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Jacksonville gave $64 million in COVID compensation to city employees. But who’s paying the tab?

Curry COVID.jpg
Will Dickey
Florida Times-Union
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry speaks at a new conference on March 13, 2020, about Duval County's first COVID-19 case. Later that day, Curry declared a state of emergency.

In the opening months of the COVID-19 pandemic, a city of Jacksonville policy that doubled the normal compensation rate for a large number of city employees escalated into a $64 million obligation that still weighs heavily on City Hall because it has not obtained any federal aid for the expense.

The compensation obligation far exceeds what the city paid in the past during storm-related emergencies when "essential employees" earned extra for reporting to work.

The ballooning expense during the pandemic caused city Chief Administrative Officer Brian Hughes to write in a May 2020 email, "This is not sustainable."

Read the rest of this story at WJCT News partner The Florida Times-Union.