Thanks to the $2.7 million in American Recovery Plan Act funds, Covington’s municipal employees will see a bonus this spring.
Called premium pay, the city’s full-time employees will see a one-time payment of $2,500 and the part-time employees $250.
Mayor Justin Hanson said the pay was in appreciation for employees who’ve remained working through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alderman Chris Richardson questioned whether the amount of the bonuses were too high.
Rebecca Ray, the mayor’s assistant, said the funds would help with expenses incurred, such as childcare and transportation, while employees continued working during the pandemic.
The bonuses will cost the city $352,000 of the $1.3 million it has already received. The remainder of the $2.7 million grant is expected to be received in November.
With this round of funding the mayor said building updates would be made as well.
They are investing in a kiosk in order to both allow for social distancing and payment of utility bills at any time. The kiosk would replace the night deposit box, which is original to the building.
“Replacement parts are (going to be) difficult to find,” Hanson said.
Additionally, he said staff members spend a considerable amount of time each month reviewing camera footage when residents notify them of a discrepancy in the payment of their bill.
“This will put a time and day stamp of when they made the payment,” said Hanson.
The remainder of this year’s funding will be directed at improving the aging wastewater treatment facility.
Blue Oval City, the planned Ford automotive complex expected to operate out of the Memphis Regional Megasite in nearby Brownsville, has made improving infrastructure a priority around West Tennessee.
“It’s paramount,” Hanson said. “We want to grow on what we have. Knowing the growth that’s coming, we’re trying to be prudent.”
The facility is nearly 50 years old and there is interest in how to upgrade and/or expand it. Hanson, public works director David Gray, and county executive Jeff Huffman have had several discussions about it. The potential exists to receive county and state funding to help.
“Those discussions are happening as are ones for a potential regional wastewater treatment facility.”
Editor’s note: The print edition misattributed Alderman Richardson’s quote to John Edwards. We apologize for this error.