County to spend $42K on bonus pay

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Conservative budgeting has allowed for a one-time pay supplement for all county employees, but no pay raise, commissioners agreed Monday.

Commissioner David Ellis said he had approached county administrator Brenda Petty about the possibility of giving employees raises.

“(Commissioners) had talked about half way through the year giving employees a pay raise,” Ellis said.

“But in looking at the numbers, we don’t think we have the money. What I’d like to see is giving employees a one-time pay supplement in lieu of a raise and then include a raise in the budget next year.

“I think that’s a more affordable option,” Ellis said.

The measure will cost the county $42,000, with each fulltime, permanent employee receiving $250 and each part-time, temporary employee, $150. Elected officials, appointed and state employees will not receive the extra compensation, Petty said.

The funds will be made payable for the July 1 pay-period and will be made using direct deposit, which the commissioners made mandatory for all employees Monday.

Petty said 71 percent of the county’s employees had already opted to utilize direct deposit, and that the day’s mandate would eliminate two separate payroll methods.

She said the needed $42,000 was pulled from over-budgeted line items in this year’s fiscal year budget.

Nearly two years ago, the county was struggling to meet their obligations and looking for ways to cut expenditures and increase revenues.

In September 2009, Petty said she was “cautiously optimistic” about the county’s current financial situation, thanks to the implementation of more than $300,000 in annual cost cutting measures that included the leasing of the Covington Center Arena, the leasing of the Pt. A Park, the splitting the operation of E-911 and the county emergency management agency and converting from a district-run road maintenance system to a unit system.

Since then, FEMA funds received for damages sustained during March 2009 floods have provided a cash flow for the county.

“We are better financially, thank God,” Chairman Lynn Sasser said Monday.

In other business, the commission:

• agreed to sponsor the 2011 Alabama High School Rodeo Association finals, which holds its annual competition at the Covington Center Arena.

The county plans to ask the cities of Andalusia and Opp to continue the practice of co-sponsoring the event.

Last year, a total of $8,000 was committed to the group – $3,500 from the county; $4,000 from Andalusia and $500 from Opp.

• reappointed Commissioner Bragg Carter and county engineer Darren Capps to the Wiregrass Resource Conservation and Development council.

• announced a total of $438,535 was spent on payroll and $849,841 in accounts payable in May.