Ind. city announces FFs, police to receive $2K bonus

Noblesville Mayor Chris Jensen said the money will compensate for a wage freeze the city council imposed this year because of economic uncertainty in 2020 at the height of the pandemic


John Tuohy
The Indianapolis Star

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. — Noblesville plans to give police officers and firefighters bonuses of $2,000 and other city employees $1,000 with its haul of federal coronavirus economic aid.

Mayor Chris Jensen said the money will compensate for a wage freeze the city council imposed this year because of economic uncertainty in 2020 at the height of the pandemic.

The city plans to use $900,000 from its $6.2 million allocation in Rescue Plan funds for the bonuses to 400 employees.
The city plans to use $900,000 from its $6.2 million allocation in Rescue Plan funds for the bonuses to 400 employees. (Photo/Noblesville Fire Department)

"We didn't give raises this year and this is our way of saying 'thank you" for working through the health crisis," Jensen said.

Noblesville is the second government in Hamilton County to use some of its American Rescue Plan Act funds for bonuses. Hamilton County is giving its employees $3,000 each. County Commissioner Mark Heirbrandt said those bonuses have already been delivered. The county will receive $65 million.

Jensen said the police and firefighters would get more under the plan because they were more at risk of contracting COVID-19 than other workers.

"They were out answering calls and in close contact with people," Jensen said.

The city plans to use $900,000 from its $6.2 million allocation in Rescue Plan funds for the bonuses to 400 employees.

"We had a lot of discussion with council and heard a lot of feedback from employees about this," Jensen said. He said a prime consideration is the boost it could offer to the local economy.

"People will spend a lot of this money locally," Jensen said.

The city plans to use $4.5 million on storm water and drainage improvements for its Pleasant Street road reconstruction project and $800,000 on sewers in Wayne Township.

The city has dedicated $113 million to rebuild Pleasant Street from SR-37 past the White River, with bridges erected over the White River and Cicero Creek.

Jensen said the $4.5 million in COVID-19 funds would cover the entire cost of storm water upgrades for the $50 million first phase of the project.

The American Rescue funds can't be used directly for road building but can be used for water and sewer projects, which are part of road projects.

The city had its Rescue Plan allocation cut from an expected $13 million to $6.2 after the federal government discovered it had applied the wrong funding formula to Noblesville, Fishers and Carmel.

Fishers had expected $19 million but now will receive $6.9 million. Carmel's award was reduced from $21 million to $7.5 million.

The Noblesville plan was approved by the Finance Committee Wednesday and will be introduced to the City Council July 27 and voted on at the August council meeting.

©2021 www.indystar.com

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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