Employees of the city of Decherd will receive an additional $4,160 in compensation as the economy rebuilds after Covid-19.
The city’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen has authorized funding from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
The federal government is providing Decherd city with $351,783 through the ARPA program.
The funds are part of a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus plan authorized by Congress last year in order to hasten the country’s recovery from the economic and health repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing recession.
The financing was granted 3-1 by the board, with Aldermen Richard Gulley, Justin Stubblefield, and Jimmy Wayne Sanders voting in favor and Vice Mayor Mary Nell Hess voting against.
Hess said the city has other pressing issues it needs to pay for, and approving the pay hike is a lesser priority. She said. “There are other things we need to look at before we start passing out money.”
The board approved to pay 32 employees still working for the city an additional $2 per hour jobs for the time they worked during 40-hour weeks from March 2020 to March 2021.
Rex Clark, the city administrator, said the total will be $134,800, with $216,983 leftover for additional projects.
Stubblefield said the city’s employees were loyally working at a time during the pandemic when those in other jobs opted not to work. He said the city’s employees “could have just as easily stayed at home.”
However, Hess said the pandemic funding could go toward other areas that “could go to people in our town who really need it.”
She said that the employees already had their regular jobs and were compensated for their work.
She said: “At least (they) have a job. What about people without jobs?”