Augusta,Ga. (WJBF) – Hundreds of city employees, Sheriff’s deputies, firefighters, Marshal’s, and animal officers are still out in the public performing their duties and Augusta Commissioners feel they should be financially rewarded.
The jobs are dangerous enough, without the coronavirus, now Augusta city leaders are giving hundreds of city workers a raise because of COVID-19.
“I feel pretty confident that this is the right direction for us to take. It certainly is going to be a boost for our employees who are on the front lines every single day and we’ll go from there,” said Mayor Hardie Davis.
The question for city leaders was how much, the administrator presenting three recommendations from a low of a $1.67 an hour up to $3.33 an hour raise, the mayor in favor of a monthly stipend about equal to a $3.00 an hour raise.
“I think we’re going to offer $500.00 a month, very similar to what Atlanta has done,” said Mayor Davis.
But some commissioners are saying they didn’t think the recommendations went far enough and instead wanted more.
“I will be recommending to this body that we do $5.00 an hour for our employees,” said Commissioner Sammie Sias.
The plan is to start the pay increase immediately, and continue it for 60 days, at five dollars an hour that will cost tax payers 2.6 million dollars, creating some sticker shock.
“I’m just not feeling comfortable where we’re going to be this year I want to give our employees something but I just don’t know what level,” said Commissioner Mary Davis.
The commission approved the $5.00 raise on a six to four vote, adding the pay increase is only for employees who are out at work, and not working from home.
The raise is scheduled to last until June 6th, however the commission could extend that if needed or cut it back.
Depending how long the pandemic goes on and these pay increases raises it will likely blow up the budget of these departments then the general fund and possibly city reserves would have to cover the costs.
In Augusta George Eskola WJBF NewsChannel 6.