This year, public employees of a county in Tennessee may receive an early CHRISTMAS gift.
The Budget and Finance Committee of Coffee County, Tennessee has authorized a $1,000 bonus, bringing them one step closer to obtaining salary raises with funds given by the federal stimulus plan.
Before Christmas, the committee resolved to disperse $278,734 in federal funds collected through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to county employees.
ARPA, also known as the Covid-19 Stimulus Package, is a $ 1.9 trillion economic program passed by the Biden administration last year to aid towns in their fight against the pandemic.
The decision was reached by a vote of four to two at a meeting conducted last week, but the committee will meet again on December 8 for final approval before giving out the funds, according to the Manchester Times.
Lynn Sebourn, chairman of the budget, stated that Coffee County had an “issue with staff morale” and “trouble with employee pay.”
“I don’t understand how ensuring that we retain competent staff and provide them with the services they require is not serving the taxpayers,” he continued.
One of the two committee members who voted against the $1,000 net payout to county employees believed the ARPA funds should be distributed to a broader population.
According to the Manchester Times, committee member Dennis Hunt stated, “I will not vote for this.”
“You have seen me vote for wage increases, and I will continue to do so because I support our people. ARPA, or American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, funds were delivered to us for the benefit of all Coffee County taxpayers.”
Hunt continued, “I can’t wrap my head around the 60,000 individuals in this county; 300 or so are more essential than the rest, and that’s what we’re saying.”
The utilization of ARPA monies to provide a bonus to county employees, according to him, demonstrates the county government’s commitment to that personnel.
Hunt stated that this would not be fair to the approximately 60,000 additional residents of Coffee County.
At the meeting, Sebourn said to Hunt, “The federal government decided they wanted to attempt to stimulate the economy, so they scattered money around in various ways.”
One of the ways they’ve accomplished this is by entrusting us with the decision of how best to spend the money in our area.
More Christmas Money
A measure signed by Governor Brad Little in September allotting $500 million in tax refunds to Idaho residents will result in tax return checks of up to $600 per.
Pennsylvania has a rebate programme that provides up to $975 to senior citizens, widows and widowers over the age of 50, and disabled Americans.
South Carolina residents can receive a maximum reimbursement of $800 after state legislators approved the distribution in June.
California, Colorado, Idaho, and South Carolina are among the six states that are issuing New Year’s checks and direct payments ranging from $300 to $1,500.