County to consider premium pay for employees

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Carroll County employees may soon receive some extra cash.

The county is considering providing premium pay for employees who have worked through the COVID-19 pandemic. The money would come from federal funds the county has received as a result of the pandemic.

The Carroll County Quorum Court’s budget committee was scheduled to meet at 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 4, to discuss the possible premium payments. The committee is scheduled to hold a second meeting on the issue at 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 11, at Southern Heights Baptist Church in Berryville.

Jack Deaton

District 1 Justice of the Peace Jack Deaton, who chairs the budget committee, said last week that the county has about $750,000 available for premium pay. Deaton said the committee will need to be mindful of federal regulations on how the money can be spent.

“There’s so many different aspects of this thing, there’s so many different regulations from the federal government on how you can pay it out that we’ve just got to spend some time on it,” Deaton said. “For instance, people that work from home aren’t eligible for it. It’s unfortunate, but you can see the point — they weren’t exposed.”

Deaton said the county is likely to pay eligible employees for 14 months of premium pay.

“We’re going to try to look at the first of February (2020) and the end of March (2021),” he said.

Deaton said he expects the committee to decide on the payments “in the next couple of weeks.” The committee then would make a recommendation to the full quorum court, which could vote on the issue at its October meeting, scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 18, at Southern Heights Baptist Church in Berryville.

Altogether, Deaton said the county will receive close to $5 million over a three-year period in federal assistance related to the pandemic, although much of the money will be earmarked for specific purposes. In addition to the premium pay, Deaton said the county will be permitted to use some of the federal funds to help upgrade its emergency communications system.

Deaton said county officials will go through the federal requirements “piece by piece.”

“It’s just a lot of reading and trying to decipher exactly what the feds intended when they wrote it, what they had in mind,” he said.

In addition to the premium pay, Deaton said the budget committee expects to present a proposed 2021 county budget to the full quorum court in November.

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