Christmas in June for some Chesco employees
WEST CHESTER, Pa. - June 17, 2011 (WPVI) -- Many Chester County employees will be getting a little something extra in their paychecks; something they haven't seen in a couple of years.
It is extra money, and some people are wondering how Chester County can afford to pay bonuses in these austere times?
For Chester County employees it was like Christmas in June.
All but unionized employees are getting a lump sum payment of three percent of their salaries.
"It's always welcome. It's nice," said Damaris Osborn. "I guess it shows some hope that maybe some things will change for us. Something to look forward to."
The County will spend about $2.7 million for the payments at a time when cutbacks are the norm in the public and private sectors.
The employees have gone for two years without a pay raise, and they've taken on extra work while trimming budgets. They say they've earned the unexpected windfall.
"I'm actually thrilled about it, because we haven't gotten an additional pay raise, so it's going straight to pay off some bills," said Kelly Thompson.
The county employees may well deserve every extra penny they get, but, some taxpayers are saying, "Wait a minute, those are my pennies."
"I think that where we are in the economy, maybe we should renegotiate and look at better ways to we could utilize it," said Angela Caruolo.
"It seems like it is a little insensitive," said Roy Almiquist. "If people have jobs, they have a lot to be happy about."
The County Commissioners say sacrifices by the workers have helped them hold the line on tax increases.
"If you want to keep that momentum going and have the employees continue to look for additional savings so that we can continue to keep taxes low, it's best to recognize that kind of effort," says County Commissioner Terence Farrell.
The lump sum pay outs are a one shot deal.
The Commissioners say they'd like to give county workers a raise, but won't know if that's possible until the new budget is finalized at the end of the year.
chester county, pennsylvania, west chester, local/state, david henry
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