up $395 a year or the claim the council is proposing new taxes to pay for over $50 million on vital city projects—bold-faced lies. The council, at their March 16 meeting, put that to rest. The council does not have a doomsday budget scenario that will trigger a property tax increase or any other new taxes if citizens vote NO.

And the city has NO residency requirement for any of its employees.

Instead of attacking the 19 city workers in the water and sewer department, stick to the real issue. I would like the VoteYes folks to cite one scholarly article that says a 40-year lease of our water and sewer utilities is the panacea they claim it will be.

If you can’t cite facts, then vote NO twice April 7.

Ron Zelms