Calhoun, Georgia uses American Rescue Plan to fund pay raises

Calhoun City Administrator Paul Worley said the increases are temporary at this time, but could become permanent if adequate funding is found.

The Calhoun, Georgia City Council last week approved mid-year hourly wage increases for city and public safety employees, an increase of $1 more per hour for employees of the city and an additional $1.50 per hour for Calhoun Police and Fire Department public safety employees.

Employees must be full-time or work at least 18 hours a week part-time to be eligible and must earn less than $78,100 per year. The increase will be implemented in time for the first pay period in February.

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The increases, which will be funded by U.S. bailout funds approved by Democrats in Congress last year, are aimed at making the city more competitive and attracting top talent. They are currently seen as temporary because US bailout funds are only available once, but city administrator Paul Worley said city officials are working to find a solution. permanent funding.

“We are very pleased to be able to offer this increase to city employees and public safety employees. It helps people with inflation and the cost of living, but it will also help us, as a city, to attract the best people possible when we lose employees to retirement or when they leave, for whatever reason,” Worley said in a call with The Times Free Press Friday morning. “Right now, we are funding the increase through the US bailout, but our goal is to be able to fund these increases permanently.”

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Worley said the August opening of Buc-ee’s, a 53,200-square-foot store featuring 120 gas pumps, homemade Texas barbecue, fudge, pastries and a variety of other items, provided such local sales tax increases that the city may be able to fund wage increases largely using sales tax money. Otherwise, city officials will likely turn to more traditional methods of fundraising.

“Buc-ee’s has been a boon to our sales tax numbers. However, we don’t rely on that alone,” Worley said. “We have a low mileage rate for a city our size. The mayor and council have said we may consider making small incremental increases there for funding and also for hiring new public safety officers to keep up with the growth we’re seeing in the population.”

Worley said he doesn’t yet know what the mileage rate would increase to if the city were to go ahead with this funding plan.

“It would depend on the discussions between the mayor and the city council,” he said on Friday.

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Also at Monday night’s meeting, Calhoun Mayor Jimmy Palmer swore in council members Ed Moyer and Ray Denmon, as well as school board members Andy Baxter, Rhoda Washington and Stephen King, all of whom were elected. in November.

Contact Kelcey Caulder at 423-757-6327 or [email protected]

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