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Spates Proposes One-Time $1,000 Employee Bonus

FARMVILLE – Town of Farmville employees could have a “grand” Christmas if Town Council adopts the proposal of Gerald Spates next week.

Town manager Spates is proposing a one-time $1,000 bonus for full-time employees, with each part-time employee receiving $100.

The recommendation was made during Wednesday's November work session meeting of Town Council and the immediate response was silence, though eventual discussions found council deciding to consider the proposal and decide during next Wednesday night's regular November monthly meeting.

“I would like to ask council-employees have not gotten a raise in three years-and I would like to ask if council would consider giving the employees a bonus this year,” Spates said.

During the next 16 seconds, Town Council members said nothing.

One of them coughed.

The silence was so obvious that Spates joked “everybody speak up at one time.”

Lacking any verbal response from council members, Spates continued, “what it would amount to is a one-time 2.17 percent raise if you did it the way I propose.”

The first council member to speak was David Whitus, who asked, “what are you talking about in terms of dollars?”

Spates answered, “you'd be looking at $131,000.”

“And do we have the money?” Whitus asked.

“We will have the money. We have a pretty large tap fee that's coming in, actually two of them,” Spates replied.

“This is just a one-time deal, right?” asked Mayor Sydnor C. Newman, Jr.

“Yeah, one time,” the town manager told him.

“I'm in favor of it,” stated council member Otto S. Overton.

“I certainly would like the employees to get more money,” began council member Dr. Edward I. Gordon. “But I don't know what's coming in…We cut it pretty close (last year) and we wound up with some problems along the way…Let us think about it. I don't think anybody here would not like the employees to make more money.”

During subsequent discussion over a proposed $4,000 Christmas dinner for employees, an annual event, Dr. Gordon said-and discussion seemed to include the proposed bonuses, too-“unfortunately money's tight. That was the whole idea of putting the budget committee together. Getting an idea of what we're spending, what's coming in, what's going out. And in spite of that we wound up in unexpected trouble. And that worried me, a lot. That here we took a whole year to do something and we wound up in trouble. Everybody here would like to be a good guy.”

“I don't think there's any objection to that at all,” Whitus agreed.

“We've got a week to think about it,” Thompson said, referring to next week's council meeting.

“The thing is,” Dr. Gordon continued, “we had a budget committee and it (the proposed bonuses) wasn't in the budget. That's one thing that bothers me right off but you say we're going to have the money. I'd like to see what money you're talking about, but it doesn't have to come today. We've got a whole week.”

When someone wondered if the bonus decision could be made in December, Spates said he would prefer awarding them this month.

“Probably do it in November so they would get it to use for Christmas,” the town manager said.

Thompson had suggested the possibility of waiting until the end of the fiscal year to see if there was enough money and give it then if there were sufficient funds.

Spates reiterated that there would be enough money to cover the proposed bonuses.

“You're going to end up, before the end of the year, you're going to end up with about $700,000 in tap fees,” Spates told council member, “that we didn't put in the budget.”

The decision on the bonuses and the Christmas dinner should be made next Wednesday night.

(Council members Donald L. Hunter and Vice-Mayor Armstead D. Reid were absent from the work session.)