LaFayette Sun News

Council agrees to pay hourly city employees $1000 bonus

By John Brice

The LaFayette City Council met on Monday, September 11th of 2023 at the Chambers County Farmers Federation Agricultural Center at the ALFA building in LaFayette. In attendance were Mayor Kenneth Vines, Councilman Terry G. Mangram, Councilman Toney B. Thomas, Councilman Michael C. Ellis and Councilwoman Tammie B. Williams.. City Clerk Louis T. Davidson, City Attorney Joseph M. Tucker, Police Captain Christopher Trice, Fire & EMS Chief Jim Doody, Street, Sanitation and Cemetery Superintendent George Green, and Electric Superintendent Chris Sanders were also present. The meeting began with an invocation led by Councilman Mangram and standard procedures such as roll call as well as approval of the minutes from the previous meeting.

First up on the agenda was a New City Hall Discussion where the building design was reviewed and the motion was approved to move forward with that renovation of the old bank building on LaFayette Street North.

Next was a discussion of ARPA Premium Pay options where distribution of funds from the American Rescue Plan Act was considered by the council. Mayor Vines explained that a portion of the money received for assistance had been designated to compensate city employees who were on the job during that original pandemic time period. There are thirty-four current city employees who qualify under that criteria which means that the remaining funds can be allocated to support the hiring of new staff members to replace those that have left in the time since. Mayor Vines cautioned everyone with a reminder that there have been instances of overpayment in the past where employees were required to pay back excess funds that they had received and he emphasized the need to ensure that does not happen again going forward.

Councilman Ellis recalled that the last time the council had discussed this matter it was agreed upon that each employee would receive a one time payment of $1,000. Councilman Mangram concurred that Ellis was correct and that as a city it was imperative that something be done to show support for their employees which was complicated by the fact that due to the stipulations set forth by the federal government department heads would be ineligible to receive these funds since they are paid a salary.

Mangram wondered if Attorney Tucker could clarify what options the city had and Clerk Davidson elucidated that under the guidelines of ARPA that department heads would be excluded for that particular compensation. Councilman Thomas expressed his belief that the city is blessed with great employees and they are way overdue for recognition and reward. Councilwoman Williams asked Clerk Davidson if there was some other source of funds the city could utilize to compensate the equally deserving department heads. Clerk Davidson responded that Attorney Tucker would need to advise on other options to use regular city funds for this purpose.

Attorney Tucker remarked that the options would need to be thoroughly looked at to which Mangram stated that the council should compensate regular employees for the time being and meanwhile options for department heads would be explored who he wanted to know that the council appreciates their hard work and are looking for funds to support them after which the motion was approved.

Clerk Davidson subsequently provided an AMEA Scholarship announcement where the Alabama Municipal Electric Authority is awarding grants of $2,500 for qualifying high school seniors. Eligibility is based upon attending school in the State of Alabama and residing at an address where utility service from the City of LaFayette is available. Two more announcements were made for a Historic Preservation Workshop & Sign Design Training scheduled for Thursday, September 21st from 4-6pm and a Historic Preservation Board Meeting on Thursday, September 21st at 6pm.

Further discussions included overgrown roadside shrubbery, contractor debris collection, dilapidated structures, street signs in need of replacement and animal control. Councilman Thomas took the opportunity to send a message of welcome to LaFayette High School alumni who would be in town for Alumni Day this coming weekend which he noted would be good for local businesses as long as it was kept respectful and pleasing to the Lord.

Last on the agenda was Resolution No. 2023-09-11-01 (Charter Pole Attachment License Agreement) where a negotiator acting on behalf of the city had secured an increase from $20 to $24 in the fee that Charter pays the city for usage of city poles in connecting their Spectrum service. After that motion was approved by a roll call vote the meeting was adjourned.

Leave a Reply