Letter to the Editor

The benefits of having a residency requirement

The virtues of hiring local residents for local jobs are obvious: more employment opportunities, more spending within the community, more tax revenues, and less crime. Although our community has shown interest in creating employment opportunities, most of the focus has been on low-skilled, low-wage workers. Employment policies should be equally concerned with retaining high-skilled, high-wage workers within the community, for that would mean more homeowners and taxpayers, not to mention more community involvement.

Then there is local purchasing, which is perhaps even more important in the city than local reinvestment, because low-income residents must spend most of their income not on investing, but on consuming basic goods such as food, housing, utilities, and health care. Whenever a citizen buys a good made locally or uses a local service, he or she protects local jobs, strengthens the local economy, and enlarges the local tax base. Every dollar spent on locally produced goods provides income to local owners, local workers, and local suppliers. If they, in turn, spend their income on locally produced goods, the Local Economic Multiplier regenerates the community’s economy.

Now imagine what would happen to our community’s economy if more Chelsea residents held high-skilled, high-wage jobs within our community, and how this would impact our community’s development.

The data below shows how many Police and Firefighter who are employed by the City of Chelsea do not, in fact, reside in Chelsea. As a result, about 75% of the Fire Department earnings and 60 percent of Police earnings are going to nonresidents rather than being contributed back to our economy. An Ordinance has been introduced that would require Police Officers and Firefighters to reside in Chelsea for at least seven years. Keep in mind this Ordinance only refers to new employees hired as of January of 2016 – it does not impact previous employees.

Councillor Leo Robinson

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