All Prince William County employees will receive one-time bonuses ranging from $250 to $1,000.
During its meeting Tuesday, the Board of County Supervisors voted 6-1 with one abstention to use about $5.3 million to pay for the bonuses.
Supervisor Pete Candland, R-Gainesville, voted against the measure, and Supervisor Yesli Vega. R-Coles, abstained.
The vote was to appropriate $12.5 million in total revenue from the state, with about $5.3 million for the county and about $7.1 million going to the school division. The school division’s portion will go into its operating fund.
The money was essentially a surplus after the county budgeted to cover the revenue shortfall with the expectation that Virginia would eliminate the 1% sales tax on groceries that goes to local governments. The General Assembly deferred a decision on the grocery tax until next year.
The county’s approximately 4,347 full-time employees will receive a $1,000 bonus. The roughly 347 part-time employees will receive $500. All seasonal, temporary and provisional employees, about 1,454 people, would receive $250 each.
“This gives us an opportunity to again recognize the hard work staff is doing out there in the community,” said Interim County Executive Elijah Johnson.
Candland opposed the measure, saying the county shouldn’t immediately allocate the revenue while inflation remains a problem. He said at some point the government needs to say “no more handouts” and “no more distribution of wealth from one group to another.”
“I think it’s premature to take this money and immediately turn around and spend it,” he said.
Board Chair Ann Wheeler, D-At-Large, said it was more “fiscally responsible” to give employees a bonus rather than a pay raise because the latter would increase costs moving forward.
Supervisor Jeanine Lawson, R-Brentsville, said the bonuses would show a measure of support to public safety.
“I think we definitely need to send a message to our county employees, especially our public safety, that we value you,” she said.