I watched the video of the public meeting at the Boys & Girls Club where the proposed Oxnard city budget resulting in a $9 million deficit was discussed. Receiving major pushback, and rightly so, is the suggestion to close the performing arts center to save just over $1 million. One item that could more than halve the deficit received scant attention, however, and our city manager touched only very lightly on it in his summary. I am alluding to the recently incurred or proposed roughly $5 million annually in additional contribution to police and fire health benefits. This, we are told, is to bring parity for our personnel with neighboring cities.
More: Arts supporters pack Oxnard City Council meeting calling for budget alternatives
This is the same old argument Oxnard trots out every time it pays someone more than it knows it can afford. The terms and conditions applying to everyone’s employment is akin to a ball of wax, and each and every employee is satisfied or not using an individual and personal scale. One person may hanker for a grand title, another is more interested in money, someone else likes the uniform and someone else because the job is close to home, etc.
If Oxnard cannot afford the additional contribution, and surely it is obvious it cannot, then don’t give it. Are we short of police and fire personnel at this time? I think not.
Tom Johnston, Oxnard