SOUTH HUTCHINSON - City employees will not receive a customary holiday bonus because of the tight budget that compelled the city of South Hutchinson to lay off staff this year. 

In the past, the city gave full-time employees $350 each and part-time employees $100 each as a year-end bonus. The overall expenditure would have amounted to about $7,000, City Clerk Denise McCue told the South Hutchinson City Council at its Monday night meeting.

“I would say this would be a year when I would say no,” said Councilmember Luke Herren, noting a recent $20,000 lighting expense that had not been in the budget.

The summer layoffs included two police officers and a records clerk, two workers in Public Works, and a part-time firefighter. The city also has not hired a city administrator since City Administrator Matt Stiles left in the spring. 

The motion to withhold bonuses this year passed, although Councilmember Jeff Dovel voted no.

In a separate action, the City Council designated Christmas Eve on Monday, Dec. 24, a holiday, in addition to the already scheduled holiday of Christmas, Dec. 25. Because the council had just nixed the bonus, Herren said, he was “good with the holiday.”

Mayor Mandi Blumanhourst said she would prefer as a practice to have the city holidays set in “black and white at the first of the year.” The motion to declare Christmas Eve a holiday for employees passed without dissent.

Councilmember Stephanie Harris was absent.