Recently, various local newspapers printed the munificent salaries of Alexandria City employees. I was aghast that the City Manager is drawing about $300,000 a year and his three Deputy City Managers pull in around $200,000. Most of the other upper echelon employees are also making high salaries. These figures are considerably higher than Federal Employees having much more responsibility, since the top SES pay is under $200,000, and the President only makes $400,000. Which jurisdiction is Alexandria comparing itself to? Certainly not DC, Arlington or Fairfax County, which have much larger populations.
Another apparently extravagant expenditure is the Capital Bikeshare program, which is a public-private partnership owned by the City of Alexandria using a commercial operator, Motivate International, which also operates in DC, where the ridership pays for 77 percent of costs, as of 2015. Over the next five years, the City will expend $1.6 million into this company, which is an average of about $300,000 a year. It just doesn’t make sense that our city funds are being spent in this manner.
Who are the bikeshare constituents that are clamoring for this service? A Pew report indicates that most of the bikeshare ridership consists of young, white males, which seems to be the case locally as well. Capital Bikeshare is essentially a private company, and we need to treat it as such. In other words they profit from their rentals, so the city should not need to subsidize them. They should eventually stand on their own merits, and pay taxes to Alexandria for the privilege of operating within the city. Let’s be more prudent with the resources, Alexandria!
Townsend A. "Van" Van Fleet