Coupeville town council members voted Tuesday evening to spend some of their American Rescue Plan Act funds on premium pay for town employees.
The decision follows Island County commissioners’ resolution to give county employees extra salaries, though town staff will receive over $300 more than county workers.
Mayor Molly Hughes said the premium pay is meant to compensate “employees who have continued to do their jobs above and beyond, during the pandemic” despite “risk to themselves and their families.”
From Nov. 1 through the end of December, all 15 full-time town employees and one part-time town employee will receive an extra $15 per hour on top of their regular wages, up to a maximum gross payment of $3,200.
After Social Security and income tax deductions, this would result in each employee receiving around $2,800 additional payment.
“I think it takes everyone to make really difficult things happen in difficult times,” said council member Pat Powell, commending the town’s employees for persevering for the public good despite the stressful conditions brought on by the pandemic. “I really do consider public employees to be heroes.”
COVID-19 premium pay will use about 9% of the $550,000 of rescue funds Coupeville received from the state. The council voted unanimously in favor of the allocation.
Council members already allocated just over half of the funds to replacement and repair of critical utility infrastructure, meaning recent utility rate increases were less burdensome than they otherwise would have been.