Comment 29773

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted March 27, 2009 at 00:45:06

Seancb >> Nobody on here is talking about increasing government handouts and raising taxes. Everyone (except you) is talking about reconfiguring current spending so that it creates wealth instead of destroying it.

I agree that no one has mentioned raising taxes, so I will try to keep my comments a little more varied to reduce argument fatigue. On that note, here is a random job profile I took off the city website, tell me if the salary seems a little high considering the educational background and job requirements...

CITY OF HAMILTON

PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT
(OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE DIVISION – FORESTRY & HORTICULTURE – LOCATION – GAGE PARK)

GARDENER II - CUPE 5167
(1 TEMPORARY FULL TIME POSITION)

SUMMARY OF DUTIES

Reports to Horticultural Supervisor. Carries out horticultural practices to maintain grounds and gardens.

GENERAL DUTIES

Analyses, creates and implements the use of horticultural materials such as flowers, shrubs and sod.

Maintains flower beds and shrubs by weeding, pruning, fertilizing and watering.

Implements and maintains horticultural displays such as "Chrysanthemum" show.

Assesses, diagnoses and reports flower, shrub, soil and turf problems; implements corrective action such as pesticide and herbicide spray programmes.

Operates tools and equipment such as edger, sprayer, soil sterilizer, rototiller and tractor.

Receives and answers inquiries from the public.

Loads and unloads vehicle.

Performs preventative maintenance on tools and equipment.

Maintains inventory of materials used.

Recommends the use of materials such as flagstone, interlocking stone, timber and display boards; completes projects.

Performs minor maintenance on facility such as waterline repairs.

Communicates with contractors and other departments.

Works in accordance with the provisions of all applicable Health and Safety legislation and all City of Hamilton corporate and departmental policies and procedures related to Occupational Health and Safety.

Performs other duties as assigned which are directly related to the major responsibilities of the job.

QUALIFICATIONS

1. Horticultural trade related training and work related experience in horticulture.

2. Technical knowledge required regarding plant materials. Must be capable of performing a particular trade and carrying out a variety of complex tasks. Requires the use of specialized skills.

3. Landscape Exterminator and Industrial Vegetation Pesticide Licence required. Please note that successful applicants who currently do not possess the Pesticide Licences must obtain it within the probationary period.


4. Must possess a valid Class "DZ" Driver’s Licence.

THIS POSITION REQUIRES A VALID CLASS “DZ” DRIVER’S LICENCE AND PROOF THEREOF IS REQUIRED AFTER HIRE.

SALARY:

Salary Grade F

$23.252 - $24.263 - $25.274 per hour

HOURS:

40 per week

...The taxpayers pay 50k a year so that someone without a university degree can water the plants. I'm not sure about you, but that seems a little generous for a gardener.

Furthermore, according to the 2009 budget, 49% of the city's budget is for employee related costs. Furthermore, this years increase in employee costs are 5% over 2008, accounting for 78% of all new spending over 2008. In contrast, according to the 2006 census, Hamilton median family income was $65,833. Therefore, if both parents of a family worked as a city gardener, they would earn 50% more than the median income of the people who pay their salaries.

If the city was forced to budget within a 1% tax rate cap (could be phased in over several years), this would simply mean that city employees would only get wage increases when property assessment went up. If assessment values went up quickly, then so could their wages. If they stagnated, then city wages would need to reflect this as well. To me that seems like a fair way of treating city employees and also the taxpayers of Hamilton.

If Burlington taxpayers can get away with only paying about 1% of their biggest asset in taxes, why shouldn't we have that same privilege? Allowing politicians the freedom to tax above this 1% figure makes it too easy for them to take advantage of the taxpayer and it decreases the wealth that homeowners could use to make improvements to their homes.

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