City workers to receive COVID premium pay any day now
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$1,000 to $1,500
City of Cairo employees could any day receive a check for COVID premium pay in recognition of their service during the pandemic.
The Cairo City Council on Monday night unanimously approved the recommendation of Cairo city manager Chris Addleton to use up to $178,000 from the city’s phase one allocation of American Rescue Act resources to pay the one-time bonuses.
Public safety personnel, including members of the Cairo Police Department and Cairo Fire Department, will be paid a bonus of $1,500 net, with the city paying the withholding. Likewise, non-public safety personnel will receive $1,000 net.
“The American Rescue Act allows funds to be used for premium pay for essential employees during the COVID pandemic. I think it is appropriate that we recognize our people for their service during that period. These individuals, particularly our public safety employees, assumed the greatest health risk because of their service in providing critical city services,” Addleton said.
Employees who were hired between March 15, 2020 and June 15, 2021 will receive prorated bonuses based on their hiring date. The city has a workforce of 144 employees who are eligible for the one-time bonus. Of those, 17 in the fire department will receive the $1,500 bonus, one firefighter will receive a prorated bonus; 20 city police officers will receive the $1,500 bonus and three officers will receive a prorated bonus.
Addleton justified the higher bonus for public safety personnel by noting that in April and May 2020 non-public safety employees rotated a three-week furlough to minimize the exposure to the virus, but public safety personnel worked their normal hours and schedules.
“This is a good thing and I’m glad we did this,” Councilman Demario Byrden said Monday night.
Councilman James H. (Jimmy) Douglas told the council that the matter had been discussed by the finance committee and the checks would be distributed within one day of the city receiving its first allotment of A.R.P. funding.
The city is set to receive $2,951,841 in A.R.P. funding over this year and next year and the city will have until 2024 to spend those federal funds.
According to the city manager, the funds had not been transferred to the city’s bank account as of Tuesday. He said that it would take one day following the transmittal of the funds for checks to be prepared and distributed to city personnel.
“We are prepared to get them written and distributed just as soon as we see the money hit our account,” Addleton said.
The city manager also recommended that the council authorize Mayor Howard Thrower III, to execute a resolution to accept $9,000 from Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation Act through the Georgia Department of Transportation. The federal funding will be used to reimburse the city for its utility expense at the Cairo Municipal Airport during the pandemic. The council voted unanimously to accept the federal reimbursement.
In related business, they adopted the budget ordinance that will fund the $49,177,543 2021-2022 spending plan. The budget as adopted includes a three percent wage improvement for city personnel. Addleton notes that city employees did not receive a pay increase in the current fiscal year that ends today, June 30.