BY MEGAN GREEN
I was disappointed that the FY2024 budget included only a 5% proposed increase for County Worker salaries (Proposed Budget, page v). The city of Santa Fe just issued 8% raises with the specific intent of reducing their vacancy rate. Social Security payments increased by 8.3%. State Workers will be receiving a 6% raise in FY24.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported staggering increases in the cost of living over the past 12 months, and County Workers in Los Alamos are already at a disadvantage trying to live in a County where the cost of living is based on inflated LANL salaries. Anything less than the rising cost of living would effectively be a pay cut for our Employees.
A Living Wage for a family of four with two working parents in Los Alamos is $24 per hour. That is fully $9 per hour more than the County’s stated minimum wage of $15 per hour. In fact, it looks like at least half of the jobs posted on the County website right now have a starting salary that is less than a livable wage.
Let’s not get caught up in flashy projects and leave the Employees that are actually doing the work behind. For example, the proposed budget calls for a 247% increase to recreational programming, yet we can’t afford a raise for our Employees that keeps up with inflation?
Please join me in asking the County Council to do right by our County Workers and include an 8% raise in the FY24 budget. As the richest County in the State, we should be leading the charge on equitable pay for our public workers. You can email Council with your comments on the budget at: email@example.com