ANGOLA — All 78 full-time city of Angola employees will be getting additional $1,500 each for their “extraordinary service” in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Angola Common Council unanimously voted to approve the bonuses during its regularly scheduled meeting Feb. 15. The special compensation, totaling $117,000, will come from insurance-related savings the city experienced last year, not taxpayer dollars.

Speaking during the meeting, Mayor Richard Hickman explained that AIM Medical Trust and Delta Dental, the city’s health care and dental insurance providers, each waived one monthly premium in either 2020 or 2021 due to the pandemic. When the premiums were waived, neither the city nor any of its employees were charged their normal insurance premium that month, he said, which saved the city approximately $118,000.

Hickman said he met with Councilman Dave Martin, Clerk-Treasurer Deb Twitchell and Sue Essman, Angola’s human resources director, last fall to discuss passing the savings on to the employee in the form of additional compensation.

“Other communities are doing this also, we’re not the only one,” he added.

Ultimately, they decided to wait and see what Angola’s finances would look like at the end of 2020 before making a decision.

“We decided that we should wait to see how our finances fared at the end of 2020,” Hickman said. “Keep in mind, we had asked all departments in March of 2020 to defer spending if possible because of COVID-19.”

Hickman said the city ended the calendar year with a cash balance of $6.3 million across its funds that disperse payroll, up from the $5.3 million projected balance early last year.

Angola’s utilities also did better than expected, with the municipal water utility collecting 104% of its anticipated revenues last year and spending only 85% of its budget. The city’s wastewater utility collected 99% of its anticipated revenues while spending just 80% of its budget.

Together, the waived dental and health insurance premiums saved the city approximately $118,000. The special compensation for all 78 eligible full-time city employees will come out to $117,000, meaning the city won’t have to dip into other funds to pay out the bonuses.

“Our employees just did an unbelievable job this year of adjusting to COVID-19 and doing what they were supposed to do,” Hickman said. “I realize we still ended up with some cases, but they worked from home, they changed hours around and did whatever they had to do to try to stay healthy and provide all the services that are expected from the community.”

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