Free Daily Headlines


Set your text size: A A A

Mills River Town Council OKs $75,000 for firefighter bonus pay

MILLS RIVER — In recognition of the dedicated service provided to the residents of Mills River throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the Mills River Town Council last week appropriated $75,000 in funding to the fulltime firefighters, support staff and volunteers of Mills River Fire and Rescue.

In March President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. The bill provided funding to state and local governments across the country. Mills River received $2.3 million.
Of the four primary eligible uses of this funding, premium pay for essential workers rose to the top during last week's Town Council meeting — specifically, those in the community who place themselves and their families at risk whenever they respond to an emergency call.
Councilman Brian Kimball asked the council to add to the item to the council agenda. Following a brief discussion, and hearing support from his colleagues, Kimball made a motion to approve $75,000 in premium pay to Mills River Fire and Rescue. The vote was unanimous, with Mayor Chae Davis and Councilman Roger Snyder excused from the vote because each has a family member serving within the department.
“Part of the ARPA funding allows for retroactive premium pay to essential frontline workers," Kimball said. "The men and women of the Mills River Fire Department have served our community without hesitation throughout the COVID pandemic. Often, these men and women responded to other emergency situations such as vehicle accidents where close interaction was required increasing the risk to a Covid exposure not only to themselves, but to their own families when they returned home."

“During the pandemic," Fire Chief Rick Livingston said, "service to Mills River has been challenging, and has been anything but a normal lifestyle. It has been a very tough couple of years and the fact the Town considered us for funding is very much appreciated.”

As for the remaining funds, Town Council will be working in the coming months to prioritize its efforts to ensure the residents of Mills River see the greatest possible benefit from this once in a lifetime funding opportunity, the town said in a news release.