County approves ARPA Premium pay, adopts redistrict lines

Shown above, District II is losing some geographic area to District IV. 

The DeKalb County Commission on Tuesday adopted the American Rescue Plan Act Temporary Premium Pay for county employees.

The ARPA Premium Pay ensures essential workers who supported the community throughout the COVID-19 health emergency receive temporary premium pay.

DeKalb County Commission President Ricky Harcrow said the federal ARPA funds received were designated for premium pay for employees that had worked through the pandemic.

“We had to comply with state laws before we could distribute any of this money,” he said. “The school board has already done theirs and we are doing what every other county has done in distributing.”

County Administrator Matt Sharp said the temporary premium pay is up to $1,000 a month for full-time employees hired before August 1, 2021, and up to $500 for part-time employees and full-time employees hired after August 1, 2021, or after.

Harcrow said due to certain guidelines that must be followed, employees couldn’t receive the funds in the form of back pay; however, they can be compensated in the upcoming pay.

“So for the next four months, our county employees will be getting what will amount to a $6.25 raise,” he said. “Our employees worked hard during all those past months with the COVID-19. I mean, it was day and night and what this money does is compensate them for the time that they worked.”

The temporary premium pay will begin in December 2021 and end in March of 2022. Harcrow also clarified elected officials are not eligible for the premium pay.

“We don’t get a dime. This is only for our county employees,” he said. “We appreciate everything everybody did. It’s gratifying for our employees to have the raise they deserve.”

On Tuesday, the commission also adopted the new distinct lines following the results of the 2020 Census.

As discussed during the Oct. 12 commission meeting, population results from the Census called for the redistricting of two districts to better balance the numbers among the commissioners.

Sharp said changes are going to be made between District IV and District II.

Referencing the new district map, “you can see on the map the yellow line that comes through is the existing line and the extra map going south is the mount District IV rolls into District II,” he said.

District II is losing part of its geographic area to District 4. Sharp reiterated there’s a minimum of 17,006 and a maximum of 18,797 population numbers that are required. He said with the redistricting, the numbers will fall within those parameters.

“This is not going to affect a great deal of people but we also want you to understand [Lester] Black and [Terry] Harris worked together to put this all together,” Harcrow said. “We seldom have to redistrict but we do have to follow state guidelines.”

Population counts by commission district are as follows:

• District I (Commissioner Shane Wootten) 17,170

• District II (Commissioner Terry Harris ) 17,765

• District III (Commissioner Chris Kuykendall) 18,620

• District IV (Commissioner Lester Black) 18,054

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