Acworth plans to sign up for program that gives bonuses to public safety employees

Acworth City Hall in article about Baker Road annexationAcworth City Hall sign (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

By Arielle Robinson

At a work session in Acworth City Council chambers Monday evening, City Manager James Albright announced that the city intends to sign up for the state program that provides a one-time $1,000 bonus for eligible law enforcement and other first responders.

Albright said employees eligible for the bonus include law enforcement officers, jail officers, communications officers, firefighters and emergency medical services professionals.

He also said that of those categories, employees who worked during the period between August 1, 2021, and August 31, 2021, qualify to receive the bonus.

If they go forward with the process, the city would receive the money through a grant which they have applied for on behalf of its employees and then distribute the money.

The city would have to enter into an agreement with the state. Once that is done, the next step would be to put the issue on an agenda for the Board of Aldermen to vote on.

Albright said the city is trying to get this done as soon as possible.

On Monday, Sep. 27, Governor Brian Kemp announced a $1,000 bonus grant for first responders across the state of Georgia.

The program also provides a $300 stipend to volunteer firefighters.

The goal of the money, according to Kemp, is to show appreciation for the work that first responders have done throughout the pandemic.

“Our law enforcement officials and first responders answered the call of duty and bravely served on the front line of our fight against COVID-19, despite the unprecedented challenges thrown their way,” Kemp said last month.

Kemp is using the American Rescue Plan Act, a federal COVID-19 relief program that Congress approved of and that President Joe Biden signed off on back in March, to fund the program.

Local governments and places that employ first responders can visit the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget website to learn more about the grant program and request funds. The office will accept applications from October 1 to December 31.

Of the $4.8 billion the federal government has sent to Georgia for COVID-19 relief, the grant program is estimated to cost around $100 million, the Associated Press reported last month.

Arielle Robinson is a student at Kennesaw State University. She also freelances for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution and is the former president of KSU’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists as well as a former CNN intern. She enjoys music, reading, and live shows.