LETTER: Spending and ‘spin’ in New Brighton

To the Editor:

New Brighton mails a quarterly magazine (“New Brighton”) to all residents. The current issue features articles relating to the budget and part-time firefighters.

The budget article reveals that city spending has increased 19 percent from 2013 through 2017. This rate of spending increase is more than 50 percent greater than U.S.

average hourly wage growth and more than double the rate of U.S. GDP growth during the same period.

The firefighter article lists their pay as “about $16 per hour.” No other compensation is cited and the article strongly infers that these are civic-minded people willing to put their lives on the line and sacrifice time and effort for McDonald’s wages. In fact, New Brighton pays these people $16 per hour, plus a lump sum of $7,700 per year of service upon retirement. 30 years of part-time service yields $231,000 at retirement. A substantial difference from a flat $16 per hour. 

I don’t begrudge anyone maximizing their earnings. I do begrudge the city administration for presenting a very inaccurate and distorted picture of taxpayer obligation.

City Manager Dean Lotter, Mayor Val Johnson and council members Mary Burg, Graeme Allen, Emily Dunsworth and Paul Jacobsen have consistently favored high spending and higher taxes. Time and again they have misled the public by omitting facts and “spinning” their message. 

New Brighton taxpayers concerned about this rate of spending and this kind of deceptive communication may wish to contact city officials in the near term and replace them in the next election.

Bruce Knight, New Brighton

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