Chattanooga City Council OKs employee bonuses, but defers relief funding for nonprofits, small businesses

Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / A City of Chattanooga Department of Public Works employee fills a brush truck as storm debris from the April 12th EF3 tornado is removed from along Davidson Road in East Brainerd on April 22, 2020. City employees who weathered a pandemic and tornado are due for a holiday bonus.

Chattanooga city employees will receive one-time bonuses before Christmas after the City Council passed half of a proposed budget amendment. Meanwhile, additional coronavirus relief funding for small businesses and nonprofits has been deferred until next year.

During its last meeting of the year, the Chattanooga City Council voted to approve a $1.7 million budget amendment to provide $400 each to employees who were able to work from home during the pandemic and $500 to those who weren't.

The payments, approved late Tuesday, will go to all non-elected city employees on their Dec. 18 paychecks.

The one-time bonuses help employees who didn't receive any raises after the city budget was rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic and an EF-3 tornado on Easter Sunday. Those hurdles resulted in more than $8 million in last-minute cuts, a hiring freeze and other precautions to help the city weather the economic impacts of the virus.