As part of the Bills and Claims portion of the Gillette City Council Meeting on December 17th, the council is expected to grant their approval of funds left over from the city's ECB (Expenditure Control Budget) Account being “reinvested” in city employees in the form of Gold Bucks. Gold Bucks are distributed through the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce and are designed to support local merchants. Gillette City Administrator Carter Napier said that he anticipates every City of Gillette employee will receive $500 worth of Gold Bucks as a one time payment.
“In the past the use of ECB monies has been reinvested back into the employees as well, generally that's been in the form of payments to the health insurance fund so that employees would not see increases and those kinds of things.”---Napier
Napier said in the current instance they are closing out the ECB Fund as a form of accounting and with the monies that were left over from past practices it was decided to follow suit with historical application of the funds and reinvest more directly into the employees. Napier said that seasonal and temporary employees would not be receiving the one time payment. Napier also said he feels the description of the one time payments as bonuses is not entirely accurate.
“In my estimation a bonus would be performance based or numbers based and we don't operate that way. What I would call it is a one time payment to try and offset increasing costs and so forth that we are experiencing.”---Napier
Napier said that the city has had similar one time payments in the past and notes the only difference he sees in this instance is that the payment will be done in the form of Gold Bucks.
“What I can tell you is that this is not any sales tax dollars or any operational revenue that would otherwise be used to provide services to the community, this is a pot of money that has been in the organization. Its about to be liquidated and we though the best way to liquidate it would be to reinvest in our employees.”---Napier
Napier added that the council members who are in support of the action felt that using Gold Bucks would inspire greater local spending. Napier noted that a majority of the council has indicated they will support the measure on Monday but said not every member of the council is supportive of the idea. He added those who choose to vocally show opposition to the measure with have the opportunity to express themselves Monday night.
One council member reached for comment was City Council President Kevin McGrath who says he was not in favor of the Gold Bucks being given out. McGrath said he and the other council members were reached individually earlier this month and asked for their input. McGrath says that he is “all for” city employees but he does not feel the taxpayer money should be used to give that type of compensation. McGrath said that he expressed interest in seeing the money used for projects or put into a medical heath fund. He also said he was not completely sold on the idea that using Gold Bucks would generate a great deal of local spending.
“I'm hoping that the city employees do that but its well known that you don't have to spend it all in the community, you can by an item and get change in cash.”---McGrath
City Council Woman Louis Carter-King says she supports the action saying the employees have had a tough year while still doing an excellent job for the community. She also said the Gold Bucks are well deserved and she was excited for the boost for local merchants.
“One thing I insisted on was that it be given out in the form of Gold Bucks so that it will stay within the city and helps local business.”---Carter-King