City workers in Decatur may get higher year-end bonus

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A north Alabama city may raise the bonus that it plans for city employees months after officials approved a 2.5% pay raise for workers.

The Decatur Daily reports Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling wants to increase city workers’ Christmas bonus from the currently planned $100 to $1,000.

Bowling cites the $20 million surplus the city built up in its 2021 budget year.

A plan to increase the bonus to a total of $500 is already set for a City Council vote next month. Bowling said raising the bonuses to a total of $1,000 would cost about $400,000.

The city has budgeted spending $72 million in the current 2022 budget, but Bowling said that with federal relief funding, Decatur may collect $100 million in revenue.

Three council members prefer equaling last year’s $500 Christmas pay, as already proposed. These bonuses would go along with a 2.5% cost-of-living raise approved in the current 2022 budget in September.

Councilman Billy Jackson said he’d prefer a $1,500 bonus. But others fear employees will expect big bonuses every year.

“I’m afraid this could set some kind of precedent where there will be an expectation that we’re going to give a bonus of $500 or $1,000 every year,” Councilman Carlton McMasters said. “We have to be mindful that our duty to the taxpayers is our top priority. We’ve got roads that could be paved and more litter that can be picked up.”

Republished with the permission of the Associated Press.