HUNTINGTON — The city of Huntington this week paid $325,000 to its employees to supplement costs of uniforms and cleaning incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.
About 325 employees — from three bargaining units, professional and administrative staff — will receive will receive a $1,000 supplemental allowance, which will come from the city’s general fund. Huntington Mayor Steve Williams and City Council members will not receive the payments, which were distributed Thursday.
Another $900 supplemental allowance was given in May to around 285 employees who could not work remotely during the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. The amounts total more than $581,000 given to city employees this year.
The money is meant to reimburse workers for expenses they have incurred in preventing the spread of COVID-19, ranging from the costs of cleaning uniforms to the purchases of personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies.
Williams and City Council Chairman Mark Bates made the announcement Thursday in a news release.
City Council members approved the city’s $58.3 million budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year in March. Williams said despite the pandemic, the city has been watching its expenses and revenues and has found itself “more fiscally sound” than others in the state and area.
“I am extremely proud of our employees’ efforts this year,” he said. “They have families who depend on them, and the strain of schools closing, businesses closing, churches making adjustments and family routines being disrupted have placed an enormous burden on their lives.”
Bates said the allowance was well deserved by the city’s employees.
“This is the right thing to do for city employees who have worked so hard through the pandemic and made personal sacrifices to continue serving the citizens of Huntington without interruption,” he said.
City Council approval was not needed for the allocations.
Last month, the council voted to give $100,000 to the Huntington Area Convention and Visitors Bureau after its revenue stream was impacted by the lack of travel during the pandemic. It is solely funded by the hotel and motel tax, a 6% room tax charged by hotels in Cabell and Wayne counties.
Williams added that he plans to ask City Council to again extend the elimination of refuse fees for all city residents and the business and occupation tax for restaurants and retail shops through the end of the year.