City Approves COVID Premium Pay from ARPA Funds

 In Featured News, General News, News

City Commissioners approved a one-time payment of $1,000 per employee for front-line employees who were deemed essential and forced to continue to work during the shutdown during the height of the COVID pandemic panic during Monday’s regular meeting.

To be eligible for the payment, the employee must have started working with the City in 2020 or before and still be an employee of the organization. Department heads and those who were able to work remotely during the shutdown in 2020 are not eligible.

The money is an allowable use of American Rescue Plan Act funds, of which the city is receiving nearly $1.6 million.

“It’s important that we tell our employees that we value them and that we appreciate that even when fears were at the highest level and the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic outweighed available information, our staff went to work daily to provide the services that the residents in Atchison rely on,” Interim City Manager Justin Pregont said. “It also helps us to keep up, in a small way, with inflation and the growing wage pressure for quality employees that every employer is currently facing.”

The payments will be made in the next three weeks. There are an estimated 81 employees that meet the eligibility criteria.

In other business Monday, Commissioners updated zoning regulations to ensure that storefronts in the downtown district be maintained as such, allowing for one- and two-family occupancy in downtown buildings, but only as an accessory use. They also approved the selection of H.W. Lochner as the airport consultant for the next five years. Lochner has been the existing consultant for the airport.

Commissioners also approved a resolution informing Maczuck Industries of the City’s intention to discontinue the lease of the property at 800 River Road when the current agreement expires on July 15, 2025. Maczuck has operated at that location since 1977, and the current agreement includes an annual rental rate that was $8,857.80 in 2021. The resolution is designed to allow both sides ample time to plan moving forward.

Other action Monday included approval of an additional $15,000 for the law firm Lathrop & Gage for ongoing litigation expenses related to a case involving the Atchison County Sheriff. Commissioners also approved a permit for Benedictine College to have a fireworks display between 9-10 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 28 on campus.

The next regular city commission meeting is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 6, in the commission room.