City approves ‘cost-of-living’ adjustment payments to city employees

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Columbus is moving forward with plans to give its employees one-time payments in hopes of fighting inflation and turnover.

Columbus City Council members approved two additional appropriations ordinances Tuesday on second reading. These ordinances, among other things, appropriate more than $400,000 for one-time cost of living adjustment (COLA) payments for employees.

This includes $330,000 from the city’s general fund, $20,000 from the motor vehicle highway fund and $95,000 from the parks and recreation general fund. Funds for COLA payments were also included in a larger appropriation for the transit department.

City Director of Finance, Operations and Risk Jamie Brinegar said at a previous meeting that two different methods will be used to fund the one-time payments. For public safety officials, the city will use American Rescue Plan funds. For other city staff including non-sworn police and fire employees general fund reserves will fund the payments.

The council approved a resolution to give city employees the one-time payments during its July 5 meeting. The payments will be made on July 29 and range from $500 to $2,000 before taxes. Amounts vary based on whether the employee is full-time or part-time and how long they’ve been employed without a break in service.

According to City Director of Administration and Community Development Mary Ferdon, payments will not be made to elected officials.

For more on this story, see Friday’s Republic.