Full-time county employees receive $2,000 in ARP funds

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transfer station ARP

HIAWASSEE, Ga – Towns County employees received a lump sum payment from American Rescue Act (ARP) funds as part of their steadfast service throughout the pandemic.

The county received $1,169,023 million in ARP Act funds.

“As soon as I knew the money was in the bank, I called our county attorney because reading how you can spend the money is very confusing – a lot of grey areas in that,” Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw stated. “First thing, I had in mind. I wanted to do something for our employees.”

Towns County employees like all government employees were expected to work through the pandemic when many other citizens were told to stay home. The call to public service rings especially true for those in public safety who had to put themselves in harm’s way of the virus.

“We didn’t have employees call in ‘I’m not coming to work or I’m sick or I’m scared.’ All of our employees worked right through it and we’re very thankful for them,” Bradshaw praised all departments.

He wanted to give them a monetary thank you for their service but didn’t want to go by the so much per-hour guideline set in the rules. Bradshaw also wanted the money to be in one lump sum and as a paper check with a thank you letter for their service.

All full-time employees received $2,000, and part-time employees were given $1,000. Elected officials didn’t collect any of ARP bonus money.

“I know it helped a lot of people, but they’re very deserving of it,” Bradshaw added. He also asked the public to thank these employees when you see them out in the community.

County attorney Robert Kiker and the county are laying out a plan for the money moving forward.

The federal government has published guiding principles, but not exacting rules as for how the money is spent. However, the county is liable for those funds and how it’s spent. Kiker’s working with ACCG to ensure that nothing falls back on Towns County.

“What we’re looking to do is COVID-related pandemic preparation,” Kiker explained. “We would be better prepared for such an event.”

Some of the areas being considered are updating the HVAC systems, protecting public and employees’ health, enhancement of court facilities for IT and remote capabilities, updating jail booking procedures and interactions.

County Attorney Robert Kiker

Towns County Attorney Robert Kiker

Currently, everything’s in the theory phase, but they want to use the funds for health and make it some government can function if something similar to a pandemic ever occurs again.

“I know that COVID-19’s been a tragedy,” Bradshaw commented. “We want to be prepared.”

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