To the editor:
I am writing in regards to the article in the July 8 Delaware Gazette, concerning the county’s unemployment rate (“County remains 2nd in jobless rate”).
Delaware County Commissioners Barb Lewis and Gary Merrell mentioned that IKEA and Tanger Mall, along with other projects, are providing job opportunities for people in the county. They failed to mention that the majority of these types of jobs pay minimum wage.
The minimum wage in Delaware County is $8.10 per hour. I checked the living-wage calculator for Delaware County as of 2014 and found the annual income for an average sales-related position $24,190; and for a food-service position, the annual income is $18,730.
I have been to the Tanger malls in North Carolina and South Carolina and spoke with some of the employees there. The only people getting rich with these “job opportunities” are the owners.
In reference to the article on July 16, about Delaware County being ranked second in the U.S. as happiest place to live, the study by SmartAsset cited that the median income for Delaware County was $89,757. It also said that a three-person household needed at least $34,057 to afford the necessities. If both parents are working, that means they each must make about $8.20 per hour just to afford the necessities.
According to the living-wage calculator for Delaware County, poverty wage is $9 (an hour) for two adults and one child. That is an annual income before taxes of $37,440 (if both adults work). To make a living wage for a family of three with one person working, the employee needs to make at least $19.27 (or $9.63 if both work) an hour, which would be an annual income before taxes of $40,081. This covers basic needs — food, child care, insurance, health care, housing, transportation and other necessities.
The living-wage calculator cited the only job making close to Delaware County’s median income would be in management, coming in at $88,050. Just how many people in Delaware County work in a management position? There is something wrong with SmartAsset’s calculations. Just who is making the $89,757? The commissioners? And who paid for this survey? The taxpayers?
On another note: I would like to commend Judge (David) Gormley, Sheriff (Russ) Martin and Mayor (Carolyn Kay) Riggle for the fantastic job they are doing. Whatever they are making is not enough. We need more people like them in our government. If they were all like them, the United States would not be in the fix we are in now. Whatever position they run for, they have my vote!