The Journal's April 14 article, "Access Humboldt," reports that insurance for county parks will increase by $250,000 over the next five years. The county has considered charging the public to use our parks. Imagine having to pay to walk on the beach. While the Department of Public Works has found some ways of saving money, one obvious solution is being overlooked.
On March 1, our board of supervisors voted to adopt an ordinance that will increase their pay by a combined $29,210 per year. This is in addition to generous benefits that include a gold-plated medical insurance plan covering medical, dental and vision, life insurance, retirement benefits and compensation for travel. Over a five year period, the pay raise for five supervisors amounts to $146,050 — more than half the amount of the increased insurance costs.
The median household income in Humboldt County is $42,830 (source: U.S. Census Bureau). This is the combined income of all people in a household. By contrast, with this raise, one supervisor will make more than twice the income of a typical household. Twenty-one percent of the people in this county live in poverty. Certainly, supervisors could get by very comfortably on their current salary of $81,585 per year plus benefits.
The supervisors should rescind the pay raise and put a moratorium on future raises for the next five years. Use the money we save to pay the insurance and keep our parks open and free.
Diane Higgins, McKinleyville
The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors can't seem to come up with a way to fund the county parks' fiscal shortfall. Having recently given themselves a raise to what now amounts to a sweet salary of $120,000 a year (including benefits), it occurs to me that the parks department might hit up the Supes' financial advisors and stock brokers for donations?
Richard Salzman, Arcata