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Spending skewed in Sunset Beach

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To the editor:
This year, Sunset Beach council members Lou DeVita, Karen Joseph and Wilson Sherrill approved 5 percent salary increases, raising already inflated salary levels to 15 percent in four years.
This year’s salary increases alone will cost taxpayers $146,000 each year and $730,000 (constant dollars) in five years, including employee benefits.
The generous taxpayers for years have also paid 100 percent of medical insurance increase premiums for our employees. Who pays your medical insurance increases?
Council recently spent nearly $70,000 for solar trash panels with a life expectancy of 15 years to sit outside and $65,000 for a park pavilion that was not mandated by the park survey results.
At the same time, they have stonewalled Councilman Scott’s two-year request to expend $50,000 for additional seating in the chambers when our population has doubled due to forced annexation. Sadly, even if you arrive on time, you could be relegated to the back room looking at a speaker box.
How can you foster open and participative government in a physical setting that is designed for exclusion? We seem to have a council that votes alliances and friendships to obtain approval for their personal request.
Councilman Scott’s statement in the Beacon said it all: “Why am I not surprised?” after being snubbed again by the customary four-to-one vote.
Now, don’t you think you deserve to sit in the front room?
Mayor Rich Cerrato
Sunset Beac