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County employees to receive $1000 bonus
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IN BRIEF: County employees who have been with the county for one year or more will receive a one-time bonus of $1000, according to officials at the Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday.

About 700 full-time employees will see the one-time bonus. Part-time employees who work 20 hours or more will receive a $250 bonus. 

Finance Director Roselyn Millers said the county departments have been under budget so far for 2011 by about $2 million, reducing the need to dip into reserves. About $800,000 for the bonuses would come from that amount and about $800,000 would be returned to reserves. About $100,000 would be in bonuses for Rockdale Water Resources, which operates as an enterprise fund separate from the county's general fund. Cost-of-living increases have been frozen since 2008.

Commissioner JaNice Van Ness said, "Dan Ray the Tax Commissioner has projected an 8 percent decline in property values. Tax would be affected by that much. What I had suggested was $500 and the other remaining part would go back into the coffers for the benefit of not raising taxes for residents next year.

The next option would be if it was the pleasure of the other two Commissioners that they were adamant about the $1000, that it would be paid in two installments, instead of one lump sum."

Chairman Richard Oden and Commissioner Oz Nesbitt expressed support for the $1000 bonus in one amount.

Oden thanked constitutional officers and department heads for their efforts.

Nesbitt said, "Our employees are long overdue with some type of incentive or bonus or increase of some kind. I hate that we're not in the position to give our employees a real raise. I'm in favor of the $1000 bonus and am in favor of doing a lump sum payment. All of our employees have worked above and beyond the call of duty. There are so many people living paycheck to paycheck. That $1000 will give them a major boost."

"We've talked about this for a long time," Nesbitt said. He added that in an election year, the decisions would likely be contested or questioned. However, "We're going to move forward with giving our employees what's long overdue."