The following Letter to the Editor appeared in the June 10, 2015 print and online (subscription required) editions of the News Times. The letter was also submitted to the News Guard, but they declined to publish it, without comment.
Noreikis is the One Being Divisive
[Note: As the author did not submit the article with a suggested title, the News Times provided this one. -ed.]
But let’s take the personal out of it and just compare Lincoln City to Newport. Newport’s population is 10,095, an annual budget of $65,827,537, 96 full-time city employees, whose compensation totals $10,825,396, or 16 percent of its budget. Lincoln City’s population is 8,040, a budget of $45,070,334, 140 employees , whose compensation totals $12,902,501, or 29 percent of its budget.
[See chart below]
Newport has one city employee for every 105 residents. Lincoln City has one for every 57 residents. Newport spends $5,448 a year for each resident; Lincoln City: $4,001.
If we divide Newport’s budget (less compensation) by their total employees, we get $572,939. This number gives us an “efficiency rating,” effectively telling how much budget is “allocated” to each employee. The larger the number, the more “cost effective” each employee is. Lincoln City’s efficiency rating is $229,770, or 40 percent of Newport’s.
Some may say this is because we don’t pay our employees enough. That may be the case, as the average total compensation for each city employee in Newport is $112,765, whereas in Lincoln City it’s $92,161. For reference , Newport has the highest median income in Lincoln County at $47,270, and Lincoln City has the lowest at $29,686.
To improve our city’s efficiency, we can either decrease our budget or reduce staff. Since our budget generally increases every year due to our property tax increases, all 14 budget committee members , including Councilor Noreikis, should have at least been willing to discuss staffing reductions.
Losing jobs to budget cuts is painful for all concerned, but no one should take it personal. Why then, is Councilor Noreikis?
Ross Smith, Lincoln City
Ross can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.