Cedar Point

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 brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.

(8) comments

slang

Wasn’t that money supposed to help the small business people?

David Collins

Good for them ! At least some of the money will return in the way of income taxes . Not sure if that is the proper use of that money but oversight is slim to none these days .

David Collins

Small is a relative term . Cedar Point is a small town , a small governing business one could argue . Using Cedar Point logic , the employees are eminently qualified . Just ask one .

mpjeep

I guess things don’t surprise me much these days, but this is totally inappropriate use of the funds.

Mayor Scott Hatsell is making a mockery of the American Rescue Plan Act money.

David Collins

Mayor Scott is not alone . The term spending like drunken sailors comes to mind . Now , the question is did elected officials get the bonus as well or was it only the civil servants ? Could get interesting . Politicians enriching themselves and all that .

mpjeep

Shouldn’t the public have a little input on how this money is spent?

Across-the-board employee bonuses are questionable. These folks never lost their jobs or missed a paycheck. And like most of us, they did receive stimulus checks.

This money would be better spent on every grocery store employee in Cedar Point, who put their health on the line during the pandemic without the ability of Zoom to do their jobs.

David Collins

Just one more thought . Pretty sure the check was made out to the Town of Cedar Point . Well , do not the property owning residents make up the Town of Cedar Point . If you can give bonuses to employees why not the property owning residents as well ? Everyone shares in this bounty equally . Not just a chosen few . Think about that .

Boroexpat

Just curious. How many of you reside in Cedar Point.

Welcome to the discussion.

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