From "The Selma News":
The town's 401k contribution for non-law enforcement employees...was reduced from five percent to two percent with a vote of approval by the council.
The town council was working on places to cut the town budget. Two areas that I find to be unacceptable are cutting the paltry sum that the town already contributes to 401(k) plans. 5% is insulting as it is. To cut that to 2% is even more of an insult. If we want employee retention, this is not the way to go about it. I have no problem with people leaving the employ of the town, since that will potentially save salary in the short term, but in the long term it will cost the town if the positions are essential to town business.
I work for an employer that has a phenomenal 401(k) plan. At first, they contributed 100% match up to 10% of income. That gave me a 100% return on investment immediately. They cut that back in recent years, but the match is still in the mid to high 80 percentile. Still a great deal. 5%? Now down to 2%??? That is NOT a place to cut the budget. To cut an insulting benefit to an even more pathetic one is not good for morale or long term planning, in my opinion.
The other area that I disagree with is charging an extra percentage to utility customers who pay with a credit card. First, that is a cost of doing business. To charge extra is purely bad business, in my opinion. The payment form is offered not just for the convenience of the payee. It is also for the convenenience of the town. ALSO, not all cards that are used are credit cards, which have a higher fee, typically, than debit cards. If no differentiation is made at the point of sale (town hall), then people are getting screwed out of extra money.
The town is already punitive in the cut off date for past due utilities and with the late fee for late payments. To charge an extra couple of percent is just bad business. Some costs just should not be passed along to the customer in addition to the cost that already includes these factors. I run several small businesses and take credit card payments. I have a fee associated with each transaction, too. I don't raise my rates by a few percent to accommodate the card fees. I chose to accept such payments as an immediate conveniece to me and to attract more customers. The restaurant that I ate at tonight did not charge me a few percent more on my meal because I used my debit card to pay for the tab. Neither should the town do so for utility payments.
Like I said, I am all for saving money where we can. There are just a few areas that I believe should not be messed with. OK, change the employees' health plan to save money, provided that the coverage is as good or better and cheaper all around. Great. Don't screw them on their retirement plans, too. And don't screw the utility customer because you are a monopoly in town and you can do so to save some bucks. Sure, it is budget money, but it is also a matter of ethics, something lacking in government and business alike.