ANSON — Town officials have decided to use federal COVID-19 pandemic relief aid to pay bonuses to members of the Anson Fire Department and Anson-Madison-Starks Ambulance Service.

The town is slated to receive $250,000 over two years, and received the first $125,000 in August, according to Tammy Murray, the town’s administrative assistant.

Selectmen voted Oct. 12 to use $70,600 of the money to be split between the Fire Department and AMS Ambulance Service.

“The Town of Anson, through the American Rescue Plan Act 2021, has chosen to give its firefighters a stipend/bonus for working through this COVID-19 pandemic as an essential worker and also to the Anson-Madison-Starks Ambulance Service that has also worked through the COVID-19 pandemic,” Murray wrote in an email. “Both of these (agencies) have been working the frontline and are exposed to COVID-19 on a daily basis.”

The federal money can be used in four different areas: In response to COVID-19 and its negative economic impact, to provide premium pay to eligible workers responding to the public health emergency, to ensure funding for essential government services and for investments in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.

The Anson Fire Station is run by volunteers and its 21 firefighters are not paid, Murray said. The ambulance service employs 37 people.


Bonuses were calculated and then averaged by the amount of calls to which each employee responded and the nature of the calls, according to Murray. Bonuses ranged from $200 to $3,700, she said, and were distributed last week.

Of the $70,600, $34,200 was issued to members of the Fire Department and $36,400 to members of AMS Ambulance.

“These are the people that go into people’s homes to help them for medical or first responder calls,” Murray said. “They are very hard workers and don’t work for the pay but for the passion of helping people.”

The bonuses will also benefit workers from other towns. Madison officials have already made plans for how to use the $487,945 in federal aid the town has received. And officials in Starks are “going to talk about contributing,” Murray said.

“It was time to pay it forward for the essential workers that have been serving our community,” she said, “and to show that we appreciate them and how they have handled this pandemic.”

The remaining money from the first half of the federal installment has yet to be allocated, although selectmen have discussed possible sewer upgrades in North Anson.

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