County may bonus employees

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$600 could come before holidays

By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

Full-time county workers who have not received a pay increase in five years may get a little something in their paycheck before Thanksgiving: a $600 bonus check.

The down side is they will have to look in their department's budget to find the cash. 

Levy County Commissioner Ryan Bell of Chiefland (R-District 4) proposed the bonus during Tuesday's regular meeting. It was well received by the commissioners, but the holdup came with a question over whether 3 percent would be deducted for the state retirement fund. County Attorney Anne Bast Brown was asked to find out whether state law would require the deduction and early indication is that it will not. 

No vote was taken on Tuesday and the matter will come up again at the commission's Nov. 6 meeting. 

The raise, which includes employees working for constitutional officers, would go to 386 workers and cost $289,364.

“Being as it is the first year we actually cut benefits,” Bell said. “I think we should give back a little to our employees and staff.” He said county workers had done a good job of cutting back the budget when requested to do so this year. “I see this as an incentive to keep the budget low, cause it's coming out of your budget,” Bell told department heads and Sheriff Johnny Smith, who attended the meeting.

Bell said he was suggesting the one-time payment “so this doesn't obligate us” to future payments the way a pay raise would.

“This wasn't budgeted for so there will be a need for a budget amendment,” said County Coordinator Fred Moody. He said the county financial staff would have to know about the bonus by Nov. 6 in order to include it in paychecks before Thanksgiving, which falls on Nov. 25 this year.