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Bryson City approves one-time bonuses

Bryson City approves one-time bonuses

Bryson City Council approved premium pay for 32 employees during a Dec. 6 board of aldermen meeting. 

Town Manager Regina Mathis said the board approved giving employees a one-time $1,500 bonus, though a few newer employees’ bonus will be prorated for the time they’ve been on the job. Employees will receive their bonuses before Christmas. The bonuses will cost the town $41,475 of its $420,000 ARP funds. 

“We’ve been working on pay increases for our employees for five or six years and I think we’re doing pretty well,” said Mayor Tom Sutton. “That’s not something we’re walking away from now either. We’ll continue to make adjustments as we go. We raised our starting pay to $13 an hour but that had nothing to do with this money.”

Sutton is hopeful the rest of the money can be put toward water and sewer infrastructure projects — a top priority for the town. Bryson City is currently under a water and sewer moratorium for any new service until it can get a handle on its inflow and infiltration issues at the water and sewer plant. 

“We’re getting a USDA loan/grant, but when we talked to them about a new sewer plant, they said we’re treating a lot of water through old pipes and so they’re not allowing a new plant until we address the inflow and infiltration issues,” Mathis said. 

The USDA will provide a $6.2 million loan and the rest will be granted to start that project. The town also has a $1.5 million Community Block Development Grant to replace sewer lines on Carringer Street. 

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Mathis said she’s been sitting through numerous American Rescue Plan meetings to stay up to date on all the guidelines and any changes that could be coming in the future. 

“From what I’ve heard, we can still spend the money on infrastructure but we have to target low to moderate income households, so I don’t think we’re tied down yet because of the census tract, but we will have to check on that to be sure.”

— By Jessi Stone

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