By Dave Russell


Sylva town employees, denied raises last year due to COVID-19 concerns, will see a slight increase in their paychecks soon.

The Sylva town board voted unanimously last Thursday to approve the raises.

“Back when we were talking about the budget last year in April, we eliminated the merit increases for employees because we did not know what COVID was going to do to our budget,” town Manager Paige Dowling told the board.

Jackson County offered $1,000 bonuses for employees, she said. 

The board at its Jan. 28 budget meeting discussed giving employees a 2 1/2 percent increase for six months of the year, she said. That would cost the town $17,533.33.

Going the one-time bonus route would cost the town $29,575.60.

“If the board wants to consider one, I would recommend the 2 1/2 percent over six months of the year, just because that would keep us more in line with our pay and compensation study,” she said.

Sales tax revenue came in much higher than the town had budgeted, and the raises would come from those funds, she said.

“Thank you on behalf of all the employees,” Dowling said following the vote. “Everyone really appreciates it.”