Letter to the editor: Watch what you eatI am writing in response to the Silver Bay City Council member Carlene Perfetto’s suggestion that the council could approve a higher meal tab for members when they travel.
I am writing in response to the Silver Bay City Council member Carlene Perfetto’s suggestion that the council could approve a higher meal tab for members when they travel.
I do not doubt the accuracy of her statement that she could not always buy three meals a day at local restaurants at the current budget (although I must add that I would not have a problem filling myself up on the North Shore at $38 a day).
I offer another perspective on her situation. I work for a non-profit agency in which every employee took an 11 percent pay cut a year ago, a cut that remains frozen indefinitely. Several times a year I travel to the Twin Cities area or farther for work. I stay with friends and either eat with them or bring food from home. There is simply no money for expenses that are not necessary anymore – and that definition of “necessary” has changed dramatically over the past few years.
Every day new financial dilemmas arise for the average citizen along the North Shore. Our school district has closed our schools one day a week. Churches are losing pastors and programs. Underemployment and unemployment is the norm and nobody questions it when we walk into the doctor’s or dentist’s office without insurance; they work with us to save as many pennies as possible.
Perhaps it would be more appropriate for Carlene to bring the travel budget to the council and ask if it is in line with the budgets of the constituents they serve. Could they bring their own lunches on the road and buy bagels at a grocery store for breakfast? This gesture might seem small in the scheme of things, but it would go a long way to building good will toward average citizens who need to know that the public servants to whom they have entrusted tax money are feeling the pain too.
If I had a choice, do I want my tax money to go toward heating my school, getting my road plowed, or ensuring that my council member can eat what they want at a restaurant? There is only so much to go around these days.
From Katya Gordon, Two Harbors