Too many Waynesboro city government employees don’t make a living wage
Seventy-one Waynesboro city government employees, 30 of them full-time employees, are paid less than $15 per hour, according to data provided by the city to Augusta Free Press.
The 3 percent pay raise approved by Waynesboro City Council this week will push three of them past the living wage threshold come July 1.
This as signs at several local fast food restaurants advertise jobs starting at pay rates of $13.50 and above, including one, at the KFC on Rosser Avenue, advertising shift manager positions beginning at $16 an hour.
Among the full-time city positions under $15 per hour, 24 of them are in Public Works.
Last week, Public Works Department cited staffing shortages in an announcement that it is suspending bulk collection services.
According to a post on the city’s website, shortages within the Refuse Division are requiring Public Works to focus on regular garbage pickups.
Eight of the 15 positions in the Refuse Division offer less than $15 an hour in pay.
You might also remember back to the winter months, when the city had issues clearing streets of snow and ice, and cited staffing levels as the key reason why.
Public Works is responsible for snow removal.
We’ve also heard a lot from local residents about vacancies in the police department. There are currently 17, including 13 full-time and one part-time officer vacancies.
According to a document made available to Augusta Free Press, the starting pay for a new officer in Waynesboro ranges from $44,000 to $47,410 for a certified officer, so, we’re good there.
There are five jobs with the PD that pay less than $15 an hour – including four crossing guard jobs and one parking enforcement, all part time.
The other notable positions paying less than $15 an hour include nine at the library, nine in childcare, eight at the Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center, and the teen pregnancy prevention coordinator.
You get what you pay for
The problem we have is beyond just what we pay our police officers. Basic services like trash pickup, safe roads after winter storms, safe routes from school for our kids, childcare, are provided by people who don’t make a living wage.
We often hear that the reason we can’t do more as a city is because of the segment of our local population on fixed incomes who can’t afford to pay more in taxes.
We might need to figure out a way to help those folks out while also getting the people who can afford to do more to pay more of their fair share.
Story by Chris Graham