City Manager Brad Hulsey said Powder Springs has not be able to give raises to city employees in the past five or six years because of the economy.
But due to the various city departments watching their spending, the savings were passed down at the discretion of the council, Hulsey said.
“Staff has certainly tried to be frugal in their spending,” Hulsey said.
Almost $26,000 was allocated from the city’s general fund, as well as the public works department for sewer and sanitation workers, according to City Clerk Dawn Davis.
Full-time employees who have been with the city for more than a year received $500, full-time employees for six months to a year got $100, full-time employees for less than six months got $50.
Davis said the “high level amount” of bonuses has only happened in the past two years as the city’s economy has improved.
Mayor Pat Vaughan agreed about the upswing in the city’s economy.
“We are starting to see things turn around,” Vaughan said.
The gift of giving
Vaughan said, since she first started with the council in 1995, the city has at least given each employee a turkey or ham at Christmastime.
Although there was not money in this year’s budget for raises, there was extra for a lump sum bonus.
Vaughan said she knows she is “prejudiced,” but Powder Springs has the best employees, and a bonus at the holidays is a huge help.
“We love to choose Christmastime,” Vaughan said. “I can’t think of a single city employee that can’t use it.”
Vaughan said council members and herself are classified as part-time employees by the IRS, so they each received $150 bonuses this month.
“Many of the council members don’t turn in reimbursements for expenses,” Vaughan said.
Vaughan said last year the council members bought gifts and door prizes for employees with the money. This year, Vaughan, along with some council members and other staff, bought presents for needy children in Powder Springs, she said.
“We really gave it back,” Vaughan said about selecting four local families to receive bicycles, electric scooters, skateboards, dolls, toy trains and sports equipment. “Many children needed a coat.”
Vaughan added there is “not greater joy” than knowing you brightened a child’s Christmas day.