IP payment helps city give bonuses

Published 1:49 pm Saturday, December 22, 2012


FRANKLIN—The City of Franklin’s employees for a second time in five years received bonuses.

An unexpected $238,835 payment from International Paper made them possible.

The 167 full-time employees received $500 bonuses, 13 part-time employees received $200, and nine employees’ bonuses were prorated because they have been with the city for less than a year. The bonuses will cost the city $85,318.

The payment that the city received came from Isle of Wight County for money collected from IP for the machinery and tools tax. The county shares a portion of that money with the city; the $238,835 was the last payment from before IP closed in June 2010.

“We are hopeful this is a sign of a better financial future,” said City Manager Randy Martin. “We know we will receive these payments again in the future, but there will be a lag from when the mill was closed.”

The mill began operations in July after a $90 million repurposing to use one of six paper machines to produce fluff pulp; 200 were hired.

Martin noted that the 2013-2014 budget cycle is the earliest the city could benefit from the mill’s repurposing because the county has to collect the money and then pay the city.

City Council during its Dec. 10 meeting approved the bonuses.

“I am very pleased we were able to give bonuses this year since we have not been able to give a raise since the 2011 fiscal year,” said Franklin Mayor Raystine Johnson-Ashburn said. “The employees were very appreciative.”

“I am elated that we can do something that will help our employees,” Martin added. “This is a one-time increase, and not a Christmas bonus. The timing is a coincidence.”

Martin said the city has experienced a great stability in employment and wanted to reward the workers for staying on during the financial crunch.

“It is very important for our employees to know that they are very much appreciated, especially for all that they do for our citizens,” Johnson-Ashburn said.

The rest of the money will be used to hire three full-time firefighters for the Hunterdale fire station in January and pay for a full-time information technology department opposed to contracting the service. The rest will be put into a savings.