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Salisbury City Council will consider vaccine incentives, ‘premium pay’ bonuses for employees

SALISBURY — City Council members today will consider approving a COVID-19 vaccine incentive program and a “premium pay” proposal with checks as large as $3,500 for full-time city employees.

The Salisbury City Council’s meeting will be held virtually at 6 p.m. today. The meeting will be streamed at salisburync.gov/webcast and on the city’s Twitter account. Anyone who wishes to speak during the public comment period can do so by contacting City Clerk Kelly Baker before 5 p.m. at bake@salisburync.gov or 704-638-5233.

The vaccination incentives and “premium pay” proposals would use a portion of the city’s federal coronavirus relief funding. So far, the city has received $3.61 million from the American Rescue Plan that became law in March. Combined, the city expects to use $1.3 million or $1.53 million. The amount depends on which option the City Council chooses.

For vaccination incentives, Human Resources Director Ruth Kennerly and Finance Director Wade Furches propose $250 for employees who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by Oct. 29. Another bonus of $250 is possible if city government reaches 60% of employees fully vaccinated.

Additionally, today’s presentation will recommend “premium pay” for all employees. The “premium pay” will be awarded in the form of bonuses paid depending on when employees were hired.

Plan A is the most generous, giving full-time employees who are considered “critical” a $3,500 bonus if he or she was hired before Oct. 1, 2020. Employees not considered “critical” would receive a $2,500 bonus if he or she was hired before the same date. Part-time employees who have worked 1,000 or more hours would receive $1,500 in plan A.

Bonus amounts for full-time employees in plan A are as follows:

• Hired before Oct. 1, 2020: $3,500 for “critical” employees and $2,500 for “non-critical.”

• Hired between Oct. 1, and Dec. 31, 2020: $1,750 for “critical” employees and $1,250 for “non-critical” employees.

• Hired between Jan. 1 and March 31: $1,000 for “critical” employees and $500 for “non-critical” employees.

• Hired between April 1 and July 5: $500 for “critical” employees and $250 for “non-critical” employees.

Plan B includes a reduction in the bonus amounts for most full-time employees. Amounts are as follows:

• Hired before Oct. 1, 2020: $3,000 for “critical” employees and $2,000 for “non-critical.”

• Hired between Oct. 1, and Dec. 31, 2020: $1,500 for “critical” employees and $1,000 for “non-critical” employees.

• Hired between Jan. 1 and March 31: $750 for “critical” employees and $500 for “non-critical” employees.

• Hired between April 1 and July 5: $500 for “critical” employees and $250 for “non-critical” employees.

Bonuses for part-time employees in both plans depends on the number of hours worked. Amounts are as follows:

• 1,000 or more hours worked: $1,500 in plan A and $1,000 in plan B.

• 500 to 999 hours: $1,000 in plan A and $750 in plan B.

• 200 to 499 hours: $750 in plan A and $500 in plan B.

• 100 to 199 hours: $500 in plan A and $250 in plan B.

• 50 to 99 hours: $200 in plan A and B.

Neither plan includes bonuses for full-time employees hired after July 5 or part-time employees who have less than 50 hours worked.

In other business on today’s agenda:

• The City Council will receive a presentation from representatives of the Professional Firefighters of Salisbury.

Salisbury firefighters are currently pushing city officials to provide immediate pay increases while a study is underway to make longer-term changes to pay and benefits.

• The City Council will consider an ordinance that would require annexation for connection to “the city water or sewer system.”

There are exceptions in the proposed ordinance for certain types of economic development projects and water and sewer extensions completed before today. Requirements also don’t apply to utility agreements with other governmental units in Rowan County.

As written, the ordinance change could create satellite annexations in unincorporated areas that aren’t currently in the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction — an area immediately outside the city limits where the city of Salisbury has certain legal authority.

• The council will hold a public hearing on a performance evaluation of the city’s use of Community Development Block Grant and HOME Program funds. Funds for both come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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