LOGAN – The holiday season will be a little brighter for city employees here thanks to a one-time stipend unanimously approved by members of the Logan City Council on Tuesday.
The total price tag for that generosity will be $526,523 included in a package of more routine adjustments to the city’s 2020-21 budget.
In recommending approval of the stipend, Mayor Holly Daines said that the one-time stipends are to intended at least partially compensate city employees for 2021 pay raises that had to be cancelled due to the negative financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Although this is not as much as we would have budgeted for regular salary increases,” Daines told council members prior to their vote, “we are doing this stipend as a way to thank and retain our employees.”
“The stipend will be a one-time payment of $1,000 for each full-time employee,” according to Rich Anderson, the city’s finance director. “That amount will be prorated for new employees who have been with the city less than 12 months.”
Anderson added that only part-time city employees who work year-round would be eligible for the stipend.
“For those part-time employees,” he explained, “the stipend is a maximum of $300 based on their earnings.”
While approving the stipend, council member Mark Anderson emphasized that city employees were well-deserving of those payments.
“This is great way to thank city employees for their efforts throughout the year,” Anderson said. “That’s especially true of their outstanding work in emergency situations like the severe wind storm we had in early fall.”
“We are sorry that we could not do regular raises for city employees this year,” Daines acknowledged. “Hopefully, this stipend will help to make up for that. “
The city had originally planned a three-percent pay increase for employees in 2021, but Daines was forced to announce that funding for that pay hike would no longer be available back in early May.
That decision was among the first of numerous belt-tightening measures Logan enacted to cope with a drastic reduction in general fund revenues caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
The pending stipend payments are the latest of the city’s efforts to soften the financial impact of the cancelled 2021 pay hike. Previously, the city gave employees the option to move deferred income to current income.
“Instead of contributing 2.5 percent to their 401k’s as we normally do,” Daines explained during a city council meeting on May 5, “we can add that amount to our employees’ salaries. So they can choose whether they want extra income now or continue to put that money away for retirement.”