Richmond County employees will be getting a bonus this year after all.
This spring, employee bonuses were factored into the budget, but they were later cut due to uncertainty about how COVID-19 would affect the county’s finances. With “revenues steady and consistent” and CARES Act dollars in the bank that need to be spent, County Administrator Morgan Quicke felt now was a good time to revisit the issue.
He presented the board of supervisors with a plan that will offer a $1,000 hazard pay bonus to full-time Sheriff’s Department employees and Emergency Medical Service workers.
And there will be a part-time hazard pay bonus ranging from $100 - $500, depending on hours work, that will include positions, such as janitorial workers.
“These are the people who have not had the ability to work from home, and they haven’t had the ability to work behind enclosed offices. Frontline employees have worked very hard over the past few months,” Quicke said.
Non-hazard full-time employees will receive $500. Employees in this category include those working for the Commissioner of the Revenue, Voter Registrar and Department of Social Services. Non-hazard part-time employees, including maintenance, will receive $250.
Quicke noted that Richmond County’s staff was one of the first to get back open to the public full time, and they have worked throughout the pandemic with limited interruption.
In total the bonuses are expected to cost about $70,000; most of which will be pulled from the federal CARES Act funding. The county’s general fund will only need to be tapped for about $22,000; whereas, under the original plan adopted in the spring the county would have been paying the full amount.
CARES Act funds for the community?
When Quicke first started considering how the county’s CARES Act funds may be spent, he said he was open to options that channel some of the funding directly to the public if there were ways to do it within the guidelines. This month, he hinted that such a program may be unveiled soon.
The administration allocated $175,000 for small business grants but thus far only about $31,000 of that money has been spent. To get the money into the community in a way that will help the businesses and the citizens, Quicke and Warsaw Town Manager, Joseph Quesenberry are working on a local Christmas shopping program.
Quicke said that would be a good way to expend some of those federal funds before the spending deadline at the end of the year. “Maybe look for something like that to come out in the next couple of weeks,” he said.