Marietta council approves $490k in COVID reimbursement funds for employees

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Dec. 2—The Marietta City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to allocate up to $490,000 in federal COVID-19 funds to reimburse employees for pandemic-related expenses they have incurred over the past year.

A little more than 700 city employees are eligible for the reimbursements, city officials said. A similar disbursement of $400,000 was made last December.

The language in the city's resolution cites the fact that these payments are authorized and tax-free under IRS code because the pandemic was a "qualified disaster." The resolution also cites that city workers were essential, and emphasizes the need for the city to reduce turnover and maintain a stable workforce to adequately provide public services.

"This was all based on the fact that, from the very beginning, all of our employees came to work every day," City Manager Bill Bruton told council members. "And we were one of the very few governments that actually did that. ... There had been a lot of issues and expenses that our employees have had to bear because of that."

Bruton told the MDJ that examples of expenses incurred include employees having to pay for childcare during school closures, purchasing their own personal protective equipment, or any other expense caused by the pandemic.

The funding provides a maximum monthly allocation of $55.56 per employee. The maximum payment they could receive under the resolution is $667 for 12 months of work.

Last December's monthly payments were identical, but capped at $500 per employee, since it only covered March through December of 2020.

Before the payments were approved, Bruton said the city still has about $1.4 million in its COVID-19 account, money it received from the federal government through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

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