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Martin opposes Sierra’s balanced budget policy

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In his recent report, Sierra College Board Trustee Bill Martin opposes the board’s balanced budget policy that requires expenditures and revenues be balanced without on-going use of reserves. Martin continues to support another bond election and higher property taxes. A balanced operating budget does not address the infrastructure repair needs of the college. Since voters have not supported the last two bond elections, it is incumbent that the board better use currently available budget resources to address all college needs, including: 1. Regaining authority back from the unions to set salary rates and staffing levels. Last year, for example, the unions approved a salary schedule giving entry level positions such as a cashier, custodian and groundskeeper up to an approximately $50,000 salary plus 22.5 percent benefits. These salaries are much higher than comparable private sector jobs as well as exceeding starting faculty salaries. The board needs to take back control of salary rates and staffing levels. 2. Two years ago the college received $10 million in new revenues, which the board could have used for infrastructure repair but simply gave to the unions. Then last year the board borrowed $7.8 million for replacement of computer and telephone systems. In essence, the board borrowed money for the previous years salary increases. In addition to a balanced budget policy the board also needs to establish an infrastructure repair policy and more effectively allocate current budget resources to better meet the needs of the college and students. Lamont Royer, Auburn