Let’s get the facts straight on city budget

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It is important to be truthful about our council’s support of our first responders and employees.

A June 10th letter suggested your safety and first responders’ security needed your help. Our mayor stated: “We are talking about your money and your safety. We are deciding whether police officers and first responders, who serve on the front lines against the threats we face, should get the raises we promised them last year.”

This was extremely troubling because, in April, our mayor and staff made the decision to withhold the raise promised to all our employees. The rest of council learned this with the same letter issued to employees which stated that the council had made the decision to cut their funding. No input was solicited from any council member. Excluding council on such an important subject was negligent.       

Thirteen months ago, our council approved over $270,000 to our police and fire to bring their wages into par with other cities. Our council also unanimously approved $32,500 for a compensation study for our entire workforce. These actions demonstrate our commitment to our employees who are unparalleled in their professionalism.  

In my years on council, not a single council member has ever shown a lack of support for public safety. The department remains the highest budget item, accounting for half our expenditures. To have suggested otherwise in this fever pitched social and financially strained environment was irresponsible and downright misleading. 

After the mayor’s call to action, our council received countless emails suggesting that we needed to support our police. Some suggested we were cutting police funding. The fact is we were discussing a true raise rather than a one-time bonus. Our city faces over $8 million in budget cuts and deficits. Many of our citizens are out of work or underemployed. We are desperately trying to keep all our employees on the payroll. We are determined to effectively manage through this economic crisis for our citizens and employees. 

Your safety and wellbeing will continue to be our top priority. This is the truth. 

Donald Mitchell 

Alpharetta Mayor Pro Tem

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