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Georgia Municipalities and Counties Issue Bonuses
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Quite a few municipalities in the area of Athens, Georgia have offered bonuses and raises for their employees.

Council members from Jefferson and Winder City as well as county commission members from Barrow and Oconee voted for the bonuses. After the vote for the bonuses, those government officials cited their employees’ abilities to cut department costs while being able to maintain services to residents of those areas.


“(The bonus) was a reflection of two things, and No. 1 was the performance of our staff,” said John Ward, Jefferson’s city manager.

Employees for Jefferson City, who work full-time, received a one-time bonus of $200. Part-time workers for the city received a one-time bonus of $100. The city will spend less than $25,000 on the bonuses according to Ward.

Ward also said that city employees have been able to spend less money, to the point where the city was able to put aside reserve funding.

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“The second part of that is that it’s been multiple years since there’s been any type of a cost-of-living adjustment,” Ward said.

During the recession, not many municipal or county employees have been issued salary bumps because government revenue from taxes has decreased.

Larry Wilburn, the Barrow County Commissioner, said that the economy could be turning around ever so slowly as evidenced by governments offering one-time bonuses. Wilburn also said that governments can now better assess their needs while also collecting less revenue.

“I think a lot of governments are doing a lot better job controlling costs,” Wilburn said.

Each of the full-time employees for Barrow County received one-time bonuses of $250.

“This is just a way to let them know that we do care about them,” Wilburn said.

Employees for the county have worked through salary cuts, budgets, and layoffs, according to Wilburn. The reason the commissioners voted for the bonuses was that they wanted to thank the county employees for all of their hard work during the tough economic times. The bonuses were issued right before Christmas.

“We, as a board, decided to give a little bit back to the employees,” he said.

Commissioners for Oconee County approved bonuses of $1,250 for its full-time employees who were making less than $40,000 per year and $1,000 bonuses for full-time employees who earn more than $40,000 per year. The county commissioners also approved a one-time $500 bonus for part-time employees who work over 20 hours per week.

A three percent increase in employee salary was approved by council members for Winder City.


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