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County buys tickets to fair for employees
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Forsyth County News

Forsyth County employees received a fair bonus this month after a five-year hiatus.

More than 1,200 county employees and officials had a special opportunity to attend the Cumming Country Fair & Festival that wrapped up its successful and busy 11-day run on Oct. 13.

Commissioners approved $50,000 to provide four admissions and a sheet of ride tickets to each county worker, a total of 1,269 people.

The Oct. 3 vote for spending “county employee appreciation” funds passed 4-0, with Commissioner Brian Tam absent.

County Manager Doug Derrer said the city of Cumming offered a discounted rate for Forsyth to purchase employee tickets, which had a face value nearing $61,000.

Derrer explained that funding has been budgeted the last couple of years for the commision to provide “some sort of appreciation” to employees.

The last time the commission expended employee appreciation funds was in 2006 and 2007, when the commission passed the same package of fair tickets.

Then, the economy sank and the budget shrunk, said Chairman Pete Amos.

“We had to cut the budget where we could. It wasn’t fair to cut employees and spend that kind of money on going to the fair,” Amos said. “Now, we’ve got [employees’] pay back up and the 401(k) back up, so this is just a little appreciation for them.”

During his time at the fair, Amos said he received much gratitude from employees and his email inbox filled up with thanks as well.

The county didn’t have a way of determining how many employees used the tickets, according to Forsyth County spokeswoman Jodi Gardner.

“The tickets were provided to departments and offices for distribution to all full-time and part-time employees,” Gardner wrote in an email.

The $50,000 funding for the purchase came from a budget line totaling $80,000, according to county figures.

The same amount of money was also budgeted in 2008 and 2012, but not spent. No funding was allocated or spent in 2009, 2010 or 2011.

“There are no plans for the use of the remaining [$30,000]” budgeted this year, according to Gardner.

The 2014 budget approved on Thursday also included $80,000 for employee appreciation.