CEDAR POINT — Cedar Point commissioners Tuesday night voted 4-0 to use $25,000 in federal American Rescue Plan Act money to reward the town’s four full-time employees and two part-timers for their roles in keeping government rolling during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Town clerk Jayne Calhoun said Wednesday one legal use of the ARPA funds is to give money to “essential personnel.”
The board met in the town hall off Sherwood Avenue, with town manager David Rief absent.
Mr. Rief, Ms. Calhoun, public works director Don Redfearn and public works maintenance technician Tyler Merkel will get $5,000 each, while part-time code enforcement officer Kaitlin DeGrasse and part-time administrative assistant Tamra Bullard each will get $2,500.
Mayor Scott Hatsell introduced the agenda item and said the town received $207,790.94 from the ARPA recently and will get a similar amount in 2022.
The town had expected $190,000 in each payment and officials were pleasantly surprised to get more, the mayor said. The money has to be kept in a separate account from other funds for accountability purposes, and there are strict rules – as yet somewhat unclear – on what it can be used for.
Mayor Pro Tem Pam Castellano noted the lump sum payments to the town employees are just a small fraction of the money already received.
“I’m for it,” she said of distributing the $25,000 to staff.
In previous distributions of COVID-19 relief money from the feds, the town has paid for communications improvements for online board meetings.
Ms. Calhoun said Wednesday officials have not yet decided how to spend the rest of the money from the first round of ARPA and might let it sit in the bank account and “marinate,” earning interest, until they gain a clear understanding of how it can be used and what it should be used for in Cedar Point.
Congress passed the nearly $2 trillion stimulus legislation and President Joe Biden signed it into law earlier this year because Americans, in general, as well as state, local and tribal governments, have been under financial strain in the wake of the pandemic, trying to keep up normal services amid economic fallout.
According to the U.S. Treasury Department’s website, the act provided $350 billion dollars in emergency funding for those state, local, territorial and tribal governments “to remedy this mismatch between rising costs and falling revenues.”
Cedar Point commissioners had previously discussed helping out town employees with money from the act.
The town’s fiscal 2021-22 budget, which went into effect July 1, provided a 3% cost of living raise to all employees except Mr. Rief, who got an 8% hike – 3% for cost-of-living and 5% for his promotion to town manager from town administrator.
Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email firstname.lastname@example.org; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.