Former City of Atmore employees who retired from municipal service will receive a Christmas bonus this year.
The city’s governing body, sitting with just three members due to the absence of District 3’s Chris Walker and District 5’s Chris Harrison, unanimously approved the one-time bonus during the council’s Monday (July 10) meeting.
“This was done before, in 2008 I think it was, and they want to do it again,” said Mayor Jim Staff.
City Clerk Becca Smith pointed out that the bonuses will be computed using a sliding scale formula based upon each retiree’s “length of credible service.”
According to a letter from Liane Kelly of Alabama Retired State Employees’ Association, the bonuses will be paid to the former employees in December. The payments will be computed at $24 per year for each year of service, indicating that a retiree who worked for the city for 25 years will receive $600. Legislation passed this year by state lawmakers provides that those with less than 25 years of service will receive a minimum of $300.
The letter also points out that “the bonus cannot be approved in subsequent years” and “if not granted in 2017, it goes away forever.”
District 1’s Webb Nall, District 4’s Susan Smith and District 2’s Jerome Webster each voted in favor of the measure.
In other business, the three council members approved the use of a city park for a fundraiser and agreed to close a portion of a downtown street for a business awareness and stimulation event.
Permission was granted for a Saturday, July 29, barbecue cook-off at Houston Avery Park. The grilling competition is scheduled to run from 11 a.m. until “about 4 p.m.” and will generate funds for the Escambia County High School football team and band boosters.
“This will raise some money and get our community involved behind our football team,” Staff said.
The final business item involved the closing of a portion of Ridgeley Street for “An Evening Out,” during which businesses located in the Ridgeley-South Main area will extend their hours of operation. Those who do not have storefronts will set up booths, and many of the businesses will offer free snacks and drinks.
The event, which will begin at 5 p.m. and continue through 8 p.m. on Friday, July 28, will also include the monthly Music on Main presentation.
Sheryl Vickery, executive director of Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce, told council members that the initial “Evening Out” drew an impressive crowd.
“It was amazing; it really worked out well,” Vickery said of the June 30 event. She added that although it was not a Chamber-sponsored event, the Chamber was supporting the July 28 happening by providing the advertising and paying for the live music.