Chesterfield to vote on one-time bonus for county workers

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - How would you like some extra cash in your paycheck right before the holidays? That could be a reality for most Chesterfield County workers if the Board of Supervisors approves a recommended one-time bonus. The money would come from a more than $28-million budget surplus announced Tuesday.

Wednesday afternoon, county leaders will vote on that one-time bonus check. But it may surprise you to find out, taxpayers we spoke with don't support it. They also want to know where that money came from in the first place.

Kay Robertson is a longtime Chesterfield taxpayer, 39 years to be exact. She doesn't think county employees should get a possible one-time bonus of 3% of their salaries when times are tight.

"Oh yes no. Correct I'd say no. That money needs to go for things for us," said Robertson.

An audit of the Chesterfield 2010 budget showed a surplus of more than $28-million.

"Where did the money from? We do an audit the county's broke. We're going to lay off 300 people and all of a sudden we find $28-million dollars is somebody not doing their job," said longtime Chesterfield resident, Randy Kendall.

I put that question to the county budget director. Allan Carmody says the money wasn't lost and then miraculously found. Rather the result of a deliberate plan to make sure the county didn't overspend its budget with a risk of a revenue shortfall. Carmody says there was a hiring freeze and departments were asked to tighten spending.   

Here's a breakdown of the county budget office recommendations for the budget surplus. The bulk of it, $19.8 million would be set aside for the future. $4.75 million for those bonuses and the rest, $3.5 million for purchases county agencies held off on like fire trucks. Some residents question bonuses, after a round of teacher layoffs in the past year.

"Everybody should get a bonus if it's deserving, but not at the expense of their peers losing their jobs," said Kendall.

The county Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on the recommendations Wednesday afternoon. If the one-time bonus is approved, employees who've worked for the county for more than one year could see it in their paychecks next month.

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