CRESTVIEW — The City Council unanimously approved department heads' recommendations for distributing nearly $1 million in refunds from Gulf Power.
The Jan. 27 vote followed discussion at an earlier workshop in which council members concurred with Public Works Director Wayne Steele's recommendations.
Made in consultation with City Clerk Betsy Roy, Steele proposed spending up to $150,000 of the $959,000 refund to restore each city employee's 32 hours of unpaid furlough and reimburse those employees who have already taken some furlough days.
Another $200,000 would be put in Public Works' streets maintenance budget, while the remaining $609,000 would be placed in the general fund reserve account, which Roy described as being "dangerously low."
"It seems logical we would do away with furlough days," Councilman Tom Gordon said before moving to distribute the funds as recommended by staff.
"I think it's reasonable and fair," Councilman Shannon Hayes agreed. "They (city workers) gave when we didn't have the funds and came up short."
Council Vice President Mickey Rytman, presiding in the absence of President Robyn Helt, who was ill, cautioned his colleagues to be frugal with the money.
"We have an unexpected windfall. I'm in favor of restoring the furlough days," Rytman said. "But I don't want to say, 'hey, we have this extra money' and start spending it because next year we won't have it in the budget.